(Written in August 2010)
Feeling pretty blue. At least it got better late yesterday. That’s an old rhythm. Curled up with Bella on the couch, trying to bring comfort to my heavy hurting heart. Then I noticed that the pain seemed to come in waves. I finally decided to get up & have caffeine tea. Now feeling a little better.
Walked the dog on Gov Gallen — got to the picnic table good for me! It was grey & I was still feeling a little down, but I thought as I walked “May my thoughts be a prayer that brings good to the world I love,” “May my vision of compassion bring a blessing to this world I love,” and many more. Modeled after what Sharon Salzberg says the Dalai Lama prays very morning. I’d like to have the actual quote.
The Dalai Lama’s prayer is “May every action I take today be of benefit to all beings.”
Got the mail on the way back & the Healing Dimensions book had come. I started reading it. I like the sound of the guy, he was a priest and an archeologist, also a medical intuitive, he feels with his hands what the patient is feeling. His description of trauma is very similar to Peter Levine’s.
I think having the book helped a lot. It reminded me that the depression is “flashback” to childhood trauma, not something stupid that I’m doing, or something easy that I’m refusing to do. I notice that as I write about it I often say “I’m doing badly” when I’m depressed, as though it were something I did, not something that happened to me. In trying to “be with” the heavy pain in my heart, I try to bring compassion to it, but nothing changes, and I think really deep down I’m still judging myself, angry at myself for being depressed, and that’s not so easy to shift.
Brent Baum: The Healing Dimensions; resolving Trauma in Body, Mind and Spirit
“Initially, frustration motivated my research into trauma resolution approaches. I was baffled by the fact that an inordinate number of my clients returned to therapy, repeating the same stories over and over as though they refused to release them. At times I felt angry, only later realizing that my anger was at myself for my inability to better assist my clients in their pain. My traditional training failed to provide the necessary tools for this work. By continuing to observe survivors, I discovered that their refusal to release the pain was not a conscious one. Their emotional bodies continued to hold the memories of trauma intact, while their mental bodies tried to process them at a safe distance, not wanting to be re-traumatized by having to re-live them. Cognitive therapies produced only minimal success, mostly by providing limited behavioral management for self destructive impulses. The traditional “Rational-Emotive Therapy” of Albert Ellis, for example, succeeded in predisposing the conscious mind for change, particularly when the emotional body was willing to support the reasoning or thoughts, but was clearly unable to resolve the core feelings induced from the trauma. They continued to resurface. Similarly, affirmations were ineffective without the underlying support of the emotional body. They did, however, help to create a predisposition for change and often facilitated the emergence of the trauma memory by fostering safety and intrapersonal strengthening. Effective resolution of the encoded affect, however, was still needed. In order to better grasp the mysterious resistance mechanisms of my clients, I began to explore the nature and depth of the imprinting that occurred at the moment of trauma.” p168
A final source of resistance is the feeling: “I’m already too tired to face these overwhelming feelings and memories.” I frequently see this in trauma survivors who have attempted, over many years, numerous trauma resolution therapies. They have become disheartened by approaches that failed, in the end, to provide resolution for their memories. Some achieved a significant degree of resolution in affect, but the “cellular memory” was untouched, leaving the pain syndrome intact. p316