I have been more motivated to move lately. It is coming from my goddess inner part who seems to be highly invested in the body and physical health.
This is something my controller has never been too concerned about. Of course, they don’t like it when I get sick because I might not be productive, but otherwise, they don’t really care. They see the body as a work horse to be used as a tool to the mind. But my goddess doesn’t see it that way. She is very much interested in movement. She wants to know what the body has to say. So she has signed me up for a gym membership. I had very little choice in the matter. It just happened. And I have been attending dance classes like Zumba and Nia. Of course, my controller complains in my head the entire time, but they can’t stop it.
I have always been a decent dancer. I have taken ballroom and Latin dance classes many times over the years. I know my love of dance is authentic because I love it despite it being something I shared with my dad. But as I settle into my body on a more consistent basis and try to rekindle my love of dance, I am reminded of how years of dissociation have impacted my body. It isn’t easy to function like others in some ways. Part of that is age-related. I am not in denial about the passing of the years. But in some ways my recovery has me aging backwards. Since I started my intense emotional expression work, my health has improved dramatically. But here are some of the patterns I have noticed.
- Parts of the body don’t communicate with other parts. I have noticed how I have a few favorite instructors because they repeat the same moves many times. I have also noticed that until I get the feet down, my arms aren’t doing anything. I probably look pretty stupid, but I have confirmed there is nobody watching me (again and again). But this disconnection is normal with dissociation. Coordination between arms and legs can be as kludgy as communication between the mind and body. The left and right side of the body are not well connected either. This is related to the disconnection between the left and right side of the brain. While there is a bunch of science behind this, I am not delving into it here. But we do have a tendency to struggle with coordination after trauma. And it will show up on the dance floor too.
- Stopping the flow. Dissociation shuts us down. It stops the flow. We have stored a bunch of very “dangerous” emotions and memories in the body. If we allow flow and movement on any level, some of those time bombs might go off. And we can’t have that. So we fight the natural flow of our body. This can manifest as anxiety and depression. But over time, it also has a heavy impact on the physical body functions. Our breathing becomes shallow. We no longer take deep breaths and that creates difficulties in almost every area. Our digestion begins to struggle since it cannot be as effective. We may show signs of constipation, heartburn, IBS or any number of problems. Our circulation slows down. We might be chronically cold especially in our fingers and toes. There isn’t enough power to get our blood circulating the way it should. And our detoxifying organs don’t get the job done. Toxins build up in our system. And toxins that feed on toxins settle in. All of this lack of flow leads to one major manifestation which causes hundreds of problems:
- Developing chronic pain and fatigue. With all those toxins in our system, they have to find places to live. Our joints and muscles and organs are the perfect hosts. And it can get pretty crowded in there. Over time, these toxins cause muscle and joint pain, high cholesterol and more severe illnesses. In my twenties, I was suffering from severe joint pain. I would wake up in the morning and struggle to walk because my knees were in so much pain. I would avoid handwriting anything because of the joint pain in my hands. I was 23 when this started. My body was already struggling with the toxins that had built up in my body. I tried the most difficult diets. I did detox after detox. I didn’t drink alcohol. I avoided sugar. I should have been the healthiest person on the planet. But the pain and inflammation did not shift. It has only been through my emotional and memory recovery that the pain has gone.
So check in with your body several times a day. Are you living in your body? Are you allowing yourself to flow or are you blocking everything? Is there tension in certain areas of your body (jaw, hips, back, neck, shoulders)? This is where you block the emotions and memories from the past. How can you open yourself up to the flow? Can you breathe more? Can you move more? This will bring the past to the surface, but this is how we heal. If we don’t address the past through our emotions and memories, our bodies will falter and the past will win.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW
3 Things We Do To Our Body When We Ignore Our Past was originally published @ Beating Trauma and has been syndicated with permission.