Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Your Body Keeps the Score
The title is reference to a masterful book by Bessel Van Der Kolk. He researches and discusses the endless spectrum of awareness we can experience about where in our body we hold trauma, in particular. With incredible stories from his own experiences as a therapist, and plenty of personal, readable discussion, it's one of my new favorite books. Incredibly life-affirming.
And it is good these kinds of resources exist, because it can be quite intense to unlock trauma in the body. Even if you don't have a history with "Trauma" (capital T), simply going through childhood gave you enough experience with separation, isolation and individuation to cause disturbances and neurotic habits that often persist in your body without your conscious awareness.
Last weekend I co-taught a program with Sasha Lasdon of Integrated Eros called Write From the Hip. It was a powerful experiment in doing simple movements involving the hips and pelvis, then writing from those experiences. Many of the participants found not only sex and sensuality arising, but also vulnerability and anger. For quite a few, it released something in them they would have never found not paying attention to those sources.
Embodied writing is crucial, especially in memoir. Not only does your body keep the score, it also keeps the story - the whole story, not just the single layer that may exist in your mind only. Keep exploring, deep into your body with people you trust. Explore EMDR, TRE, Somatic Experiencing Therapy; do yoga, walking, exercise. Find what your body has to offer to your writing and you will find all the layers you need to make your story strong.