What day is it? Blursday?
If your days are starting to mesh all into one lately, you are not alone. These are uncertain times and we are all feeling it, and as we are all hoping for an end in sight, we might need to adjust to the fact that while some things may go back to normal, other things will not, at least not for a long time. I want to acknowledge the fact that what we are going through is impacting people and communities differently and I will never assume that I can speak for all people. While I do my best to honor all of our experiences, I am writing today from my personal point of view.
I am grateful more than ever for all my self-care tools, mindful self-compassion practice, reiki, and TRE (tension and trauma release exercises), just to name a few. These are tools I use to notice how I am feeling in the moment and to use my awareness to choose kindness over judgment (thoughts of what I “should” be doing) and a gentle reminder over and over again that I am not alone with feeling what I am feeling. I am hearing, seeing, and witnessing my experience in my fellow humans right now.
While this uncertainty is hard and I have found myself reliving a past that I thought I had put behind me, I also have accepted the challenge of learning how to accept all of myself all over again, as I navigate a body and nervous system that does get triggered when things are overwhelming, when I go through big life changes or am faced with challenges such as a move or a long trip. I have learned to live with it, to actually “thrive” because I don’t see any of it as a limitation but as an invitation to tend to my self-care needs with warmth and acceptance.
It was interesting to get that flashback recently. At first, I could not put my finger on it. I could feel something was different. I started to feel as if I was outside of my body, kind of numb and a little disoriented. It had been so long since I had dissociated like that that I did not notice it right away. When I finally started to notice it again, I used my steps to reconnect, to turn inward, ask questions, and feel grounded again, and then with a mindful awareness provided a safe space for the parts of myself that were triggered, to be seen, heard, and accepted. This was not something I was able to do quickly but I devoted time to self-care and support for myself for as long and as often as my parts needed comforting.
Going through this was challenging, for sure. But I used the same strategy that I suggest for my clients, to be gentle with myself and honor the time I needed and not rush through it to try to “fix” it. My feelings are never something that needs to be fixed.
What has been rewarding is renewing my commitment to connecting with all my parts. I do regularly connect with my inner tribe but it was clear they needed more right now from me, more time, more presence, and more warmth from me. As I reconnected with my parts, I was reminded of how profoundly healing this practice was to my healing journey.
When I became the parent and the protector I needed to these parts, I healed so many aspects of myself. Becoming something new is a practice, the same way I had to practice growing up to become the hypervigilant, controlling perfectionist, to survive my past. As I practiced becoming the kind, loving supportive parent I needed, I also started to identify those embodied feelings and learned to trust them and know that I was worthy of having them.
My tribe is made up of my inner children, my wounded self, my inner critic, my shadow parts, as well as all the strong authentic parts that have helped me in the past when I was entering a new stage of healing.
As we all know, healing after trauma is not a linear process and so it is important to remember that when we have a flashback or what feels like a setback, we have not failed or were fooling ourselves into thinking we had healed. Each time we grow from a challenge, we develop a deep appreciation for who we are, for how far we have come, and the wisdom we have learned along the way.
In these moments, put your hand on your heart and remember to be gentle with yourself during these uncertain times. This is not the time to be hard with ourselves or others. The resilience of humans dictates that we will get through this and we will get through this together. Stay connected the best you can, to yourself and others. And choose to come to the present moment, again and again, to help your mind stay out of anxiety and worry.
I know these words sound simple but the implications of daily self-compassion practice are profound and long-lasting.
I am sending you lots of love and light and here to support you in any way I can.
Svava Brooks is a survivor of child sexual abuse, international speaker on child sexual abuse prevention, advocate and trauma recovery coach. In her practice as a Certified TRE® Provider, she empowers survivors to heal from trauma using trauma informed care/education, mindfulness, self-compassion, Reiki and inner child work along with healthy self-care practices that restore bodies, minds and spirit after trauma, abuse or neglect.
The mother of three children, Svava has dedicated her life to ending the cycle of child sexual abuse through education, awareness, and by helping survivors heal and thrive. She is a certified facilitator for Advance!, a program created by Connections to restore authentic identity. Every week, she writes about healing after trauma on her blog and also leads a discussion forum on child sexual abuse healing and recovery online, in her private Facebook groups and on her YouTube channel. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her family.