I finished this intense period of therapy last week. After 2 introduction sessions, I started into EMDR. The whole session was just talking about memories, about sensations, emotions, negative thoughts. After awhile, I could track, even while I was speaking, how someone with my nature, is particularly prone to trauma and how trauma is experienced.
EMDR taught me so much about my sensitive, empathic nature. How I could feel someone’s sadness or pain, almost deeper than he/she/they could? How could I feel the energy in an environment and have it affect my energy levels? How come grief seems to lodge in my body in the way it does?
As I went into these sessions, and my eyes went back and forth across the light bar thousands of times, I came to more fully appreciate my sensitive nature, this deep and unique part of myself. The more my trauma cleared, the more I could see myself, this very strong, compassionate, empathic woman, for who I really am.
I came to understand how I’ve functioned in relationships that hasn’t served my best interest. How I must understand serving others in a more nuanced way, because companioning someone in challenges comes naturally to me. It is not a difficult task for me to try and see the world from another perspective.
So, as I kept going back to therapy, we worked on feeling more grounded, in my gut or sacral chakra. I wanted to feel grounded in my intuition, not always second-guessing myself. I wanted to couple my compassion with strength.
I wanted to know if I could sustain myself in a helping profession. As the trauma cleared, I had more energy in my body to go towards my self-care instead of protecting my pain. So, I found powerful healing practices that seemed to work with my energy–including meditation, breath work and qigong.
A deep question that I didn’t realize I was asking until mid-way through therapy was, “Why has the Western Christian church emphasized service (and usually the service of women) at the expense of knowing oneself?” And how have I been hurt by this reversal?”
I learned early on not to question authority. They were always right. Being a “sinner” was emphasized to such a degree that my lifetime of service of God really was a payback–and I was supposed to do this with joy.
Never did we talk about how serving could be a way of avoiding one’s pain. Never did we talk about sensitive individuals and the propensity for burn-out and the martyrdom mentality. Never did we talk about why women were encouraged to serve more than men.
There was a lot packed into my formative years and who I was “supposed to” be. Wanting to please, I did everything I could, until I burned out, quit my job, and found out that I had an autoimmune disease that was running my life. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I did this in the name of God.
But I couldn’t do it anymore. And so, the last 4 years, have been a deep unraveling. Of knowing the Divine and myself and those around me. Of accepting myself and my unique nature and letting that inform how I show up in the world, grounded and compassionate.
Yet, more than an unraveling is happening. I’m reconstructing my life. I’m now on solid, yet unknown ground, and that feels as it should be.
I say no a lot more. I don’t sign up for things just because. I want my outer life to reflect my inner life. I’m no longer frantic, searching desperately for meaning. Now, I can stand in one place, knowing that I can find meaning anywhere.
And I let myself feel that deep joy. Because when deep internalized trauma no longer clouds my vision, I can finally see what is. And what is, is a very beautiful gift.