I wrote a draft of this post a few days ago which is already obsolete. That’s the power of EMDR.
Backstory: Each morning after making my bed, stretching, letting the ducks out of their cages, and pouring a cup of green tea, I sit for meditation. By this time, I’m sufficiently super-tensed. Why? That’s the way I wake up and it only gets worse. Why am I so guarded? I don’t know for sure, but I think it goes something like this.
As a baby after a stomach operation without anesthesia, waking up was terrifying. Excruciating pain awaited–pain no one would want to wake up to. I was defended, protected, armored. Somatically, my body was booted up, like an electric fence. Yeah, that’s it. From the day’s get-go, I was juiced. And yes, all these years, most of them unknowingly, I’ve carried current.
Sitting for meditation has become a chore. So much resistance to get through to simply sit quietly in touch with my heartbeat and deeper vibration. Often, I cry, the tension is so great. Relief follows. Then soothing is necessary. I’d rub my arms and tell myself, and my little baby inside, that we are loved and safe. All is well.
Since I’d rather not deal with this tension day after day, month after month, year after year as I have been, EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, was next on the agenda. I decided to get wanding–eye movement back and forth following the arc of freedom.* Almost immediately, a wiser self showed up. I told her I didn’t want the ‘protection.’ I didn’t need it. Whatever I was armored against was over. The force field it creates keeps good feeling away. It isolates me from others. It discomforts and pushes people away. It transmits a subtle signal– ‘don’t come near.’
When one sees an electric fence, the juice flowing through the metal is not apparent. Voltage becomes real only upon touch. Seeing an electric fence though brings tension. It is not pleasant. It causes suspicion. Is it turned on? Could it spark me if touched? How lethal is it? And so, one avoids it. One turns away. One shuns. Who wants to get shocked?
So we wand, and I am assured that with the electricity shut off, positivity will flow in. My wiser self gives me a new piece to add to my morning ritual. Now when I wake up, instead of proceeding to my several rituals, I lie in bed for a few moments. I place my hand on my belly. It’s warm. My hand rises with breath. I look out the sliding glass doors into the beautiful, sun-filled California day, green with leaves. I tell myself, All is well. You are safe.
Miraculously, the electricity shuts off and the fence goes benign. I am free to see the day more as it really is–a wonderful opportunity. I begin to bubble gently with excitement, slightly giddy with the wonder of what’s coming. I rise from the covers, quietly smiling. I effervesce.
And in my meditation? The buzz is gone. The hyper-clench. The wattage. I am there with my human, vulnerable self. I feel my heart beat in my chest. I feel my belly rise and fall with breath. I sit calmly, tiny bubbles rising, gently popping at the surface. I am.
*See previous posts about what EMDR is and my work with a practitioner.
I’m so excited for you and the healing that is taking place.
Thank you, Janet. The EMDR does the trick in so many deep ways. Good to hear from you!!
Wendy, I too am so glad that you are finding healing and peace. It has often been and sometimes remains difficult for me to sense what you have after your surgery and after the various therapies you have found healing. However, I know only too well how I too struggled for much of my life to come to terms with my early surgery, and that there were many things that helped me heal but seemed unnecessary to others. The correspondence is much greater and more significant than the experiences you write about so beautifully but I have not had. Go, Wendy!
Thanks for writing, Fred. Yes, I think each of us deals with the aftermath of infant surgery in very different ways, depending on whether or not we had no, little or complete anesthesia; our parents reactions to the operation and their consequent behavior; our individual temperaments; and the time period (the year or decade) and place of surgery (town or city and the type of hospital). What I’ve discovered though is that many more suffer consequences from early preverbal trauma than we may think, given the responses to our blog posts over the years. There are many types of early trauma, from one’s legs being put in a cast for the first six months of life to birth trauma, where one is born, for example, choked by the umbilical cord around his or her neck. Many are in denial about the effect of preverbal trauma and how it can continue to hound us unknowingly into adulthood. This denial is a protection. It’s what we do. But when people are ready to explore the source of their anxiety, distress, or discomfort in the varied ways they may experience this, our pages will be there for them to find education, support and community. And we can take from each unique narrative the pieces that fit our unfinished puzzles.