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The Year of the Body

My body. In 2017, I’m EMDR-ing my body part by part. 

I started with my belly and abdomen. Here is where I was cut in 1952 in order to save my life. Back then, my stomach–the organ itself– was actually sliced in order to relieve pressure so the passageway into the small intestine would open up, allowing digested food to pass through. Here is where I must have felt mind-crippling pain, for I was either not given anesthesia or pain control or not given enough. Early on, I became numb. My body was dangerous, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

Next my therapist wanded my face, a face that has been a mask. I learned in infancy that feelings were dangerous and that I must stop what I feel. If she cries, she dies, the surgeon warned my mother. My stitches could break. Feelings frighten my parents. No trouble, no trouble, no trouble became my mantra.  I need nothing, my face said. Neutrality reigned.

Legs next. Legs that, as I got older, ran away. Legs that hoped they could run from my body. Legs taught to go, go, go and leave behind my connection to self. Flee, flee, flee was my mantra. My body was not safe. Best to stay in motion. Move! For early on, I was taught not to kick–to hold my legs down. Keep still or die. How I wanted to kick! So later, I ran and ran and ran as far away as I could. 

Since I’ve begun this EMDR work, I’ve felt excited in a new way to meditate each morning. My body is becoming more of a place of safety and comfort. When I sit down on my couch, I feel my feet connected to the earth, my breath expanding my chest. My abdomen fills with breath and happiness floods my being. I live in my body, which these days, feels like good news. I know this more deeply now–more authentically and somatically. A feeling of wellness informs my day. When I feel panic or fear, I return to my body for reassurance. 

How simple well-being is, but how complicated it had become at the  beginning of my life. EMDR makes me more solid and stable in my body than ever. More at home in 2017.

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