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.

EMDR–Not Just for One-time Traumas

Sometimes when I post about the positive effects I’ve experienced in therapy with EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, someone inevitably comments that EMDR works for a one-time trauma, such as a car accident, but not on trauma that had been sustained over a longer period, such as childhood sexual abuse. This is simply… Continue Reading

In EMDR, Butterfly Sends Away Moth : Good-bye, Death

Here is Moth Baby, my colored pencil drawing, 1997. The feathery antennae, the bulky body, wings folded, no legs, pink face of a human baby. The lines across her segmented body mirror the stitch-marks of my scar from my surgery at 26 days old for pyloric stenosis, a stomach blockage. For me, moths have always been… Continue Reading

Don't Distress. Effervesce with EMDR!

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… Continue Reading

I'm fixed! EMDR, Somatic Freeze, and Early Trauma

Much to my delight, EMDR is slowly eroding some deeply held somatic patterns. I had my doubts it could work on trauma held in my body for over six decades. But in time, I am changing. I am recognizing more quickly when I’m in a freeze and learning how to disengage from it in a self-caring way. What… Continue Reading

EMDR and Preverbal Infant Trauma: My Experience So Far

In talking to a fellow pyloric stenosis survivor about EMDR, she wondered whether it could help folks like us who experienced such early trauma–stomach surgery for pyloric stenosis, typically 10 days to 6 weeks after birth, without anesthesia or pain control. She understood that EMDR helps people reprocess memory connections in the cortex, that part of the brain… Continue Reading

EMDR Still Rocks!

I’m changing and growing every day from my work with EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Curious about what makes the process tick, I’ve been reading the book Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Dr. Francine Shapiro, the founder and developer of EMDR. Shapiro talks… Continue Reading