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chronic unease

Some people are good at denial, forgetting, and moving on. I am good at none of those. I accumulate trauma, remember them deeply like they are etched into my bones helpless as…

working with my triggers

I used to get triggered really easily. Something seemingly innocuous would set me off – sometimes I was good at hiding my feelings on my face especially if it was in a…

go toward them

The better he became at meditation, the more it helped him face trauma he’d experienced and learn and explore. Sometimes terrible memories and fears—of execution, of guards—arose, but he used meditation to push them aside—to try to transcend the pain he’d carried with him his whole life. But now Pema challenged him to go back to the worst memories and fears again—to intentionally meditate on them. She said not to push them away, not to try to transcend them, not to run from them, but to go toward them.

nine foster homes and three boys’ homes

After that Jarvis was placed in nine foster homes and three boys’ homes, including some in which he was starved, beaten, and kept in squalor. At thirteen, he was moved from the foster care system into the division of juvenile justice, where the brutal treatment escalated. When he was arrested for petty crimes—stealing a bicycle, joyriding—he was placed in youth detention centers, where he was subjected to more beatings, burned, locked in closets, and made to pummel other boys. If he refused, counselors beat him harder.

However, if our emotions are blocked

However, if our emotions are blocked due to denial, repression, or trauma, then blood flow can become chronically constricted, depriving the frontal cortex, as well as other organs, of vital nourishment. This can leave you foggy and less alert, limited in your awareness and thus your ability to intervene into the conversation of your bodymind, to make decisions that change physiology or behavior. As a result, you may become stuck—unable to respond freshly to the world around you, repeating old patterns of behavior and feeling that are responses to an outdated knowledge base.

At the time, I had read The Relaxation Response

At the time, I had read The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson’s first book written in the seventies, in which he attributed meditation’s power to an alteration of the nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic pathways. But with my knowledge of the bodywide psychosomatic network, I was beginning to think of disease-related stress in terms of an information overload, a condition in which the mind-body network is so taxed by unprocessed sensory input in the form of suppressed trauma or undigested emotions that it has become bogged down and cannot flow freely, sometimes even working against itself, at cross-purposes.