We had a retreat here last Equinox and I’ve only recently understood what happened. We had an all-night vigil leading up to the Equinox sunrise, working with sacred plants. I had the extraordinary experience of having my body do some kind of yoga exercises, or so I thought, before going into involuntary spasm. I was outside most of the night while this was going on. My shamanic senses were awake and I noticed the trees rustling and the dogs starting to bark before my body went into spasm – I could feel the telluric currents of the Earth and how everything was tuned into them. It was a wonderful feeling, delicious and sometimes causing me deep belly laughs. At other times it was as though every organ, muscle group and cell in my body was getting its own vibratory massage. I felt so amazingly relaxed after and knew that the Earth had given me some amazing healing.
When I started planning for our next retreats, I decided to go back and explore this experience more thoroughly. I knew, from my kinesiology training, that the psoas muscle was involved and that it tends to hold onto emotional experience and trauma, so that was my first stop. I was amazed to discover that there is a whole new paradigm of trauma release, with exactly the same exercises that came to me at Equinox. It is no longer sufficient to treat trauma and PTSD on a one-to-one basis, as we now have whole communities, even countries that are traumatised. These exercises are very easy, anyone can do them and teach them to others and they always work.
They work because there is no escaping trauma in life, so we are endowed with the ability to experience it and recover from it, just like all the other animals. We have just forgotten how to let go and release as a physical action, so the trauma stays in our minds and in our bodies. We talk about ‘cellular memory’ but ignore the fact that cells are physical! Of course we can, and do, affect our bodies with our thoughts and feelings. We all know how the immune system is especially vulnerable to critical self-talk and negative feelings, but if it was that easy to turn this around wouldn’t we have done it already?
It is that easy, we just haven’t been approaching the problem in the right way. Trauma, stress and many so-called psychological problems are maintained in the body and the mind is consistently drawing our attention to what needs to be released in the body. When this doesn’t happen our minds begin to alter our sense of self in order to be consistent with the physiological changes and chemical changes our bodies experience as the result of the contraction from prolonged stress and tension. This in turn changes our neurophysiological structures and our entire experience of ourselves in the world changes. Our reality changes and we begin to create our future experience according to this limited reality. We cannot ‘let go’ of something, or release tension, just by thinking about it. That’s one reason why talking therapies have limited results.
In this video David Berceli explains how he discovered this process and how he has used it in his work as a therapist specialising in PTSD. It is an excellent video, in which he also goes through the exercises in a group setting and in real-time so you can follow along. I followed the process again and I had a similar result as for the Equinox, not quite as intense and with slightly different shaking movements, but the end result was the same – a wonderful feeling of relaxation and release.
This time, I did the exercises with conscious awareness, as opposed to the spontaneity of the Equinox experience. After the Equinox, I felt great and relaxed, but I didn’t know that it was because I had released trauma from the distant past. I was homeless for a while and in an abusive relationship as a teenager, now ancient history. However, with the conscious release came the realization for me, that my ‘corporate career’ was in reality a reaction to this trauma. The physical abuse over several years forced me into a different identity that was contracted and limited; I could only perceive the world through the lens of survival and material things. I was lucky, I was able to survive and thrive in that existence. It was only when I began to question, “Is this it?” that Sophia sent Dexter into my life and the contracted me began to spin out and expand. This realisation gave me psychological closure on any residual trauma and also opened another door – is trauma preventing people from experiencing the magic?
I am working on this assumption for our Beltane Retreat. We are all capable of telepathy, clairaudience, lucid dreaming and so much more, but we are not able to access these faculties when our bodies are contracted. We cannot experience freedom in contracted bodies. Experiencing trauma is essential to the shamanic experience, as we can’t experience the fullness of life without getting out of our comfort zone and this can be traumatic. We are designed for that, we are amazingly resilient; we just need to remember to release the trauma, to shake it off and move on so that we can perceive the magic that is all around us.