wellspring of compassion, by sonia connolly

Trauma can be shockingly sudden and obvious, or it can be subtle, ongoing, and difficult to name.

Instead of travel, I prefer to think of healing from trauma as growth, like a tree becoming taller and wider and more intricately itself every year.

You are not limited to one physical place like a tree, but you do have only one history. You can reach your roots into different parts of it and change how you perceive your history over time, finding pockets of nourishing compost in both your own and your ancestors’ stories.

Mirror neurons in our brains echo the expressions and body language of the people around us, recreating their emotions in our bodies. Our nervous systems automatically align with nearby nervous systems. This effect is strongest in infants and children and occurs in adults as well, especially sensitive ones. For example, if your mother was often anxious, you may struggle with unquenchable anxiety.

Shame is learned. As infants and small children, we expressed ourselves freely without worrying about what others thought. As we received negative responses from others, we learned to filter our behavior to be more acceptable in their eyes.

We want to banish our fiercest patterns, but we have to learn to live with them instead. When we name and study our experiences, we get clawed less when patterns recur. As they become tamer, we may even come to grudgingly appreciate them.

Bodies are usually delighted to reconnect and do not hold grudges.

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