mmmm mid spring can be all juicy buds and floral musk and damp soil. out here in the season of taurus, a sign of physicality and earthy grounding, i am seeking out new ways to nourish and overflow. i thought i would share some love notes (inspired by my new zine!!! see below) especially for my dissociative babes, as we deepen into our bodies and welcome taurus season:
no matter the context, there is NO SHAME in stepping out of a room during a mental or spiritual separation from your body. i used to carry so much guilt from this, and felt like i wasn’t cut out for the work i wanted to do, or the relationships i wanted to cultivate, because i was too “damaged” to show up in the ways that were expected of me. sometimes i still feel this way, and i think that’s common, because many of us have been socialized to know shame before knowing our own agency. if you picked up this zine, your boundaries were crossed in big ways, and moving through the world means that sometimes you find another line that needs to be redrawn as you restore your sense of safety and inner abundance. change is the only constant, so give yourself permission to go with the flow of your own transformation. what do our relationships to ourselves and each other feel like, what can they hold, when we center this honesty about our capacity and kindness to the different and ever-shifting needs our bodies?
dissociation is one of a few automatic stress responses that can happen in your body when you perceive a threat to your survival. this can be conditioned through lived experience, residual effects of a catalytic event, even passed through bodies over generations through unresolved trauma. just as this response is triggered by different stimuli in every person, it manifests differently in every body. it can seem counterintuitive to try to *feel* anything during a dissociative episode (or fight, or flight, or another thing entirely!), but learning the particular ways your body responds to triggers can help to identify what is happening and communicate your needs for safety. in my body, dissociation feels like heat rising to my face as sensation leaves my hands and feet. a lump forms in my throat and breathing becomes difficult; in extreme situations, there’s temporary loss of sight and hearing.
for many on the healing path, it becomes easier, even habitual, to focus just on negative stress (distress). this can further amplify reactions to triggers by keeping us in a reactive state and over time distancing us from perceiving other possibilities of being (because what we pay attention to, grows). we can begin to reframe this scarcity mentality and break patterns of fear and numbing with mindfulness practices, and by choosing to focus just as much on the stress that has positive effects on our wellbeing (eustress). not all stress is bad! getting psyched for a first date. putting the finishing touches on a big project. giving or receiving consensual pleasure. the rush of a satisfying conversation.
it’s fascinating, what our bodies can do. how does stress (both distress and eustress) move through your body?
these notes accompany exercises in "skin: navigating intimacy with myself after assault," a free zine making its way around chicago and beyond through word of mouth and hand outs. if you are interested in getting a copy of "skin" or supporting printing or distribution, let's connect!
in other news, i'm just catching up from a long and peaceful weekend in minneapolis. i have a couple of sessions to vision, and hoping to come out and bask in the glow of some amazing people - so i'm just teaching one public class this week on 4/24, gentle yoga @ chi-town shakti (PWYC cash option available, $5 minimum)
much love to your deep knowing, and deep relearning.