[00:00:00] Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb your friendly neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for medical care.
[00:00:50] This is episode 34 of the Move With Deb podcast. I am going to share with you some of my thoughts about some of the language that is used around trauma and somatics. I hope you enjoy today's podcast. Thank you.
[00:01:07] I never want anybody to feel afraid by language that people use about trauma. About the body. About the nervous system. I find some educators who are very talented. Who are creating great service to people about popularizing, mental health and mind body concepts for the general public in very powerful ways. And also I find that colloquially, the language can create fear.
[00:01:47] As a bodyworker I have often had conversations with my clients about trauma being stored in their body. And I do not like this word stored because it one reinforces this idea that there's like something stuck, that's like in your cells. That's in your body. That's that's stuck in there and then you have to like, get it out, remove it, change it.
[00:02:14] There is no memory storage mechanism in the tissue. You experience it in the body, but it is created in the brain. And what we understand about the brain and neuroplasticity is that something is wired, you can unwire it and you can wire to something else. And that concept gives me incredible hope because just as quickly as people turning their pain off in an instant, in an overnight, like I had around my knee pain.
[00:02:42] I did not have to go through the trauma of being a people pleaser, of being a fat kid who was told that every failure in their life is based on their body. That my pain is based on my degenerative osteoarthritis and that, I'm aging and I'm fat. And I, this is just going to be this downward slope that I'll never recover from until I get a joint replacement. And then there's that whole process of healing. Lots and lots and lots of meaning, lots and lots of thoughts. Lots of fear. And what I want to say is I didn't have to resolve any of that. I didn't have to resolve all of the unpleasant negative experiences of having grown up as a person being told that their body is wrong.
[00:03:30] I don't believe that anymore. But I was still experiencing knee pain, until I understood that this pain was related to my perfectionism. This pain was related to this sense of danger inside my knee, in my body, because I was observing these sensations with alarm.
[00:03:51] And because I was studying this biomechanics work, this is no criticism to that work, but the way that I was viewing it was very high stakes, was very all or nothing. I needed to master this experience and this information. Then I would have the transformation in my body, but not even just for me. It was about my being able to share this information, this skill of alignment, posture, body mechanics, with my clients, with other people in pain. And that intensity of that strong need and desire to excel, be perfect at something before I could teach it and share it created an incredible lack of safety in my own bodymind.
[00:04:43] Anytime I felt a sensation that was unpleasant in my knee that just sent me on a mental and emotional cascade of imposter syndrome. And there were other things going on in my personal life that reinforced this idea that like, oh, I can't help people that I care about.
[00:05:02] So you wouldn't think that pain is complicated like that, right? It is an easier story if you're like, it's your joint. Okay, go fix the joint. That's why you have pain. But once I got this knowledge, I got it from Curable. Got it from Dr. Sarno's Mindbody Prescription. Once I applied that knowledge and took my safety walk throughout that day and the next day, overnight, my knee pain decreased and essentially went away. I don't have knee pain in that knee anymore. I will have occasional human pain that comes and goes, but now what I don't have is fear. So none of that had anything to do with applying any kind of remedy to the joint, but it had a lot to do with, applying a remedy to all of my thoughts about what I'm making this pain mean, who I am as a person, as a teacher, as a healer.
[00:06:00] The sense of force that I create within myself to not make mistakes, to be perfect, have other people see me as helpful. So it's a little more complex, certainly, but it is also amazingly freeing, because as you begin the work of creating this kind of curious friendship and awareness with all of these subconscious processes, all of these survival mechanisms. Like how I am seen by other people, that's part of our surviving mechanisms. That's part of our evolutionary biology. But I can apply new thoughts, a willingness to feel, a willingness to be friends with myself and create self-compassion. And I can do things like lean into these somatic tools like somatic tracking and somatic singing.
[00:07:00] And pretty much you could just use the word somatic for the body. I encourage you to just make up your own somatics. So to go way back to my original point, we want to just check in that we're not believing things about this process that create fear, but that we're looking into ways of creating meaning and exploration of these concepts that relieve fear.
[00:07:25] So the idea and the belief that trauma is stored in the body may not be helpful to you. It may be helpful to you. And if it is helpful to you, that is amazing. If the idea of something being stored in your body is not helpful to you, try the idea that it is felt in your body, trauma is felt in your body.
[00:07:46] We're always talking about dopamine hits and dopamine hits, and you know, it it's accurate, but not accurate. I think as language gets popularized, it also takes on its own meaning. And then we start using it as if it makes sense, but it makes sense. Right?
[00:08:07] Meaning is highly important. It's important in the experience of pain. Whether or not the brain decides that is sensation or a nociception, like a change in temperature, pressure or chemical is dangerous or not dangerous is based on meaning. And meaning is it's like our brains experienced throughout our lived experience can also be, if you look at epigenetics could be through our lived experience as also related by our ancestors. But meaning is also variable and can be changed in a moment.
[00:08:44] As I like to repeat pretty often, I think on here, I talk about people's experience of their pain, changing by learning this pain science education information. That when you embody some new information about what you're feeling, then what you're feeling changes. And that is absolutely a hundred percent true. And so we can begin the process of creating curiosity, creating a willingness to investigate, what these sensations mean, why they're happening, right. It's not about having to like, get something out of you, but maybe a willingness to meet that with love. Meet that with curiosity, meet that with, oh, Hey, I see that I am having a huge reaction. Can I be a witness to myself having a huge reaction? And also there are other people out in the world who can help you. So you're not alone in this process, but I just want to encourage you to pay attention to how you apply and understand these concepts.
[00:09:56] So I'd say the same thing happens for me when I hear people talking about polyvagal theory. I know that they place it on a hierarchy. I do not find that framework to be really useful for me. I like to think of our polyvagal states as natural states that we move in and out. And that it's very beneficial to increase our ability to get to ventral vagal.
[00:10:20] But when we're in sympathetic or dorsal, like let's just notice where we are. Let's just see how did we travel here? And then we went to build and increase that beautiful window of tolerance that helps tell our nervous system that we are okay. That we are not in danger. How do we do that?
[00:10:38] There's a sensing part of that. There's also the cognitive part of that, right? Sometimes they're in conflict. There could be, we feel danger, like anxiety, but then when we look around the room, we're sitting at a desk looking at our email. Well, then the cognitive part of our brain can be like, I know that you're feeling this anxiety, you're feeling fear, but I want to tell you that you're safe right now because our visual cortex, our brain can observe the world around us and notice that we're sitting in a chair and we're safe, regardless of the fact that our body doesn't feel safe.
[00:11:14] So one of them is not wrong. And one of them is not right. That's not what this is about. This is about using the skills of both our cognitive thinking brain and our feeling sensing somatic brain. So that the skills of both of them help us create the life that we want to be living. I often talk about that anxiety itself is just a feeling, just the felt sense of fear. And yes, it's unpleasant, then we create a lot of conditioned responses and experiences by which we never have to feel that.
[00:11:54] But what if we felt it? What if we allowed ourselves to feel it? And then through that willingness of being able to feel it, we take the brave action and then unwire that physiological experience. So it's dynamic, which is exciting, but also kind of difficult because it's not a hundred percent prescriptive.
[00:12:14] It's not a take this, do this, but if you listen to my podcast, you will hear me say certain things over and over again. And you just want to start where you are. You want to respect where we are, even if we are on the road to being someplace else. Because the wishing and desiring that we were someplace else has a felt sense in the body.
[00:12:36] So if we can create that love and curiosity and willingness to just be where we are in this moment, knowing that we are on the road to rewiring our brain and our embodied experience toward something that feels more welcome, towards something that feels more whole for all of us to show up in. More embodied, more empowered, and those things are possible. They are not possible through good vibes only. They are not possible without sitting with discomfort.
[00:13:08] That's my episode today. If you are curious about learning more about how to rewire your brain away from pain and towards, increased tolerance of sensory experiences, emotional and physical, please reach out to me.
[00:13:27] I am currently offering an eight week what I call pain recovery program, trained by Dr. Schubiner. and aligned with Alan Gordon's work from the pain psychology center, and also is trauma informed, health at every size, all bodies welcome space.
[00:13:47] I hope you're having a wonderful day. And thank you so much for listening to Move With Deb.