Monday, February 21, 2011

Living in the Danger Zone

My sister and I were in high school when the medical world coined the term "post traumatic stress disorder." I remember reading about it in one of those ladies magazines. The article published a list of symptoms associated with returning Vietnam veterans. My sister and I read the list and looked at each dumbfounded: We had almost all the symptoms on the list. It was hard to understand how a middle class white girl (age 14) could have the same symptoms as an experienced war veteran.

Since then, I have told myself quietly that I must have grown up in a danger zone. It helped form my body. The energy of this zone poured into my cells, my body organized around it. I was always on the ready, my fight or flight at my beck and call. I feel lucky that I never went into the freeze or immobile response as I think my siblings did. However, I suffered anxiety, panic and an amazingly sensitive startle reflex.

Now, as I sit in primary respiration, organized around my midline, deeply sensing into my body and the present moment, I can say that I understand what it is like to live in a war zone, to have fear for survival as a baseline. I can also say I am deprogrammed from that and have cultivated a wonderful observer who holds the container for my life experience. I like to sense into that big loving woman, that big-hearted woman that arises in my consciousness when I begin my work. Woman like a tree, woman like a plum, woman with a warm heart like hot chocolate.

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