The teacher shaming you in front of the class. Being told you can’t eat breakfast in the morning if you don’t eat your dinner tonight. Your best friends laughing at you – not with you.
These are all example of little ‘t’ traumas. We know that big ‘T’ traumas like car accidents, abuse, and surgery have a huge impact on our well-being. But what about all of those little moments of shame, guilt, fear, anger, and sadness?
I often tell the story of the deer who gets caught in the headlights – once the deer is unfrozen it runs into the woods where it literally shakes off the fear.
Unfortunately, we humans, rarely have the opportunity to shake it off, and instead we hold the shame, guilt and fear deep inside of our bodies until we forget that it’s still there.
But do our bodies ever really forget?
I see people every day with body pain – they’ve tried everything from chiropractors and massages to drugs and surgeries with no relief. How do we relieve the pain?
We climb into the cave. Joseph Campbell says, “The cave you fear to enter hold the treasure that you seek”. The cave may be dark and scary in the cave, but as we explore the pain, its color, its texture, even its sound, we begin to shed light on the true nature of the pain. We may find that our pain originated out of a small ‘t’ trauma. Holding onto the emotional pain for so long, it became lodged in our body as physical pain.
In Sanskrit, we call this, samskara, or an emotional scar held in the body.
Through the practice of yoga, we can begin to discover areas of tension and gripping in our bodies, and unlearn and unlock our emotional holding patterns, samskara, by working through and letting go.
So how does this all relate to food and balanced eating? Negative Samskara held in the body brings about pain – emotional and physical. Often, it’s this pain that either keeps us eating past the point of fullness to numb our emotions, or prevents us from eating enough to try to control our emotions.
If we solely focus on controlling our food, we miss a major piece of the puzzle. If we put all of our efforts into dieting, counting calories and points, and obsessively exercising, we will never find wholeness. Rather, we will continue to try to change our bodies time and time again.
What you must do is climb into the cave for the true solution. Once you learn to listen, trust, and Accept Your Body’s Wisdom, only then does healing and lasting change occur.
‘The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rodgers