The Sacral, Again.
This title might even be better written as The Sacral, Forever, because that’s how it seems. The more I dig and look and embody, or try to embody, my emotional, sensual, sexual, connective self, the more there is to see.
Along with the Root-denied, right now, it seems to me that we are going through a collective struggle through the insanities of the Sacral-not-honoured. The Root is fundamental to our ability to be here on Earth with all of what we need to survive in a non harmful way. Our very survival here is visibly, palpably threatened, and we are dealing with this very, very badly.
It is hard to separate anything out as the core issue or the core cause, but it feels like every time I turn around, there is a something staring me in the face that has Sacral dysfunction at it’s core. I saw a parenting article this morning that I didn’t read whose title was something about helping kids “deal with emotion”. Seems innocent enough, right? And likely useful. Remember, I didn’t read the article, I just was smacked by the title.
But let’s wonder for a minute about what our world would be like if the title were not, “15 tips to help your child deal with emotion” (I just made that up), but rather, “15 ways for you to be with your child’s emotion as it is happening and not shut down either of you” (which is danged awkward as a title). I know there are articles like this out there with more elegant titles. I’ve read some of them. What I see lacking in our common discourse and “common sense” is the message that you, the adult, who have been denied the possibility of having supported emotions, also get to have your emotions honoured. By you, first. This message should be blazoned in neon on all street corners. You get to feel your feelings. It’s ok to have them. They’re yours. They’re what make you human.
Because here’s the thing: “dealing” with emotion makes it sound like it’s not at the centre of who we are as humans. It makes it sound like it’s something we could/should be able to brush aside and get on with more important stuff. And yet it is not so. Without our emotions, ALL OF THEM, we are nothing. We are hollow and aching and reaching out for anything to fill the void. We don’t know ourselves and we cannot stand emotion in others. We shut down and we shut others down.
So many of us are hurt in that place of emotion, deep in the belly. We were not met with open arms that accepted every single one of our emotions. No. Some were made wrong. Some were shamed. Some we were forced to cut off before we had a chance to fully know them. So we all have our particular ways of “dealing with” emotions, and many of these ways shut them down before we can fully know them. And then we, in turn, shut them down in our children and in others around us. “In order to be loved by me, you may not express…”
These holes where our feelings should be have us reaching for substitutes to fill the holes. But nothing, ever, can come close to filling them like that moment of sweetness where there is genuine connection with another human who has seen us in all of our messy emotion AND STILL LOVES US AND WE KNOW IT.
More people, including Dr. Gabor Mate, are pointing to childhood trauma as the root of addiction and are calling for compassionate treatment of the people who are suffering from an inability to cope with the trauma in their bodies. These people are self-medicating in the only ways that they can. I believe that underlying what we are calling “childhood trauma” here are the hundreds of diverse ways that we deny each other’s full emobodied humanity and spectrum of emotions.
Physical, verbal, emotional, sexual abuse; shame, belittling, shouting, name-calling; lack of physical and emotional presence; being unavailable because of substance abuse or mental illness; depending on a parent who is swinging wildly through relationships; poverty; systemic racism: all of these are ways of learning that we don’t matter, that we are not safe, that life depends on controlling and hiding certain emotions to avoid arousing someone else’s monster. A monster that likely arose through very similar circumstances to what we are experiencing now.
This is epidemic. The ones on the street with active addiction are only the most visible element of a system of denial of emotion that affects us all, to some degree or another.
I don’t really have a solution that I can offer – poof – just like that. But starting to make friends with your feelings is good. Wondering what it is that is holding you apart from your own feelings is good. Looking at your family’s rules around emotional expression is good. Listening to your belly is good.
Having these conversations that take us to useful, uncomfortable places… This is good too.