V. On digestion and being too full.


Many people are choosing to eat gluten free or entirely grain-free. That’s the current “magic bullet”. “My guts hurt. It must be the food that I am eating.” And it may genuinely be true, at least in part, but I also think we get stuffed full of the life experiences that we haven’t had a chance to slow down and digest. We get too full. Nothing more can come in. So we begin to have this drive to release: less clutter, different food, not this partner… Some of these are useful in that they do indeed create space: if you get rid of a ton of stuff from your home, you will experience relief. If you ditch your partner? Well, maybe not, because chances are you’ll find someone new who takes you straight into those same patterns that you were struggling against. Best to do some deep inquiry after you ditch that partner if that’s what you choose to do…

People stop breathing deeply when they get too full. No more room for life equals no more room for air because no more life can come in. So breathing becomes the bare minimum necessary for life. If some of the undigested feelings are grief, then the lungs become implicated - asthma, recurrent bronchitis - not just the diaphragm…

Yes, it is true that we can move on from trauma. But I really do not believe that we can just blithely walk away from some experiences and not have them affect us. This is the healing that I point to: doing the work of digesting that experience as much as we are able in that moment and then coming back around to it again and again to digest the subtler parts of its effect on us.

I see the healing process as a spiral. It can seem like we are back here again, digesting this same piece, but really it’s not just the same piece. We are different now because of how much we have healed already, and this next piece of digesting the trauma or the complicated beliefs that we made up about ourselves because of it is subtler and finer. It’s not the same trauma, exactly, as it was before. It might be just as hard to do this piece of healing as the first round was, but it is not the same piece. If we imagine it as a pile of rocks in front of us, and we have to sort them, the first time around we have managed only to pull out the largest rocks. This time, we can use a sieve to catch and pull out smaller rocks. And then a finer mesh sieve the next time around for the pebbles…

Let’s consider healing work, body-centric counselling, self-inquiry, and our physical practice to be the digestive aids that we use as needed.


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