More Working with Forgetfulness …

When Did I Become an Artist? 

You have insisted that I paint with you and tell me that my scribbles are … What’s the word?

Beautiful you said, yet …

My body, my life, my history, is lost to me.

When I remember that you are next to me and that I don’t know you, you invite me into a yoga class.  Yoga?  I have not answered and you take my hand and lead me to a new chair.

A new view.  A new voice.  A new neighbor.

My identity is slippery and then you come again and appear before my seat and you tell me that it’s time for lunch.

I am so tired.  I am painting.  I am throwing paint onto the table and I tasted the blue.  Now you are flustered and I am admiring my colors.

I am exploring performance and get such little recognition for my larger works.

Sometimes I think of quitting.

 

Working with forgetfulness.

As a Night Falls

I can only imagine what it’s like

when the darkness descends

on my favorite pieces of what I know,

to be this world.  My world.

 

As I become aware that I know her

but not her name and

she is dear to me.

 

As I come into a consciousness

of bright light and someone

is bathing me,

I hear a familiar voice.

 

He is talking about me

and he is wrong

and I cannot respond.

 

It is a kindness to myself

to take a deep breath

and let the envelope that looks like unconsciousness,

wrap its warm arms around me,

and hold me in balance

until the time arrives

for my bus to come

and for me

to go home.

 

Trauma Sensitive Yoga as an Adjunct Healing Practice!

“Breath is a reminder of trauma.  Sensory messages from muscle and connective tissue that remember a specific position, action, or intention can be sources of triggers.  Accelerated heart rate and increased respiration can be implicit reminders of that same reaction that accompanied the trauma.”  Babette Rothschild, Somatic Trauma Therapist.

Trauma survivors and people with PTSD report symptoms such as feeling “disconnected” from their bodies (dissociation), increased heart rates, shallow breathing, and an inability to reappraise a trigger from a traumatic event.  There are numerous studies in the works and recently published regarding the efficacy of yoga as a prescription for preventative healthcare, depression, anxiety, lymphedema, PTSD, ADD, insomnia, pain relief, and stress.   The Trauma Center in Boston, headed by Bessel van der Kolk, has begun to empirically establish that yoga is helpful for people with PTSD.

Recognizing the intelligence of the body and stored implicit memory Trauma Sensitive Yoga endeavors to help create a situation in which a Trauma Survivor can reconnect with the body as a resource for self-regulation and tolerance for normal sensations.  This is done primarily by using Yogic practice to notice the body, befriend the body with curiosity, and finally to resource the body.

Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes recognize that instructions to relax or breath, the physical sensation postures, or an instructor moving around a room can all be triggers for a Trauma Survivor.  Best held in 10 – 12 week sessions the classes provide community, and a re-introduction to locating oneself in time and space.  This is accomplished without touch, gentle and invitatory language and a consistency of practice.    As the certification training at The Trauma Center suggests, people who wish to participate in a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Class must:

1. Be working with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health         professional.

2.  Continue with any prescribed medication through the duration of the class.

3. Not have been hospitalized for psychological issues within the last 6 months.

4. Not have any active psychosis.