The Consent Collective is a unique organisation blending a wealth of expertise with activism and creative talent to help communities talk about sexual harassment, sexual violence and domestic abuse. Since this year has been incredibly difficult for so many, they have put together a series of tips on learning to heal from past traumas. While this isn't all you need to help effectively heal, it's a good place to start working on yourself from the inside out.
1. Leave a message.
Healing isn't about being fixed or never having problems. It's about building our wisdom about what we need in our moments of struggle and creating resources to help in those moments.
Notice your patterns. What are your struggles? What do you need in those moments? What loving words of encouragement or kindness might make a difference?
Write or record something for you to turn in those moments. Ask the people in your life to record something too if you think that would help.
When we struggle we feel alone and overwhelmed.
Leave a message that tells you you're not alone... and we've got this.
2. Stand in the middle.
Healing is embracing the wisdom that everything passes.
Life can feel full of joy... and that moment passes
Life can feel full of challenge... and that moment passes
We need to stand in the middle. Feel everything.
Know that what you're feeling is true.
Know that what you're feeling will pass.
Know that the only constant in life is change.
When we try to turn off painful feelings we turn off our ability to feel joy. When we try to stop things from changing we place ourselves against energy instead of going with it.
In hard moments we need to stand in the middle. Pema Chodron would say 'Let go of the edges and let the river take you'.
And when we do that we can open our attention to what else is also true in that moment and who is by our side standing with us.
3. Make a playlist.
Lots of us probably need this right now.
When we’re feeling low, flat, emotionally drained and withdrawn our nervous system needs to be elevated. We need to mobilise ourselves. Music is a gift at this moment. Create your playlist.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cheesy. It doesn’t matter if no one else likes jumping around to the same music as you. If it gets you dancing then it’s exactly what you need to listen to.
What would be on your playlist?
4. Wash it off.
This practice acts like a bit of a magic trick in those moments when your energy is truly stuck.
Try it when the news is too much
Try it when you know you’re not going to sleep well unless you shift your energy
Try it when you don’t want to lean on old patterns of reacting to things.
5. Be silly
Adding humour into our days can be quite magical sometimes. Learn to juggle, watch some good comedy, seek the humour out this weekend and see what you find. Humour is human and it’s there to help us be open and not take ourselves too seriously.
6. Shake it off
Just like our four-legged friends we have a natural ability to shake off the tension that our body is holding. We just need to learn how.
Using 'Trauma Releasing Exercises' (sometimes called tension releasing exercises) is a practice you can utilise if you’ve done something that has put a bit of extra emotional stress on your body. It's also nice as part of a regular practice because we're not always aware of the tension our bodies are holding.
If you have experienced sexual harm you may find it difficult to get into TRE. It can feel like your body is out of control, which may bring up too much for you, so go very slowly. Work with someone who knows what they are doing. I'm sure it might be useful somewhere on your path but this is a practice that needs to be used at the right time and in the right way.
7. Love Your body
Healing is about befriending our bodies and learning to listen to what they have to say. You can give energy to this process by simply focusing on one part of your body and sending messages of gratitude (or simply just give it your attention).
If you don't know where to start, start with one of your hands.
If you don't know when to start, why not right now?
If you don't know what to say, say nothing, just notice.
With time you may find that you and your body have plenty to talk about.