An Example of how healing trauma can impact perception of the world: Case Study
Though subjectivity is difficult to gauge, and colors impossible to define outside of an individual experience, it's easy to see how traumas and unresolved past events may dim our experience of the world, metaphorically and literally.
Recently, I was working with a client, freeing up her hips by rotating her legs in their sockets as she breathed and practiced letting go. During this seemingly simple rotation, she had a breakthrough about her childhood. She’d lived an intense life, and was always disinclined to 'go back there', for healing or for any reason.
I reminded her that we were going in for the healing, and we wouldn't be doing it, if her life wasn't about to improve dramatically. In working with clients I’ve experienced, countless times, that if there is a visceral response that accompanies a memory, then the memory is in some ways incomplete. When the memory is incomplete, delving back into it, in productive ways, can not only be beneficial… it can be life altering. Whether you frame it as the shamans did; as visioning, or as hypnotherapists and psychologists have; as life regressions, makes no difference. The practice is essentially the same. I find it most powerful when the body is incorporated as much as possible.
After I witnessed her whole body clench and vibrate (the signs of trauma releasing from the tissues), her face went through every season. It darkened, it clenched, it lightened, there were tears, gasps, a smirk. In the aftermath, the familiar peace descended. The loop had been resolved.
As she opened her eyes, they were shades lighter. She was gazing out into the backyard, blinking and rubbing her eyes.
What is it, I asked? What do you notice?
The leaves on that maple are extraordinarily red, she whispered. I thought I was hallucinating. They almost seem too red. I think I just wasn’t seeing them before.
That’s interesting, I said, because the area we were working on just then, the ‘root’, is associated with red in ancient Indian systems. Maybe you're just seeing the world without that layer of trauma dimming the view.
As we drop the anchors to the past, veils between ourselves and the world are then free to drop. This is usually accompanied by seeing colors as more vibrant, the radiance in people and things, sometimes unseen energetics around objects, or peoples’ underlying needs.
My Eyes Open to Yellow
I recall that once, during my training, I received an intensive somatic session to work on my liver and solar plexus. When I walked out into the streets of San Francisco, it was like I saw yellow for the first time. Flowers were springing out of the sidewalk, and dangling from vines, and blooming in trees. There was yellow fringing the moss. Yellow butterflies floated across the clear blue skies.
Yellow is traditionally associated with that solar plexus, which first set me on that line of wondering. It was like a layer had dropped away, and allowed the yellow to come through. Or was it, because, as I worked to resolve third chakra issues around ‘personal power’, yellow was now showing up, like a totem to guide me? There was just so much yellow in the world, suddenly, that it was almost unbelievable.
Look around at the world around; at the flowers. Which ones seem distant and dim? Do you remember how you danced with flowers as a child? How luminous were they then?
I'm remembering a scene from St. Francis of Assisi, where one of his monks is about to uproot the flowers to make more room in the garden for vegetables. St. Francis stops him, and says that while the vegetables feed the body, the flowers feed the soul.
How alive can we be if our soul food is dimmed?