It’s March 13th, a spring-like New Moon morning. I’m enjoying the sunshine and the loveliness of the space I live in: the colors, familiar pictures on my walls that bring me joy, my plants and rocks, and the smell and sound of percolating coffee. And then, my attention is drawn into some familiar heaviness, with uncomfortable thoughts and images. An annoying pattern!

I understand why they surface, and yet, in this moment I know that returning to those memories is just a mental habit of sorts. So, I consciously invite other memories to overlay these ones. I think of my sisters. Both celebrate birthdays this week. One yesterday, one tomorrow!

I close my eyes, my awareness goes to my body as I remember. I remember the sensations, the emotions, the mood in my body: settled, light, little smile on face, safe, a chuckle, a spaciousness in my chest. I didn’t always feel that way with the rest of the world. So I notice that with them I felt an absence of the feelings of tension, worry, and self-consciousness.

No matter what period of my childhood I wander down, I see myself flanked on either side by my sisters, both older than me, each offering me their unique presence and sense of love. I feel that sense of safety in my body, even today, as I look through photo albums, and remember sitting at the dining table, taking the school bus, posing for photos, sleeping in our king-sized bed: me always in the middle, perhaps keeping them from killing each other! I was cared for, bullied, and advocated for by them. My body holds that sense of security. Through traumas each of us went through in early childhood, we had each other. I breathe that sense of feeling secure into every cell of my being. I need to rest in those memories today.

Who or what brought you a sense of safety or love or joy? What memories can you invite to override the unpleasant ones that intrude, especially if you’re not just avoiding tending to some painful spots inside?

Are they of people, of special trees or creeks? Are they inner worlds that you escaped into that saved you?

However simple, ordinary or brief, bring them on stage. Honor them! Thank them!

Can you choose to practice remembering them?

Let this be a whole-body practice. Feel the pleasant experience in your body, notice the sensations, the tiny inner movements, the mood state, perhaps images and sound memories. 

Share your experiences with family and friends. Get to know your people, the stories that have made them who they are today. You can remind each other of these stories, when you need to remember them the most. 

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I have Masters degrees in Social Psychology and Counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Michigan and a Certified Focusing Professional with The Focusing Institute. I've trained in the first level of both Sensorimotor Processing for trauma and Couple Therapy with Drs. John and Julie Gottman,. I am also trained in Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy for Complex Trauma with Shirley Turcotte and her team.

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