5 Ways to Transform Through Trauma.
I wonder if in the great cosmos, before coming into human form, there’s some kind of warning that reads “The sheer truth about being in a human body is this: you will have two eyes, a nose, a bellybutton, and trauma.”
Trauma. It’s defined as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” Part of the nature of being human requires that we will experience trauma at some point in our lives. Loss, heartache, failure, death, powerlessness, grief…
Trauma has many shades, many intensities, many faces, and many impacts. However, aside from knowing all of us will experience it, there’s another universal fact about trauma: When you’ve been through trauma, you change on all levels.
Anything deemed traumatic to your system results in a marked change. Your physiology isn’t the same anymore, your worldview shifts, and your sense of safety feels compromised. Your subconscious is on the lookout for the next dangerous situation so it can protect you. You put up armors and masks, and operate from this new assumed identity.
On some level, depending on the impact, duration, occurrence, and interpretation of the trauma, your system is primed and in a state of perpetual fight-or-flight.
If left unchecked, this long-standing state of heightened awareness seriously compromises your physical, emotional, mental, and energetic health.
The story you tell yourself to maintain the habits, beliefs, and mindsets that weave the armor and mask you wear detracts from your quality of life and prevents you from seeing the truth. Your physical health is at a greater risk of declining because your nervous system is dealing with the chronic, low-grade stress, which makes you more susceptible to physical ailments.
Bypassing (either consciously or subconsciously) takes a tremendous amount of energy. This energy is meant to be used in our bodies and in our lives to support natural flow.
However, when this energy is diverted to support the numbing mechanisms we use, dysfunction and dis-ease set in, manifest in our bodies, and live as everything from settling for crappy jobs and relationships to not expressing ourselves fully, chronic fatigue, stubborn weight, constant achy shoulders, and even full-blown medical diagnoses (especially those impacting the endocrine system like thyroid and adrenal disorders).
Unprocessed emotions and the havoc they wreak on every level of our being is a very real thing and arguably the source of all dysfunction in our physical bodies and physical lives.
Many of us have been indoctrinated with the collective beliefs around fearing our emotional body. So much of our societal conditioning says that we must “maintain composure,” “keep it together,” and not commit the social faux pas of expressing grief, anger, sadness, or other strong emotions.
We’re uncomfortable with emotional displays, don’t know how to handle grief, and are taught to appear pretty good at putting on a poker face and carrying on with our lives after a blow. This is detrimental to our well-being on so many levels. It’s selfish, perpetuates a broken status quo, and continues a lineage of suppression and dis-ease.
These emotions are our waters. When our waters become dammed, dis-ease manifests. The water element connects us to our surrendered, graceful state. It is our emotional body intelligence. It is our comfort. It is our ease. It is our Divine Feminine flow.
So how can you re-pattern and soothe your system to own your stories and transmute them into healing gifts for yourself and others? Through a loving, dedicated process, we can allow our trauma to inform the destruction and subsequent revival of our lives.
Our trauma triggers deeply held shadows, repressed fears and beliefs, and old stories about the people we thought we were. Allowing this to work in our favor and inform our next steps naturally results in the authentic, full, and vibrant life we are meant to live.
An Ongoing Process to Work with Your Trauma
My lineage isn’t without its trauma, and one is in the minority if they didn’t have an alcohol problem. My early years came equipped with much dysfunction, and I continued the pattern into my very early 20s.
Alcohol, smoking, emotional over- and under-eating, over- and under-exercising (yes, I’ve been a bit of an either/or sort of woman), promiscuity, and the like were familiar and dear friends of mine. Underneath it all, however, was a lot of pain and disconnection from my Self. Perceived feelings of powerlessness, lack of safety, unprocessed emotions are the ultimate breeding ground for self-destruction.
In the early part of 2012, my entire world changed forever. In the aftermath of the most traumatic event I have ever and probably will ever experience, my old vices weren’t cutting it anymore. In my darkest and deepest despair, something awakened and began to shift and I remembered my power.
This was the natural progression of healing, and follows the process of Personal Alchemy I now employ continuously and also use with clients.
1. Get real and embodied through assessing your physical reality and identifying pain points.
Let’s be real. We know when we’re in pain, and we are also very good at ignoring it. For so long, I felt so blinded and was completely ignorant of my power at any given moment. The armors I wore and the coping mechanisms I had developed never actually felt good, they felt necessary. Life was something to get through, not enjoy.
Joy and pleasure were frivolous, and for those select few happy people without the traumatic cross to bear.
And yet, there comes a time when we know we’ve had enough. This step requires radical honesty, self-responsibility, and vulnerability. It requires that we release stubbornly held views, release our inability to admit we have weaknesses or have been wrong. Nothing can change if we continue to operate with our heads up our asses.
So, what hurts? What are the pain points? What is the grief about? Don’t compare belly aches, don’t justify anything away. Get real. Whether you find it petty or real and deep, give this trauma a name and a voice. Then, converse with it. Get deeper, get curious. There’s so much to unravel, and it’s an ongoing process.
2. Get clear on what you want, what’s working, and why you desire a different way.
My early life was full of chaos, uncertainty, lack of safety, anxiety, and a feeling of being ungrounded. As a result, I vowed to armor up, and proudly took on the role of the warrioress.
Deep down and from a very early age, I was keenly aware of my heightened sensitivity and my true essence as an intuitive, gentle, and wise soul, and since my surroundings weren’t supportive of nurturing this type of child, I went in the way opposite direction as a means of protecting myself.
This completely unsustainable and false, skewed embodiment of the warrioress could be seen in the way I treated myself and the lack of nourishment I felt in my life on all levels.
I was perpetually (albeit unconsciously) mind-fucking myself and working from a place of running from the past, self-punishment, resisting, pushing, forcing, numbing, competition, revenge, and resentment all under the guise of seeking safety, love, ground, rest, and ease. I wanted something different, something authentic and aligned with my true essence.
What do you envision for yourself? Who are you without this old story and old identity? Why do you desire a new way of being?
3. Give yourself permission to heal and release this false identity you’ve adopted through creating and destroying simultaneously.
Giving ourselves permission is so often overlooked. Your allegiance to the current status quo, despite its dysfunction, is strong. This is what you know, it’s safe and familiar. Give yourself permission to destroy and create anew, and then do it again and again. Give yourself the permission to receive the vision for yourself, and then give yourself the permission to create it.
Once I became aware of my ultimate creative power as human being, something seriously shifted once and for all. I allowed my wounded ego self and my higher self to make ecstatic love and birth a third energy. I used the things I was running from as tools, and through confronting and transmuting them, I re-membered and claimed my ultimate gifts.
Where are you imprisoning yourself with false beliefs? What would it look like to choose freedom? What would it take to grant yourself the permission to transmute your suffering?
4. Love on your nervous system to reassure feelings of stability, safety, sovereignty, and confidence.
Years of living in the protective armored cocoon can totally wreak havoc on all levels of our being — physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The root of all physical dis-ease is stress and a taxed nervous system. Let this be your first and top priority indefinitely. Focus on quality and regular sleep, nourishing meals, laughter, nature, self-massage, etc.
Put yourself in a state of receptivity. Get still. Open to receive insight from your higher self. You are a channel, you are energy, you are spirit in human form. Receive the beauty and insight, the direction and guidance. Trust it and move forward with it to create this third energy — this third thing, this result, this new entity.
My physical body has some lingering manifestations of the inward turmoil I experienced. The hormonal dysfunction I experience results in irregular cycles, unsightly chin whiskers, and occasional chin blemishes. In the past, there were digestive disturbances, at times crippling anxiety attacks, and aches and pain throughout my body.
I know this vessel is a mirror for inner work and a barometer for how loving, present, and devoted I am being in my life. Everything is connected.
As time passes and we deepen our relationship, and as I step into greater depths of radical love, it shows. Amazingly life-changing tools for this are breath, nourishing movement, all the plant allies in their various forms (herbs, oils, plant spirits, and flower essences), and anything that makes you feel joyful and safe.
5. Repeat: Live an awakened, conscious life rooted in deep self-love and radical self-responsibility.
Was/is it always so ecstatic and beautiful? No. However, there’s something insanely ecstatic about pain. To know deep pain is to know deep ecstasy — the two cannot exist without each other, and they need each other. On the other side of what you’re resisting because it’s too scary or too painful is indescribable joy, healing, bliss, and freedom.
I found my real, authentic warrioress through dropping the mask, removing the armor, and becoming radically expressed, raw, and vulnerable. I know when and how to hold firm sacred space for my softer inner essence to flow, flourish, thrive, and nourish me. I know how to source all I need from within this sacred, wise, infinite self and body temple.
This is sustainable. This is in support of my highest good.
Devon Battaglia, MS, NC, RYT is a Holistic Life, Relationship & Wellness Mentor, Earth Medicine Intuitive, Alchemist, and owner of InnerSpark. Her unique blend of science, intuition, spirituality, Nature-based healing, energy work, Personal Alchemy, and more, empowers others to find the deeper cause of their 3D surface challenges through integrating and healing their emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies. You could follow her on Instagram, receive her guide to Personal Alchemy and chakra healing, and join her online family.