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Witnessing Her Own Painful Memories with Detachment

21 Dec

I am 59. I have had a migraine since I was in my mid-twenties (poetic license!). Seventeen years ago I was diagnosed with the prelude to what has now evolved into Lupus. I have had this condition for 5 years - suffering stuff that I wrongly attributed to God knows what - until a major flare-up this year resulted in the diagnosis.
This year I have had one flare-up after another. I control one with steroids - get over it - another comes. I have been working with all kinds of techniques/therapies on my own (have a background in psychology) and then I hit the jackpot:  relaxation, emotional protection, visualization.

I have moved 2000 k/metres from everyone I know…. have walked away from the environment in which I spent the whole of my damaged life as an abused child-person and the dreadful vortex of endless traps - psychological, spiritual and worst of all, that ever-vigilant physiological state…. Yep, a life on alert.

Over recent weeks I have started to feel that cellular activity starting, as Christmas came at me. For many months I seem to have been helpless against the flooding of memories that whirl through my mind and dreams like a movie theatre that never closes…. memories so long forgotten, of incidents that kept me in that constant state of alert without let-up, for all these years.

I started practising being very still and quiet, anywhere and everywhere. I started to be an observer of these memories without emotional attachment.  I invented a visualization: I sit on a railway station platform and quietly watch a train go by. It is filled, carriage by carriage, with whoever and whatever from my life.  I simply watch.

The story is long so I'll bring it to a close. As a result - for the first time in my life, I am, bit by bit, shedding the hooks that I have carried in me, joined to all these others by their chain or rope or line.  For the first time in my life I have taken action to protect myself from the stimulus that will get that anxiety stirring deep inside.  For the first Christmas that I can remember, i have felt something I think is moving toward peace and contentment.

I would like to work more on getting to the very cells of my body and soothing them - assuring them that there is nothing more to fight - I wonder whether this is possible?

[Ed. Note:  Yes, it is.]

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award