There’s a particular kind of trauma that lodges in us… that finds its way into the tender parts.
What does our body do with such trauma?
It protects itself.
Unable to expel (heal) certain traumas, our body needs to protect itself from what feels like a constant threat.
One choice it makes is to start layering.
Like the oyster.
Our body can start add a layer of fat, for example. Fat is an insulator. It helps insulate us from the irritant of the un-released trauma.
A personality change can insulate. The person withdraws… or becomes boisterous in ways they were not previously. Arrogance can kick in. A tendency towards “me me me” can be amplified so that no one and nothing else matters. Joy in work can become workaholism. Pleasures can become compulsions… or repulsions… or addictions. Pleasing people can devolve into chronic self-sacrifice.
Humans are not oysters. Our coping takes a myriad of forms.
Layer. After layer. After layer.
Layers of Coping
To the oyster, every layer added both protects and compounds the initial trauma. And while cultured pearls start with a human-inserted bit of mother of pearl, most naturally-occuring pearls are formed around a parasite… some sort of sea-worm or bug that invades the oyster and grabs on and can’t be expelled. (How’s that for a trauma metaphor!)
The oyster’s layering is a coping mechanism. In its simple intelligence it knows that if it encapsulates the traumatizing invader, it can survive. Not ideal, but better than the alternative.
Do you know anyone who has layers of coping?
I remember looking at myself in the mirror and seeing the effects of my layers of coping. It wasn’t pretty. So much of my life force was going into coping, there wasn’t much left for thriving… or even repair of my essential organs!
In my case the parasitic trauma was a secret… sexual trauma I’d experienced over three years as a teenage boy.
Isn’t it interesting that the oyster secretes layers to cover a trauma, and secrets play a core part in human layering…
Trauma Release often needs a helping hand
Reading up on oysters, it was a surprise for me to learn that in oyster farming, the oyster is not killed to harvest the pearl. Indeed, older oysters can produce even finer pearls!
Also interesting to me, from the vantage point of trauma healing, that a pearl doesn’t tend to form in polluted waters. Hmmmm…
My own healing from trauma… the taking out the “pearls inside” to a place I could see them (and even learn to treasure them)… took some skilled support and waters that felt safe and unpolluted by judgment. Thank you to the circle of beings who made that possible. Bless you always and all ways.
Pearls of Wisdom
It’s true that not all trauma is transformed into wisdom. Sometimes trauma crushes a person.
Yet, in my work as an Emotional Freedom Coach, I’ve been so blessed to witness so many beings identify secret shames and unhealde traumas and bring them “out” where they can, indeed, find a place to be held with respect… even awe.
How is this possible?
Because we humans can also create things of beauty from that which invaded us and sought to take from us against our consent.
Our desire to protect can even extend to others! Our clarity about what feels right inside us… and what does not… can lead to a devotion to mutual consent and commitment to profound safety for ourselves AND for others.
Trauma when it is stuck inside us, demanding that we cope and layer up… depletes us.
The pearls of wisdom that we can gather up (especially with the support of a circle) can inspire us, and remind us about what truly matters.
This community center here is several such pearls for me. Rising from the loss of dance community during the COVID 2020 period, the disconnect from deep conversations in person with loved ones outside my home… especially during the pregnancy with Adira… and honestly the sense that Facebook was more a parasite than safe space…
Well, I felt inspired to take action in a way that we could share connection and cultivate something (and someones) beautiful and even awe-inspiring over time.
Here we are… Here… Each of us with our Pearls.
And if you feel drawn to share, now or anytime, please know that your wisdom is welcome. We see you. We know what it’s like to have to cope. We love you for your Presence and Resilience. Thank you