Main avenue, 2 AM. We walked fast, with the step of someone who wants to get home and relax. We heard footsteps behind us. I turned around and saw a man walking behind. We were alert, but pretended like nothing was wrong. We didn't want to think he had bad intentions. His footsteps came closer. Everything will be okay...right? In the next second, he grabbed me from behind and started touching my body as he pressed me against his. My friend didn't know how to react. Then he threw me into some bushes and ran. We did not know what to do. I was shivering and trying to understand what had just happened.
"Are you okay?"asked my friend.
"All good, I'm fine, nothing happened"I said, wanting to be strong.
She took my hand and said, “Look at your hand. You are trembling.”

It is interesting to know that animals have the ability to go through a traumatic experience and immediately shake off stress and tension. They reconnect with their body.
We, as animals, have forgotten this instinctive wisdom. Instead, we go inward denying that sometimes we are afraid, stressed or shocked.

Once at home, I put aside all my attempts to "escape" from my emotional catharsis and allowed myself to be accompanied. Soft words and tea.They lovingly allowed me to be in my fear until my breathing calmed. They allowed me to cry, to express my helplessness. They gave me their time so that I could feel that everything was fine. "You are safe now"
But, I never forgot that my first reaction was to hide and minimize that I was scared and frustrated by what had happened.

It is very subjective what IS traumatic for some and for others it is not.
What defines a trauma is the experience of those who live it from within.
If that person goes into a state of shock, freezing or confusion, they cannot get out of there even if they want to and although under normal conditions and full mental clarity they could.

The most beautiful and accurate definition that I have found is from Karla McKlaren in her book, The Language of Emotions. She speaks about trauma saying:

"Going through a moment of stress and dissociation, a rupture between the body and the spirit, and not knowing how to return"

Have you heard such a poetic way of describing it?
She explains it in a very metaphorical way, viewing trauma as being a “tribal initiation”. An initiation that is obviously not wanted or desired, but moves us through a strong, dangerous or stressful experience, even near death. A spiritual, emotional or mental death, but a symbolic death.
In order to close the healing cycle and to be able to "return" to your body,  it is necessary to be received back by your tribe.
And this welcome and acceptance back by your people is what helps the spirit to inhabit the body in a healing way.

When this does not happen, all the repressed emotions and ignored pain will return to us until we hear the message they bring us.
Panic, anxiety, stress, emotional disorder.
When we DON'T dare to face these emotions and find ways to avoid pain, we engage in distracting, avoidant, or addictive behaviors.

Healing occurs when, feeling safe, we make the conscious decision to be present in our body when that traumatic memory is awakened. Although we do not like what we are feeling.

And it is important to understand emotions as messengers, not unwanted visitors. They have a message and when we open ourselves to receive it, then they go on their way. They do not accumulate.
And this is the path of trauma healing.
It is NOT to evade or hide or bury the experience. Is NOT to express it against others.
But consciously enter that space.

And stop seeing trauma as something out of the ordinary, because really,

Feña Pinochet Reymond

Artwork: Kallen Mikel Art


June 08, 2021 — A J