Day 15

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    Leanne Matton

    Where does it live?

    ‘The cure for the pain is the pain.’

    We often mistake the discharge of a feeling for the feeling itself. When we express a feeling such as anger or sadness, we can be accused of getting stuck in the feeling and dwelling on it, when we are in fact in the very process of letting it go.

    When strong feelings are not allowed to be discharged, we bottle them up and carry them around inside us. This not only leads to physical illness but it also means we’re likely to be triggered more and more often as our blocked emotion looks for another way out.

    ‘The way out is in.’
    Thich Nhat Hanh

    Grief lives in the body. You cannot think it away. It must be felt and expressed – the ache in your bones, the longing in your heart, the rage in your fists, the frustration in your grinding teeth, the catch in your breath, the tension in your shoulders, We try to escape by numbing, distracting, dissociating, even leaving our bodies for a while.

    The pain feels too great, the sensations too overwhelming. But if you were to listen a little, the antidote might be found inside the sensations bottled up inside you. If you were to look inside these sensations for a moment, grief might have a message for you.

    Today, think about where grief lives in your body. How do you know? And if you were to listen for a moment, what would it say?


    I always wanted to be invisible, not in my body, just a mind, because my body brought me pain, and I couldn’t protect it. I wasn’t allowed to say no.

    Imagine being in a room but not being seen by intruders because you had no body. You could protect yourself.

    I became afraid of my body. It wanted to do things and I didn’t want it to because there might be pain, especially if other people were present.

    Vulnerability, shame and grief live in my pelvis, like a piece of meat with no skin across it. I visualise drawing the skin of a bass drum across it, taut and strong and resistant. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out. Isolated and starved for touch, no voice, no love, no children, because touch equals pain and being in a body means fear.

    I grieve being invisible almost as much as I grieve being seen. When I listen to this part, it tells me it longs to be seen, but only by those who can truly see.

    I have not been discerning. I have alternated between walls and being fully open and unprotected. A healthy nervous system has boundaries, moderation rather than extremes.

    My pelvis tells me I need slow and gentle, I need hearing and seeing, I need to honour this instead of twisting myself into odd shapes for others who were not slow and gentle, who did not hear and see.

    Grief lives in my pelvis, and it has much to tell me if I can be slow and gentle with it, if I can hear and see it.

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