Oct 15, 2021
My website is www.debmalkin.com
[00:00:00] Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb your friendly
neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the
relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every
size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new
internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and
simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of
pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life
that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for
[00:00:50] This is episode 34 of the Move With Deb
podcast. I am going to share with you some of my thoughts about
some of the language that is used around trauma and somatics. I
hope you enjoy today's podcast. Thank you.
[00:01:07] I never want anybody to feel afraid by language
that people use about trauma. About the body. About the nervous
system. I find some educators who are very talented. Who are
creating great service to people about popularizing, mental health
and mind body concepts for the general public in very powerful
ways. And also I find that colloquially, the language can create
[00:01:47] As a bodyworker I have often had conversations
with my clients about trauma being stored in their body. And I do
not like this word stored because it one reinforces this idea that
there's like something stuck, that's like in your cells. That's in
your body. That's that's stuck in there and then you have to like,
get it out, remove it, change it.
[00:02:14] There is no memory storage mechanism in the
tissue. You experience it in the body, but it is created in the
brain. And what we understand about the brain and neuroplasticity
is that something is wired, you can unwire it and you can wire to
something else. And that concept gives me incredible hope because
just as quickly as people turning their pain off in an instant, in
an overnight, like I had around my knee pain.
[00:02:42] I did not have to go through the trauma of
being a people pleaser, of being a fat kid who was told that every
failure in their life is based on their body. That my pain is based
on my degenerative osteoarthritis and that, I'm aging and I'm fat.
And I, this is just going to be this downward slope that I'll never
recover from until I get a joint replacement. And then there's that
whole process of healing. Lots and lots and lots of meaning, lots
and lots of thoughts. Lots of fear. And what I want to say is I
didn't have to resolve any of that. I didn't have to resolve all of
the unpleasant negative experiences of having grown up as a person
being told that their body is wrong.
[00:03:30] I don't believe that anymore. But I was still
experiencing knee pain, until I understood that this pain was
related to my perfectionism. This pain was related to this sense of
danger inside my knee, in my body, because I was observing these
sensations with alarm.
[00:03:51] And because I was studying this biomechanics
work, this is no criticism to that work, but the way that I was
viewing it was very high stakes, was very all or nothing. I needed
to master this experience and this information. Then I would have
the transformation in my body, but not even just for me. It was
about my being able to share this information, this skill of
alignment, posture, body mechanics, with my clients, with other
people in pain. And that intensity of that strong need and desire
to excel, be perfect at something before I could teach it and share
it created an incredible lack of safety in my own bodymind.
[00:04:43] Anytime I felt a sensation that was unpleasant
in my knee that just sent me on a mental and emotional cascade of
imposter syndrome. And there were other things going on in my
personal life that reinforced this idea that like, oh, I can't help
people that I care about.
[00:05:02] So you wouldn't think that pain is complicated
like that, right? It is an easier story if you're like, it's your
joint. Okay, go fix the joint. That's why you have pain. But once I
got this knowledge, I got it from Curable. Got it from Dr. Sarno's
Mindbody Prescription. Once I applied that knowledge and took my
safety walk throughout that day and the next day, overnight, my
knee pain decreased and essentially went away. I don't have knee
pain in that knee anymore. I will have occasional human pain that
comes and goes, but now what I don't have is fear. So none of that
had anything to do with applying any kind of remedy to the joint,
but it had a lot to do with, applying a remedy to all of my
thoughts about what I'm making this pain mean, who I am as a
person, as a teacher, as a healer.
[00:06:00] The sense of force that I create within myself
to not make mistakes, to be perfect, have other people see me as
helpful. So it's a little more complex, certainly, but it is also
amazingly freeing, because as you begin the work of creating this
kind of curious friendship and awareness with all of these
subconscious processes, all of these survival mechanisms. Like how
I am seen by other people, that's part of our surviving mechanisms.
That's part of our evolutionary biology. But I can apply new
thoughts, a willingness to feel, a willingness to be friends with
myself and create self-compassion. And I can do things like lean
into these somatic tools like somatic tracking and somatic
[00:07:00] And pretty much you could just use the word
somatic for the body. I encourage you to just make up your own
somatics. So to go way back to my original point, we want to just
check in that we're not believing things about this process that
create fear, but that we're looking into ways of creating meaning
and exploration of these concepts that relieve fear.
[00:07:25] So the idea and the belief that trauma is
stored in the body may not be helpful to you. It may be helpful to
you. And if it is helpful to you, that is amazing. If the idea of
something being stored in your body is not helpful to you, try the
idea that it is felt in your body, trauma is felt in your
[00:07:46] We're always talking about dopamine hits and
dopamine hits, and you know, it it's accurate, but not accurate. I
think as language gets popularized, it also takes on its own
meaning. And then we start using it as if it makes sense, but it
makes sense. Right?
[00:08:07] Meaning is highly important. It's important in
the experience of pain. Whether or not the brain decides that is
sensation or a nociception, like a change in temperature, pressure
or chemical is dangerous or not dangerous is based on meaning. And
meaning is it's like our brains experienced throughout our lived
experience can also be, if you look at epigenetics could be through
our lived experience as also related by our ancestors. But meaning
is also variable and can be changed in a moment.
[00:08:44] As I like to repeat pretty often, I think on
here, I talk about people's experience of their pain, changing by
learning this pain science education information. That when you
embody some new information about what you're feeling, then what
you're feeling changes. And that is absolutely a hundred percent
true. And so we can begin the process of creating curiosity,
creating a willingness to investigate, what these sensations mean,
why they're happening, right. It's not about having to like, get
something out of you, but maybe a willingness to meet that with
love. Meet that with curiosity, meet that with, oh, Hey, I see that
I am having a huge reaction. Can I be a witness to myself having a
huge reaction? And also there are other people out in the world who
can help you. So you're not alone in this process, but I just want
to encourage you to pay attention to how you apply and understand
[00:09:56] So I'd say the same thing happens for me when I
hear people talking about polyvagal theory. I know that they place
it on a hierarchy. I do not find that framework to be really useful
for me. I like to think of our polyvagal states as natural states
that we move in and out. And that it's very beneficial to increase
our ability to get to ventral vagal.
[00:10:20] But when we're in sympathetic or dorsal, like
let's just notice where we are. Let's just see how did we travel
here? And then we went to build and increase that beautiful window
of tolerance that helps tell our nervous system that we are okay.
That we are not in danger. How do we do that?
[00:10:38] There's a sensing part of that. There's also
the cognitive part of that, right? Sometimes they're in conflict.
There could be, we feel danger, like anxiety, but then when we look
around the room, we're sitting at a desk looking at our email.
Well, then the cognitive part of our brain can be like, I know that
you're feeling this anxiety, you're feeling fear, but I want to
tell you that you're safe right now because our visual cortex, our
brain can observe the world around us and notice that we're sitting
in a chair and we're safe, regardless of the fact that our body
doesn't feel safe.
[00:11:14] So one of them is not wrong. And one of them is
not right. That's not what this is about. This is about using the
skills of both our cognitive thinking brain and our feeling sensing
somatic brain. So that the skills of both of them help us create
the life that we want to be living. I often talk about that anxiety
itself is just a feeling, just the felt sense of fear. And yes,
it's unpleasant, then we create a lot of conditioned responses and
experiences by which we never have to feel that.
[00:11:54] But what if we felt it? What if we allowed
ourselves to feel it? And then through that willingness of being
able to feel it, we take the brave action and then unwire that
physiological experience. So it's dynamic, which is exciting, but
also kind of difficult because it's not a hundred percent
[00:12:14] It's not a take this, do this, but if you
listen to my podcast, you will hear me say certain things over and
over again. And you just want to start where you are. You want to
respect where we are, even if we are on the road to being someplace
else. Because the wishing and desiring that we were someplace else
has a felt sense in the body.
[00:12:36] So if we can create that love and curiosity and
willingness to just be where we are in this moment, knowing that we
are on the road to rewiring our brain and our embodied experience
toward something that feels more welcome, towards something that
feels more whole for all of us to show up in. More embodied, more
empowered, and those things are possible. They are not possible
through good vibes only. They are not possible without sitting with
[00:13:08] That's my episode today. If you are curious
about learning more about how to rewire your brain away from pain
and towards, increased tolerance of sensory experiences, emotional
and physical, please reach out to me.
[00:13:27] I am currently offering an eight week what I
call pain recovery program, trained by Dr. Schubiner. and aligned
with Alan Gordon's work from the pain psychology center, and also
is trauma informed, health at every size, all bodies welcome
[00:13:47] I hope you're having a wonderful day. And thank you so much for listening to Move With Deb.