Beyond Language

I am increasingly invested in articulating a wider truth about sexual violence recovery – that it is not overnight, and it might be something we negotiate for life – not because I want to overwhelm or intimidate survivors, but rather to affirm and bring to the surface what so many of us already know to be true from our own experience. I share because resourcing more and more survivors with tools, practices, rituals, healers and possibilities for resilience that are not fixed but are ever-evolving, allows them become their own best expert - the authority on themselves and their lives. Through this simultaneously organic and intentional process they may be empowered to pave their own way, to recognize they are unique yet not alone in this dynamic struggle, and to fully own through post-trauma embodiment, their own truth about trauma, grief and pain. Having felt so much beyond what words alone can measure, we have glimpsed the self beyond ourself, the immeasurable breadth of who we are, the knowing that understands the unknown, and it seeps now – into our cells, our dreams and our laughter. I have highlighted four healing arts practices that have supported my journey to heal after sexual violence, acupuncture, yoga, massage and art therapy, in the hopes that survivors will have a clearer understanding of how these techniques might help them. Importantly, since talking about trauma can be triggering, survivors can feel confidence that these methods do not require having to tell their story in order to deliver healing and thereby have more options available to them.

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Remembrance and Reclamation Through Yoga

The records of my recovery always seem to surface in the weeks leading up to my anniversary through body aches, animal dreams, escalated emotion and a simultaneous mix of an anxious mind and the lethargy of sorrow’s memory. While not entirely productive, this natural release of endorphin mixed with heartache softens the edges around this waxing phase. I’m reminded once again of the unconscious organizing of my annual calendar around my anniversary in which the other 364 days are either all the days leading up to it, or all the days the follow.

This reflection on the significance of my anniversary has been a work in subconscious progress over the past few years, slowly distilled through my journey on the mat and captured for a moment in a poem. My attempt to memorialize loss emanates from my explorations with a yoga teacher who unveiled an enlightening approach to philosophy, intuition, energy, meditation and the syncing of oneself with the organic animation of the body. She essentially revolutionized my inner experience of myself – in my asana practice, and more importantly in my life – and she brought me back to my beginner’s mind where everything is possible. This daily practice serves me as a human and particularly as a survivor. There are endless options for how we find the balance required to remain present and simultaneously build the energy to move forward – no matter how many times we fail, no matter how deep our wound. Yoga refines our ability to recognize our own resilience.

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