The prevailing way of understanding the body is as a machine that breaks down. According to this viewpoint, your body starts out young and relatively perfect and, after decades of bumps, bruises, stresses and surgeries, you’ll be lucky if you can still hobble across the kitchen without a cane past sixty.
I don’t see things that way. One metaphor I use to explain my energetic understanding of the body and soul is that we’re all ballgowns. (I suppose you could be a t-shirt if you prefer.) Along the way, circumstances conspire to attach constricting, crimping and painful clothespins to your luminous dress. The clothespins are trauma. Some or many of your clothespins may be what you were born with; other clothespins could be from injuries and incidents in this lifetime; but underneath it all, your ballgown is perfection.
Physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual pain or discomfort indicates clothespins. To get rid of them, you have to heal the underlying belief or trauma. Sometimes that’s as simple as finally fixing the bump you received from an errant baseball when you were nine. Sometimes it’s by receiving teachings that re-contextualize your experience in light of more love. Sometimes it’s by talking with and forgiving your mother for something she did when you were three. There is no end to what can cause trauma, nor, really, what can heal it, but, particulars aside, most cures boil down to loving attention.
The paradigm of healing that says that trauma can be reset—and that flexibility and function can be restored, even as you age—is evident in cases like that of Anita Moorjani, a woman whose near-death experience gives a dramatic example of healing trauma. In a coma, suffering from end-stage lymphoma, Moorjani saw that her belief about her unworthiness was causing her illness. Once this traumatic belief fell away, her body aligned with more self-love and her tumors disappeared within five weeks.
My own experience with healing trauma is less dramatic, but no less physically impactful. I started out with thyroiditis, ex-opthalmia, and scoliosis. Using all sorts of techniques that release trauma, I, too, learned to better love myself. I no longer suffer from thyroid symptoms; my eyes are healthy; and my back is almost perfectly straight. Along the way, I released a self-inflicted injury from a past life. I realigned a belief that I was unwanted, which had created the conditions for cancer. I let go of a huge amount of patriarchal anger. And I healed plenty of soft-tissue damage that had accrued over the years. I have less pain now that I am nearing fifty than I did in my twenties.
The advantage of seeing your body as a ballgown is that it doesn’t give you the false idea that the aging process needs/must be a losing proposition. You could be de-aging as you grow older. You could be twirling into your twilight years. Join me at the dance!
Stella Osorojos Eisenstein, L.Ac.
Stella Osorojos Eisenstein, L.Ac., is a writer and acupuncturist who collects healing stories.