Tracy wrote back and said she didn’t feel much of anything. Hadn’t for years. The idea of a list of 30 things sounded like a total impossibility.
This is no real surprise. It is one of the various methods of dealing with deep pain. We call it blocking. It is a survival mechanism to get you through the tough parts of life. It is not the only one but many counselors react with horror over a person not being in touch with their emotions. I am much more laid back about it. When a child opts for that, it is not a complicated, thought out process. It is simply a survival mechanism.
Many people who do not default to blocking turn instead to self-medicating their pain because it is too intense to feel all the time. The consequences of self-medicating tend to be pretty grim in terms of damage done to the body and soul and your place in society. The consequences to blocking mean you have little community with God or man. So pick your poison. There is no great way to deal with trauma in childhood.
I simply meet people where they are and begin to rebuild what they do have instead of shaming them for their response to the pain that wasn’t their fault. I bless their drive to survive.
When she leaned into the task — and carrying the heavy end of the log is something many people who have had a tough childhood know how to do — she discovered that there was a beginning place, although the idea of a list of 30 was overwhelming.
Here is her first run.
I baked an apple pie today and I am savoring the smell of the cinnamon and the fresh baked apples in it. It fills the room with such a warm satisfying smell and I anticipate the first bite when I have it after my supper meal. It will still be warm and I may enjoy it so much I will probably have a second piece. Even the golden brown juices that have escaped out the vent holes in the top crust look gooey and yummy. – This is me practicing.
When I started making the list I realized that there are things I enjoy but I have never savored them or felt any feelings towards the experience. They were just good experiences. I can continue working on the list, practice the savoring part, and encourage my brain to be in the moment.
Re-listening to the cd showed me how to be more aware of opportunities where I may be able to seize the moment and anticipate and savor experiences.
Go, Tracy, go! You nailed it.
The lifelong habit of pain avoidance causes a person to accidentally slip into feeling nothing good either. But she has a clear mind, strong will and good focus. A few thousand exercises like this will massively expand her brain’s ability to feel the emotion of pleasure on a large scale.
With that resource in place, we can then leverage it to the next big treasure point.
For now, I am feeling quite sinfully smug over here. I clearly picked the right person to model this exercise for you all. This girl can execute with precision and intensity. Ya gotta love it!
Copyright February 2016 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub