If you’re doing trauma work, be gentle on yourself, loved ones. And remember - it’s not a marathon. You don’t have to process, heal and integrate like it’s a race! Take moments to just relax and get out of your own head. Take your TIME.
In fact, some things need time! I spent early 2020 trying to speed heal. I read a mountain of self-help books, adapted rigid rituals, and journaled intensely. While these things did give me valuable skills and knowledge, time is sometimes the most effective healer of all. It takes time to integrate the new teachings. It takes time for a mindset shift to become the new reality. I learned a lot during that time of intensity. But I didn’t feel the changes stick for even longer of a time. Look at a yoga video for example! Your first practice, you won’t be flexible. Someday, you will reach a threshold where all of a sudden, you’re touching your toes, and you didn’t even realize it!
James Clear talks about this threshold, and he calls it the Plateau or Latent Potential in his book, Atomic Habits, comparing this idea to an ice cube melting. As you slowly, one degree at a time, warm up the room, you don’t notice any shift in the cube. And then suddenly, magically, it melts at 32 degrees, where at 31 nothing happened.
In late 2020, I remember the moment I sat in meditation and no longer felt angry about something I had been deeply struggling with for so long. At the beginning of the year, I tried so hard to release that anger! Yet, it took day after day after week after month for me to truly release it. I didn’t feel the progress as it happened, but suddenly I felt it on that day.
I have told the story of my therapist telling me that sometimes the work is energetic and not just mental. Well, sometimes you do the mental work and the energetic body has to catch up. A good friend told me she felt this way recently, and I said it was like she was buffering, catching up to what she processed.
If that’s the case with you, if you’re buffering, or wondering why the Work isn’t catching up with you, or worse, thinking you’re not working hard enough… take a breath. Don’t be afraid to press pause and let the buffering catch up.