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The Body Keeps the Score

Updated: Jan 4

Carried in my hips,

piles of unread stage scripts.

Behind my shoulders,

the strength of a thousand soldiers.

In the twists of my colon,

secrets that have me swollen.

Centered between my eyes,

the wisdom of my past lives.

- Katarina Bučić

This poem is a very important one to me. Through reading about trauma in the New York Times Best Seller book, “The Body Keeps the Score” I was solidified in my already belief that our emotional traumas are deeply woven into our physical being. As a Registered Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner, I came across this phenomenon in my work constantly. Not only is this information incredibly interesting, but also provides a roadmap to healing. We can heal the mind with the body, the body with the mind, and the soul as a result of the two.

I will never forget my very first Reiki treatment done by my wonderful friend and Reiki Master, Cindy. I, like many people, had an immense amount of unresolved trauma at that stage of my life and ignorantly did not think that it would surface in the way it did during my treatment. There were many significant little experiences during the treatment, but never did I anticipate how I would feel when Cindy worked her way down to my root chakra.

The root chakra is the base chakra located at the bottom of the spine. In utero, our spine is formed from the bottom up, so it is no surprise this is the center where our most instinctual sensibilities are formed. Trauma greatly affects this area as it governs the “fight” or “flight” response.

When my dear friend began opening my root chakra, I was overcome with an extreme sense of panic, almost like a call to action. To lay there with my eyes closed and to “relax” during a treatment that was supposed to be sedentary and rejuvenating felt almost impossible, even dangerous. Cindy, of course, picked up on my immediate shift of energy and encouraged me to allow the process to happen. Cindy's hands were not even touching me, but it felt as though she had a hand on each hip bone and was ripping me open, exposing me vulnerable. I was split by the instinct to either curl into a fetal position and hide or to quite literally attack her. The primal reaction I was having to this was scary, but with her encouragement, I resisted the urge to stop the treatment. My legs began to shake, which feels like an understatement as it was almost as if they were having a seizure all on their own. Tears streamed down my face as I became helpless to my body and the response it was having.

The treatment eventually came to an end. Cindy did was she could to ground me, but I do not think she, nor I expected the intensity of the experience. Although Cindy had never had a client have the response I did, she had so much knowledge and was able to give me insight into what had happened and what to expect in the coming hours and days. My legs shook for 4 hours after Cindy had left my home. I could barely walk during those hours and was overwhelmed by the realization of how much of my trauma was stored in my body. Still to this day, when I am in extreme situations of trauma and shock, it comes as no surprise, that my legs shake uncontrollably. When my sense of safety comes into question, when the adrenaline of a fight or flight situation is presented, my legs shake.

There are many revolutionary people who are developing methods and practices that help us release the traumas of our bodies. Even with this large push in the right direction, it does seem to me that most people do not have a solid mind/body connection, or even know that there is a connection there at all. Once we learn to be still within ourselves we can hear the quiet conversations that go on between our mind and our body. When we listen to the voices of our intuition, we no longer fall victim to our body's responses but learn to listen and nurture her accordingly. My body is not just a meat bag for my innards, but a living, breathing vessel that houses my soul and is a map of all of her experiences. I hope that I can learn to untangle these horrors trapped in the webs of my body and allow them to flush out and create space and light within me, and I hope you can too.

- Katarina Bučić

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