Updated: Feb 25
IS THIS YOU?
I was listening to a webinar with Luis Mojica (HolisticLifeNavigation.com) and he used the phrase “somatic time travel,” referencing how the body physically remembers past hurts and traumas and how those sensations can connect to current body experience, even though the two events are universes apart. I love that phrase because it describes beautifully what is happening in our bodies and why we are experiencing sensations, especially if we have no idea where they are coming from.
Lets say, you grew up in a household where you were seen but never heard, emotional expression was not something that happened, and you were told not to talk meanly to anyone or you’d be punished. Your expressiveness as a human soul may have found that quite traumatizing to not have the freedom of speech necessary to keep your emotional energetic channels flowing. Here’s an example: decades later your partner does something to tick you off. You want to hurl a bunch of explicatives but there is no communication roadmap in your consciousness for the physical act of expressing what you feel. The Somatic Time travel machine has your body traversing decades backwards when you were 5: “Don’t talk mean its not nice, bad things will happen if you do,” and “Talking about what I feel doesn’t matter.” That’s what your body’s referencing to deal with your current partner situation. You want words to express to your partner how aggravated you are about what they did but all you know is this fuzzy tennis ball in the back of the throat that seems to travel the length of your esophagus. When you try to form words, tears well up and you want to cry instead. You swallow the ball in your throat and tell your partner everything is fine. Two days later, you loose your shit over the fact they left a sock on the floor — and you have no idea where that rage came from. Is this you? Time for some somatic time travel unravel.
SOMATIC TIME TRAVEL DEFINED
Somatic time travel refers to the way that the body remembers past traumas in present-day body sensations. When a person experiences trauma, the body feels its response of choice: fight, flight, freeze or fawn. These states become encoded in the nervous system and are reactivated by current experiences that trigger similar body sensations. This can make you feel as though you are reliving the traumatic event in the present moment even though nothing traumatic is going on.
UNTANGLING PAST FROM PRESENT
Detangling the past from the present occurs in the present moment. Its not about rehashing the story in your mind and coming to some equanimous conclusion its all ok. One has to get in touch with the present moment body felt sensation. You have to feel it to heal it. That fuzzy tennis ball in the back of your throat is the gateway to untangling the somatic time travel connection. As you embody that feeling with focused attention, the cords that connect your stuck 5 year old patterns begin to unravel. In a poetic way, when you are fully present to your inner 5 year olds feelings, she will feels safe enough to open up and let go.
HOW THE BODY HOLDS ONTO TRAUMA
If you don’t have the fuzzy tennis ball in your throat like in the above example the body can hold onto trauma in a number of other ways. Trauma dysregulates the nervous system and this can lead to a variety of physical symptoms, such as tension, pain, and numbness. The body can also become stuck in one of those fight, flight freeze or fawn states, which can further contribute to physical symptoms — even illness decades later. These physical symptoms can be a manifestation of the trauma and can persist long after the traumatic event has ended.
TIPS FOR MANAGING SOMATIC TIME TRAVEL
Somatic experiencing focuses on the body connection and how to relate to it. Through somatic experiencing, you can learn to focus your attention, identify and track bodily sensations, which helps them access and release stored trauma. If you are experiencing somatic time travel, there are a few tips that may be helpful:
Breathe softly and deeply into the area of sensation with the exhales being longer. Deep breathing can help regulate the nervous system and calm the body.
Practice grounding: grounding techniques, such as focusing on your connection to the earth through your feet, leaning with your back against a tree, or on the ground. Connecting with the present moment and those feelings, can help bring you back to the now and help you realize in your current environment there are no threats thus reducing the intensity of your somatic time travel trip.
Seek support: Working with healers, coaches and therapists who specializes in somatic experiencing can be an effective way to build your capacity to fully experience bodily sensations and trauma related symptoms
Somatic time travel is common for people who have experienced trauma. You learned to protect yourself as a child from certain overwhelming events. Through somatic experiencing this skillset of protection can be unlearned and uncoupled from your present day life. Your 5 year old self can rest securely knowing you will meet her experience rather that clinging to your every present day sensations that makes her scared. Meeting your sensations on a daily basis will reregulate your nervous system and aid you in your path to healing.
Need assistance with learning how to deal with your somatic time travel? Eileen is an alternative healer who has completed 15 vision quests enabling her to be a clear and effective conduit for your personal growth. She has worked with somatic breathwork practices for the last 8 years and is a certified Unified Mindfulness Coach Contact Eileen@relaxandexpand.com