What is trauma exactly

Most people consider the word ‘trauma’ as something rather extreme, but experiencing trauma is simply something we all go through and often (without consciously noticing it) during quite a few moments of our daily life.

So I’ll start this section with giving you two simple definitions of trauma that I found most accurate while doing personal research, during personal treatment and during treatment and guidance of many of my clients and students, as well as while being in training and/or exchanging information with colleagues in the consciousness fields of trauma release work, psychosomatic studies, tantra, shamanism, psychology, bodywork and other information fields concerning therapeutic work and healing.

  • Trauma is simply nothing more than having to deal with too much on our own.
  • Trauma is experienced at each moment the body goes into contraction due to experiencing too much stress, tension, fear or pain.

I will also show how these two definitions perfectly tie into and support each other.

The first definition was shared with me by one of my favorite teachers during one of the many workshops and trainings I followed over the past 8 years. His name is Buster Rådvik of Embodied Intimacy. And that specific perspective upon trauma immediately landed as absolute truth within my body and system. It clarified and acknowledged on so many levels what I have experienced and know so many others experience on countless moments during our lives. To feel overwhelmed by life, by challenges, situations, institutions, by parents, partners, lovers and others and it eventually creating so much stress, tension, pain and/or fear on some level, of some kind and of a certain degree, that it simply becomes too much for us to handle on our own. And whatever is too much to handle on our own triggers the nervous system to shut the body down (which it does through contraction) and activates all kinds of survival mechanisms like fighting, fleeing, freezing, fawning, fragmenting (of the mind) and/or the total collapse of the physical, mental and/or emotional systems.

The immediate contraction of the physical body as a response to experience stress, tension, fear or pain can be proven simply by looking at and measuring physical responses to such situations. Scientific testing will instantly show there’s contraction taking place within the physical body as a response to these experiences and simultaneously, an imprint of such an experience will be made in the myofascia of the body, which at some point simply has to be released if we wish to avoid it’s negative impact in the present or future.

So we have just learned that trauma is simply having to deal with too much on our own as well as having learned that any form of tension, stress, fear or pain being too much for us is leading to the contraction of the nervous system and activating the survival modes of the body. And this is regardless of whatever the mind thinks of and how it perceives such experiences. As I’m sure you can imagine, those who have dealt with lots of trauma have often learned how to dissociate, turned numb and/or have developed all kinds of strategies and managing of such experiences without really having to face and feel the impact of such traumatic experiences. When that’s the case, the mind will simply not register the transgression of boundaries and the experience of trauma.

In fact, the only way to avoid getting (re-)traumatized is using the nervous system and its incredible intelligence as the only tool to work with when it comes to determining if something is traumatizing for us as human beings or not. I’ll share more about the wisdom of the nervous system and how to work with it at the end of this page.

Trauma and the creation of patterns

Regardless of how we define and experience trauma, we as humans do experience trauma and that is a given fact. Simultaneously many of us are hardly ever aware of the true impact, implications and risks of all kinds of traumatic experiences. Trauma leaves deep wounding and scars behind within our physical, mental, emotional and energetic bodies and this can lead to all sorts of hazardous effects for our health on those levels, as well as it sabotaging our spiritual health. This is especially the case when we are not aware or are in denial of the presence and impact of trauma imprints, which simply means we are not able and/or willing to do anything about it. That doesn’t mean trauma is not running the show in certain and sometimes even in most aspects and areas of our lives though. It will certainly at least control and dominate part of our lives, no matter if we’re aware of it, are in denial or whatever else, until we have finally truly faced and healed it.

We can even be aware and willing to admit that we have been traumatized, be aware of all or at least part of the patterns it created in our lives and still not feel able to break free of it. I mean, honestly, how many people do you know that are aware of all kinds of painful or even horrifying events they had to face during their lifetime and despite all their attempts to get rid of all of that, have not managed to do so? I’m willing to bet the number will be higher than the number of fingers and toes on your body.

Do not despair though, as this is where body dearmouring comes to the rescue!

Trauma in relation to past, present and future generations

Trauma can and will undeniably get passed on to future generations to come and which goes for all levels of trauma, being physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (soul level) trauma. In my personal perspective all disease originates from trauma, on whatever level it appears. As we have read before in the topic about body dearmouring, trauma influences our cellular wellbeing and programming, as well as our DNA. So, as I’m sure you can imagine, it makes sense that not only physical, but also mental, emotional, spiritual (all originally being energetic) diseases get passed on through our genetics, of which our cells and the DNA present within them are the memory bank.

This therefore means we as humans do not only carry personal trauma within our body and energetic system, but also embody all kinds of parental and ancestral trauma that has never been released and transformed by previous generations. That’s why we can safely assume that there is often a lot more trauma present within our bodies and energetic systems than we are aware of or would like to admit.

Experiencing trauma therefore creates all kinds of negative archetypal mental and emotional programming as well as behavior patterns sprouting from these trauma imprints. In my experience and perspective, we’ll never truly be able to liberate ourselves and live the lives we aim for if we do not release those hidden trauma imprints from our physical body, as the holding patterns within the body are the first patterns to get created by trauma and form the foundation of every negative and self-sabotaging mental, emotional and behavior pattern. Once those imprints are removed from the physical body, all other patterns those imprints created will automatically collapse on emotional, mental and behavior levels.

Such processes will take time and need to get supported by appropriate coaching and handing you the right tools through which you will be able to avoid repeating the past and live and experience life in a completely new way. Without supportive coaching and such tools, everyone will undeniably fall back into their old patterns, simply due to the fact that there is no alternative available to avoid the repetition of the past.

One of the tools I offer to my clients and students and that I feel is crucial in understanding how to avoid trauma and the repetition of it as much as possible in the future, Is to embody true understanding about the wisdom of the nervous system and how it can manage to keep us safe for most of the time if we listen to its signs, signals and messages.

The function and wisdom of the nervous system

Our nervous system is one of the most miraculous and mysterious forms of intelligence within the human body. I’ll not get to deep into all kinds of medical and scientific details, which doesn’t feel necessary to be honest. What I do wish to share is about how the nervous system is the only tool that can help us to avoid experiencing trauma. The nervous system does so by letting us discover and experience what our real boundaries and desires are. This goes straight against everything we have always learned about boundaries and desires, as almost all of us have been taught that boundaries and desires get determined by the mind. Nothing is less true though as the mind cannot feel! It is and simply will never be able to determine boundaries and desires, regardless if we do believe this or not!

So how does the nervous system exactly show us information about our boundaries and desires? How do we determine if the answer to the questions and dilemma’s we’re struggling with should be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?

The answer to that is very simple, even though you often need to gather more information before coming to a final decision. For starters, this will do:

  • If the body feels an expansion within in regards to your question or dilemma, the answer is ‘yes’.
  • If the body goes into contraction in regards to your question or dilemma, the answer is ‘no’.
  • And personally I always tell my clients and students that anything that doesn’t really and clearly feel like a jubilant ‘YES!’, that is a ‘no’. That also goes for anything like “Maybe”, “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure yet” and anything else that is not a very clear “yes!”.

Remember that we read earlier that the body always goes into contraction when something is too much for our (nervous) system to deal with? That doesn’t mean you might eventually not come to feel a clear ‘yes’ about certain matters, situations or people, but as long as the nervous system is not allowing expansion within the body, your answer should simply be ‘no’.

In other words, our nervous system is the only appropriate tool that can and should determine our ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in regards to choosing if an experience serves us or not. This can be about our connections to others, certain experiences, making choices and whatever else the brain feels confused about when it comes to choosing between a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.

I’m sure many of you, as do I, had or do still experience difficulties when it comes to determining if you should answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in regards to making certain and often difficult choices and honestly, there is nothing wrong with experiencing certain choices as difficult. This can be about making a career choice, choosing a love and/or life partner, finding a new place to live, or whatever else causes confusion within your mind and system.

Despite us experiencing life as challenging and difficult at times, there is a safe and amazing way to navigate through difficult life choices though. In case you wish to make the right choices for you, I strongly advice you to dive deep into the awesome knowledge of what is know as ‘The Wheel of Consent’, which was designed by Betty Martin. I also strongly advise you to start playing the 3-Minute Game she also shares with so many of her students and clients. Do it with anyone that is interested in discovering the truth about boundaries and desires and do so with whoever struggles with all kinds of doubt and worrying about making choices.

These truly are the two most amazing and efficient tools on this planet that help you and the ones you love to embody the majestic wisdom of the body and its nervous system safely, quickly and in the appropriate way. I’ll share the Youtube links of the videos with you here as a pathway for you to explore upon your life journey, knowing that if you will practice this regularly, life will start to look and feel very different in comparison to before your practice. The tools do not facilitate removing trauma imprints from the body, but nevertheless do help you discover and navigate the relational fields with others in a completely new and incredible safe way.

- The Wheel of Consent, designed by Betty Martin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auokDp_EA80

- The 3-Minute Game, designed by Harry Faddis and recommended and used by Betty Martin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KCzpNBNbVM

Betty Martin’s personal webpage with all kinds of information about the 3-Minute Game, including the previous video as well as an interview and practicing of the 3-Minute Game together with Harry Faddis: https://bettymartin.org/how-to-play-the-3-minute-game.

Other facilitators I recommend when it comes to embodying the knowledge of The Wheel of Consent and the 3-Minute Game are Matthias Schwenteck and Robyn Dalzen, who have initiated and founded The School of Consent together with Berry Martin. They travel allover the world to share their insights, knowledge and wisdom in regards to the wisdom of the body and nervous system as a way to assist people in avoiding getting (re-)traumatized. You will find information about their teachings and trainings upon their website at: https://schoolofconsent.org/

Last but not least, I would like to recommend the awesome work of Stephen Porges, who is the inventor of what is known as ‘The Polyvagal Theory, which is sharing incredible information about the Vagus Nerve. The Vagus Nerve is the nerve that gets activated whenever we experience transgressive behavior by others or ourselves and which activates the flight, fight, freeze, fawn, fragment and/or collapse defensive mechanisms within our body. You will find Stephen Porges his work about the Polyvagal Theory right here: https://www.stephenporges.com

And in case you wish to study the subject of trauma more intensely, I can advice you to check some of the other leading trauma experts in the world, such as Peter A. Levine, Bessel van der Kolk and Gabor Maté.