Body memories


“We only believe those thoughts which have been conceived not in the brain but in the whole body” – W.B. Yeats

* The process triggered by working with the brain and the body in conjunction deepen cognitive development significantly in the areas of evaluating, analyzing, applying and remembering *

This is from one of my thousands of handouts as I near the completion of grad school. I know all about Bloom’s Taxonomy and whole body learning. As a teacher, I know children remember best what they learn by using their minds and bodies simultaneously. In most experiences, this is a positive way to deepen connections with children.

As a child that lived through extraordinary trauma, I just now realized how this can work both ways, manipulating mind and terrorizing body. Ensuring those memories are burnt in deep. What the mind desperately wishes to forget, the body remembers.

Memories from my body conflicted with memories from my mind.  This created cognitive dissonance within myself.  My body was telling me one thing but my mind had nothing to back up the body memory.  A simple thing like someone grabbing my wrist could send me into a dizzying panic attack.  Nothing in my minds memory provided me with an answer why I reacted this way.  I read an article about Third World orphans being adopted and hiding food in their room when plenty was available.  I gazed around my office at the case of water, case of stew, and boxes of granola bars.  The custodians teased me that I could be locked in my office for a week and survive.  I couldn’t connect why I reacted the way I did.  I wasn’t raised in a third world country, why did I behave like these children?  Questions swirled and collided in my mind but no answers until I finally entered counseling.  My body memories held all my secrets, my mind refused to remember.  Through counseling and reconnecting with my emotions my mind memories finally told their story and my body memories made sense.  I body did not forget or repress memories the same way my mind did.  The cognitive dissonance was created by me refusing to accept my own past.  Acceptance allowed me to stop warring with myself.  I’m thankful to the counselor that guided me through the labyrinth of my own mind.

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