When the Body Remembers What the Mind Forgets

A movement (an arm raised). An idiom (“piece of meat”). A recognizable scent (after the rain). I can’t quite identify the familiarity, but my body remembers. Could my body really recall what the mind flushes out? Hyper-vigilance as rudimentary as the right/left pattern of my steps, I hold my breath in fear, hide my face in shame, and hear my accusers in every conversation.

Our house is so messy : What did you do all day?

We have to pay this bill by Monday: You aren’t pulling your weight in this relationship

Our division is not hitting our target: You don’t deserve to be in leadership

How can I live subconsciously in the past while consciously delivering speeches about my freedom?


“Who’s that?” my five-year-old asks, pointing to a picture of me ten years ago. I look at the picture: head down, hood over head, sunken cheekbones and dark moons under my eyes, highlighting the restlessness of my being. I had been hiding, trying to disappear, one day and one pound at a time.

“Who is it, mom?” My mind and body reconnect.

“I don’t recognize her.”

Can the body recall what the mind flushes out? What happens when the body remembers what the mind forgets? When fear clings to the body like a pair of Spanx?

Trying to recover with trauma trapped in the body is like trying to shave your own legs in your third trimester of pregnancy–your work’s patchy because you can’t see what you missed.

If you are familiar with somatic expression or somatic experiencing, this will come as no surprise to you. Those of you who have practiced yoga or meditation will relate with this body awareness.

I had always been the cynic, laughing behind the curtain at the absurdity that a human flamingo balancing on one foot could do anything other than entertain spectators. I had no idea how ignorant I was to the significance of literally just being in the present.

Trying to focus on anything productive is like trying to watch a three-year-old’s “cartwheel” while a baby shrieks just behind you. The uncomfortable body sensations are the cries of an unmet need.

I had become accustomed to my habits, trying constantly but never consistently. So distracted I would forget I had determined to make a change. Unfortunately, I had the attention span of a squirrel. Busily storing my nuts for winter only to forget where I had buried them.

I had tried everything: Planners, organizers, alarms.  Nothing worked. My soul longed for wholeness and health, but my anxiety destroyed my focus, health, and sanity. I so desperately wanted to light candles, meditate, and drink more tea. Instead, I lit cigarettes, stressed about everything, and drank my coffee with a shot of espresso instead of cream.

Until I met BSP.


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