Two Mammals in the Dark

“I don’t know how to describe the sound of a world crashing. Maybe there is no sound, just a great emptiness, an enveloping sorrow, a creeping nothingness that coils itself around you like a stiff wire.” ~ Charles Blow

“So, what role does memory play in the understanding and treatment of trauma? There is a form of implicit memory that is profoundly unconscious and forms the basis for the imprint trauma leaves on the body/mind. The type of memory utilized in learning most physical activities (walking, riding a bike, skiing, etc.) is a form of implicit memory called procedural memory. Procedural or “body memories” are learned sequences of coordinated “motor acts” chained together into meaningful actions. You may not remember explicitly how and when you learned them, but, at the appropriate moment, they are (implicitly) “recalled” and mobilized (acted out) simultaneously. These memories (action patterns) are formed and orchestrated largely by involuntary structures in the cerebellum and basal ganglia. When a person is exposed to overwhelming stress, threat or injury, they develop a procedural memory. Trauma occurs when these implicit procedures are not neutralized. The failure to restore homeostasis is at the basis for the maladaptive and debilitating symptoms of trauma.” ~ Peter A. Levine

This morning’s animal kingdom visitor was the neighbor’s cat, strolling through the dark, until he saw me watching him, at which point we became two mammals locked-in to a mutual sensuous moment; much like that moment with the skunk a few weeks ago. The arrival of the skunk had triggered my trauma; the cat just made me chuckle; both were mammals in the dark; as was I. But enough of darkness. Sunrise is coming up. There are several shelves of clouds out over Pueblo Canyon, to the east. The sacred mountain is sporting a cap of lenticular clouds. It all looks so perfect. I’m too groggy to indulge the sense of wonder, but it is here and doing what it does. So for now the sense of wonder rides smooth beneath this bundle of tension. There are no compulsories today, no obligations, so I can work on getting my body to calm down. Of course, I am enjoying the turn of the screw that is bearing down on Trump. That dude’s got some serious karma! Yes, I still follow the news when I am in a bout of realtime processing, which is essentially me going all “what’s going on here?”. Yes, it hurts, it aches like hell. Yes, I feel all agitated. Hypervigilence, procedural memory, and a weariness that has cut so deep as to . . . ummmm, I don’t know where I was going with that. Besides, it’s nearin’ time to feed the cat. Speaking of the cat, the opening photo is Rosie at 7-8 months, checking out the wolf at the door. Yeh, I know it’s not a real wolf – more of a blue healer, if I remember correctly. That was a long time ago. Rosie is 15 now – you do the math. I just realized today that the photo is kind of a metaphor for me in psychotherapy facing the demon. I’ll be doin’ that this afternoon late. I think I’ll leave it at that. I have nine hours to process to my heart’s content. The thing is that this hefty bout of active, expressive PTSD is going to be here no matter what I try to do about it, so the thing to do is to watch it and see how it moves; like I did with that cat in the darkness. You can tell a lot by watching how things move, but you have to set words aside and engage your sensuous qualities. I’ll get right to it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.


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