Consciousness

Lucy’s technique to be embodied is to name ones sense-impressions. I feel the velvety fabric of my sofa under my fingertips, the pressure of my weight on the chair which includes a cushion at my back and much of the weight on the back of my thighs. Dropping into presence, I am aware of my surroundings. I might take great interest in the dust seemingly suspended in mid air, as I cannot see the spider-thread holding it up.

I am a body. I can feel the movement in the soles of my feet as I walk.

Trauma can make us disembodied. An unwilling sex-worker might refuse ever to kiss: her lips and mouth are her own. The person bullied into compliance so that there is no conscious resistance or selfhood left has to suppress consciousness of embodied feeling. I am that frontal lobe, seeing the interests of the oppressor and following them. Other feelings and sensations are suppressed by the survival instinct.

Returning to the sensations of the body is liberation. I find my own desires and responses, and follow their guidance. I am there now- I can feel my wrists leaning on the lap-top as I type- but Lucy says naming that may even form new connections in the brain, connecting the sensations directly to the verbal centres. Then I can speak and explain my truth. If the concept of new dendrites is too specific yet too hypothetical, at least I know that practice improves ability.

I feel intense emotions, such as the mix of relief with the ability to admit quite how bad my pain has been, when I have had to deny the pain to survive. I thought I was a disgusting, worthless pervert. That was just normal. Now, I feel horror at the pain of it, relief at the end of it, and tiredness at struggling out of the pit of it. There is mourning and celebration, delight at seeing myself more truly, delight in my gifts and value, and pain at the imposed self-contempt: as if I was winded by being punched in the stomach years ago, yet only now can draw breath and feel the pain of the blow.

I can name and describe those intense emotions, and want to describe my current emotions, to name them, bring them to consciousness, integrate them as part of my motivation for action, and so get moving rather than merely resisting. My feelings can be short-lived, mercurial, conflicting. What now? Curiosity. Commitment to this task- what am I feeling?

A phone call. “It’s only Lucie”- sadness, pity, anger: it is clear to me that “only”, the self-deprecatingness of it, is wrong. Don’t wheedle me. She wants to bring our appointment forward, as someone has cancelled, but first she starts explaining to me why it would be good for me to see her earlier, “if you can manage it”- the heat intensifies during the day, she says. I am sad. I see that it is convenient to have an appointment then return to her office, and want to exercise my generosity. I do not need persuasion: if I felt I really couldn’t make it earlier, I would say, and could then find a way forward for both of us.

I want to be seen as this loving, creative, generous person. From perceiving and naming feelings, I can feel and name desires. There is frustration and hurt here too. I do not know how to communicate myself.

What is- that feeling. Is it determination?

And, later: “How do you feel about that?” Two things at the same time. It could be possible, it could be rewarding, it could be worthwhile; and NO NO NO I CAN’T IT WOULD BE AWFUL I CAN’T BEAR IT NOTHING GOOD COULD COME OF IT IT’S IMPOSSIBLE. Someone looking at me would see me go quiet, close my eyes and shrink a little. I want to believe the positive voice, and the other is loud.

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