Somatic Ritual: Let Your Trauma Speak


A ritual that I have developed to sequence stored trauma and recall traumatic memory combines writing, visualization, and dialogue. Memory is a key component of working with trauma. It is within the details of our memory that we can understand the narrative of the trauma and begin to rewrite it. It is also a way of discharging energy around a traumatic event in a way that may reveal key insight.

Let Your Trauma Speak Ritual

Get comfortable, make sure you have at least 20 minutes of private, uninterrupted space to complete ritual and an additional 30 minutes to ground afterwards. Powerful and potentially difficult memories can come up so it is important to take care of yourself.

Close your eyes, take in three deep breaths. Allow for your focus to be intuitively drawn to a part of your body. Ask that part of your body to reveal a memory to work with. If no memory comes, try focusing on a particular emotion. Is it anger you are struggling with? Ask that emotion to reveal a particular memory.

Once a memory emerges, ask the memory to share its voice with you. What of the unspeakable, the unfathomable, the unconscionable, wants to be heard? What message does it have for you now?

Take the next 10-20 minutes to write whatever comes. This is meant to be fluid and free flowing. It does not have to make sense. The most important thing is that you allow the message of the memory to flow though your body through the act of writing.

I did not want to die by the light of your eyes. But my eyes have been closed all these years. The darkness of that room seared them shut, I am still learning how to reclaim my sight. I am still learning how to reclaim my voice. I closed my eyes and imagined myself walking out the door. That seemed safer than putting up a fight. If I saw too much, I may scream, I may fight, so I froze. My eyes froze, my body froze, my mind froze. I remember the fear that being gang raped was a worse of fate than pretending to be dead with one boy. I could seem myself through the other side in this scenario.

Although zero part of my wanted to lose my virginity in this way, this is how it happened. This was the very beginning of my traumatized reality, a reality that continues to this day. I will never forget that day, but I am working hard every day to rewire my mind, to stimulate new neuropathways around the parts that remain frozen. I have aligned with my boundaries and learnt how to say no. I have walked away from jobs because the latent sexism was more than my sensitive psyche wanted to bare. I have called out harassment, filed police reports, and screamed to the goddesses below, within, and above. I have walked the path as inward as the cave goes.

I have edged myself as close as possible to the cosmic cliff of redemption and turned away at the moment because I was not yet ready to forgive. I have battled chronic helplessness and hypervigilance, I have failed at organizing rational thoughts and have crashed headfirst into interpersonal conflict. I have disassociated so profoundly that I lost the ability to move my hands and legs.

I am followed around, day in, day out, with traumatic anxiety. Exhaustion is the status quo as are the maladies of nervous system dysfunction. No, I did not ask for this condition. I can’t just ‘move on with my life’. I tried that, and it only made matters worse. I did not ask to be abused. I am, as you see me, a reflection of a traumatized individual. The impact of trauma is not obvious but it becomes clear the moment we inquire in the story behind the trauma. It is alive, and as such, can be transformed.

The energy contained in traumatic symptoms awakens us to the core of our hurt. Our stories are the key to healing our core trauma wound. It took me almost 10 years of self-inquiry to unearth the extent of my trauma symptoms. Because I waited so long, and because new trauma’s occurred, I developed complex PTSD.

I am driven to complete and heal trauma through psychosomatic discharges of energy in a creative, expressive format. I am learning how to open my eyes. I am starting to see again.

Jen Holden