A Lesson from the Past, On Healing — By N.J. Phillips

Experienced trauma is largely thought to impact the mind
And so treated as such 

“To heal,” they say, “you must first sit
And talk
And think
And process
And change how you think,
By sitting,
And continuing to talk
Then listen to me talk
So I can tell you how you think wrong
But if you keep thinking, 
While sitting, 
You will get better
Oh and maybe some medicine too”

But trauma is first felt
Deeply and completely through the body

So if the body is not addressed
But rather told to passively sit
How can we heal deeply?

Before therapy, there was dance
Before therapy, there was moaning, and singing and chants
This self-ownership was not done alone, 
In an office with dusty plants, 
The stomping of one’s foot on the ground was echoed by another
Who knew that pain and stomped in recognition
Movement together voiced, you are not alone, 
Without needing to utter a single word

Every song was an act of rebellion 
Every dance, a revolution 
Bodies were reclaimed
And deep healing occurred
Not through sitting
But through creation with one’s own body
And an understanding of its unbreakable power

Trauma that impaired the mind was released
Because a spirit can never be owned

-N.J. Phillips

—-N.J. Phillips (She/Her/Hers) Pictured: Young, white female, with short blond hair, wearing a blue dress and necklace in front of bricks. NJ is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Occupational Therapy Program. She is a PWD as well as a disability advocate, Catholic, aunt, and lover of plants. Her favorite way to spend time is in the company of others. She would like to remind readers that hope and help are possible for all and if you or someone you knows is in need of emergency mental services please call the National Suicide Hotline at (800)273-8255 and to please save this number in your phone. Thank you. 

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