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Frozen; The Terror Response

I have once again found myself in a place of longing. I’ve also found myself battling a faint feeling of nostalgia of late. Maybe they are related. The other day, while mulling over the current global climate, I found myself longing for simpler times. I was taken back to the 90s when I first heard U2, and the song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was ringing in my ears. At that same moment the song was ringing in my ears, I felt an intense pain of nostalgia in my chest - so much so that I physically turned as if turning from the feeling itself. The words are haunting to me. I still struggle with feeling like I have yet to fully live. I spent much of my teens, twenties, and into my thirties longing for life instead of living life. I had dreams of grandeur, of being someone, but I was never actually present to life itself. I believe my nostalgia to be a sense of longing for those lost years; The years spent dreaming instead of living. Now with my toe in the water of my forties, I find myself present, but still not fully living.

I’ve learned over the last few years that my response in trauma was to freeze. My nervous system was trained to mentally, emotionally and quasi physically freeze when any harm came across my path. The years in an abusive marriage left my body trained to react in this way as a result of trauma and abuse. I’ve also since learned that the emotion behind freezing is terror.

I say all that to say; I may be present, but I am still frozen at times. I still feel like I am stuck, unable to fully engage in life. So if freezing is a result of terror, the conclusion would be that I must somehow be terrified to be alive, or to fully plunge in to the water, instead, my toe is dipped in tentatively.

It’s a wrestle between my soul and what fear has constructed. My soul is longing to paint all the colours of the rainbow, to dance through life, through the pain, through the laughter, to sing songs of joy and sorrow…. But the construct is like an invisible force that holds me back. At least I am aware of the force, of the fear. For when there is awareness, there can be faith in the movement; awareness is movement.

I'm reminded of an experience I had during a time of meditation recently; I felt the spirit of Jesus showing me what he meant by inviting people to leave everything behind and follow the path of love. Jesus was speaking out against what the religious groups had constructed; what fear, power and control had constructed. He was inviting people to rethink everything they knew, he was inviting people to let go and leave behind the systems, institutions, families, and traditions they had known; the forces that were holding them back. This is the invitation into the water; to leave behind the constructs of fear and relearn the way of Love.

May we ever be aware of the things that hold us back, so that we may shake them off and dive in to the invitation of Love.

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