A follower asks: Marty I have a question for you.

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I was on the receiving end of some pretty intense road rage the other day (car chasing me, guy screaming profanities, slamming his breaks on front of me, cutting me off.). My mind was very much present in the moment, I experienced both fight and flight emotions. Despite that, I was surprisingly calm during it as my two-year-old was in the back, so my concentration was on getting my daughter through it safely. However, the experience was in hindsight, terrifying.

 

Afterwards, perhaps 20 mins later, I was eating lunch and noticed my hand shaking, barely able to hold a glass of OJ. I was shook up. My mind had largely moved on, but my body was still recovering from the incident. I practiced Loving Kindness to the ‘rager’, feeling compassion for his unsettled state of intense anger. That gave me a lot of peace, I wasn’t angry with him and I forgave him instantly. I was able to return to a relaxed state through acceptance and mindfulness meditation. I was relaxed, but the incident left me feeling completely wiped out for the rest of the day. Is this the result of over working the nervous system?

 

And I do wonder why sometimes we remain calm in highly stressful situations, but afterwards our bodies show signs of stress and anxiety? Like, after the fact?
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My two cents: First, emotional trauma fatigues us more than physical exertion. Second, trauma is stored in the right amygdala and in the body. It is all connected. Healing will have to address both areas for relief.

 

The remaining calm during the event can be a hybrid of being frozen (fight, flight or freeze). Remember this mechanism releases cortisol, adrenaline, along with heightened BP, respiration and heart rate. We have tunnel vision, lose our fine motor skills, along with distorted sequential time. We are left without a beginning, middle and end.
We get stuck, we dissociate into thought and emotion. The storyline we add becomes the fuel.

 

You did a great job of sending loving kindness and acceptance.

 

Our intention is not to push it away or destroy it. It happened and real danger was experienced. Give yourself a break, observe the incident without judgment. Know that this has no chance of repeating itself.

 

Hope that helps.
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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paging Mrs Zen on August 14, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Makes perfect sense. Thank you Marty! 😄

  2. Posted by Sebastián Arana on August 14, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Just go read Peter Levine and this will all make sense.

  3. Also The Body Keeps Score is the latest

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