When the emergency’s over, how to come back to life.

When the emergency’s over, you’ll likely go into a cave.
Stay hidden away until your system feels ready to peek out again, sniff the snow.

When the emergency’s over, and you’re ready to re-emerge, you won’t always remember what walking feels like, your body so riddled by the pressure to run or hide.

When the emergency’s over, you may need a guide to help return you to regulated rhythms. The sun. The moon. The Great Mother. The elder. The tribe that hangs together every Sunday over dinner. The lover that loves to pleasure. The dogs that call your legs to walk morning, day and night.

When the emergency’s over, you may go looking for another; your body still wired to fight fire that spreads too fast.

When the emergency’s over, you may have room to react to all those emotional factors that got stuffed in the joints, buried in the bones, constricted in a time capsule of can’t-deal-right-now, must-just-stay-alive.

When the emergency’s over, it’ll take time to unwind from the hustle-collapse-hustle-collapse pattern of I-still-think-it’s-all-happening-even-though-it’s-not.

When the emergency’s over, and you start to re-wire to a state of grounded and steady, it will feel strange and uncomfortable, like speaking in a foreign whistle, and so the weed and whisky will call to you from the drawers and cupboards, telling you you don’t have to withstand the ache of unfamiliar. You will bobble between wanting to rely on your new steady sight and wanting to go home to the familiarity of off-kilter.

When the emergency’s over, calm will be the new threat. The place where all that went unattended to has room to sweep through the heart. The left over rage, the locked away shame, the grief, the power, the unending capacity for pleasure.

When the emergency’s over, the lucky ones learn to slow time, elongate moments, choose. Choose. Choose. 

Choose here.
Choose now.
Choose this age.
Choose this power.
Choose the next small doable piece of possible health, possible pleasure.
Choose a steady together.
Choose to stay and weather the emotions of emergencies of past.
Choose to discover the truth, at last, that is never forced and never tasked, but that reveals itself slowly as the body grows capacity to come all the way, all the way home.

When the emergency’s over, may you phone the friend who recommends gentle staying. Gentle steadying. Gentle returning.

Who gets your need for a bender and says, “call me in the morning,” then takes you out for a nice long walk in the woods as the squirrels do their thing.

When the emergency’s over, may you know that you’re allowed an aliveness that doesn’t rely on the fear of death to feel itself.

When the emergency’s over, may you be able to tell.

In some ways, this trauma-resolution work is really all about emergencies. Understanding that the body that’s still wired for emergency will go on re-creating and re-attracting emergency so that it can keep fighting for its life. Understanding that while this process feels lofty and unneeded to the rational mind, it’s the most brilliant intelligent thing your reptilian brain knows how to do–and it’s doing it excellently. Understanding just how uncomfortable and downright terrifying it can be to unwind from emergency wiring.

Will I die? Will the rage and fury surface? Will the grief never end if I open to it? Will anyone ever be able to match my level of healthy aliveness if I really find a way to lean into it?

It’s been a truly fascinating experience to witness my own wiring for emergency unwind more and more and more. Boundaries coming online. Physical energy coming online. Capacity to hang in community clear and present. Desires for drugs of any kind (even coffee) growing smaller and smaller. And with all of this, tinges of resistance. Not because I’m in that phase of fearing for my life, but simply because the healthy aliveness is sometimes startling. It’s like I’m on a whole other planet of self.

(When the emergency’s over, a healthy fun juicy enlivening lifestyle helps keep the emergencies at bay.)

If you’re in that liminal space between post-emergency and longing for a return to aliveness, feel free to write and tell me everything. I’ve got a Breaking the Trauma Spell Program that is consistently helping clients through the post-emergency stage, and am really happy to see if it could possibly be helpful for you, too.

So much love to you all. Wherever you are, may you be gentle with yourself. We each follow our own inherent treatment plans that sometimes include long bouts of time storing the ache as a way to stay safe. It’s all wise. It’s all good.


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