I noticed a pattern after my third workshop. About 50% of my workshops saw me developing a crippling back spasm the day of or the day before a workshop. I now know that my body was sending me a danger signal. I knew that something was off then, but without any idea about what it was, and therefore how to respond to it, I felt that my only choice was to proceed to the workshop with a spasm in the paradigm of "working and pushing into resistance might lead to a breakthrough," or not go to the workshop, not get to practice relationship skills and still not know what the back aches were all about. Everything seemed so fun and jolly at HAI workshops. What was the harm?
The back aches happened after the 1993 sessions with Peter Sandhill that left me feeling re-traumatized and afraid of looking at the truth to protect Peter, so it may be that this was my body alerting me that my mind was in denial of a pain/threat. It's hard to say for sure, because our culture demands the suppression of talking openly about many unhealthy dynamics by punishing those who speak up in various ways. I don't think anyone would dig deeply with me at a workshop if I raised my hand and said "I'm in pain and I know it has something to do with being here but don't know what." I typically find that I get avoided in this culture for this kind of thing, not helped.
Questions: What is the format that helps someone who has been dissociated from their body (most of us) who is getting alarm-signals from their body in the form of pain/spasms that correlate to a facilitator, team-member or the workshops in general? How could that be invited into an exploration of trauma? What is the best-practice for someone who is getting a body signal like this?
Concern: Western culture and parenting demands so much dissociation from both the body and deep emotional feedback that most people, including myself, cannot figure out how to decode the body's alarm protocols to keep ourselves and other's safe. Since people with complex PTSD, early childhood attachment trauma, abandonment issues, abuse from family members are all going to find themselves either dissociated or thrust deeply into the terrain in the psyche where these traumas took place, and since I have observed numerous people taking their cue in these moments not from their inner boundaries, but from what the majority of people in the room are doing, some tool, not currently taught needs to be in place or HAI will continue to lead people into re-traumatization and dissociation without the skills to know what's going on or protect themselves. The message that "All we need to do is learn to ask for the sex we want clearly, be willing to not take the answer personally, and learn about the mechanics that deprive many people of healthy touch and all will be well," is complicit in covering up the levels of sexual and spiritual and emotional abuse that the HAI demographic has grown up with statistically. At some point not dealing with the shadow side of relationships head-on sets people up for abuse, failure and shame. In 30 workshops no one helped me with this abstractly or directly.
Suggestion: "How many of you here are experiencing any form of spasm or pain that came up just before the workshop or now that you are here? How many of you know what it relates to? Are you all aware that the body often communicates issues that part of us has learned to suppress and that this requires work to undo? Who would like help understanding that in the next break? Why don't we work with one of you now to make the issue more conscious? Often one person in a group dynamic will carry the resistance/fear for an entire group so this person may be holding some of your stuff that the workshop brings up."