Archive for May, 2014

Recently a lot of things happened to me.  I won’t go into it all, but a lot of gut-wrenching, confusing, ugly things piled up in the span of about 3 weeks.  Tears were shed, I noticed my shaking voice and shaking hands as I tried to compose myself and make sense of what was going on with this pile-up of misfortunes in one area of my life.   Maybe there is a “reason” that these things are happening… to get my attention about something.

So I started wondering:  what does shaking “tell us”?  What about being shaken up by events in life?

When We Shake Because of Life

Why do we tremble or shake sometimes?  There might be vibrations, agitation so deep it’s involuntary; equilibrium is being disturbed somehow.  I know my arms start to shake in yoga if I’ve held downward-facing-dog for too long.  Shaking can be a sign of your muscles working so hard they are threatening to give out.

Sometimes when I tremble it’s because I’m emotionally thrown off or upset and my body is trying to cope.  It’s a sign I’m attempting to adapt to what’s happening around me.

As a psychotherapist who specializes in trauma, I also know that shaking can be part of the trauma response, even years after the actual event has ended.  Often there is pent up “fight-or-flight” energy stored in the body and, when finally discharged in therapy, can come out in a physical release, including shaking, crying, etc.

Of course, most people think it uncivilized or inappropriate to shake, cry or flail–all of which are the body’s natural pressure valve, the way the body normalizes following a trauma.  So, let yourself feel, let yourself move, allow yourself to let go.  Trust you are shaking for a good reason.  Listen for what that reason might be…

I know anxiety, anticipation, fear of uncertainty may be present for me if I feel myself start to shake.  Our bodies often give clues as to what’s going on for us–there’s a physical sensation that “goes with” an emotional or psychological phenomenon.

When Life Shakes Us Up

Let’s contrast here, what about feeling “shaken up”?  How is that different? 

Feeling shaken up is often more about things happening that are unsettling, things going wrong in some big ways followed by an Aha! moment.  Maybe we are shaken out of a place of being stuck, dislodged from a place we may not have even been fully aware we were at a full-stop, unmoving, or not growing. 

Sometimes you might be shaken up and realize you need to get out of a familiar-but-abusive relationship or a work-place.  But leaving the familiar means opening to a non-abusive yet unknown place.  Sometimes it’s a wake up call to look to the bigger picture and what really matters.  Being shaken up can be an opportunity, even a blessing, to awaken to the previously hidden realities of a harmful situation.

Whether physically shaking or emotionally waking up to stagnation in our lives, the data we get from these experiences can increase our awareness of what’s really going on and invite us to ask ourselves what we want to do about it.  It can be an opportunity to be curious about how our overall equilibrium was disturbed (is there a status quo you are no longer “ok” with, one that needs to change, needs to be thrown off perhaps?). 

Are you working too hard for too little gain?  Are you staying in a toxic situation when it no longer makes sense to do so?  Have you grown complacent to a bad situation you’ve refused to acknowledge is growing toxic?  Or maybe you know it’s toxic and just haven’t found the time to DO anything about it?  Your body, your mind, hell, The Universe may be tugging on your sleeve to  w  a  k  e    u  p!

Maybe it’s time to listen deeper.  Maybe it’s time for a change.  The Shake-Up may be trying to say ‘Trust and be open to the unknown’ or ‘You are worthy of a better situation, don’t waste another minute here!’.  If life has shaken you up, maybe even try shaking your body and see what it feels like!  Shake and awake!  Connect with this shake-up situation and invite the wisdom in.

Pay attention to the trembling self, to the shaken up self. 

Sometimes you need to shake off the things you can’t control, or take control of the things that are no longer serving you. 

Awaken to the reality you are allowing in your life. 

Make the most of the things you can control and find a way back to the big picture of what brings you the most joy.  Trust the shake up!


current music faves:  sharon van etten, icona pop

current show faves:  the good wife, silicon valley, grey’s anatomy

breakfast today:  sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, iced tea

Visit me at www.erynsmithmoeller.com

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