I recently began volunteering at the University of Utah Hospital in the Newborn ICU where my micro-preemie, Makenna, was born. I have the privilege of walking around the unit and talking with parents, supporting them as they walk the unbelievable and amazing journey that is the NICU experience. I LOVE representing that there is life after the NICU, and sharing genuine empathy for what parents, and their babies, are living through.
Interestingly, when Makenna became aware of what I was doing, she began to ask a lot of questions about it. During this period of time I noticed that her behavior changed, and she was being increasingly triggered to anger. Then a few weeks ago she and I were at the store shopping for food and out of the blue she turned to me and said, “Why did the doctors hurt me when I was a tiny baby?”
Suddenly I connected her recent behavior with my volunteer work at the NICU, and the proverbial light bulb went on, illuminating the brilliant wisdom of her mind-body-spirit connection. My going up to the Hospital triggered her body memories of being hurt. Even though it was hard for me to hear her question, I rejoiced to know that it was up for her because she was innately ready to heal it. Isn’t that beautiful? All her pain and anger over it, which was inexpressible for her at the time, was nonetheless stored in her body. That is the brilliance of our “computers.” All input is duly noted and stored away for future reference.
As I considered what I know about that, I was reminded of the iceberg metaphor. Only 2% of the mass represents what, of my pain, fear, challenges, etc., is conscious to me. The other 98% is housed in my subconscious. The really interesting bit is that the 2% of consciousness I have uses spoken language to express itself. But the 98% that is subconscious is not silent. It, too, has language—the language of symptoms. These symptoms are caused by internalizing, disconnecting, or denying our experience. So rather than automatically medicating a symptom we can listen to it and see what it is trying to say. The good news is that symptoms speak to us when we are ready to heal their cause.
I realized that Makenna was showing me that she was ready to heal the frustration and anger that had been recorded in detail and stored in her body system. I honored that her wisdom knew she was ready, and she had the means available to do the job. I am grateful to her for reminding me to listen to symptoms, and love them for speaking and letting us both know she was ready. Because I finally listened to her body symptoms, their purpose was served.
I feel infinite love and gratitude towards our symptoms for speaking to us the content of that massive 98% of recorded history—our recorded history—that we are not even aware of, and knowing and trusting our ability to heal it. I invite us to be more aware of our symptoms and listen to them.
Tags: anger, computers, denying, disconnecting, empathy, heal, internalizing, language, listen, medicating, micro-preemie, mind-body-spirit connection, Newborn ICU, NICU, pain, parents, subconscious, symptoms, wisdom