By Kevin Kunkel
We call a boogeyman a boogeyman because it seems scary and we don’t want to face it. They are the actions and decisions that conjure up fear because they will initially be painful or hard, even if it is for your obvious long-term benefit, and so we don’t want ot face it. Yet facing the boogeyman in our life can make the difference between you living your life from an empowered place or staying stuck in maladaptive, reactive patterns that can create disorder in your mind and body.
A few common boogeymen could be: the reality of your aging body’s needs; unprocessed grief, anger, depression, anxiety, or an old thorny relationship, amongst others.
As comedian Louis CK comically validates in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhtI-_NNXy8, when we avoid and hold back our sadness, loneliness, or anger, it is a process within us that also causes us to not fully feel the positive emotions of joy and happiness. Similarly, when we avoid certain actions or decisions in one area of our life, this is a process with in that leaves us less empowered and prone to avoid the next struggle we are faced with.
It is common to have lingering boogeymen due to experiences or emotions we thought we dealt with, but really weren’t. There’s no wonder it is common to respond in life with maladaptive patterns that don’t truly benefit yourself nor deal effectively with the issue. Life can be fast and confusing, and at times, overwhelming. Often we do the best we can with the skills we have, and we move on. It’s normal that at times our best response to life experiences proves inadequate and we are left with the resulting dysfunction building up in our lifestyle and our health.
As well, our brain and ego are often part of the reason we get stuck. The brain’s main function is to keep us alive and safe. Unfortunately, what feels familiar is often mistaken as safe, even if what is familiar is actually quite dysfunctional or no longer an action that best serves us at this stage of our life.
Lynn’s story is an example of how unprocessed material in one area of life can wreak havoc on our health, but listening to the body’s message can allow us to deal with the boogeymen and restore our wellness.
Lynn was referred to me by her medical doctor due to her body feeling overwhelmed, nearly depressed, and struggling with persistent medical symptoms that were not going away in spite of positive dietary changes and a host of high quality supplements. Her body felt as though it had become stuck and stagnant. Fortunately, Lynn was able to listen well enough to the signals of her body and mind to know that the past grief from the deaths of several family members in close succession was still in her, insufficiently processed. She had a hunch, an awareness, that this “below the surface” grief was slowing her body down and hindering her ability to get well. As we supported her body and mind’s releasing of the sadness, trauma and heaviness associated with losing so many close loved ones, her symptoms began to improve; she gradually had more energy to do the daily rituals (yoga, meditation, walking her dog) that provided positivity and hope. As she increasingly felt safe in our work together, Lynn began to make sound decisions that reflected her ability to honor what her body and heart were directing her to do even if it felt painfully wrong and against what she “should” do based on past conditioning. She courageously was facing what she termed the boogeymen in her life, and her physical and mental health continued to improve due to it.
The Akasha Center has a variety of practices that offer different ways to support you. For some, it may be as simple as taking walks in nature, eating more comforting food, or creating a small window in the evening time just for yourself. What’s the way that your body and mind could best find balance today? Your body is constantly telling you, it is a matter of attuning your listening skills and seeing the importance of the information you are getting, honoring it. Perhaps something simple at first; when you begin to honor yourself in even what seems like small ways, you build the process within of honoring what you need. It is then the growing familiarity and dedication to honoring this inner voice of what’s right for you that becomes the light that burns through the fears of the boogeymen that may walk in your path.
Kevin is a Somatic Therapist integrating the healing of the body and mind. He is a Certified Massage Therapist and LIcensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He has an MA in Clinical Somatic Psychology, additional certifications in Structural Integration and Hakomi Techniques for Bodyworkers, and has also taught breath work, yoga, and meditation for the past 15 years. You can schedule an appointment with Kevin by emailing us at email@example.com