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Unthawing: Part Two

I’m finally healing from my 1.5 year battle with Long COVID. I was bed-ridden for months, too weak to stand at my kitchen counter and make tea.

But the trauma stubbornly remains: I’m numb.

I’m having trouble experiencing joy and love. Life feels less colorful.

When I was sick, my body did the most benevolent thing it could for me: it numbed out the pain.

Now that I’m healing, I’m in the process of trusting my body again. I’m inviting aliveness back in.

This process is the same one I guide founders through. Their trauma often comes from a co-founder split, a dragged-out fundraise, or years of trying to find product-market fit.

With prolonged hardships, founders often feel indifferent, exhausted, and generally burnt out.

The process back to aliveness asks us this question: how can we be present with hard feelings?

I sat quietly with my numbness on the couch. I didn’t try to force it to be anything else.

I did the exact opposite: I welcomed and honored it. I thanked it for all the ways it’s protected me.

The moment I could be with the lack of feeling, I began crying. It was a gentle release of months of layers of protection surrounding me.

In an instant, my numbness began to unthaw so I could start feeling again.

It’s been a profound milestone in my journey back to health.

I’ve taken inspiration from several teachers, and I’ll highlight a few key lessons from each:

  • Thomas Hubl instructs us to be with numbness (or grief or fear) not to get rid of it, but to genuinely love it. You don’t truly love someone for their potential, you love them for who they are today. The same goes for your trauma and tension.

We don’t have to stop pain, it requires your present attention to simply be with and love it now.

  • Tara Brach encourages us to use presence as a portal to healing. To let go (or unthaw), you must be with the feeling now. Stop telling yourself life should be different, stop arguing with reality. That will only cause the trauma to contract more.

You must find time to be still and drop the thoughts. What’s the feeling under the thinking? Then you must hold it with utter and absolute love. Like a parent with a wounded or scared child.

I hope these teachings and techniques can offer peace to the feelings you automatically reject.

May they come home to your body so you may heal ❤️

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