Energy loops? Another layer of “reexperiencing”

I can’t remember the first place I read the term “energy loops,” but it almost immediately resonated with my experience of a particularly challenging trauma recovery phenomena. You’ll have to excuse the less linear nature of my attempt to describe something so abstract.

In the mental health field, we tend to focus on reexperiencing as a mental and nervous system response to trauma. Or perhaps from an Ericksonian hypnosis perspective we might say that it’s a pattern completion process. We develop defense mechanisms to “prepare” for the possible repetition of a threatening event, playing out a sequence of mental, emotional, and physiological responses following a trigger of some sort, as if the original traumatic event were happening now.

We do this to save vital time and be prepared for some kind of action or protective state. Sometimes it’s more psychological in nature, with anxiety and rumination creating a sense of foreboding in relationships or certain environments. Other times it is very physical, and felt primarily as a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, or a “wired” feeling.  It can even be more unconscious such as in the context of distressing dreams, or dissociative like flashbacks.

All of these examples are pervasive and common responses to trauma, that benefit tremendously from some of the techniques that trauma therapy really excels at providing. At a certain point the mental/psychological aspects are pretty well managed, with the original experience uncoupled from the superficial triggers. A “wise mind” or supportive internal parent narrative might soothe one’s way through the experience quite effectively. 
Then we move towards the somatic resolution of these responses, helping to shift nervous system response. Or in my approach, build tolerance to activated nervous system states so that in genuinely tense situations we can maintain conscious presence even while physiologically activated. Beautiful! This is a great accomplishment and brings so much relief in one’s life.

But sometimes a curious experience can start to emerge: one identifies the presence of a trigger, waits for the emotional or physical response which doesn’t happen, but then feels strangely “off” or incomplete.

I would personally describe it as the anticipation of a trauma response that doesn’t play out, a feeling of disturbance that is hard to address because without those “symptoms,” your coping strategies can’t seem to touch it.

I remember having the thought during an energy session I was receiving, that this phenomena seems a lot like what I have heard described about phantom limb syndrome. Your nerves are sending signals to your brain about a (in this case physical) part of the self that isn’t there anymore. Because it isn’t there, it’s hard to interrupt those signals or resolve it. This is the energetic level of reexperiencing.  

I see this as similar to the idea of energy loops, which is when a traumatic or intense situation produces a strong enough vibration that it creates its own energy cycle. This holds a momentum quality, or kinetic energy, that perpetuates itself until interrupted. Or perhaps you can think abut it like a large droplet of water becoming too big for the membrane to hold, and it breaks off into multiple droplets that land in different places. I agree with the perspective I have heard shared by many mediums, that frequently situations described casually as “hauntings” or ghosts are really just energy loops that profoundly effect whoever is nearby.

If we draw a line between what is experienced on the mental-emotional-physical level of experience and the energy body or energetic system, then when we resolve a trauma response on this first level it creates a gap in the energy body which needs to be repaired (remember the smaller drops of water). In my view a part of repairing these gaps or inconsistencies in the energy body requires identifying any associated energy loops originating from other experiences including from past lives.

This is part of why I believe that learning to work with your own energy is so essential to trauma recovery. Because while it is extremely beneficial to work with a skilled practitioner to address aspects of this, it requires maintenance that (like any sort of “treatment”) is most easily addressed by responding in the moment of awareness.

Similarly prevention is better than cure, and learning how to move vibrant and connective energy through the body on a regular basis can help us to be more aware and less vulnerable to energetic disruptions and loops. One of the easiest ways to do this is through connection to the elements in the natural world. Syncing our energy to components of nature and allowing that quality to flow through the body is an intuitive way of working with what we might call Reiki or universal energy.

The energy of natural elements (air, fire, water, and earth) as well as plants and trees especially, are hugely nourishing to our systems. The perennial suggestion to hug a tree is a great example. Earthing and forest bathing are as well.  Perhaps we can see this as a version of creating new energy loops that are grounding and supportive.

An outline for grounding into supportive, Elemental energy loops:

Choose an element you feel naturally connected to (the beach, sunbathing, watching birds, tending to plants, lighting a candle or even cooking)

Allow yourself to turn into your unique frequency of your body. Feel your breath, your heartbeat, your nervous system energy

Allow yourself to feel the flow of energy in your body, and let it grow and extend through your aura (about 2-5 feet out from the body)
Can you perhaps “see” that energy field around you?

Now tune into the energy of the element of your choosing, how are you aware of its energy? How does it move, flow, change, what expressions resonate for you now? (Use your senses)

Allow the edges of your energies to make contact.

Ask if you can bring some of that energy into your own body.

Notice the unique qualities of that energy now. How does it effect you?

Continue running the energy through your body, paying special attention to places in your own energy field where you feel disconnected.

Take as much time as you like, until you feel grounded into a more support “loop” of energy

With practice, we can begin to bring that ability into “on the spot” application, and as our capacity increases we can bring it with sufficient force to interrupt discordant or disruptive energy loops with new ones.

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