April 23, 2024

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Be at Home Within Yourself

In each chapter of Dr. Thema S. Bryant’s new book, Reclaim Yourself: The Homecoming Workbook, she provides a brief overview of a psychological concept, followed by therapeutic exercises to help you explore and apply the concept, as well as Indigenous wisdom to bring the concept to life in a holistic way. 

The following is an excerpt from the first chapter, Internal Signs of Disconnection.

By Thema S. Bryant

Indigenous Wisdom 

In many Indigenous cultures, when a person is distressed or despairing, the healer will ask them a variation of these questions: When did you stop singing? When did you stop dancing? When did you stop sharing and listening to stories? When did you lose connection? I invite you to consider this truth: Music is healing, movement is healing, speaking and bearing witness are healing, and connection is healing. If you look at the timeline of your life, there were likely moments or seasons that stole the music from your voice, that made your body feel too weighed down to dance, that made you go silent, and that made you disconnect or check out from the world around you. 

Can you recall a time when you laughed more, sang loudly, danced freely, and had the capacity to trust? Who and what took that from you? Did your breath and movement and voice change after the violation, abandonment, rejection, deception? You are on this journey to reclaim yourself and to get back the freedom and authenticity that are your sacred rights. Even if you cannot recall a time when you sang, danced, spoke, and connected freely because the stress and pain started so early, there is still within you the capacity for liberation. On some days, in some moments, I bet you have felt it. Perhaps at sunrise or in the rhythm of a certain song or when someone trustworthy looks into your eyes or when you sit at the beach there have been snatches of freedom, glimpses of your authentic self, a longing for the fullness of life that keeps calling you. It is there. You are there. The pain, stress, and trauma may be storm clouds overshadowing that truth, but beyond the thunder and lightning is your inner self calling you home. 

The trauma is not the thing that made you wiser or stronger. It is your internal resources and the supports that you had along the way that help people to heal. The trauma, in and of itself, is devastating, but we pull the wisdom out of our wounds.

In this moment, you can begin to access your free self. Even if it feels forced or unnatural, I invite you now to let your body sway. I invite you now to let yourself begin to hum. I invite you to let your face touch the sun, or your hands touch water, or your feet touch the earth. I invite you now to begin to tell the truth of your story—just a piece of it.

Many people call me_____________________________________________________________. 

In this moment, I call myself____________________________________________________.

The experience of ________________________________________________took my song, dance, voice, and trust, but I am here to reclaim all of me. I will sing, dance, speak and hear truth, and, yes, I will love. 

Reclaiming myself and my connection to others may be________________________.

I am choosing this journey because_____________________________________________.

Excerpted with permission from Reclaim Yourself: The Homecoming Workbook, Copyright 2024 by Dr. Thema S. Bryant.