An event is a thing we pass through. It is momentary, fleeting, largely inconsequential. Any physical marks it leaves will eventually heal.

So why is it that a singular event can sometimes have such a drastically negative impact? Why are we burdened by things long past? How can trauma exist?

An event itself has no substance. We move through it like a ghost through a wall, noticing it and interacting with it, but unaffected.

Then it becomes memory. It is at the point of recall, the point of solidification as fact in our bodies, that events take on weight.

Memories are stored and recalled through networks of engram cells. The process of creating these networks begins directly in our DNA. In this way, the very foundation of our physical body increases in weight, engram literally meaning “to cause to be weighted.” (Books are heavier after they have been read.)

A memory is time made tangible, a piece of the moving world frozen in our genes.

And it matters not at all how accurate this still frame is to the objective world.

All that matters from the point we capture that moment is the color and texture and movement we give it. All that matters is what type of substance - warm and uplifting, or cold and terrifying - we create from that moment, because it is from this material that we then imagine our future.

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand because of this mechanism: similar brain regions are recruited in remembering the past and imagining the future, especially when those events are self relevant or self-defining. We are weighed down by what happened, and the future looks more of the same because our building blocks are tinged with burden and bad.

It is also thanks to this mechanism that memory is malleable.

The “what” of the event will never change objectively.

We have control of the “why.” We can sever the underlying emotional connection around which the memory collects and revolves. We can reimagine and reform that moment’s substance. We can alter an event’s movement and dimension to turn hard lead into light air, immaterializing trauma so it no longer matters.

Just because it happened to you, doesn’t mean it has to matter in you.

Practicing rearranging the meaning and feeling of a traumatic event does wonders for breaking trauma loops. Combining that practice with specific sensory input and neurological stimulus enhances the potency ten fold.

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