Below is an excerpt from my book Repair Your Life. Rhythm is the last letter in the acronym REPAIR. It stands for Rhythm.
“The path we took in life and the decisions we made at the crossroads were shaped by our experiences. As a child of sexual abuse, those experiences were a horror most people cannot imagine. Nor would they want to. People who were free to become all they wanted to be cannot know what it is like to live in a prison. In completing this program you are releasing yourself from that prison.
Once you are free, you begin to return to one of the greatest joys all living creatures have—their own rhythm. Even animals have their own rhythm and would fight mightily against anyone who tried to take it away. If you go back far enough, you can remember waking at the same time every morning and getting tired at the same time every night. You had a time for hunger, a time for energy, and a time for languor. Being a part of that natural rhythm brought joy as well as serenity. Life, predictable and comfortable, contained meaning and purpose. It was like a dance, one where we moved freely through our own universe, bending and swaying our bodies in time to our inner voices.
A newborn child has its own rhythm. They sleep through feedings or are constantly hungry, they eat at six hour intervals instead of four, they cry a lot or they’re quiet. They respond to Uncle Jake who has a delightful sense of play, or they cry when Grandma Benton with her loud, shrill voice, comes into the room. They are already their own unique personality with no one in the world quite like them. Their rhythm is not right or wrong, only different, but it is theirs. Your rhythm may be the only thing that is truly yours.
As a child of trauma, your natural rhythm was interrupted. Sexual violation shattered the serenity of your early rhythm. A child violated at the age of one has already established a natural rhythm. Once molested, the older the child grows, the more unnatural adaptations are made to their own rhythm. They hide their intense emotions out of fear of punishment and a parent’s rage. When laughing at the dinner table sends them to their bedroom without food, they learn to contain their sense of humor and playfulness. Building tunnels in the living room out of blankets and chairs, a marvelous example of a child’s creative nature, causes Mom to go into a fit of anger over the mess. The child learns to stifle their creativity.
As the years go by, out of a sense of fear, rejection, and feeling “less than,” the real person hides deeper and deeper until once into adulthood, little remains of that spontaneous, childlike human. The mask they wear contains a great deal of anger. Who wants to be somber when your nature flows with joy? Why pretend we are submissive when being strong-minded is the real us? Holding our bodies stiff when we inwardly crave hugs is a sad, almost anguishing part of so many humans.
Natural rhythm is just that—natural. It is the essence of who and what we are. Being able to return to it is freeing as well as strengthening. As was clearly illustrated earlier, we had gifts of awareness that could have enabled us to be and have whatever we wanted. All the tools for a happy life were taken away by the childhood sexual abuse. At birth we all had potential for the inner strength needed to deal with life’s problems. As a sexually molested child, we lost it.”
(To read more purchase a copy of Repair Your Life at any online book distributor like amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or from my publisher Victor Volkman at Loving Healing Press.)