On being triggered and leaning into practice

Yesterday, I talked about how I’m learning about the silence that’s invited in by my practices. And this week, I am insanely grateful for that. (And this is also where I practice vulnerability. Which is hard.)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently studying to become a mental healthy counselor. This semester, I’m taking Psychopathology, which is the class we go over psychological disorders and distresses. In this class, you can do service learning or an Issue Expert (IE) paper. Given my “lots of things up in the air” schedule right now, adding something else in there to play the Tetris scheduling game did not seem appealing – mind or spirit. So, I opted for the IE paper. What I’m looking at is a potential addition to the new Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) of a diagnosis of non-suicidal self injury (NSSI).

This is tricky for me, as I am a former self injurer. And while I’m not feeling triggered in the sense that I need to stop reading, memories from the years I self injured are surfacing. I keep finding myself working to ground myself, to keep breathing. Part of the triggering is feeling that that part of my life was real, that it’s being seen, even though I’m no longer actively engaging in those coping behaviours.

There’s a fluttering in my chest that I notice, that flicker of recognition and internal nodding of, “Me too.” And learning how to work with it and not be swept away? That’s part of the practice I work with when I bring my thoughts back to my breath, my attention back to my feet on the mat, when I bring my focus back to the prompt on the page. Again, and again, and again. This is the practice. Come back to what is right now. This is how I practice, off the cushion/mat/page.

This is why I practice.

Singing Bowl and Cushion

How do parts of your practice show up in your daily life? How does that influence the story in your head?


If you struggle with self-injury, please know that you are not alone.
Call 1-800-DONTCUT [366.8288] for help and information.


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