Episode 21 - Functional Healing

In this episode I am peeling back the curtain on what I REALLY believe about healing from trauma using my concept of functional healing.

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Episode 21 - Functional Healing


Hello Hello Hello how is everyone! I’m a little nervous about today’s episode because I’m going to be really really honest with you about my beliefs and my opinions on healing from trauma and I know it may rub up against some of you and it may feel like i’m being harsh or rude. But that is not at all my intent. I really believe that healing is my life’s work and I am so passionate about healing trauma and about healing as a global community so my ask of you if you should continue listening to this episode is that you take it in with some openness - doesn’t mean you have to agree. You are you and I am me and we won’t always agree. But I believe that if you can really listen to this - that a lot of you - your lives will change completely and you will open up a whole new door for yourself that you didn’t even know was there. 


Okay - so here we go. 


Today i’m talking about functional healing. And I made a youtube video about this - but i’m also podcasting about it today because i’m going to really flesh the concept out for you. 


So - Functional healing - what is it?
Functional healing is my belief that you do not at all have to stop your life in order to heal from trauma. I believe that healing is a lifestyle - I believe it is our life’s work especially in the context of attachment trauma, developmental trauma, childhood trauma this deep emotional stuff that sort of makes its way into your structures of self. The structures of who you are as an individual - in terms of your physiology - your mind - your emotions - your spirit - your whole thing - your whole system as a human.

Those of us who have grown up in family systems with really deep rooted dynamics of abuse and unhealthy patterns - who have come into this incredible healing work - we are really making this a lifestyle. And I include myself in that group.


But many of us - we are healing from this stuff while working and parenting and spousing or volunteering or performing and delivering some really great work and some great results in our lives. And sometimes that is hard. That can be difficult right - you want to kind of just stop sometimes and feel like you need to almost stop - but something within you keeps you moving your life forward. But you feel like a lack of energy, some emotional pain, some depression some anxiety - maybe your relationships suffer from some unhealthy dynamics some codependency - right - but for the most part - you’ve made a life for yourself. You’ve made a good life and so even though you may suffer from some emotional pain or any of the symptoms i just mentioned - you don’t want to just stop everything and stop your life to heal. You want to KEEP living your life - you want to keep producing results - maybe you want to branch out into a different form of work - creative work - or starting a business or whatever - but you want to keep functioning. You want to keep creating and contributing and keep your social life and you want to just enjoy your life. You don’t want to have to stop your life in order to heal. 


And I think there can be a huge misconception out there that healing from traum means you have to quit your life and stop and go to some monestary or retreat for a few months to heal. And if you want to do that - you are more than welcome to. But I’m talking to the people who, like me - want to continue having a really great life - but also want to go deeper into their emotional healing work - their trauma healing and nervous system healing work. But they don’t want it to take them out of the game. They don’t want to be out of commission - they don't want to have to leave their life for a couple years to heal.

And if that’s you - I want to tell you - you do not have to. You do not have to stop your life in order to heal. If you want to - than absolutely do so - trust yourself and listen to your heart - but if you don’t want to - if you want to keep working and performing at a high level - than you can absolutely do so.

My approach, this functional healing concept that I have developed is something that is near and dear to my heart. Because I come from that background of being a very hard worker - of being a high-achiever - and over-achiever in many cases - able to deliver and to produce pretty amazing results while being in emotional pain.


And in the thick of my recovery - I never wanted to stop producing those results in order to heal. I wanted to find a way to keep my life and the results that I had created WHILE finding a way for my inner life to match that. I wanted to work from a place of joy, from a place of creativity, from a place of freedom. I wanted to enjoy the results and winning rather than constantly pushing myself and beating myself up to achieve those results - i wanted the high-performance without the performance anxiety and i wasn’t willing to quit my life to get there. And so for me, I developed a way to still live my life and function and build healing - deep emotional healing that was not by any means comfortable or cozy into my life so that I could create alignment, flow, peace, and a sense of joy and grounding and connectedness into my life.


And you know - i have to say - if you listen to the first episode of this podcast - the episode about how i don’t like the term trauma survivor - you’ll gain a deeper understanding and find some more context on my perspective on this okay. But i think the word trauma scares people and I think talking about emotional health can scare people.Because intuitively there’s a subconscious knowing that this work is very deep work and very powerful work and that this work has the power to really change everything but that it’s going to take some commitment and discipline on our part. And so many people are afraid that it’s going to take them out - right that they’re not going to be able to perform and they’re not going to be able to do their great work in the world if they’re spending all their time healing. 


And I really want to challenge that stigma. And I really want to bring some awareness to the fact that you know you really can heal and have a wonderful life and actually increase your performance and actually make your life better with healing. And you don’t have to sit there and re-hash your life story and you know lose your functioning in order to heal. Because the new science of trauma healing has given us the keys to the kingdom - the keys to our physiological system - our nervous system so that we now have the tools and the expertise and the knowledge and the awareness to move our lives forward with healing and moving deeper in our healing practices and tools.


The simple fact is - we all experience some form of trauma. We all need healing in some capacity. And it’s important that we learn that emotional work, nervous system work, this is work for EVERYONE. Not just people who have had extremely abusive/neglectful childhoods. This is the work that makes our global community better, and more whole and more connected.


And, I want to spend some time examining this fallacy that you have to stop your life and stop your work in order to heal. This doesn’t mean we can’t take breaks - this doesn’t mean we don’t rest. This doesn’t mean we don’t care for ourselves. Okay - it just means you don’t have to become a recluse in order to heal. 


So in order to examine this fallacy i’m going to use a coaching tool called the model - i’ve talked about this extensively on my podcast. I have taught this extensively to my clients and i really think this will help you gain an understanding of your life. 


So the premise of the model is that our thoughts create our results - not our circumstances. So our thoughts about our circumstances are what creates our results.
Okay - so.

The circumstance is trauma. 

And our thought about our trauma in a lot of cases is that - healing from trauma means i have to put the brakes on my life. I have to stop my life. 

And that makes us feel - what - afraid. Weak. 

And when we feel afraid - we avoid working with our trauma - we avoid healing. We don’t want to focus on the past - maybe we bury our pain. We run from it. We over work to avoid it or over drink or over eat. And then we feel more symptoms of the trauma - more depression, more self-loathing - more anxiety - more shame. .

And then the result - is that we do not heal. 


See we have all these thoughts - i can’t work because of my trauma - i’ll have to stop working or i’ll be a bad mom if i focus on healing trauma - it’s selfish and indulgent for me tot take time to heal from things that happened so long ago. Or my life will get worse if i focus my intention on healing. 


But those are just thoughts. And we need to question those thoughts - because those thoughts keep us shut down - they keep us in fear and they keep us disconnected from ourselves. And they keep us closed off to the possibility of real healing.

And then what happens is - we crash. Because our system can no longer handle pushing down the pain and running from the pain. 


And so we swing from the extreme of pushing onward and ignoring the trauma and neglecting our emotional health and then to the opposite extreme of coddling ourselves and isolating and hiding from our life and hiding from our responsibilities. 


And what I want to suggest here - is that there is a sweet spot in the middle. Whereby we can pay attention to ourselves - we can seek support and we can build healing into our daily life so that it actually progresses our functioning. It helps us feel better, perform better and relate and connect better to ourselves and others. 


This is what’s possible. And this is where it really gets good. And it really gets juicy. 


And earlier when i used the word coddle - i’m not suggesting that we don’t show ourselves love and compassion. I’m not suggesting that we don’t take rests and breaks when we need them.  But I don’t believe that stopping your life altogether is always the solution - and i don’t believe that it is always helpful and beneficial. I liken it to a physical injury right - we want to rest and take time off -but we’ve got to do the painful work of the physiotherapy and we’ve got to work those muscles as painful as it is so that we can restore function. 


Because this is what we want. We want restoration of function. We want to be able to be friends and spouses and parents, we want to be able to create and produce in the world - and contribute to the world - we just want to feel good when we do it. And i am offering to you - that you absolutely can do that and you can get there. And the way you get there is by practicing functional healing. Healing as a lifestyle.


I say all the time we are healed and we are healing at the same time. My life is great! I have a great career, I have a home and a marriage and I have been very successful at many things and i am proud of that and i love that about myself - AND i also experience flare-ups - bouts of codependent thought patterns - my nervous system brings up big huge rocks that I now have the capacity to feel and flow with and experience painful and uncomfortable as they may  be. And sometimes yes i do take a day - or a break - or slow down, or seek support, or ask my husband to hold me when my nervous system experiences a wave of trauma release. Right - this is resilience. This is emotional honesty and being responsible for our lives. So my life is amazing and it’s also uncomfortable and painful. That is life. That is resilience. That is functional healing. So am I healed? 100% and i never stopped my life completely to get to where i am. Am I still healing? 100% and i continue to live my life while i heal. I continue to practice my healing practices and create time and space in my life for the healing to flow. And as i do so - my work gets better - my relationships get better  - my healing gets deeper - my physical performance gets better.

I really believe that’s possible for you too - to have a life where the inside matches the outside. Where you live in emotional honesty and groundedness - and you build within you the capacity and the resilience to experience some really hard stuff some emotional stuff that is by no means comfortable. I don’t believe your life has to get worse before it gets better. I believe you can be functional and heal at the same time - and really you can be more than functional and heal at the same time, you can really create some great results WHILE you are healing Right? 


The nuance - and the subtlety and the beauty is learning to build the healing into your life.  Into your lifestyle - so that yu don’t have to run from the trauma and the pain - but you also don’t have to stop your life to heal. 


Because here’s the thing - those of you who have stopped your life and maybe quit working to heal from trauma - many of you guys tell me that you’re NOT healed just because you stopped working right, or you took a break from your responsibilities - many of you want to get back to work and get back to your responsibilities you’re just afraid that you’re not capable of it  or that you can’t do it because of your trauma. And I want to teach you how to slowly but surely start working those muscles again so that you can get back to your life. It’s not your life that’s creating the suffering. It’s your thoughts about your life and your trauma and your body and brain’s physiological responses that are creating your suffering. THAT is where the work is and that does not change whether you’re out working and parenting, or whether you’re not. In order to heal you’ve got to build it into your life and make a commitment to yourself. 


And listen - i’m not talking about living the wrong life - if you’re living a life that’s not in alignment - if you’re in the wrong career or you feel like you’re in the wrong relationship - i’m not saying you have to stay in that.  You know I posted an Instagram post on my Instagram about functional healing and someone commented that they felt like they needed to stop and start being more connected to themselves and start working part time and really just slowing down their life because they were high-achieving and over-working and they felt like it was a trauma response. And I told her - you know I think that’s wonderful you listened to yourself and you listened to what you needed and you took a step back and brought awareness into your life and i think that’s truly wonderful 


but what I’m talking about is people who generally like your life and your results but want to take your emotional healing to the next level while you continue living a life that you generally enjoy. And that’s where I was when i started this work over 11 years ago now. Because no one’s life is perfect. As Brooke Castillo - a great teacher of mine would say - life is 50/50 you’re gonna be happy 50% of the time and you’re gonna feel like ass 50% of the time - the trick is how you respond - can your experience it all - can you relish in the human experience and expose yourself to that whole experience right? That is what this work does - that is what it can do for your life. 


So - what if we chose to think different thought? 

What if - the circumstance remaining the same - the circumstance being trauma was still there. We’re not denying the existence of it or the horror of the experience of it right. It’s there. It’s the circumstance.

But what if we thought differently about it. 

What if we thought and believed - Trauma healing can happen naturally if we learn to tune into what our bodies and brains need.
Or - what if we thought - trauma is an experience that I can recover from.

Or - what if we thought - my body has developed responses as a result of trauma that I can heal from with consistent practice and intention.

Or - what if we thought - Trauma is a natural part of life that I can heal from.

Or - My life gets better as i experience more healing.

Or - my body releases trauma naturally as i make time and space to feel my emotions.


So if you’re a person who is living a generally great life but knows there’s some emotional work to do - some trauma work. Of if you’re that person who has stopped your life to heal and you would like to get back to work or get some movement going in your life again - i want you to reach out to me. I know this stuff inside and out. And I can help you. I can help you on either side of that spectrum. I can teach you how to adopt this approach of functional healing. How to have a holistic and grounded life that you enjoy and that you’re proud of while you live a lifestyle of healing. 


Believe me - this stuff works - it’s not easy. But I can tell you that as you stay practiced and committed you will take your life and emotional health to places you really never thought were possible for you. I know from experience. 


So to work with me go to www.shylacash.com/workwithme and book your complimentary consult. If you have questions about this topic and if you wanna email me you can 


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