When the retreat is over: 10 signs to let you know your withdrawing!

Being a healer is more than just burning sage. It is a call to action, its a conjuring up, it is a witches brew of personal freedom and collective liberation. It is about being reparations when the state refuses, its about restoration of the spirit in a world that depletes it, its about regeneration of a peoples collective body in the aftermath of institutional oppression and its about the rebirth of nations and countries breaking the chains of internalized oppression. The smoke of sage is a spiritual call to action sending signals to our ancestors to hold us, to clear pathways, to keep us safe, to ground and root us as we fight in this human world.

Inspired by the work I did during the Black Womens BluePrint Truth and Reconciliation Commission this week and my bday this Friday. This Blog is dedicated to all the testifiers and participants of last weeks event and victims and survivors leading organizations and movements.


When the retreat is over: The feeling of WITHDRAWAL is Real. 

More and more of us, osisterhoodrganizers, social workers, victims and survivors are creating and attending events, workshops, retreats and trainings conjuring up, providing healing, opening up spaces within, listening to stories untold, making us think of things buried and hidden and holding up mirrors so we can step into another sisters shoes and another world.

These spaces can be magical because we are in community and sisterhood, people finally see and hear us and we feel like finally we belong to something. Two, three and four days we role deep, we see familiar faces and create new friendships, anything is possible, we build, we politic, we cry, we laugh and  we connect to what seems like the entire world and our lives all of a sudden make sense and THEN IT’S OVER!

Without preparation, we go back! We take airplanes, trains and automobiles back to our lives. Maybe for the first couple of days since the event we are high on life, doing, being in action with what we heard and what we realized about ourselves in relation to the world, we now have purpose!

But for many of us we go home afraid and in fear, we are exhausted from hearing  or telling of stories of violence and coming face to face with our biggest fears. Some of us may even feel a spiritual withdrawal feeling depleting energetically. While some of us go home  to only be reminded that there is no one there and you are now sitting with your “NEW NORMAL”. 

After hearing so many stories of violence you may have gotten triggered and found that you came home with an extra backpack full of your own story, full of questions about your past and future. What shaped me? Where is my community? Whose my tribe?

WITHDRAWING from these spaces is REAL and the feelings are pretty much like withdrawing from sugar, addiction and dis-ease. Our bodies go through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual withdrawal when we have to transition from healing spaces back into our personal lives.If you find your self going through some of these withdrawal symptoms know you are not CRAZY and you are not ALONE. 

10 Emotional Withdrawal Signs

  1. We find ourselves in bed wanting to sleep all day or have trouble sleeping because we are having vivid memories or nightmares.
  2. We don’t feel like we have energy to talk to anyone so we emotionally cut ourselves off. 
  3. The “New Normal” has us believing that no one understands us or everyone can see our story written on our faces.
  4. We don’t know how to explain what we experienced?
  5. We get real busy and may just want to forget so we avoid ourselves in every corner or mirror and avoid any possibility of thinking.
  6. We walk around getting triggered, upset, anxious and nervous. Seeing violence and our story in everything and everyone.
  7. We may even go back to disassociating or self care that includes by picking up addiction in our lives.
  8. We live our life as if the violence we have experienced is currently  happening  to us everyday. RIGHT NOW! 
  9. We go home and we are not the same person and we start to find fault in our relationship and partners and even make ourselves wrong.
  10. We feel shame, guilt, blame, disappointment and resentment and are now on constant guard.

Returning back and leaving such sacred spaces may present amazing healing and transformation and also pose major challenges we are never quite prepared for. We may find it difficult to not only be ourselves but we may not even know or start questioning who we are? How will we disclose to our friends and family our new story that maybe something happened in our past that has resurfaced? Do we tell, will they understand? How do we go back to being a wife, and a mother, a partner and  a lover when we realize we ourselves are victims of abuse  and violence and everyone feels like a perpetrator right now?  Will we be able to pick up where we left off?

Going from safe spaces back into an unsafe world is hard, but you are not going crazy and you are not alone. Please Stay connected, reach out and in the future get someones phone number who attended the event with you and set up a time to keep in touch or find them on social media and reach out. Do something bigger than you so you can stop focusing on your own story. Support your body in emotional release so you can physically release trauma by doing exercise, crying, shaking, punching pillows. Light candles to stay connected to your inner light and create an altar for you and your ancestors asking for compassion and strength on this journey of grieving who we were, knowing that this too shall pass.

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