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  • Writer's picturePastor Liz

A Body Knows

I have felt a rising level of anxiety in my body these past few days. An unsettled, unspecific fear of sorts. Dread maybe? I live with, and take meds for, anxiety but this is different. It’s a bodily memory. Our bodies remember things our mind have pushed aside. Trauma and anxiety live in our bodies long after we stopped noticing them.


We tend to think of trauma as surviving something, living through abuse, war, on-going crisis, constant fear. My therapist regularly reminds me that our body’s trauma response is far more sensitive then that. Meaning, our bodies can have a trauma response to an event or experience even if we don’t recognize it as trauma.


Four years ago we were repeatedly checking the news for any update about a new virus. Some thought it was being blown way out of proportion. Some thought we weren’t responding with enough urgency. All of us were really confused. Four years ago this was our last “normal week.” The stay-at-home orders would be announced a few days later.


On "this side" of a global pandemic my body not only remembers the constant fear and anxiety of those early days, it also knows the reality of what followed. 2020 Liz could never have believed the reality we would live through. Even my deepest mid-night anxiety could never have fathomed what would come. Four years later my brain struggles to comprehend the magnitude of grief for the 7 million who have died worldwide from COVID, 1.2 million in the United States. 775 million reported (we stopped counting some time ago) cases of COVID later there is no going back to “normal,” there will always be before and after. BC and AC, Before COVID and After COVID.


In 2020 I had a not-quite 2 year old, and now she is not-quite 6. She only knows life with “the germs,” wearing masks is her normal. I wonder what these last four years might have been if things had been different. I wonder about the lasting impacts and what the next 4, 14, 40 years will be like. How do we live with global trauma? Worse, how do we live with global trauma that has been quickly pushed aside? How do we live with unacknowledged grief?


A body knows.

A body remembers.

Your body knows.

Your body remembers.


Take a moment.

Place your hand on your chest and take a deep breath.

A breath that sometimes still hitches from the risk of it.

Take a breath for the days, weeks, months, years we have held our breath.

Over the course of a year we take one breath for every person who has died of COVID since March 2020 to date.

Take a breath heavy with grief.

Take a breath to remind yourself to keep breathing through the weight of anxiety.

One breath at a time.







Place your hand on her chest and take a deep breath.



This Sunday we'll continue our vivid question conversations.

So far, we've had two folx from our WildWood community, this Sunday we'll have a guest for our conversation. David Radcliff is from Virginia where he is the

director of New Community Project, a small non-profit. With a focus on environmental sustainability, social justice, and partnerships throughout the US and around the world, New Community Project provides resources that challenge, experiences that change, and a community that offers hope. I've asked David to attempt to take off his non-profit director hat and speak from his own religious and spiritual experiences. These podcast-style conversations have been really great and I'm excited for one more before Holy Week and Easter.

Sunday, March 17

4:00 pm


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