Shudders of the Past

I was sitting down for a moment and reminiscing. Websters says “indulging in enjoyable recollection of past events.”

I shudder at the definition.

Some would chime in and think… “Awe! it’s so nice to think back and remember something that is not dwelt on in the present!” A past of positive joy, position, or experience that leaps from the throat to the outer court. An exterior painting of respite, resplendent joy, or regal pride.

I shudder




  1. 1.

    (of a person) tremble convulsively, typically as a result of fear or revulsion.

    "I shuddered with horror"

    synonyms:shake, shiver, tremble, quiver, vibrate, palpitate"she shuddered at the thought"

I don’t “shudder” for myself as much as I shudder regarding the people that I have loved in the past who came to me limping, bruised, and scared.

I noted recent hype about the fact that there is even an on demand entertainment company or brand that provides 24/7 “Shudder” for fans that want to completely and utterly indulge their shaking, shivering, palpitating sides. Oh boy, I will pass on that subscription for sure, but I know a few in my circle who would jump and enjoy.

Shuddering to me is the images and movies I play in my head of real life happenings that are hard to make sense of because they are not a fictional story, but the real life kind of result from people beginning to put to words their story. There are who, what, where, when, how and the ever elusive why’s. The stories pour out like the water that invaded the shore of Japan being unable to run from the waves of 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Current figures indicate over 18000 people lost lives or became missing. Not to mention the thousands of others that were effected. I watched a documentary at one point reviewing how there are generations that don’t know how to mourn in certain areas or villages. A novel tactic in the film was that there is a phone booth located on a hillside garden facing the sea, that some remnants of families go frequently when they need to reach out to a lost loved one for advice, to express their loneliness or love, and hope that there will be another voice on the end of the line expressing or providing peace to the listener. It moved me and that is why I write about it here.

link to Japanese documentary -

Another shuddering happens to me when I listen to the stories of people that I treat in my office. Its energy source is not judgement, but empathy. It’s a shuddering that isn’t being played out in front of me in real life, but a shuddering that I hear with every drop of emotion pouring out of the story teller. All kinds of story tellers have come to me and told me things that they would not tell another soul, but their art of telling the story is what drives them toward healing, release and freedom. My director role, places me right in the process with them even though I did not write the story or have rehearsals beforehand, I press, I intimate new sound, I regard each second as though I am holding the bag of a thousand tears that have turned to diamonds, so I might ask the presenter where they want to keep their treasure now that it has been removed from tormenting their innards. I treasure my people, my gifts, my souls that come to me burdened and leave broken, but less bent. They are the most human I have known. They are my hero’s, who have called on resources and strength that is not their own to engage another day. To believe there is another fight. To move one more time toward the door, closet, boxes, chest, mausoleum of their past and pry open the rusted hinges, oil the squeaky gates, and delve into the past that they didn’t know what to do with on their own.

The shuddering that I consider the hardest are the ones that emanate from within me and sometimes don’t stop. I remember a time when I could not keep my limbs from moving, my mouth from raging, and my breath from catching. It was terrifying. It was not during the event. It was after the event. I was active, pointed, focused during the event maintaining all the calm within me so I might escape, avoid, be safe.

I shook every part of me after it was done, unable to do anything but curl my body against itself to prevent myself from injury. A ball. A mass of energy, exploding itself after I had held the black hole of the event in check so I would be unharmed.

I also know there are some memories that are recollections that are present that are like a still picture zoomed in. The ones where if there was just a few more degrees of angle captured in the frame I would have a place to rest my eyes on the edge, but since the focus of my fear was so fully engaged, there is no rest, no run, no safe.

Hold me with your eyes. Hold your tongue. Hold my soul in your presence. I just want to be held. I want to feel the physical touch of only one another who I trust, is unburdened, flawed, fearless and respects me from head to toe. I want to listen to something other than my thoughts so my mind is quiet, or the sounds are too loud so as to drown out every morsel of cookie in a vat of cream. My grey mass sweetened and slowed so as to calm my beating heart.

Shudders. Shudders of the past.

I am so happy to report that my shudders are not nearly as often nor as strong since I have been trained and took education on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR has revolutionized the treatment of trauma, anxiety, and post traumatic stress. It is even beneficial for myself as a practitioner of the healing arts, because the healing is done internally rather that painting the scene with words. I still hear real parts, and still get the idea of the colors, texture, and size of the art pieces, but the gallery or museum of the past memories is less a fully blown reenactment of the events, and more a still life painting at the Louvre, especially after we are several sessions into treatment protocols and changing the inner dialogue and life.

So, remember this. Shudders might happen from your past, but you don’t have to have them in your future like they are happening now or then.