"You can't smell the roses from a galloping horse." ~Chinese proverb

Apr 27, 2023

“You can’t smell the roses from a galloping horse.” ~Chinese Proverb

On Trauma, Running, and Slowing Down




It can feel like an imperative.


It can occur when you’re sitting still with those waves of emotion lapping the edges of tolerance.


Trauma-generated emotion, thoughts, or memories can have a lot of kick and the knee-jerk response to escape them is understandable. Why remember when it would feel so much better to forget? Running from the pain of the past makes sense.


Emotional running.


It comes in a lot of different forms. For example:


  • Working a lot
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Exercising a lot
  • Pursuing perfectionism
  • Relocating a lot
  • Isolation (this can be a form of running away from interactions with others, trauma triggers, or other potentially activating experiences)
  • Dissociation (separation from self, the body, from experience)
  • Moving between hobbies or passions in effort to fill internal emptiness.


Movement in whatever form can offer temporary relief from the intrusive nature of painful past.


At the same time, the eventual outcome can be the shrinking of external sources of satisfaction; there is a point at which we have tried all the things and realize nothing outside of us is going to take away what has happened and the corresponding consequences.  


Okay so then what? What happens when there is recognition that we are running from something that resides within?


This is one of those “fork in the road” situations. We can settle in and take a look at ourselves and what we are carrying, or we can continue to run.


Running is exhausting, though. And when we are moving through life attempting to get away from the inescapable, we miss out on a lot.


“You can’t smell the roses from a galloping horse.” ~Chinese proverb


We can choose to dismount the horse if we are ready. Sometimes, the dismount is brief. It still counts, though because that is a moment of stillness that didn’t exist before.


So, how do trauma coaches come in? What does a trauma coach do? How is this different from what a therapist might do? And how do therapists treat trauma, anyways?


Each time we give ourselves a minute to pause, observe and indulge the moment, we build our capacity to slow down for a little bit longer.


It’s like building a muscle. We are building on the courage and internal capacities that already exist. Muscles are the same as capacities in that they exist and the more we use them, the stronger they get. So slowing down is a way of building strength both to tolerate what we formally believed we couldn’t and to intentionally move in a more authentic direction.


Trauma can cause us to run from the past, which interferes with our ability to move towards the life we want to build for ourselves.


Trauma coaching techniques can help clients slow down by:


  • Building emotion management skills.
  • Practicing containing the past and saving it for therapy so clients can enjoy the present.
  • Work on sleep, healthy eating, and building good habits that are foundational to moving through past trauma with a therapist.
  • Provide supportive bridge appointments between trauma therapy sessions to build strength.


Essentially, trauma coaches are skills specialists.


Therapists are sort of like emotional surgeons. They go in and clean out the wound so it can heal properly. How exactly does therapy help heal trauma?


There are long explanations for this, but here is a short one. Essentially, traumatic memories are stored in ways that are different from “normal” memories. Different parts of our brain are involved, and these memories exist on their own and are sort of “frozen.” They don’t evolve or fade like normal memory and they are intertwined with the sensory and emotional content of the memory. And they can sneak up on you when you are exposed to a “trigger.” Here is a blog post I did on Trauma Triggers in the event you are interested:






Therapy essentially works to integrate trauma memories into consciousness in the same way other memories are. The result is these painful moments become more dilute, often have more of a narrative/before and after attached, and no longer intrude or have so much emotional kick.


There are many different types of therapeutic interventions that are designed specifically for trauma, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy), Somatic Experiencing (SE), Prolonged Exposure (PE), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and others.


Here is an article that explains trauma and the various modalities to treat it:




Trauma Coach and Trauma Therapist have the potential to work together for skill building and trauma resolution that supports survivors in moving through the past safely and successfully.


Together we can help our clients hop off that horse and take moment to move towards their best lives with intention and solid pacing.


If you want to learn more about Orenda’s online courses, here are our course options:




If you enjoy professional travel, we have a delegation in Italy in September 2023!




And, if you are interested in being a part of one of our communities, here is a link to those:





Take good care!



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