butterfly, unbroken, heal, trauma, Karyn Shanks MD

Can you feel it?

Dear One,

As I watched the inauguration this past week, I was amazed at the powerful shift I felt inside me. So hunkered down for the past several years, protecting myself in a bubble of soothing softness and prayerful hope for deeper understanding, peaceful reckoning, and global healing, I didn’t realize I was holding my breath. Just a bit. For years.

And that was it. I was able to breathe—more deeply, freely, and with an ease I’d forgotten about.

Can you feel it too?

A shift?

Knowing we’re on the precipice of extraordinary change?

A sweet energy of lightness we’d forgotten? A surge of hope that our futures can be something else? Something better, brighter, and more directable? Transcending darkness and foreboding into beautiful possibilities?

I feel it too.

Extraordinary change is not easy.

The promise is there. The inspiration is there. Very real possibilities for healing are before us. Our hope has been rekindled that we—individuals, communities, world—can co-create the healing we need.

But it won’t be easy.

Extraordinary change requires extraordinary recovery when we’ve been deeply hurt.

And extraordinary change requires pure savvy and guts to navigate the paradox change presents to us.

The paradox of change.

We’re intrinsically wired for change.

The challenge of it strengthens genetic expression, every aspect of our biology, and how we think and see the world.

But we’ve been hurt. We’ve felt the pain of trauma biology.

We’ve experienced how resistant we are to change in the face of crisis.

Trauma biology does not want us to shift. It wants us to stay small and scared to stay out of harm’s way.

We’ve been in crisis mode for so long, we might feel stuck and fearful.

A gentle strategy to shift the biology of change.

While trauma biology is our human genetic legacy, we’re not fixed by our genetics. We can work with fear and resistance to ease ourselves into change.

Change will always reveal our survival impulses.

Of course, we’re scared.

We can feel scared and still step up to change.

Let yourself feel. Honor all of it, knowing the fear and resistance have their purpose. Ask your feelings what they have to teach you.

Are you in real danger?

Or feeling the biology of change?

Soothe and settle the biology of change.

Gently acknowledge fear and resistance.

Breathe, soften, stay curious, feel …

Observe it all with compassion.

Thankyou but I don’t need you right now.

Use your powerful words.

Use your words to energize change, galvanize clear intentions, and mobilize creative action.

Harness the fuel of change-resistant trauma biology.

Create a change manifesto.

We know we’re built for change. We will go forward living from our strength, stepping out of fear (even if afraid), breathing into resistance, trusting our truth that will not be denied. Taking chances. Allowing for mistakes. Radiating our light all around us.

Can you feel it?

Gently, beautifully, courageously shifting into extraordinary change.



Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *