Kinhost dot Org

3 Inches to the Left

This is a mindfulness & presence technique for people with chronic pain, chronic illness &/or somatic (body-based) trauma that may be triggered by traditional body-based presence/grounding techniques such as progressive relaxation.


For Folk with Chronic Pain Issues & Chronic Diseases

If doctors & therapists knew what we were going through, they'd likely say we should be getting proper pain treatment.

But there's significant stigma and, let's say' the realities of navigating pain management, health insurance, the trauma of medical neglect for years or even our whole life — it all may just be too much to ask for disabled folk to be able to fight for pain medication.

and dissociation may be our only way to manage unthinkable levels of pain. A doctor may see us "looking ok" and not realize we're dissociating from a 6-8 (of 10) pain level daily. They think we're faking and fishing for pain medications. So we need to manage our own pain because the therapist isn't talking to the doctor and vice versa to check in about what level of pain management is needed. It's too much work for people low on spoons.

For Folk with PTSD

When your body senses that you're back home in your body (and not otherwise "too busy" with survival tasks), it may send all PTSD "pending messages" for unprocessed somatic trauma (amongst other traumas) to the forefront, retraumatizing you.

"Three Inches to the Left" (of our body)

This is our own technique we use and describe to others — so it's also a plural community technique we have described and gifted to the community. Being aware of what our body is feeling and doing can be like operating a vehicle. We can experiment with our tolerance of how close we can get to being "in" our body with caution, and this can be a very helpful alternative to the pressure to be fully in our body that comes from many singular practices.

  • Being in the room with one's body
  • Having control of our body
  • Being mindful of the body & senses
  • …while not fully in it

Since our body is our sole source of life support in Human Space, it's a good idea to stay nearby and make sure it's OK. Thankfully this doesn't require being in our body although many singular neurotypical folk with no lived trauma experience may think it's the easiest way to become present, and often will present grounding techniques as what they feel are "low hanging fruit" methods of getting out of panic mode.

The effect that you're looking for is being very aware of your body without being in it. As if we're out of place, not settled fully in, we like to say "3 inches to the left" — close enough to monitor what's going on for our body, to stay in control of what our body is doing, and even know what our body is feeling so that we're not ignoring any pain or distress signals but also enough out-of-sync or distant enough that our body doesn't go "Oh good you're home! By the way you left these messages here."  and then attempts to upload every unprocessed physical issue to you resulting in somatic flooding (chains of body flashbacks).

See Also