I’m settling into life with my new food choices. As time goes on, what I eat has become less and less a part of my waking thoughts, and more just something I do at certain times of day. I have not allowed myself to “cheat” because it is in those gray areas that I know I can become quickly sidetracked and lost. If I give myself an inch, I will take a mile, or at least I fear that I will. Until I can put this fear to rest, and trust my inner knowing a wee bit more, it is just easier to keep myself safe. Self-care is a requirement for change. I also find great comfort in having Crystal at my side, because I know she believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. She is gentler with me than I am with myself, and I need that.
I continue to work emotionally and spiritually with the traumatic experiences that have shaped my life and choices; shadows that need to be brought into the light. Carolyn Myss defines trauma as, “something that has happened to you that your reason cannot comprehend; a cruelty, a betrayal that your reason can’t absorb.” (Transforming Trauma, A Seven Step Process for Healing Trauma, by Carolyn Myss and James Finley, Ph.D.) The first time I listened to these words, I stopped dead in my tracks. It was profound for me. Eye opening. Oddly freeing.
Up until that point I could not see, nor accept, that my experiences were sufficiently “traumatic” to warrant attention. Therefore, I did not treat them as such, and they were not healed.
Myss goes on to say, “A trauma is…a cruelty, a betrayal that your reason can’t absorb. “Why are you hitting me….Mom…? Why are you molesting me….Dad…? Why are you doing this? What did I do? I’m only four. You’re the giant that’s supposed to protect me. I don’t understand this. How could you do this?” You can see through extreme examples how one’s world is shattered by trauma, but it can also be shattered by less extreme events.
Who among us has not experienced something in our lives that was not only painful, but in some manner incomprehensible? Perhaps as a teen, a best friend turned against us and we became the object of ridicule rather than respect; or a boyfriend betrayed us by going out with someone else while we were out-of-town; or our husband had an affair; or our sister, who was once our best friend and confidant, decides we’re no longer a priority. There are traumas of all sizes, from violent crimes and horrific accidents, to social structures that we once trusted implicitly that let us down. The size of a trauma is not the size of the event itself, so much as it is the way we experience it. So called “small” traumas, layered one upon another, without recognition or treatment, can lead to a life of chronic emotional, physical and spiritual pain, leading to a life of quiet desperation.
When we are not aware that we have been traumatized, and when we do not have the tools to give ourselves the love and self-care we need to heal, we turn on ourselves, with self-blame, criticism and isolation, and/or, we turn on others. We are thrown out of balance. We lose confidence. We become distrustful. We no longer live in the world with our hearts and minds open, but rather, we live in reaction to the world, carrying a heavy guard around hearts and gifts. It’s no wonder we cannot be and do the things we so desperately long to be and do.
There are many ways to begin to bring our trauma(s) into the light. Step by step we can bring them from the shadows, take a healthy, loving look at them and then enter into the healing process. It is often helpful to work with a therapist, a spiritual guide, or a holistic practitioner, someone who can guide and direct our path, and give us the tools we need to grow in resiliency and inner strength. Most of us should not try to do it alone.
When we struggle to give credence to the life experiences that may have traumatized us, it may be useful to go through one’s life with Caroline Myss’ definition in mind. I found this exercise eye-opening. I began to see why certain past experiences had continued to make their presence known in the present. I understood the need for a different sort of healing. For me, this was not an exercise of rehashing how horrible life was, but rather to gain perspective and understanding. For those of us who are highly sensitive people, things may hurt us deeply that might barely phase another, and that’s okay. This very same sensitivity is a gift on the other side of trauma, but first we must heal.
When trauma shatters our reason, we become fragmented. The world no longer makes sense. Until we heal the trauma, we live in a house divided, struggling to find peace. Healing is not only possible, it is necessary. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to each other.
Dorothy Sander 2014 copyright
Day #1 – I’m a Coward
Day #2 – The Morning after the Night Before
Day #3 – There are No Words
Day #4 – Coming Full Circle
Day #5 & #6 – Hyped Up and Nowhere to Go
Day #7 – The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection
Day #8 & #9 – A Word About Trauma
Day #10 – Food for Fun
We All Need Support
Holistic Detoxification Process