Dedicated to two fierce loving women transcending the trauma cycle.
Bonnie Bassan and Helene de la Paz
I have read that trauma cycles in our body around the time of year of a given event. Unlike animals who shake it off after a traumatic event, a process in which they let the trauma go, we humans hold on to it. It runs through our bloodstream and becomes a part of our life story, finding its way to the surface around the time of the traumatic event. If you don’t consciously remember that the day of the event is drawing near, you may not understand the emotional unravel that comes your way.
I have been aware of this pull for many years now.
As a woman thriving after trauma, on a personal growth journey with a desire to heal and help others heal, I’m owning this message and putting it down on paper as it unfolds in my life.
At 10:30am on a Monday morning, I dropped my kids at school. I drove with the windows down on my SUV, leaning into the air that was slowly turning to a pouring heat coming off the pavement. The sounds of too many vehicles scorched my ears as I drove with the morning sun pounding on my body. Uncontrollably out of nowhere I wept, my body shaking, my mind whirling with thoughts of the current state of our world. How broken it is, how full of plastic, how over stimulated with constant movement, how out of balance it is, creating its own trauma cycles in the consciousness of so many.
I soon see a homeless man on the street, his ragged clothes falling around his burned, dark skin from too much time in the heat of summer. He looks like a blackened piece of chicken left too long on the stove—he is alive, but barely, I think. He dips his window washer club into a bucket of water and twirls it around in the heat, begging for takers to let him wash their windows. No one stops.
What beats inside the heart of each man, as we pass?
My tears run fast and hard down my face. This is my world. I have been crying for a few minutes at this point when self-judgment starts to ring in around my ears, and throat. “Why are you crying?!” a voice shouts at me. I kick back the voice with my learned self-compassion, and the realization that it’s the anniversary of my father’s death.
Here we are full circle with the cycling of trauma showing up in the body. I’m crying over the death of my father, but more than that the life of my father, the dream of my father. The dream that we could have a better world, that people can be sustainable, eat real food, grown their own food, have clean water from a spring, be both human and spiritual. My father gave up a life living in the world to teach me these lessons. Was he so defeated by his efforts to change this world his children now live in?
Have I failed in some way by not staying close to the earth as he taught us? I live in the concrete jungle. My kids go to school, but lately I have been awakened in fierce ways. For one, I am no longer eating fast food, ever. It’s a NO. Starting to grow my own food in my backyard—well, truth be told, it’s mostly the love of my life, Steve, who is growing our food. I have connected with a man who is bringing me back to myself, to my truest needs.
My children want things constantly, like all the other children I see. We have an addiction to buying things in this culture. We have many, many addictions. I hear my dad’s voice piercing through my tears, “Everything in moderation.” It’s a staple for how to live. But many things in our world now cannot even be taken in moderation; they are just disease in a bottle, disease in a container, disease in flat-screen box that hangs on everyone’s walls.
Disease is now a common word—we accept it, we believe it to be a part of life. How has this happened to us?
I cry even more, my sobs met by the sound of the noisy street. I kick back my feeling of defeat by wrapping myself with more compassion. NO one human being can fix the world. It’s all perception that there is no hope. This is my trauma speaking, feeling that I have failed in some way by not being sustainable enough in an un-sustainable world. This world has taught us to be dependent. How can we break free of this mold to realize our own potential?
My siblings and I are doing it in our own way. My inner wisdom of helping others have compassion for their stories starts to peek though.
We can only expand with the recognition of what we’re already doing.
In all fairness I’m building a sustainable life. I chose five years ago to start my own business. To become a writing coach and help others move through their fear to write their story. In the middle of a divorce, at one of the most challenging points in my life, I made a decision and stuck with it. I listened to my soul, first to write my story, then to own my story by showing up in the world with it, by holding the bitter sweetness of the cup of tea that requires us to drink if we are willing to share. Are we willing to be bold, brave, and vulnerable enough to share ourselves with others? I pull into my drive at this moment and get out of the car, noticing the green grass, the daisies popping up everywhere, the trees swaying in the wind.
For a moment I’m grateful. The concrete is still everywhere, but I have this one sacred little spot to rest. Maybe that’s all we all need, a scared spot to rest? I’m reminded of growing up in the woods with no air conditioning, but a cool place to sit in the shade under a tree. It breaks my heart that some of us don’t have that. How can we make it better?
I go inside and sit in the cool air. By choosing to live in the world I have the comfort of cool air, the comfort of food in my fridge, the comfort of loving people around me. Yes, there are many loving people. I let myself sit and realize that I’m changing. I’m doing the work, but it’s one step at a time. It’s takes a lot of effort to make my own world better, to grow my own food, to clean up my own environment by making better choices, to allow myself space to release my own trauma. It takes stillness and surrender. It takes awareness.
What kind of choice can I decide on right now to make my life better? I can put good food in my body, keep the TV off, write this piece to connect with you, allow the sacred doves to gather round me in my time of grief.
My father’s bird was the dove. He sang about doves with a big smile, full of heart. His presence is a loving aura from the other side, a glowing light that holds the day when I get still. He tells me I have not failed. I’m finding my way. I’m learning how to brave the world in a whole new way. I’m not running away. I’m choosing to stay and connect in the midst of chaos. My tears are that river of truth that guide me to clarity, and that get me to the root of my unraveling emotion to show me a new way. Avoiding them, or judging them, blocks the full circle of emotion from birthing the inner wisdom that is helping us transcend the trauma cycle.
Chloe is the author of The Soulful Child: Twelve Years In The Wilderness...