Hello my friends!
Today I want to discuss how to face and overcome the traumatic experiences in our life. Life is hard. We all get served up experiences that can really rock us at our core, and is varied and unique for everybody. My question is, how do you go through these devastating and life altering situations and still continue to put one foot in front of the other, and still live with joy in your heart.
I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I wanted to share with you some of the practices and frameworks that have helped me in working through the challenges I face in my life.
Something I often say when talking about such delicate topics is – take what you need, take what feels right to you, and leave the rest. I hope that this helps you in some small way.
Can you accept your life exactly as it is? I think that the root of unforgiveness and resentment is being unable to accept a certain reality. It comes from thinking “I cannot accept that you did this to me. I cannot accept that this is happening. I cannot accept this pain.” It’s an almost reflexive resistance – when something hurts, we shut down, say “no” on every level of our being. But what I’ve learned in my life is that every time I resist, reject or fight reality, I suffer. Every time I say no to something that my life is showing me, I suffer.
I’m sure you’ve come across the quote “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” This is something I try to keep in mind every time I find myself experiencing pain – I ask myself “Am I in pain or am I suffering?” Because I know that my pain is a gift, but my suffering is torture.
The beautiful thing is that acceptance is just one step. It’s not a complicated process. It’s the most simplest thing there is because it is life itself. All we have to do is accept this moment and what it requires of you with willingness. Some moments may require you to fall to your knees in heartache, are you willing to do that? Some moments may require you to speak your truth, are you willing to do that? Some moments may require you to walk away from something you never thought you could walk away from, some moments may require you to live a day without someone you never imagined living a day of your life without. Some moments may require you accept an unimaginable loss, are you willing to do that?
2 years ago I was presented with a moment that required me to accept that my baby had died. I’m sure you can imagine the horror of that reality, of realizing that oh my goodness, my worst f******* nightmare is coming true. All I could do was accept it. Yes. I’m willing for that to be true.
And once I accepted the reality that I don’t get to be the mother I thought I would be to the child I thought I would have – I got to be the mother I needed to be to the child I did have. And there is something so very sacred in that. As soon as I did that, the suffering stopped. And the pain began to transform into the gift it is today.
Reducing my reaction times
I define my reaction time as the time I spend reacting to something I perceive as painful or traumatic.
This varies greatly from person to person – some people have very long reaction times, some people can let things go very easily. It also varies from situation to situation and trauma to trauma. If someone says something very hurtful to you, it may take you a week before you can feel normal with that person again, for some others, it could last years.
I have worked over the years to keep my reaction times as short as they can be. Using my marriage with my husband as an example, in the beginning of our relationship, we might have had a reaction time of a few days where those feelings linger and we are in disharmony. Then it gradually became a day, to half a day, to a couple of hours, now for the most part, our reaction time lingers for just minutes.
So why was it important to me to shorten our reaction time?
A couple of reasons. Firstly, I noticed that if you keep living your life as a reaction to something that’s happened in the past, you can never be fully present in this moment, because you’re just reacting to past events constantly. I didn’t want that.
Secondly, when you react to something, and maintain that reaction for a few hours – it becomes your mood. If you maintain that mood for some time, it evolves into our state, our temperament. If we maintain that state for some time, it evolves and ingrains into our personality, and it becomes part of the way we are. We start to identify with this aspect of ourself and before long we start creating and attracting everything in our life based on who we think we are, which is actually just a collection of various reactions to things in the past.
Why not me?
I am not a “why me?” person. I am a “why not me?” person. I am not too special, I am not protected, I am not invincible to the various shitstorms of life.
Having this mentality has done two things for me
One -it makes me feel profoundly grateful for every little light in my life.
Two – when something bad does happen, I don’t feel the need to brood in the of thinking “how could something like this happen to me?” I don’t take it personally, I don’t believe the universe is conspiring to get me, I just feel that this is my unique experience and I will grow from it.
Which leads us into my last point:
I was born for this.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it is that I was born for this life of mine. And you were born for yours. This is my life, all of it, I signed up for this. I believe in reincarnation so I literally believe I was born for this life. I am not here to pick and choose. I am here to take every single thing that happens to me and use it to grow me, to soften me, to open me up and to turn it into something wonderful. I know more than I know anything that this is my purpose. I know I have everything it takes to meet the challenges I face because I believe they are designed perfectly for me and my soul’s journey back to itself in this lifetime. It’s part of my karmic contract, it’s ingrained in me, it doesn’t matter to me what happens to me, because who I am is always bigger than that.
I’ve always said that I want life to touch me intensely but lightly. By this I mean that, I want to experience everything intensely. I want to know everything at a deeper level, that has always been my nature. BUT, I want to let it go. I don’t want to carry it with me everywhere I go. It’s important to me that I travel lightly, that I live lightly. I don’t want to carry pain everywhere I go, if I carry pain, I spread pain. When Mia died, it was profoundly painful, but I don’t carry it with me. I carry the gift of her life with me. I honour her little life, I honour mine, this was my path to where I am. The truth is, another one of my babies may die, and if they do, I will face it, and I will still be their mother, this is my path, I was born for this. I was born for this life.
And you are too.