While making the decision to move on is simple, the actual moving on part can be pretty tough when just about everyone from unwashed, new age hippies to sterile, stuffy scientists have a theory on how you should do it. I’m allergic to shoulds at the very best of times as, if you’re not careful, you can get caught in a nasty loop of trying to make something work that clearly doesn’t – for you. Each of us has our own unique, individual path to walk and although we can offer support to one another across the divide, we essentially walk alone.
Trying to forget trauma, conveniently sweep it under the rug because that’s what friends, family or some weirdass guru want/need/told you to is akin to psychological suicide. Beating yourself up because you’re clearly not getting ‘it’ right is hardly going to help and means you continue to torture yourself long after the external torturer has left the building. Processing in your own way, in your own time is important if you want to avoid repressing stuff – which only comes back to bite you in the ass because essentially, you’ll have to work through it later anyway. But by then, issues have putrefied in their shallow grave and you’ll end up with an altogether nastier mess on your hands. Since facing our wounds is basically unavoidable, it helps to find someone you can speak to – it pays to pay someone qualified just to listen, allow yourself time and space to heal properly. Then you’ll be free to move forward with grace.
I’ve been struggling with baggage from 2011 and if one more person with no experience or knowledge of pathology tells me to just ‘forget about it’ the only thing that’ll get buried fast is them. I tried that coping mechanism to survive my teenage years – and then spent 15 years painfully excavating the truth. The problem, you see, is this: although it looks conveniently fitter, healthier and more productive on the outside, life will, in all its infinite wisdom, keep bringing up the same issues (albeit in different guises), granting you another (and another… and another ad-bloody-nauseam) until you resolve the underlying wound. The sooner you face it, the sooner you can stop the endless cycle, the patterns of drama and pain.
One thing that has always helped me, through times when I could not speak but needed to transmute my internal turmoil was to write – predictably enough. At least it meant I got whatever was eating up my insides, out. And out there, scrawled across a page in black ink it didn’t seem so bad, the awfulness looked – almost – beautiful. Which brings me to the line from André Brink’s Before I Forget:
“We do not write to hold on, but to let go.”
This is perhaps why I find myself returning to crime scenes, sifting through eX-files like a restless dog, hoping to find a key to unlock the lesson and dispel another weary illusion…
There are many journey/process tools available to assist you along your way. Since I’m very much words based, books often provide illumination – I’ve just finished reading one I started last year by James Hollis: Why Good People Do Bad Things. Essentially a study of The Shadow, making for a profound and challenging read which urges us to take responsibility for our choices, decisions and the unconscious darkness which drives us towards healing, wholeness and inner balance. If there’s one book you read this year in your search for authentic empowerment, let this be it.
I can also recommend trying alternative, holistic processes too. I’ve found Dorn gentle but powerfully effective in releasing stored stuff from my body. Meditation has helped me access greater inner peace, increased energy and capacity for joy – the same holds for yoga (I doubt I would have passed Board without it). Finding a creative outlet (like writing, if you’re a writer) and bringing something of your essence to the fore is also incredibly life affirming and therapeutic. Get out into nature. Be grateful for little, everyday mundane magic. But more than anything else (and here’s where I’ve come unstuck a few times) – love and be gentle with yourself.
You are blessed (or doomed – depending how you choose see it) to a life lived with yourself – nobody else. What better way than to navigate life with someone who has got your back, who you love, trust and can turn to in times of trouble. Aren’t those are the values we look for in a partner? You’re in a lifelong partnership with YOU – you need to be there for you, show up in the best possible way when no one else will – because no one ever can. Regardless of how many people you try help outside, the only person you can ever truly help is yourself. And when you do, you invariably help others do the same (and you’ve heard me say this before). Even when you mess up, you need to lovingly help yourself back on your feet, address the issue and keep on walking. Because although we indeed walk alone, remember we’re all walking together…