I know what it’s like to have trauma in one’s life. I understand when extreme situations bring us to our knees or begin to take away the lightness in our steps.
I understand duration of uncertainty and rugs being pulled out from beneath our feet, when all that’s left is the air we breathe. I understand being stretched beyond stretching points or just having uncomfortable moments to bear.
The world, and everyone in it, is experiencing trauma, right now, on some level, even if we are keeping ourselves informed or keeping ourselves busy. Trauma multiplies like a virus. It begins and has one impact after another.
The first thing our bodies do, during trauma, is try to run or fight or ignore it, as if it hasn’t happened, or doesn’t matter. Right here, right now, in this moment on Earth, this trauma is the opposite….it asks all of us to stay where we are, no fighting, no running, no ignoring the situation. Instead, we are being asked to see right in front of us, the unfolding of a health crisis that can cause harm and death.
We are being asked to keep living life. Find meaning. Stay informed. Be involved. Help each other. Light candles for those who we have lost, and wait it out. We have an incredible opportunity.
The other thing I know about trauma is that when life gets extreme, all the other, conscious or unconscious, extremes in our lives, start to appear, forming a circle around us. They may be quiet in nature, or they may begin to poke and prod, or feel heavy in our hearts and minds. They can come and go, or they can start building a presence.
At some point, this health trauma will end, life will be changed forever, and then there will be a world of post trauma. So far, it may all sound dire and overwhelming. But what came to me today was an urge to share out of my own experience.
Even if we continue to be surrounded by layers of trauma, all around us, what we have, in common, is our breath. And, that, is the most important tool we can use. To learn to breathe is critical especially when we’ve lost control of some aspects of our life. To breathe is to find peace.
I could describe sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems or the amygdala, but right now, I’m just drawing attention to the first tool in our toolbox.
The second tool we have is to stay in our body, thereby, staying in the present moment. In the world of trauma and loss of control, one can easily not be present in one’s body turning to so many other things to keep one’s attention on anything else, but the present moment of staying home. Yet, in trauma, when one is held in a certain uncomfortable context, the most essential thing is to always know how to be present in one’s full body, from head to foot. Often moments like this can lend itself to over consuming, but what the body needs most of all is peace and presence. Any kind of movement and exercise or yoga nidra or yin yoga is a perfect way to feel our bodies. When post trauma hits, often it will surround us with feelings of not knowing where we are or what we should do next. By staying in one’s whole body, we maintain our perspective and presence, in order to negotiate all the unknown outcomes of trauma’s changes.
Whether there’s a circle of extremes appearing in trauma, or feelings in post trauma, keeping our hearts open, as we’ve been experiencing, is the most important. With an open heart, a calm mind and a body presence, we have the tools to stay in life, engage in life, live our lives and keep a continuity.
I’m left with an image as I’m writing. And it’s this. As each of us stand in our circles of challenges and grace, I saw the human heart open wide. In that heart, I saw the fire of passion…passion for life, passion for others, passion for the earth. And as the heart became like a hot air balloon filling with the alchemy of heat and love, it was raised above the trauma, the challenges, the uncertainties, into the light of a new understanding. And this understanding encompassed the whole world with a new perception of what life is really all about.
It’s about our first and last breaths and all of the ones we take in between.
It’s about how we move our body through space and time and stand upright in each and every moment to engage with kindness, thoughtfulness, consciousness, and awareness.
And it’s about the evolution of the light-filled human heart that understands, love is an uprising, and we are all in this together.
Life is a gift to share, whether its life in a person,
life in a plant or animal, or life on Earth.
I hope when we enter post trauma,
we don’t forget, how simple and beautiful life can be.
I hope we don’t just fill our days with things,
forget to breathe, and forget each other.
I hope instead of post trauma,
we, as a family of humanity,
can respond with ability
and commit to open our eyes,
our hearts, and our minds
to perceive and care for
the world of the Earth’s living gardens,
the big blue skies of awareness and the breaths we share,
the homes, hearths and sanctuaries of love and living wisdom
in the cultures around the world,
honouring, in new ways,
this big, beautiful, colourful,
and light-filled life we share together.
written by Jillian RoseMary LaBelle Sophie
photos by jillian