One of my favorite stories is that of The Chinese Farmer and his Horse. As life presents him with a milieu of scenarios, his neighbors all respond to categorize these events as fortune or misfortune. But the farmer has been around the block long enough to know, life isn’t that clear cut, consistently answering his neighbors with, “Good News or Bad News, Can’t Say.”
While the isolated scenario may seem obviously fortunate or misfortunate – he has come to understand that the way life’s events weave together is a much grander puzzle and has forged the patience and trust within to meet each life event as needed, commiting to learn as he goes. To enjoy the story fully, I’ve provided the link below:
To dovetail back to my last blog post, I shared my gratitude for Karla Mclaren’s work on Emotional Intelligence. Additionally, her research on trauma healing was some of the best I have come to embrace because she shares how traumatic events can be both detrimental AND instrumental in shaping who we are and who we might come to be.
It is true, that something can happen in our lives that is much bigger than us and without the needed resources for support and healing, the wounds we sustain can leave us feeling crippled and worse, believing we might be forever. These events can infiltrate our belief systems about ourselves, others and completely muddy the lens from which we view the world. Here, the danger lies that, instead of feeling capable to heal our wounds and change these beliefs – we accept that this as our new normal and lay maladaptive pathways to simply hunker down and do our best to survive. The crime of course – that the life we could have lived full of connection, love, security and trust – just to name a few – had been stolen, replaced by a lesser version, fraught with holes and maladies.
When conversing with Chris Smith, the creator of Trauma Touch Therapy, in order to simplify trauma healing she asked me one intensely powerful yet simple question – bringing ease and hope to the bleakly complex world of pain.
It was, “What have you lost that you long to return?”
I can still feel my heart sigh out in deep relief as I heard the question because what this question represented resonated so deeply within me. My life path had been littered with loss and its resulting absence pained me in ways I found to feel excruciating. Certainly up to this point I had restored quite a few losses though being asked this question left me seeing just how many more I longed to restore. But more importantly, I dived more deeply into my own shadow work – both cataloging my losses AND placing value on why these vital elements needed to be restored – why did they matter to me and how might they affect my life for the better if I do the work to heal and restore? Leaning into our wounds pain to better learn them, understand what they need to heal, and most supreme, understanding ourselves and each other more deeply in the process – this, my friends, is finding the gift within the wound:
Your power within to learn, heal and recreate yourself and your life.
If you would have asked me the benefits of my assault shortly after sustaining this wound, I would have looked at you cross-eyed, feeling hurt and betrayed by such a short-sighted question. There was definitely a period of time, post-trauma, where I couldn’t see past the pain.
Gratefully, I had many people come into my life who pulled me beyond my experience, validated my sensations and held a very compassionate space to facilitate healing – this blessing me with the chance to figure out my new way, developing empowerment. Without these people and resources, helping me to restore my own inner power, I cringe to think where my life might be now. And it is this very gratitude that inspires me to pay it forward as we navigate through these unprecedented times of COVID19. To quote Pablo Picasso:
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
I am undoubtedly a better person for all of my experiences and can say with complete assurance that what I have gained far surpasses what I still long to restore. Don’t get me wrong – it still feels awkward to share gratitude for such a horrific experience. More, what I have learned in my short 37 years is akin to the Chinese Farmer: “Good News or Bad News, Can’t Say.”
Had I judged my trauma as bad news, I might never have found the gifts within myself and others. Had I judged my trauma as good news, I may never have been able to lean into my wounds enough to heal wholly, thus diminishing my ability to hold genuine space for others to heal too.
- So, what is the Corona Virus to you?
- What losses have you sustained and how has the absence of what you treasure affected you?
- Are you ready to ask yourself – “What is this teaching me?”
- Is it possible that the pain of your losses may uncover some incredible gift if only you tend to your pain sensation long enough for it to emerge? If yes, what gifts are you enjoying?
- And what might you need through this new time to feel more resilient and wise in its aftermath?
- What have you lost that you long to restore?
In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite clips of The Newsroom. Integrity, trust and the truth were foundational for this crew and when they lost the trust of their viewers, they were devastated, rightfully so. In attempting to do the right thing, those in charge were offering their notice, stepping down and stepping out. The owner of the broadcast station very simply denies this possibility, and passionately challenges – “Then get it back!!”
Folks, whatever the loss and in our power to restore, let’s stand up and get it back when the time arrives!!
Massage and Trauma Touch Therapist