How does change & trauma help us grow?

Carl Jung another we do not know

Less than 2 years ago I wrote this about my own life goals.  Back then, I didn’t mean what needs to happen in the next year or two, but what needs to happen for me to feel satisfied in the long run. I wanted more love, acceptance, appreciation, access to pure silence and to be surrounded with solar warmth,  natural beauty, music, wildflowers, peace, contentment with ever increasing relief from guilt and shame.

So what’s different now? I would say my greatest achievement has been acknowledging how much built-in shame and guilt I have lived with for years, and also how clarity and awareness can help me let that go. I used to think I was probably stuck with this feeling, and unable to free myself from its grip. But with time and introspection (and much encouragement from Mike!) I have found my way out of most of my guilt about just enjoying my life and feeling good. I do whatever I choose everyday now, and that my friend is a gift.

To what do I attribute so many changes in my internal dialogue?

brain puzzleI spent years studying the way our minds work, both through personal counseling and graduate-level training at Naropa University. What a gift to understand so much about the human behavior we are surrounded with everyday. Nothing like a higher level of “people skills” to help you understand the true motivations of yourself and others. I would add that my traumatic brain injury in 2008 has played a role. Shaking up so many brain connections really does change you, and it takes a few years to fully experience and get comfortable with your mind’s new openness.

Sunflowers on a county road

With a major change in lifestyle from city busy to rural quiet, I have changed immeasurably. Now, with the luxury of so much more time to myself in nature and the quiet, I continue to learn more about myself and my apparently endless capacity to learn and grow. Moving out of the city was key to seeing beyond the limitations of urban life. City life can keep you so busy worrying about the next thing, that you don’t have time to be present with anything that’s happening right in front of you. I had to leave the city to learn about living in the present.

first view of Spring Fire Wed. towards Mt Mestas on June 27th

My first view of the Spring Fire on June 27th from our home

I am still processing the results of our recent trauma here in southern Colorado, when some complete idiot one county west started the Spring Fire, which consumed over 107,000 acres near us. The evacuation was shocking. Talk about a sudden life event that makes you consider all of your past decisions and future plans! The randomness of it all confounds you. Is it really simply weather and wind direction determining whether I have a house still? I found there came a time when I lost all composure. I could no longer pretend this was not happening to me and my home. This experience I did not choose, offered me new opportunities to explore deeper levels of that old “illusion of control” we think we maintain over our life.

NICE view of sunflowers in garden and Spanish Peaks summer 2017

I have been transfixed by a quote from Arthur Rosenfeld recently. Perhaps you will also find his words insightful:

“…we all know how this ends, so rushing through life is senseless. As our inner life grows ever more luminous, the chatter of the speed-and-greed world slowly fades, leaving us with greater peace, tranquility, quiet and contentment.”  

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9 thoughts on “How does change & trauma help us grow?

  1. A beautiful post. Your quote left me with one additional observation. In truth, we don’t know “how this all ends”. Perhaps death is an ending, but perhaps something lies beyond. What is true is that so many of us (including me) rush through life, without observing it the way we should. Sometimes, it does take an extreme trauma to open us up to looking at life in a totally different way.

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  2. I heard about the Spring Fire but had no idea it was close to you. I’m happy it didn’t reach you. It’s interesting how unexpected traumas in life can deliver… I hesitate to call them gifts, because we’d rather the traumas hadn’t happened… but somehow we right ourselves for the better and make our way forward.

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