To thrive from the scar rather than living from the wound is a great achievement not afforded to many.
It can take years of self-discovery, therapy, and some yoga. But once the door is cracked wide-open, perhaps by loss, a deeper understanding is possible. Doing the inner work, cultivating compassion, and taking some responsibility for our wounds are all ways we can live from the scar and not the wound.
Being gentle with our healing and ourselves is important today. If we have gone through any kind of trauma in our lives, it feels even more true in a way. Just this week something happened to me where I went through some post-traumatic stress. I was taken right back in time to the feeling of rejection, neglect, and abuse.
I lost my mother on the day that a family member decided it was within his rights to violate her. She was never the same, and at 19 I came into the world to be with her. We faced many hardships. We struggled financially and suffered emotional turmoil, abuse, and neglect. My dad was incarcerated many times. She loves me very much and did the best she could with what she had.
As a 45-year-old mother myself now, all the pain came in like a flood. I never experienced a healthy attachment when I was little and it set me up for a lifetime of healing. This is not a rant—it is an honoring of the healing process.
A few days ago, both my friend and I had been vaccinated for COVID-19 and we were outside. To me, it felt like we might finally hug. Thank goodness I did ask her if I could hug her before just assuming—things could have been way worse.
I proceeded to ask her if I could hug her and she said, “No you may not.” To be fair, I thought, “Oh wow, who knows what she might be going through and what healing she was processing in her life.” And while intellectually I knew this and have much compassion for her, it still did not stop the PTSD coming in strong.
My trauma felt so real as if I was back in time as my “little self” was crying to be heard. She felt shunned, not worthy of any kind of love, and was in the fetal position. At that moment (while things happening quickly), I had to explain to my “little self” that she’s a big girl now, and it is safe to be out in the world. I am no longer that defensive little girl. Folks in my life need to express how they feel about their comfort in regard to hugging, the Coronavirus, and coming back to a new normal. That it is not personal.
How could something so intimate be not personal?
It was not about me, and yet here I was suffering. My “little self” didn’t see it that way. The whole day I was in a constant struggle trying not to break down completely. Finally, my “bigger self” was realizing that I needed to talk about my feelings. Playing it over in my head and attaching it to my thoughts was enveloping me.
I knew at that moment to understand compassion was one thing, but to be it in my life and with myself was another. Such a practice we need to keep practicing. It’s the ultimate form of self-nurturing in action. Realizing again that our healing is indeed circular like the shape of the infinity symbol.
I finally started to speak about the pain to someone who I knew I could be safe with. And just the space to feel safe enough allowed a flood of tears to fall down my face and felt healing—like the big sorrowful crying that comes when there is a deep loss or death.
Was I now finally letting go of the pain, or was it finally letting go of me?
Sitting tenderly with our traumas and dramas and loving ourselves, especially our broken parts, continues to be my spiritual path. I know it’s one of the most courageous things a person can do.
When we go inside to be with things as they are, all the generations of our wounds are healed. Spending time in nature helps too—the sounds, the smells, the crisp air, and my bare feet stepping onto the morning dew. These are all entryways into the ever continuous inner space of our journey “home.”
I’m not sure what our lives are going to look like now that we are finally physically connecting with one another. But whatever it is, may we slow down enough to feel and not rush the process. We’ve all been through one hell of a year as a global community. If a world based on love, inclusion, and truth is something that we really want then it needs to begin being practiced within ourselves first.