People have always asked me how I manage to stay so positive despite my accident and trauma. For the longest time, I would reply that my philosophy was to never allow myself to succumb to the sadness. I had believed it was better to stay away than risk being sucked into a downward spiral. I kept my guard up and my spirits high.
After my accident I returned to work within 7 months. People were amazed to see me back to work so quickly, smiling the whole way. What they didn’t realize was that I would get to the end of my work day, go down the elevator to my car, get in, and before my car door would even close, tears would be streaming down my face. This was my daily routine for about the first year, except for the days when those tears prevented me from even getting to work in the first place.
Turned out, that sadness I was famous for avoiding was actually holding me captive. It was always there. Whether I allowed myself to acknowledge it or not, it was lurking in the shadows and growing stronger each time it was dismissed. It was suffocating me, and any time I was in a place where no one would see, it would cause me to implode. Truth was, I was barely breathing. I was just so good at putting on my game face, that I didn’t even realize what was happening.
There is a difference between the tears in my car and the pain from the trauma. My tears were from the pressure to be strong, happy and resilient despite the accident, or at least appear to be. They came from the pressure I put on myself to show everyone I was still confident and capable to do anything. The tears were from avoiding how I really felt inside, and I was pushing my true feelings so deep that I became a ticking time bomb. Those tears were not healing tears, they were hostage tears.
I recently met a woman named Bodil who looks like what I anticipate to be me 30 years from now. She has a sincere smile, white hair (natural, versus my bleached locks), leathery tan skin from many years in the sun and a vibrant personality. She also happened to run her own spa for many years, is a massage therapist and survived her own traumas. Coincidence I met her? I think not. And I adore her in every way possible. Upon meeting, she insisted she give me a massage and energy treatment. Of course I agreed.
I made the drive up to her home where she has her own massage practice. It was upcountry with a majestic view of the land and water below, and I immediately felt a sense of healing as I turned into her driveway. She and her husband came out to greet me, excited to give me a tour of their home and property. Being from Sweden, she has the most amazing decor and I envisioned myself coming back up there to sit and write on the lanai. I could tell asking to do so would be taken as a compliment. I felt I was supposed to be there and this wouldn’t be my last visit.
I followed her into the massage room and she helped me onto the table. She explained she would be giving me a raindrop therapy treatment and would drop different essential oils up my spine, then spread them onto different areas of the body to promote specific healing. She proceeded with the intention to create an energetic flow through my body and told me she would first be holding my feet for however long they needed. Immediately upon her holding my feet, I could feel the flow of blood and energy begin to tingle. It was erratic at first, and then slowly started to pulse like a wave. It started only on my right side, pulsing in my foot, then up to my calf, my knee, my thigh and then my hip. As it made its way through my leg, I visualized the nerves calming down as they were able to reconnect. The wave finally continued its way to the left side, and after some time, I could feel both legs flowing in perfect synchronization.
Bodil mostly kept quiet, but would periodically interject with inspired thoughts. The majority were too personal and spot on for me to share at this time, however she gave me powerful words of wisdom that were too meaningful to keep to myself. As I lay breathing deeply and swallowing hard to choke back tears, she said, “Do not cry because you feel sorry for yourself. You cry as a means to heal and let go.” And with that, I began to heal and let go. The tears poured down the sides of my face and into my ears and hair. I was hesitant at first, but it felt so good and soon there was no holding back. I cried harder and loved it. I wanted to capitalize on that moment and collected every memory I could think of that I wanted to let go, visualizing the hurts and traumas pouring out with every tear. The healing was palpable and I could tell Bodil was smiling.
Continuing as promised, I could hear the clinking of bottles as she applied the different oils. Some I loved, some not so much, but I felt invigorated with each drop. Being guided by intention and wisdom, Bodil gave me an amazing gift. I felt loved, safe, encouraged, tenacious and brave. My body felt awake and relieved. I’d always known our bodies take on how we are feeling emotionally, but in that moment, I actually felt that connection. My body and mind left feeling hopeful and cleansed.
All too often we sit with ourselves and pout about everything going wrong and how it is happening to us, as if life is a personal assault. I have come to believe these moments are happening in our lives for three reasons. Although I’m not an expert, this is what all my time of soul-searching, therapy and working through my old and new traumas as taught me.
Everything is an ingredient for the big picture and will come into play at a later time (i.e. the popular “Everything happens for a reason”).
We are fully capable and strong enough to handle it, however growth only occurs outside of our comfort zone (i.e. “God only gives us what we can handle”).
Things that tend to reoccur stem from an old wound and will keep resurfacing until we face it, work through it and let it go.
I have been somewhat distant for the last couple months. At first I worried I would lose some momentum with my blog, however I decided to trust in the process and listen to my heart. I knew getting vulnerable with myself was ultimately important for my writing. My heart guided me to some major introspection, healing, therapy, support groups and journaling. I succumbed to that sadness I once avoided in an effort to be “happy”, and I actually let go of that desire to even be happy. I replaced it with the desire to BE. I want to BE in the moment, BE ecstatic, BE content, BE angry, BE frustrated… Those feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, are never wrong, and I treat them the way Bodil told me to cry. Feel them without feeling sorry for myself, and then let them go. They are important for the big picture, and are there for a reason. The high cannot be high without the low to compare it to, and therefore, I am right where I should be.
If something feels wrong, listen to that feeling and reconsider the circumstance. However, if it feels uncomfortable, well my friend, that is where the magic happens. Forge on, do not numb it with any substance, BE in the moment and recognize there is a bigger picture. Be brave, and most of all, be grateful, for something special is waiting for you on the other side.