My Response to #LinkYourLife PROMPT: Fear, Compassion and Community Action

Warning:  Some of the material may be triggering.

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I recently started blogging this year in March, and the experience has been fantastic.  I’ve connected with so many amazing people who are also in the process of writing their stories.  I haven’t yet blogged about some of the more tragic issues in my memoir:  abuse in childhood, my suicide attempt in college before I had the NDE (I woke up in dried vomit 36 hours after swallowing enough pills to easily take me over the edge), hospitalization for depression, facing addiction, escaping a violent marriage, and continuing to work on trust issues in relationships.  I have mentioned the stalkers, but I haven’t blogged about those two sick men.  I blogged about being a rape survivor, and this felt both frightening and then freeing.  No one challenged me for writing about it, but the private responses of friends were not exactly what I expected.  I feel more connected to strangers than to family and friends after writing that post.  Maybe that is the writer’s journey.

I realize my life sounds like a horrible, chaotic mess when I list all the traumas in this way, but largely my life is beautiful.  There is so much joy, so much hope, and so much beauty.  Much of that joy comes from being of service to others.  Many of my students over the years have shared moments of trauma with me, and I have an overwhelming assortment of traumas myself.  I can relate to most anything they share.  If I can’t relate specifically, I have faced enough pain to realize what pain can do to a person and the importance of creating peaceful, healing moments to ground oneself in a new reality.

One of the beauties of teaching is that I forget myself as I work with others.  I wish everyone could experience this amazing forgetfulness. The more I am in motion, asking how I might help others, the more my own pain is lifted away.  Even writing is beginning to do this for me.  As strange as it might seem, writing about trauma releases it at even deeper levels.  Pain shared with others seems to lessen the individual’s pain.

Although complex trauma is part of my story, and I’ve included most of these moments in the first draft of my memoir, my hope is that the book will show others that healing is a long journey, but one that is possible and worthy. I don’t run away from my pain any more.  I feel it.  I release it.  Feeling the pain and all the places that I have been shattered allows for more light to come through me in order to help others.  I am largely healed from much of my past, but like a caterpillar who has emerged from a painful cocoon my wings aren’t completely adjusted to flying.  I have to rest on branches frequently and tell myself that I am a free creature and not one bound up in pain and dependency.

I feel stronger because of all the many women’s stories I have read on various blogs.  I hope that my story of my NDE and how our lives are actually quite short from the perspective on the other side, reminds everyone to enjoy the little, beautiful moments in life, no matter what they are going through.  I hope that my knowledge of angels helps others to call on their guides and angels to help them navigate difficult patches in life.  I hope that if I can overcome what I have overcome, then others feel that they have incredible moments of healing in store for their lives.  After all, the title of my book is Healed, and that healing is past tense.  This does not mean I am completely free from post-traumatic affects.  It means that in my individual experience and journey I am able to live in my present moments with more joy and freedom than I ever imagined possible.  I’m not overwhelmed by my past.  I use it to help others.

matt