Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trauma: Unraveling Truth and Reality

She arrives wearing baggy sweat pants and over sized shirts, and I know she is living out of the "truth" she has assigned to her sense of self.  She is walking in what she believes is her truth. Actually, it isn't true that she is shameful or damaged goods. However, out of the reality of experiencing sexual trauma, she has developed a "truth" that directs the way she carries herself.

Truth and reality get confused, especially for the victim of trauma. 

I define truth as the concepts and thoughts that move you closer to a sense of freedom, hope, purpose and destiny. Truth is about knowing the accuracy in spite of what the reality of events may tell you.  Have you ever talked to a person who is color blind? He often experiences the color red as shades of gray. His reality is that ‘red’ is experienced as ‘gray’. The truth, however, is red is really a different color. His experience and therefore his reality does not have the power to change the color red to gray. The person with color blindness learns to distinguish the difference between the truth and his reality and often seeks help in coordinating his wardrobe.

I define reality as a state of affairs; something that exists independently of things concerning it.  Reality is about knowing what has happened or is happening. Those events that just are.

Distinguishing between truth and reality can be difficult, but so important in untangling the impact of sexual trauma. Trauma happens and we tell ourselves something as a result - something that may not be truth even when it feels as if it is.  

Consider completing this fill in the blank about something in your life:

Reflecting back on my life I can see that my reality consisted of: ______________________


Which caused me to believe that my truth is: _____________________________________________

______________________________________________________. But if I look deeper I can see

that the truth behind my reality is _____________________________________________________

and not ________________________________________________________________________.

Here is an example that might help you sort this out:
Reflecting back on my life I can see that my reality consisted of sexual trauma.  Which caused me to believe that my truth is that I'm bad and shameful.  But if I look deeper I can see that the truth behind my reality is that something bad happened to me and not that I am bad.

Once you untangle the reality and identify the truth, you make the decision to align your power away from the lie formed from trauma towards the truth that brings freedom!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Break out Creativity!

Already I feel the stretching in my brain.  This week in our Connections Community on-line, we are talking about Creativity as a tool to overcome!  So, I've been looking at it and trying some of the exercises as designed by Michael Michalko (www.creativethinking.net).  The exercises disrupt my normal thinking patterns - and I actually feel the strain in my brain! 

Why try to revive my creativity?  Several reasons:
1. Some of the ways I think and the patterns I live in aren't working for me.  You know that definition of insanity:  "Doing the same old thing and expecting different results."
2.  I have been created with creativity inside. And yet it is submerged. School teaches us to understand things in categories and structures and often stifles creativity. In healing we are instructed to look at our "toolbox" and select the right tool.  And sometimes the categories and tools don't match my needs and don't unleash my possibility.
3.  I've always been someone who pushes the status quo.  I want new solutions to the challenges in my world, because what we're doing isn't working!

It took me awhile to even grasp how this concept of creativity can work in restoration.  It was my creative colleague, Rachel who first pushed this idea on me. I had to push past my boxed definition of  creativity to grasp it - which is the entire purpose! 

Thinking creatively isn't just for artists or photographers.  It is part of you!  And it can be restored! 

As I think about you all uncovering and connecting to creativity I am awash with the excitement of what can happen! 
  • Inside your creativity is the power to overcome the impact of all you've experienced.
  • Think creatively and you might be the one who carries the solutions we need. 
With your creativity unleashed, we can accomplish new and powerful things!

Here's a worksheet for you to explore Creativity! Let me know what you discover!
 http://www.connectionssp.org (Click on Worksheet Tab)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why do you hold on?

I'm telling you up front that this title is a bait and switch - so you might want to leave right now!  Ha! You may have thought that I was going to talk about how challenging it is to hold on while you work to overcome trauma. 

I'm not.

I want to express my perplexity as I watch people hold on to the things that hurt them.  I see people hold on to their story; hold on to the emotions, the dysfunctional behaviors, and the lies they believe. All the things that keep them trapped in anxiety, depression, and hurtful relationships.  It baffles me.  It confuses me.  And it exhausts me.

Do I sound unsympathetic?  I'm not.  I am sympathetic to the reality of what each person has endured. Do I sound ignorant?  I'm not. I am aware of the atrocities perpetrated and the devastating impact, and the work it takes to shift. Do I sound worn out?  Maybe.

As I've pondered why some people do the work of shifting, and why some remain in the cycle of seeking healing, I've come to the conclusion that it all boils down to willingness.  I know the things we tell ourselves about the "why" we don't make the shifts to set ourselves free.  I know that one of the core forces of resistance is fear. That is a given! Typically, when we hear about people's fear, we either validate it as real, (which it is) or suggest courage as a means to overcome it. But I believe the skill necessary is deeper than that - it takes willingness to engage the courage.  It takes finding the will inside to say, "no matter what," I'm going to overcome.

I was scared when I realized I was losing a 26 year marriage.  I could have allowed the fear of the unknown, or of what people would think to keep me trapped.  I could have put away all that I had learned about myself and settle back down into what I knew how to do.  I had to be willing to turn my world upside down. 

So my question to all of us is:  
Why do you hold on to the things that are hindering your life?

If you discover that ultimately you aren't willing to make the shift, find a safe way to live in what you are experiencing.  Disarm the internal conflict created by seeking healing you are not willing to take.  No judgement!  Just accepting the reality of what you are willing and not willing to do.  Even that will set you free.