Sometimes to find the answer on how to move forward, we need to look to the past. It’s an opportunity to look again, see with fresh eyes and heighten our level of consciousness. And most importantly acknowledging historical patterns and behaviors presents us with an opportunity to learn, gain insight into these behaviors, biases, and fears. This information comes with a level of discomfort and adversity. Learning is not meant to always be comfortable. If it was, we would roll passed the hard lessons and miss out on raising our self-awareness. After all, if life was always an 80-degree day at the beach we would not find ourselves pushing and stretching. We would stay stagnant and comfortable with missed opportunities to grow and learn. If the last two years have taught me anything, it’s that we have a tremendous amount of learning to do.
The following paragraph is from my April 2020 blog post. Almost two years later we have neglected to acknowledge our collective trauma and simply put we are missing out on learning.
I write to you this month with a shattered heart, a fractured soul and questioning what it means to be human. 2020 has brought us a lot to process as we move through several months of adversity with no end in sight. I believe adversity brings learning. It may be painful and hard to swallow, but if we choose to pay attention and build awareness, the learning comes, and we get better. I needed, we all needed this better to come yesterday. I feel like we are trapped in a nightmare, one that causes us to face who we are and when we finally see, I mean really see who we are, we see darkness. Somehow, hope has escaped us, and we are surrendering to fear and hate. How did we allowed this to happen? I believe this happened because we accepted the passage of time as the solution. Time does not make things go away or heal wounds. It becomes wasted if we stay complacent and allow the notion of it passing to manipulate our actions. Trauma and heartache do not magically vanish as time passes. They do not dissolve. When left open, wounds continue to bleed and as a collective we are bleeding and have forgotten how to compassionately heal these wounds.
Two years later, I feel as though this paragraph is still extremely relevant and I am still questioning humanity and what it means to embrace being human. Human beings possess a unique ability to communicate, connect and display compassion. Yet, we frequently dismiss these qualities and move into a place of fear and hatred. We stop communicating and forget how easy it can be to be compassionate and care for one another. We all have desires; we all want to know love and joy and live in peace. Our need for community and connection is real and yet we can discard this need as though it is something occurring only in a fairytale. We ignore the struggles facing our neighbors and with ease cast blame and lack empathy. Human beings are complex in the ways we create and destroy yet we are simple in our needs.
My desire to rehash the April 2020 paragraph is not to diminish being human or our response to the issues currently inflicting us. It is to point out the fact that we always seem to land in the same place without learning from previous experience. This is true on an individual level and as a collective. I know I have patterns and behaviors I repeat over and over, and they are not necessarily conducive to me living full out. At this stage in my life, I choose to not deal with bullshit and that includes my own. I can bullshit my way out of almost anything and took pride in it for most of my life. I’ll act like I am ok, focus my energy on others and totally neglect my feelings to be “cool.” I am comfortable feeling uncomfortable and diminishing myself. I rarely thought I mattered or if anyone noticed I was in a room. I found shelter in not being seen or allowing others to see me and know me. Sheltering is only effective for so long. It drains our energy and provides a false sense of security.
I can look back now and understand I felt this way because of my own insecurities caused by being bullied throughout elementary school. I looked different and this made me the perfect target. This adverse experience caused me trauma in which I created a safety shape. This shape was defined by hiding and sheltering and certainly did not serve me. I learned how to accept and manage this trauma and use the learning to get better. This is work and takes practice, lots of practices in place to build the awareness to know how and what caused me to hide. I still get anxious before leaving my house. I break into a sweat and can feel my heart start to race. I am most comfortable being home even if it means being alone when my kiddos are with their dad. I do enjoy seeing my friends and family but am often late because my anxiety kicks in and I need to stop and regulate before leaving the house. At this stage in my life, I don’t mind being uncomfortable. I want to stretch and experience new things and meet new people. This means accepting I am a messy human being, constantly learning and practicing and trusting. I have accepted that I don’t have all the answers and on most days, I have no answers. So, I am in a perpetual state of difficult learning.
Looking back at old patterns, behaviors and triggers helps us to move forward. We learn difficult lessons about how we show up in the world and the choices we make. Knowing there's alway room to get better and constantly learn is comforting. Compassion for ourselves and one another can be simply practiced yet we still as a whole choose fear. I know there are more compassionate and kind people in the world than not. I also know if we start speaking up and leaving our shelters, we will make a difference. The world needs to see and hear you. We can break the old patterns created by our history and establish new ones that serve us and our communities. Adversity comes to us as a blessing. It teaches us how to manage the cold dark days, so we can relish in an 80- degree beach day. Embrace the learning and know the sun, sand and ocean are in reach. I look forward to seeing you!!! xo