Sunday, November 10, 2013
PTSD ~ ACCEPTING BROKENESS
Late last night I wanted to write. I wanted to sit down and lash out at a world that sends our young men and women off to war and returns them to us broken. I waited until this morning, giving me time to reflect and string the words in my heart into sentences.
It is no surprise to most of you that I find peace and great comfort at the beach...here in South Texas on Mustang Island. I love it there in the winter when there are few visitors, save the Winter Texans from 'up north'. I walk the beach endlessly and find broken shells, pick them up, for no one else wants them. They want only the perfect shells. But to me they signify an ability and will to go on, just as broken people do. Sometimes they don't know how or feel they have the strength to do so, but often they fight their way through. All too often, many don't.
Being broken brings tears, pain, frustration and a mighty struggle against what has happened to people, where they have been in their lives, and the horrors they have lived through. To me PTSD can also stand for Pain, Tears, Struggle, Doubt. But within this struggle comes courage and strength, sometimes just taking one step outside the front door into the grass...into a life long forgotten and out of reach, but yet never truly forgotten, and a life they fear they will never find again.
At the sea, time stands still. There is no rush, no hurry, no worry ~ only peace. One becomes mesmerized by the waves and the white lace foam they leave behind, as they flow in and out. The repetition complete will soon begin again and one becomes mesmerized by the calm that overtakes you.
The broken shells that are left in the wake on the shore are survivors. Slightly broken, disfigured, but to me nonetheless beautiful, as they survived the pounding of the crashing waves. I wonder how this is any different from any of us, from our warriors.
We all, I imagine, have been wounded whether visibly or invisibly. The trick is to not quit. The trick is to find that place and space where you can 'just be' when you don't think you can take another step or ever smile again.
My working with and loving our wounded warriors is also no surprise to any of you. They have been tossed and worn like the shells on the beach, but they don't stand alone. Sadly some find it easier to quit than to live through the hell they carried home from war. Fortunately the majority accept what has happened to them to some degree and choose to move forward at any cost. They realize life will never be the same again and they no longer find it possible to pretend to be perfect, complete, or the same person. It is in that place that they become 'real', as they find comfort, release, and acceptance. And because of this they inspire and motivate others to accept their own brokenness. And they inspire those of us on the periphery to become inspired as well, as they share their stories, awakening others to realize they too must release their imperfections and pain. It is here that the warriors give all of us permission to hurt, cry and just be human. Taking a risk and opening up, allows others to feel safe to do the same. This I know for a fact. Our warriors have the ability to provide to us yet another gift. And as you listen and perhaps comfort them simply by remaining still and listening with your heart, you too will be able to feel safe and comforted.
So this early Sunday morning, I invite all of you to never allow yourselves to get lost. Love life, take a risk, love those that love you with all your heart. Believe in your dreams. Appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary!!
We are not the only ones hurting and struggling with Pain, Tears, Struggle and Doubt. We all carry this load at one time or another in our lives. This simple, uncomplicated, realization lifts our own burdens and lightens our own loads.
Today, this minute, is all any of us are guaranteed. I choose to not destroy this one precious minute by grieving over the past or worrying about tomorrow and things I have no control over. What does matter is building your dreams and claiming your joy...never allowing anyone to take that away from you. Never ever.
"The world goes on despite our despair. The world offers itself to your imagination."
~ Mary Oliver
Be a friend to someone struggling, hurting, in despair. The smallest act can bear the largest fruit. And you will soon discover that a good friend is a shelter. Surround yourself with people who love you, respect you, who listen to you, don't judge you, care for you unconditionally, and create a bond with you. And most of all people who create a safe place for you no matter what.
"The only whole heart is a broken one! " ~ Rabbi Menachen Mendel
And my favorite ~ "Look to build a bridge over the pain to the other side."
For me pain has opened my compassion. Through it I have discovered who I am and what exactly I was put on this earth to do. To create a place of calm and a state of grace, with a hint of mystery in its stillness to provide a place of safety and sanctuary. A place that grounds me to the present moment. It is here that I am nourished, find sanctuary, poetry, friendship and time for reflection. This place feeds my soul. This place makes me real.
"Ask once, believe, receive." ~ Author Unknown