Being True to One’s Self

th“If you bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will be your salvation.  If you do not bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will destroy you.”  The Gnostic Gospels

If you read my post, Connection, you will remember the quote from Gabor Mate, “The essence of trauma is disconnection from ourselves”, you will see his words echoed in the quote from the Gnostic Gospels.  Why is it that we are so disconnected with ourselves?  Is this just a part of post modern life?  Is it just a part of what it means to be a human?  Is there any way to repair this disconnect?  Or is it our life’s journey to repair the disconnect?

I don’t know if I believe in a god anymore.  I am not sure at times what i believe anymore.  I would like to think that maybe the journey of life is to descend from unity and be birthed into this world, to struggle, to love, to seek, to learn, to overcome, and then to reunite with that which we came from.  But wow, what a life that means it is.  Does that mean we will cease to find any sense of unity or connection in this world?  Does that mean that any connection we find in this world will be fleeting?  Can we really have a connection to something or someone and if we can, does it change over time?

Maybe life is about a connection to ourselves?  As children, we only know ourselves and have to learn that our parents, mostly our primary caregiver, is not us.  We start to individuate.  Maybe this is the first step to our disharmony?  Certainly school, work, peer relations take us away from ourselves.  We are flooded with ideas and rules.  We encounter other people.  We find ourselves in situations that constantly threaten who we are.  Now, this is not to say that this is all bad.  We learn how to appreciate art or literature, or we learn math to count our change from an apple bought.  We meet other people and learn about love, about language, and about empathy and compassion.

So where does the trauma occur?  Is trauma always a dramatic event?  Can it be the slow deterioration in the relationship we have with ourselves?  Could it be gradual?  A list of choices we make, thinking we have to compromise until we compromise ourselves right out of ourselves?

Peter Levinesays, “The effects of unresolved trauma can be devastating.  It can affect our habits and outlook online, leading to additions and poor decision-making.  It can take a toll on our family life and interpersonal relationships.  It can trigger real physical pain, symptoms, and disease.  And it can lead to a range of self-destructive behaviors.Healing Trauma, 2005.  So maybe it isn’t the trauma itself but how we live with it, interpret, make it part of our life, and resolve it or reconcile with it?

I think before I write anymore, I should say that I believe that a traumatic event doesn’t have to be a house fire or a tour of duty or a life time of physical abuse.  I think it can be much more subtle than that, especially if it is over a long period of time.  Can a surgical procedure be traumatic?  What if nothing goes wrong?  Can it be considered traumatic if you aren’t mentally prepared for it?  Or you have no one to talk to about the ramifications of the procedure?  Or you have no one to help care for you and so you take a taxi to the doctor and you go home to an empty home to care for yourself.

What if you are going through chemo or have been in an accident?  My mom was in an accident years ago and though we went right to the Emergency Room, they did not diagnose her with a broken collar bone.  It wasn’t until it set incorrectly that we knew that it was broken.  Can something similar happen with other events in our lives?  That something we went through would not appear to cause us a trauma or long lasting pain because it does not usually affect people that way but for us, it has, caused harm?

Let’s continue to explore that. . . .

So, my questions are:

  • Can you think of a time that you experienced a break in connection with a person, place, or thing that caused you pain that would not normally affect someone else this way?
  • Is there a part of yourself that you have disconnected from in order to fit in or be a part of something else?
  • Have you experienced a loss, an illness, a trauma, or a situation that fundamentally changed how you see the world or how you see yourself?
  • Do you suffer from an auto-immune disorder, chronic pain, depression, grief?
  • How often do you allow yourself to check out, turn off, and check in with yourself?
  • Are you connected with your body, other than through pain?
  • Can you think of situations that have made you disconnect from your beliefs, truths, or your spirit?
  • Have you been in situations that you compromised yourself for love, for work, for something outside of yourself?

If yes, please come back and check in.  I’d love to hear from you, about how you have learned to live with your illness, your trauma, your loss.  Please feel free to leave comments below.



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