I used to believe in justice. I believed if you do what is right, then things must go your way. Growing up, I was taught not to see color, gender or class, but to see the person inside. I thought that our systems would keep us safe and never even understood corruption could exist. Today, I live in a very different world. I live in a world where skin color still matters to some people, where income determines how you're treated. I live in a time when justice is sought over goodness, where forgiveness is a novelty, and not a requirement. I live in a time where hate is seen more often than love. Where value is placed on objects and not lives. I live in a time that breaks my childhood heart into thousands of pieces like shattered glass.
Did you know that trauma can remain present in your body long after it has happened? It can even be passed down genetically. That's right, you can inherit your parent's trauma back generations and generations. This gives me pause and in this time of riots interrupting peaceful protests, where human lives are being valued based on the pigment present in their skin, really creates space for reflection. It brings flashbacks of WWII lessons and videos from school and images of the Jews in concentration camps, starving or killed because their beliefs didn't fit Hitler's demands. The sheer inhumanity. Do you find that re-living your traumatic experiences helps you in any way? Emphatically, the answer should be no. That is living in the past. Dwelling on past transgressions, traumas and negativity is what drives a majority of the problems we are facing and even attracting into our lives today. How? Let's explore.
The most important lesson I've learned through my journey in recovering from the trauma in my life is to assess my perspective, ending at where I am today. For years, I approached it as if I was a victim. These things happened to me and now what? But that word.... "to"... it was the key to my ongoing misery and continued trauma. Yes, terrible things happened in my life. In some ways, you could say they happened to me, but I prefer to say that they happened for me. Being a victim is a choice. Yes, I realize how hard that is to hear or read. There are many words that can be used instead of victim that hold far more power for each of us, the ones who experienced these heinous acts. Words like "survivor" and "thriver" come to mind most often. They say that you've been through something, but look at where you are now. I know I would not be the pillar of strength and light that I am today without having been through the things I have. I wouldn't have nearly the passion about my business that I do without it. Deeper, you say? Well, alright.
So these traumas we talked about that get stuck in you and eventually passed on to your children and their children.... they are "the cycle" that everyone is talking about. They are the abusive childhood or the alcoholism. They call for like-acts and events and not appropriately resolving them will continue that cycle right on through. My life is a simple example for this. Growing up, my parents pretended to get along fine for the sake of the family for as long as they could, but I can still vividly remember watching and listening to them argue while I held my hands over my ears and screamed. They split when I was about 9. No one ever really took the time to explain it in terms I understood and it haunted me most of my childhood and early adulthood. Fast forward to me getting married too soon, too young to a guy I didn't know well enough, my babies were witnessing the same exact thing with the added violence and insane behavior of their father. Traumatic? You bet. So how am I breaking that cycle?
First, I had to acknowledge that the past happened (truly accept that it was reality and there was no good being done resisting what had happened) and then I had to fall flat on my face as I sought justice for years through our court system that still hasn't come. (We will visit this avenue of my renewal journey once there is some answer on our latest petition, I promise.) I was forced to find a new way to think and be or be stuck spinning my wheels in an effort to somehow expose the bad things from my past for an outcome I thought would make it all better. I had to examine the things in me that were drawing this kind of thing into my life and heal them, releasing the trauma from deep within my soul. I had to offer forgiveness and accept apologies I would never get. Most importantly, I had to move beyond my past and focus on being the most vibrant, healthy momma that I could be at any given moment in time. We only have this current moment, after all. (How's it go? YOLO!) You can not live in the past, for that time has already been lived and you can not live in the future because that time is not promised. Finding myself present and focused on each current moment in time allowed for healing deep within my soul and joy to reenter my life. As I began to renew my soul, I found that I could help my daughters do the same. This is a skill they'll need for the rest of their life, after all. With a clear understanding of things that have happened (not to exclude deeply researching the psychology of it all because I'm that person), realizing how it was for you (showing where you needed to heal yourself, grow, learn, etc) and utilizing the ability to be as present as possible, we find that more positivity is coming our way. There's been a shift for my girls and me and I believe good things are coming.
I have to wonder if this same principle applied to our current population could evoke the changes the protests are desperately calling for. I have to wonder if instead of riding the wave of victimhood, they could march forward in acceptance of all things of the past and positivity for the present moments, seeking positive and productive change for the future. Stop resisting what has been and approach every situation with love and forgiveness. How much could be accomplished then? What would happen if there was a collective movement forward by letting the past be in the past? Resist the draw to live in the stereotypes. Resist the pull of hatred. Step into the shoes of your fellow man, woman and child. View the world from their perspective to adjust your own while at the same time, accepting them for exactly who they are today. Hate has been bred and taught and passed down. Why not love and acceptance of others? I'm not saying we all have to become mindless drones- frankly, I want the exact opposite. I want everyone to wake up. Find consciousness. The old ways aren't working. Not for this country, for civilization or for you.
What changes will you make toward something better today?