A tree never looks at the tree next to it and wishes it could be brighter, bigger, or more vibrant. Each tree stands with its' own roots and stretches and grows according to what it naturally needs to do. Our growth needs to happen in the same way. We cannot compare our path of healing to the person next to us. Expecting to grow at the exact same rate as someone else in the exact same way as someone else is unrealistic and, as far as I'm concerned, very unnatural. As people who have experienced traumatic experiences we have to realize that our path isn't going to match the path of those around us. We are seeing the world through different eyes with a myriad of emotional and mental hurdles to work through. Developing a deeply held respect for your experiences is all part of the healing process. Honoring your experiences is as important as healing the mind and body.
I recently taught at a neuro-health clinic for those with brain injuries. I often teach people who have never meditated before and often think that its' something they aren't wired to do, but they meditated for 25 minutes and were stunned when I told them how long they were meditating. They thought it was only 5 minutes.
I want to share two of the most important things I took away from this experience. 1. One of the women thanked me for explaining meditation and stress in a way that they could all understand it. 2. When I explained the importance of balance, she said it was like the yin-yang symbol. I told her, "Yes. There is always a bit of dark in our light and a little light in our darkness."
It's important not to be afraid of the darkness that shows up in our light, when we notice it without fearing it, it loses its' power. But when we are in our darkest moments, just because we can't seem to see our light never means it doesn't exist. It's there, we just have to use some tools to reach it.
The tools we decide to use for our own healing are personal. My personal belief is that it will never be just one thing that helps us heal. It will never be just medical care, just holistic care, just meditation, just exercise, just therapy, or just anything. It takes multiple avenues to balance our mind, body, and spirit. It's important for us to pay attention to what we are led to because there are always hints of opportunity lighting up for us. I have learned to listen to those inner nudgings, even when I was a bit nervous. With PTSD everything makes me nervous, so if there was a chance meditation being taught in a way that I could understand it , could be helpful, I was willing to give it a shot and well three years later, one blessing of a business, schooling I thought I could never do, a published book, an entire community of thousands of people all over the world, hundreds of soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen, police officers, and civilians.....later.............I think I took the right step and I'm so glad I did. If I had listened to the nervousness of my PTSD telling me this isn't going to work, "Peaceful Warriors" wouldn't exist. It's a good thing the troops gave me the one, two, heave ho to do what they knew I could do all along. They believed in me in a way that they didn't believe in themselves. Interesting how PTSD has that effect on us.
I had tried many things and hit a dead end for about 10 years, until year 11 came and the world began to open up. Something began to work and as my curiosity grew, I continued to explore more and more. I didn't always talk about my experiences with other people. I wasn't open to sharing because I wasn't sure I was totally comfortable, but then again I also began to realize that my healing had to be my responsibility. It wasn't dependent on the people around me, although I do believe in a good support system. My healing had to be my path, not someone elses. Not everyone will be on board when you begin to take control of your own healing, but your path is your own.
As I have changed and evolved, those around me have changed and evolved. Some find me curious and unusual, others find me intriguing and wise. These things are all interesting to me, but what really matters to me is that I feel like me and I know that my experiences have a profound impact on setting an example for others to find their own way too. If I had stopped along the way to check with the comfort level of those around me as I explored meditation and energy work, I might not be doing what I am doing today to help our veterans and others who have been through trauma. So I keep an open mind, an open heart, and a down-to-Earth approach that helps people who are just dipping their toe in this pool, a place to do it safely, without judgment, and in a manner that helps to educate.