You don't have to be a writer to have a story. Everyone has one. The accumulation of our experience adds up to the mysterious calculus of who we are and who we are becoming. This depends largely on the dynamic between us and our experiences, especially the traumatic ones that seriously challenge our emotional and spiritual growth. Have we responded positively to these traumas? Or reacted from a negative instinctual place? Are we still reacting? Do we over-identify with that earlier pain and suffering? Have we become it? Do we lead every conversation with our wounds, or do we identify with the exhilaration of having overcome the obstacles that once pinned us to the past?
I've had more than one significant trauma of my own, so as both a spiritual mentor and teacher of writing, I've thought a lot about how I knocked down those obstacles and got moving again. For me, the only thing more devastating than a tragic experience is allowing it to dominate the rest of my life. Where to start?
Number one: visualize.
In the initial stages it helps to see the trauma as a tractor that drags us everywhere it goes, which is everywhere our random and afflicted minds let it wander. In this stage, the trauma informs the Mind and the Mind informs the (submissive) spirit. The body is often an innocent bystander assaulted by the catastrophic hit of stress hormones that comes with being perennially stuck in a rigid negative state anchored to the past. If you've ever been there, you know how hopeless it feels. But if you visualize your tractor well enough and understand the dynamic of authority, you can change that.
Number two: seize authority over your thoughts.
That means identify, recognize and refuse the thoughts that chain you to your tractor. Though this is admittedly difficult at first, with time, commitment, affirmations, and positive reinforcement you can eventually picture yourself catching up. Once you've caught up to your tractor, picture yourself running alongside it. Keeping pace. Are you moving with it, or is it moving with you? It doesn't matter. In this stage you are still attached, but your forces are equal. You are gaining authority. You can't stop now.
Number three: own your spiritual power.
Since we are all made of the same divine matter, you are only a spiritual lightweight if you allow yourself to be. Don't allow it. With continued time, patience, resolve, discipline, and spiritual practice, you can gain enough strength to stop your tractor in its tracks. Visualize it parked in a fixed space. Walk around it. Kick the tires. Unplug it from its fuel source. Disable it. When you no longer share the fixed mental space of your tractor, you are in charge. At this stage, it's a reference point, not a vehicle. It can't take you anywhere.
Number four: lose the victimhood.
In other words, step ahead of your tractor and don't look back. This is the stage at which your spirit informs your (now submissive) mind. When the spirit begins to inform the mind instead of the reverse, the information flow between all aspects of your being gains quantity and quality. You have momentum. You are no longer locked in a linear progression, but floating freely in the infinite holographic universe with countless positive, powerful points of contact. You are where you are meant to be.
Number five: forgive.
I realize it's difficult, but we literally can't move forward without forgiveness. It shackles us to the past. We don't have to shake hands with our trauma or our abuser, but we do have to forgive God and the universe for allowing it to happen in the first place. This takes humility. Humility is a grace that will open you to understand what it is you do not know about your trauma, and may never know. Without humility, only the deceptive linear pattern experienced by the five senses and a traumatized mind is apparent. This gets you nowhere. By leaving victimhood behind, you will regain dimension. As an enabled spirit with power over the past, you will gracefully arrive at gratitude which will drop you off at peace. Forgiveness, gratitude and peace are catalysts of transformation and enlightenment that you did not own before the trauma took place. In the end you will see that the tractor has not taken you backwards, but dragged you headlong into a new world, if you allow it. It has dragged you into a world that features hope and possibility even in the face of tragedy. You have stared your trauma down and walked away.
Number six: grant yourself permission to live.
You will access the trauma periodically, of course. But when you do, you will be an observer not a participant. The trauma will no longer contain you. You will contain it. You will contain the trauma minus the mental involvement and chaotic energy that left you deeply injured and exposed in such a way that it became your only story. Now it's one story. One of many. Now it's a story that taught you compassion in the face of loss; forgiveness in the face of attack; love in the face of hatred; and freedom in the face of isolation. This is your passport to a joyful and creative life.
Number seven: be free.
For more by Rea Nolan Martin, click here.
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