Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Facing life's crisis

I believe it is out of the crucible of crisis that we grow ourselves into full maturity. That perception alone, that there will be the sight of the rainbow after the rain and it can help us as we persevere through the purgatory of life events that keep us down and sometimes feel impossible to cope with.

There are so many types of crisis: From a Murphy’s Law day, in which everything seems to go wrong, to the Job’s Law of Life, where there are deeply serious losses of life and limb, and close relationships. Our personal traumas, large and small, and the difficult road of recovering from them, constitute the developmental journey that eventually brings us insight, life skills, and even wisdom.

We hear of people describe every kind of crisis, obstacle, trauma, tragedy, conflict, and disaster. From the resulting symptoms, we begin to understand the impact on the individual’s mind and emotions - how fear shows itself through the grief of depression, anger, obsession, and dissociation from triggering events and from other people. In these states of post-trauma, we lose our natural ability to be comfortably social and successfully engaged human beings.

We can begin by noticing the patterns of reacting coming from the past.
These are usually self-protective, defensive behaviors.
Do you really need these any longer?
Can you find the courage to let them melt away and allow buried feelings of grief to emerge?

The tears won’t last forever, but they may be intense and continuous for a time. Tears are a way of releasing and cleansing the past. They represent the compassionate self-care that could not be provided at the time of the wounding.

Forgiveness is a key ingredient in recovering from the pain of the past. I’m not speaking of forgiving the perpetrator. That can feel like acceptance of their behavior. You may only be able to pray for the person who harmed you. Praying for them is a serious act of spiritual power.

In Aramaic, the language of Jesus, the verb “to forgive” means “to untie a knot.” So, as you forgive yourself for feeling weak or defective in some way, you release yourself from the tie to the person and the experience in which you were diminished.

As you forgive yourself and practice compassionate self-care, you are integrating the past and strengthening from difficult life events. You can claim greater understanding of the types of suffering that occur to all human beings, and in so doing, you actually come home to the wholeness of your Self.

Can we take the first step to learn to forgive?


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