The writing below is from a trauma informed therapist named Deirdre Fay. It was contained in an email I received this morning. What she writes contains a heapin’ helpin’ of wisdom and what really strikes me is how much of it (all of it really) is only a slight rewording of Rick’s brilliant work in ‘Skills For Thriving’. She writes very explicitly on much of what Rick has spoken and written about.
It’s true. I once got in trouble talking about joy to trauma survivors – and trauma therapists.
Well, I’ve gotten in trouble many times before and after that. Another time, teaching in a training to trauma therapists, there was a LOT of pushback.
I was a bit startled.
Yes, I was putting forward something many wouldn’t think about.
When there’s trauma, when we’re hurting, we tend to put joy and trauma on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Or, perhaps more accurately, we can experience trauma as completely negating joy, goodness, happiness.
At those times I mentioned, I was sharing a startling experience I had multiple times in the depths of my healing.
That when I slowed down my pain, when I made contact with granular elements of the pain I was in, when I dropped the story I had about the pain…
…I consistently connected to a flow of joy that refreshed and revitalized me.
Pointing out the joy that is there is not to diminish or discount the pain.
It’s not to deny the trauma. Or prematurely transcend it.
Not at all.
Rather, being able to contact the joy that exists in and through and around the trauma can actually help us be with the pain, the horror, and distress.
When I talked with other therapists they said it might be true existentially but not relevant to healing.
What? Why not be with both so that the joy can buffer the pain, making life more bearable in the midst of healing?
Why do we get upset hearing that joy is the essence?
Why do we fight for our traumas and seem to want our pain to be the dominant discussion?
At the time these two events happened I was chagrined.
Ashamed that I dared to suggest something so … so “unemphatic”?
I learned to shut my own knowing, my own experience. Shut my inner wisdom down. Stop sharing about what was possible.
I learned there’s a “right” way to talk about trauma. A “right” way to help people heal.
I didn’t realize how much I shut out possibilities of helping people by toeing the politically correct path to heal trauma.
Over the years (decades) there have been many periods where I made my own healing harder.
I lost connection to the Sacred Flow in trying to do “it” right, to “fit in” and be accepted.
Being relevant in a certain sphere encouraged losing my own wisdom, severing the connection I had spent decades accessing.
In orienting horizontally to others I lost, or ruptured connection vertically. Accessing Sacred Flow and Inner Wisdom became harder at times… I didn’t have as ready an access.
Yes, trauma is horribly painful.
Massively disruptive. Chaotic.
at the same time, Joy is real. It is part of the song consciousness evokes.
The benefit of connecting to the Joy that’s always there is that healing becomes a lot easier to be with, to move through, to endure.
Recently, I took some time in sabbatical. During those many months I began to realize how disconnected I had become to the generative source.
I didn’t realize how this had happened over time, how I had unconsciously narrowed access to the Inner Wisdom that flows in all of us, all the time.
When we do this it’s so much easier to drown in the pain of life, the distress of experience.
Accessing joy, making it a steady practice is part of tenderizing, the softening that allows healing to rise organically.
Each of us has a unique knowing. A unique path home to ourselves.
There’s no one size fits all procedure or process.
There are maps, yes. There are frameworks that can assist us to listen, attune, orient to this Sacred Flow.
Ultimately we have to take the external structures that others suggest and pause. Let the knowing of others still…while our own Inner Wisdom guides us to remember and imbibe the Sacred Flow.
What do you know…inside?
What arises inside you is way more important, way more interesting (!) than what others have to say.
When we take the time to…
…we open up space for what’s True to grow. To flourish.
And that ALWAYS interests me!