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9 lessons 2019 taught me

Life flows like a river.

The water keeps on running and

if you don’t stop to sift through the stones

you wont find the gold nuggets.

Even though some of the experiences were difficult, and this past year has been the most challenging year of my life, I still feel that taking the time to draw on the lessons is an act of celebration.

Nothing in life is a gift until you have unwrapped it.

In sharing we come out of our shell and flesh out our humanness, our immortal self, and our interconnectedness. What this year has taught me might differ in the details of your own lessons. Yet details are brittle and what remains is a resilient heart throbbing as we enter the core of life.

1. Trauma, it is not what you think I realised I had a bit of a strange relationship with the word trauma. It felt like it had nothing to do with me. I now see that most people have a similar relationship/understanding.

We tend to relate trauma exclusively to a really tragic event. You suffer trauma if you have had a severe car accident, fallen gravely ill, been sexually abused, or experienced some other extreme event along these lines.

Although I have had some quite extreme childhood experiences, I still never really saw myself as “belonging” to the “category” of those who needed to heal trauma. I came to see that only because as I approached the end of the year I found myself suffering from deep exhaustion.

Had I not known how to read the signs, I would probably have just kept on going as usual, at some point hitting a full-blown depression. Thankfully, though, since my mother has been suffering from clinical depression for as long as I have known myself, and since I majored in special education with a focus on mental illness at University, I was able to see what was going on. I took a big step back from almost everything and randomly (probably not) picked up Mark Wolynn’s book It Didn’t Start With You. After nearly two decades of self-growth processes through psychotherapy, meditation, shamanism, breath work, and more, as well as teaching and healing others, it is not lightly that I say that this book has changed my life.

While I was growing up, I couldn’t accept my mother’s limitations and disabilities, despite the fact that she was clearly sick! I always demanded of her to try harder, to make the best out of the situation, to snap out of it. A part of me felt she was not really ill, and was just pretending because she was lazy and uncaring. On the surface of it, it wouldn’t surprise anyone reading this that I was blindly redirecting ALL those thoughts and accusations towards myself, weaving them as self-sabotaging patterns into my own make-up! But that’s exactly how trauma works.

The ripples of trauma can seamlessly blend into your personality. Even if you do care for conscious living and self-growth, you might discover that some of its roots go very deep. If you feel the word ‘trauma’ turns you off, simply think about it as ‘deep pain seeping down into yourself’. Today, I interpret trauma as ‘an unhealed scar on your heart’. Much more subtle and much more prevalent than we think.