I get it Jen! More and more as of late, I am finding that I struggle with how often, and for how long, it is healthy for me to look over my shoulder. It is by no means healthy for me to completely ignore my past and the experiences that have made me, me. But, giving the past too much of my attention seems to get in the way of me creating a happy and healthy present and future.
As I have already written about, my personal healing had to begin with an honest acknowledgment of my childhood trauma; that was healthy and necessary. I then had to learn how that trauma was informing the manner in which I was interacting with the world. I think that through hard work and perseverance, I did all of this pretty well.
In recent years, my work has been an integration of sorts, an assimilation of my life’s experiences into the man I have grown into. I have had to take all of that information and figure out what to do with it. For so long, my “job” was to connect with my emotions, to be unafraid of them, sit with them, embrace them, love them, and let them pass through. In order to make, and maintain, this connection I really had to time travel back to specific emotionally charged experiences. Often I was a victim in these experiences; times when I had to endure physical and emotional assaults. It was truly healing to visit those places in my history and to cry those tears. I learned to understand how my emotional reactions to new experiences might, at times, be inconsistent because they were being driven by a remembrance of old hurts.
But, at some point I had to make a choice, as you say. I had to choose whether I would always be a victim to my past hurts, or whether I would become a survivor. Intellectually, the choice is easy, of course I want to be a survivor! The choosing is not so easily accomplished on the emotional level. You see, on my inside, I am torn and bruised, broken and bent, I have scars and festering wounds. I will never be as pure and as whole as the day I was born, none of us are I suppose. But for me, there will always be something that stimulates one of these old hurts back into discomfort or pain. So, at some point, I just have to choose. I have to choose between the illusion of safety in retreating back into a victim self-image, or choose the strength in declaring that I am a survivor.
Through my growing and healing, I have come to incorporate new terms into my vernacular; terms like space, power, and vibrations. They have helped me to frame things differently, to see the world, and myself, through a new lens. When I choose to see myself as a victim, I give away my power, constrict my space, and lower my vibrations. All of which leaves me feeling sad, lonely, and powerless. When I choose to be a survivor, everything expands, my space increases making room for the loving and caring people I have around me, my power increases because I am so much stronger than I believe sometimes, and my vibrations are higher which attracts more and more positiveness to me.
A common interpretation of Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken” is that our lives will be fully actuated by choosing the less traveled road: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” With all due respect to Mr. Frost, I would like to offer a different interpretation. You see, at the beginning of the poem, he is stuck in indecision at the crossroads of these two infamous roads: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and be one traveler, long I stood.” Perhaps, the power that he feels at the end of the poem came not from which road he chose, but from the empowering act of choosing itself. While I am sure that each road offered different experiences, maybe the secret is not in getting it “right,” but in the power of our intention when we actively take control of our lives and make a choice for something rather than being paralyzed by fear and indecision, or ending up somewhere by default. Maybe in just the intentional act of choosing, Mr. Frost had already set into motion that which would “make all the difference”?