The weight of the world, the weight of ongoing violence and trauma in our communities is too much for us to bear alone. It’s just too much. How do we orient and find ourselves amidst so much chaos? How do we catch our breath? These are questions I ask myself often.
It can be so overwhelming and I know that often our response to what’s happening is to freeze. In these moments we can pause & find an anchor of safety within. It isn’t always simple and accessible and sometimes the freeze response lasts days. In these moments, the minutes can feel eternal and it’s very much like weathering a terrible storm. In these moments we can take our time and try not to punish ourselves for the very natural responses that our bodies are having to the very real threat to our safety. May we always remember that we must continue. We must keep going and continue searching for the light even if it’s only found in slivers at a time.
In our time and in our own way we can take the time to notice the ways that we are present. In tending to our hearts we can find stillness and care that can lead us to remember the role we play in our communities. This often comes through in silence, in stillness, in rest. In these quiet moments we can see more clearly. We can anchor ourselves in our capacity to imagine, even if for a little bit, a better way. A new way. We can imagine ways that we can pour back into ourselves and into our communities. We can expand, grow, explore.
Violence shrinks and makes us small. Violence shames and kills. Violence seeks to have power and control. May we break these vicious cycles through the cultivation of joy, hope, and rest. May we know our part and be honest about the ways we play a role in all that is happening in our communities. There are better ways.
If you’re an adult with a history of childhood violence I invite you to remember that you are not destined to repeat the same cycles. You are not destined to live the same life. In each moment we can choose, we can change. And sometimes this change takes time, thousands of repetitions, thousands of do-overs. Sometimes it will feel like you’re going backwards, like no progress or change has been made. That is where we remain diligent and strong. We can gather strength from our purpose and intention and continue to commit to dissolving the violence in our lives.
Facing ourselves and our shadows is painful work. It is exhausting and scary. But it is necessary if we are committed to the well-being of ourselves and our communities. We all have a relationship to violence somehow. We are all affected by violence in some way. If we are brave enough to pause and ask ourselves how, we can open doors and unlock answers. And there is the work. The work of pulling out the weeds of destructive behavior, the weeds of violence. In moments when our stamina wears down may we always know that we can take our time and that rest and joy are a powerful portal to imagining new ways of being.
Cultivating new patterns and dissolving what no longer works is challenging work and we’re not meant to do it alone. We are meant to grow, change and exist in community. As a survivor of childhood violence it has taken me years to feel safe enough within myself to seek out the proper help and to seek out healthy relationships. With time and practice, I have finally reached a point where I’m feeling more comfortable with seeking out new relationships. When I first came out as a survivor it felt terribly isolating (it still sometimes does) and for years I stayed cocooned in my safe bubble. This is what I needed then. Eventually, this changed and I changed. My bubble began to grow and my comfort zone began to expand. All in my own time and my own way.
I believe deeply that each of us has a gift to contribute. Each of us has a purpose that is so uniquely ours. When we commit ourselves to removing layers of conditioning and dissolve what we no longer identify with, this gift comes to the light. Every little shift contributes to much larger shifts. May we weave the gifts we gain from our healing into each other’s lives.
Eve is a survivor of childhood incest and has been using expressive arts as a way to tell their stories for nearly 20 years. They are a fierce advocate, parent, sibling, teacher, artist and survivor. You can find more about their work and community offerings on their website eveandry.com.