Before a seismic traumatic event, we put confidence (if not conviction) behind the grand, complex framework of contradictory beliefs we built to sustain us and to keep uncertainty at bay. When at last the unexpected materializes—which it predictably will on a heroic journey—the unwished-for shakes the scaffolding from which some beliefs must fall. This event shakes our foundation, we lose our footing, and the mask of our identity falls, shatters. In the indignation and confusion that follows, we cry out, “Why me? How did this happen? What does this mean—about me?” And finally, as we go deeper, we want to know, “Who am I?” What is this painful awakening showing me, teaching me?”
Now we are on sacred ground, listening ground, the ground of not-knowing. It is here, only here, can we begin searching for, receiving new meaning, discovering the truth of who we are. Our assumptions and stories go through a spontaneous, often radical metamorphosis during a heroic journey.
If you experienced posttraumatic growth after a seismic traumatic event during your childbearing year, please tell us about it (in a paragraph or two, not the whole birth story). How was it life-changing? What are you now able to do, say, or feel that, before the event, you couldn’t. And tell us about how long after the traumatic event you received this unexpected gift.
If you recently experienced a seismic traumatic event, I hope these blogs and sharings give you insight and the comfort you are not alone. Naturally, you want answers when you are in hell; it feels like time has stopped, and you want a way out. But, for now, know that this too shall pass; try to embrace wherever you are.
Do you know the story of the Zen master, Hakuin, and the silk moth? He saw a silk moth emerging from its cocoon, drying its wings; it was almost ready to fly, held back by one silk thread. Intending compassion, Hakuin broke the thread to free the struggling moth; the moth suddenly collapsed and died. You see, during its struggle, the moth was learning to breathe.
You and I don’t want to rush the timing of your perfect emergence. It is the struggle to discover new meaning after traumatic shock that brings lasting growth. (Keep following this series of articles, they might be stepping stones for you.)
In a few days, I will share four Gifts I received during my posttraumatic growth.