Last year was—interesting.
That is the only adjective that can describe life as I lived it.
I originally thought I was experiencing fluke accidents or rare occurrences—some of which were traumatic—and that soon I’d return to my “normal” or “original” way of life.
Then I realized that “normal” no longer existed and there was no going back.
Through trauma, I was catapulted into a place of no return. It was an awakening, where I questioned everything society sanctioned valuable and started to develop a new way of living. Everything I experienced, I approached with a loving, open heart.
The trauma started with the passing of my father. Experiencing death (or an ending of any sort) opened me up to new experiences and personal transformation.
From there I dabbled in experiments—overthrowing my state of complacency and the thought process that in life, sometimes we just endure hardship.
Then my partner of 10 years got sick, and I observed how often partners mirror one another. His physical manifestation of pain reflected my emotional brokenness.
Then, I woke the f*ck up.
I realized—when we go through trauma, we go through stages.
Stage one: We stay stuck in a state of constant trauma.
This is where sorrow and suffering fuel our existence. I found myself in constant fight or flight mode. If I wasn’t fighting for something, I was fleeing. I luxuriated in the pain, but ended up feeling paralyzed.
As I moved farther away from the events that caused pain (time does give us clarity), I realized this was a natural process. Trauma holds us close, and only when we make amends—with ourselves, with our loved ones—can we move forward. Otherwise, reliving a traumatic experience becomes the norm, and we begin to cultivate a place of stagnant, sorrow-filled energy.
We can’t move forward if we continue to relive what happened in the past.
Stage two: We long for normalcy and stability.
This is actually the most uncomfortable experience, because we are so ready to move on, but we must first find stability. We are ready to grow and change, but we must first regroup, pick up the pieces and make a plan of action.
We long—in a sense—to go back to our normal life, a place that is safe and comfortable. The key is to notice—you have returned to “normalcy” a changed person. You no longer fit in here. In fact, there will never be a real normal again.
For many, “normal” “comfortable” and “stable” is where people stay for the rest of their lives. They merely exist and forget they have an entire life to live.
Stage three: This is where transformation happens.
If we’re willing to take the challenge and great leap of faith to move beyond the trauma phase—beyond accepting normalcy, and to see these experiences as bridges leading toward new beginnings, springboards propelling us forward—this is where a transformation occurs.
There is no fight here in this place of transformation. There is observance. There is acceptance. We have moved beyond the trauma phase. We have moved past the idea that normal is just fine. We are ready for the new that lies ahead.
Embrace this place. Very few are courageous enough to step beyond the hurt, beyond he norm and see in every waking moment, pure beauty and perfection.
And this is living.
Author: Ashley Martinez
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Hartwig HKD