Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Denial, Truth & Acceptance

Growing up, I went to church a lot - sometimes, up to four times a week.  I often attended with my family but sometimes, I even went by myself - it was my refuge.  So when the scandalous news broke, it shook my world.  My beloved (married) Pastor was reportedly seen having an affair with my beloved Sunday School teacher (single and much younger than the Pastor).  At age 16, the only way I could cope was not to believe it - denial.  I staunchly argued that gossip was not proof.  When I got older and stronger, I realized the affair was real.  Fortunately, I also understood that it was none of my business and it was not my place to judge.  I still loved them both - they had been instrumental in my resilience.

This is a stressful time for many.  I am talking to people who are being stressed beyond their normal capacity to cope.  I have my handy list of referrals - healers that have proven effective for me.

Sometimes, people need answers but are not ready to hear the truth or make necessary changes.  What I understand now is that we can work on getting stronger - more resilient and fortified - before we go and consult readers about what lies in our future and before we go trekking into our past to digest and archive what happened then.

Iyanla Vanzant has always had words for my comfort and growth.  Hear are some of her words:
"You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people.

But until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed.

You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.

You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them."
Bessel van der Kolk, noted trauma researcher, says that sooner or later you gotta face the memory - you gotta tell the story.

So what makes you stronger?  What fills your bucket?  What gives you life?  How can you do more of that so you are ready to take on the story of your life?  And in so doing, let go of the past to live in the now - in the full glory of what your life is really meant to be.

I emphasized in bold my former drugs of choice from Iyanla's list above.  They soothed for a time but often created even more problems.  Now I aim to face things, no matter how painful or scary.  But first I try to get stronger.  A chingona needs help and reinforcements to cope, be resilient and achieve.

I am not afraid.  I have been across the river and back.  It is good to get to the other side despite how treacherous the crossing may seem.  I wish the journey home for you.

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