I am fascinated by the posture of an archaeologist, bent over and completely immersed in the task at hand. I wonder at their hands, which so gently brush away dirt, which so carefully move away any debris from the treasured object they seek. It is amazing how for hours, they imagine the shape of the object enough to know which part of the light brown needs to be moved away, for it all looks the same to me. But their imaginations take them deep below the surface, into what they have read about and perhaps have seen samples of, yet this one is deeper, new, in a different place, significant even if it is insignificant in some realms.
This time and attention is love.
It is a constant and tender uncovering, this diligent brushing away. The imagination of what is beneath must be reconciled to an openness of what is, of managing real limitations and swaddling beliefs in utter, blind hope.
Rudolf Steiner, in his theories of child development, recognized twelve senses. One of those senses is the "sense of life". On a visceral level, this is knowing when you are hungry, thirsty, etc. but I believe it also includes emotional and relational needs...when you need touch, when you need to play, when you need time alone with your thoughts, etc. Other people around you give you the sense of goodness in the world, that your needs are ok, that you are loved and affirmed. A good sense of life in childhood will leave you with a profound sense of trust in the world, and a deep belief that overall, the world is good.
I was thinking about how this relates to trauma. Trauma takes the sense of life from "the world is good" to "the world is hurtful and scary", or "the world is good sometimes, and mostly unbearable", or "the world doesn't want or need me here." Trauma disorders the sense of life and creates a chaotic, unstable reality. The others who surround a child can create the chaos that takes away their sense of the world as good. Systems of culture, family, and civilization that create poverty, lack of safety, and lack of stability for children contribute to this trauma. I think we are all aware of that. But if you haven't lived it, you can't really know what it's like to live like that...to then hear that it's your fault for being poor...for being judged on where you live...for not being able to "pull up your bootstraps" because someone keeps taking your boots through more and more demands of your resources. And those who have the power to change it, don't.
This indifference and abuse of power is hate.
It is a witnessing of suffering, or even having a hand in causing suffering and turning to not look.
Despite this, and my personal experience with people like this, I have fallen in love. I have fallen in love with life. My healing took a wide turn straight into freedom. I am free of abusers. I love humanity but I hate their abuses. There is no price an abuser could pay for me to be with them. I am willing to pay abusers to stay far away from me. I am so grateful and happy to be free it is incredible. I feel like I climbed a mountain, like I arrived, that therapy is archaeology and after hours and hours of loving intention, I found my love. I found my grace. I found my peace. I am holding in my hands this volcanic ash, centuries old, blessed by the mother goddess, consecrated by my work, connected to all that is good and loving in this world. I can handle my broken places. I can change and grow.
This shift in healing...from being attracted to what abusers offer to being attracted to the goodness of the world, feels huge. I used to go to wailing walls, where a person was the wall, and I was the one who wailed. But I turned around. I saw there was so much more to life than wailing walls.
Healing from trauma requires an imagination, the imagination of archaeology. If you can't imagine that underneath the rubble of what is disordered, there is something good and peaceful, then you lose hope, or you become abusive. There is not much else to do. You must see with your heart that there is something more to life than pain and suffering. There is more than what is unbearable. There is more than making life unbearable for someone else. Then you take up your love for yourself and for others and for this life, and start in with patience. It is tedious, time-consuming, difficult, and uncomfortable work. You lose a lot but most of what you lose is rubble anyway. And the treasured healing..the clarity and freedom...the absolute knowing there is something more...that is so dear, so priceless.
Thank you, thank you abusers for leading me to a happy place, for showing me the dark underbelly of everything, for helping me see the other side, for you yourselves being a sorry contrast to all that is kind and good and a shining example of what is completely messed up in this world.
Maybe this is just one part of my healing. I have no illusions that the darkness of the world won't seep back into my soul.
Today, though, I am in love with life and this welcome bolus of hope. No matter what I thought before, healing IS possible.