Today is a day of gratitude. Not just for "the sun, the moon and the apple seed" but for connections. Connections are hard for survivors of trauma. Connections require trust and they are things most people take for granted.
Connections are relationships - with God, with self, with others, with the world. And the challenge of feeling how I am related to the world is no small thing. I mean FEELING, not just knowing. I know I am connected. I am married. I have children. I work in a prison. I belong to a church. I am connected on the outside but inside, sometimes that's a different story.
The closest thing I can compare it to is being a burn victim. Your nerve endings are shot, incinerated by the trauma of fire. When one has been through trauma, I'll speak for myself here, now that I have lived through abuse, my natural nerve endings seem to be singed. I look alright on the outside but inside I feel nothing. My brain registers danger and it's easy to feel disconnected and alone. It's a physiological response - the fight or flight response to the alarm of impending danger. And nothing feels so dangerous as connections.
The real challenge is staying connected to myself and this happens through my body. "The body heals the mind," says my therapist. As I tune into my breath or my pulse, I am reminded that my body is a creation and I, my soul, inhabits my body. I am joined to myself.
I wish it didn't take so much work but this new paradigm requires concentrated effort - the effort to remember that I am free of abuse and free of my past. And that leads me back to gratitude. To be grateful for what I know in spite of what I feel. Feelings are not facts and facts are not necessarily feelings. I know I am blessed. It's just a matter of remembering day by day.