It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. Last time I wrote was to share with the world the lesson learned from the “boy with the biggest smile in the room” (that is, my son) and his endurance to overcome the challenges of a stroke at 7 months of age.
Unfortunately, and despite my intention of enduring adversity with the same grace as he did, it’s been harder for me to recover from this (in addition to the already difficult reality of being a new mother). To be honest, I don’t even know how I had the energy, the focus or the will at that time to even write what I did. I guess I was just overflowing with inspiration from my son’s heroic lesson.
It seems that all psychological trauma we go through in life takes a toll on our mind and our body. And by trauma I don’t necessarily refer to horrifying things (which is definitely the case of a stroke), but also just drastic changes and experiences we undergo during our time in this life. Things that don’t exactly play out the way we planned. Unforeseen outcomes that completely shake the ground beneath us.
They shake us enough that we feel we’ve just survived an earthquake. And although the “danger” might be over, our body is not fast enough to realize this. So it remains on “survival mode” for a while thereafter. Skeptical of the world it’s surrounded by. Trying to relentlessly protect itself from the possibility of another disaster of nature, despite the impossibility of controlling it or even foreseeing it.
And that’s when it happens. That’s when we realize we never are and never were fully in control. That’s when the dreadful fear of uncertainty hits us. Causing a deeply rooted unconscious distress that prevents us from moving on and accepting our new reality. Creating enough anxiety to fool our body into thinking it’s protecting itself from World War III.
Then the feeling of helplessness kicks in. You start wondering at what point did the universe turn against you. When exactly was it that you lost all control and when did your desperate efforts start bringing unfruitful outcomes. You keep fighting and fighting (or so you believe) hoping you’ll finally get whatever you’re looking for only to be faced with the very disappointing reality that the world may just not be your oyster (at least not always).
Throughout my life I’ve called this “swimming against the tide”. Because that’s exactly what it feels like. Strenuous exercise in a direction opposite to the flow of the universe. Just like swimming against the current. It’s almost like despite all your effort and dedication, life is just not on your side. And no matter how hard you work the outcome is far from your expectations. So you end up emotionally exhausted and feeling helpless because you just can’t win this battle with the universe.
If you’re a person of faith you probably believe things happen for a reason. And whatever reason that may be, you choose to trust the divine and believe the world is holding something better for you, even if it’s in a different shape or form. You accept your reality and let things happen on their own. That’s probably why science has shown that spiritual people are happier than those who are not.
However, when you’re a skeptical and strong-willed person like me (controlling maybe?) that does not always come easy. Letting go of the fact that we can’t always get our way, no matter how hard we fight for it, can feel almost impossible. Because deep down we have this embedded belief that if we try hard enough we may just be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones from much dreaded heartache.
Despite our struggle though, at some point the road comes to an end and we are forced to choose from two different paths. We can keep fighting with all our might for the certainty, control, protection (or whatever it is we think we so desperately need) that we’ll never have. Or we can accept all we can do is our part and let the universe unravel as it pleases. Finally liberating ourselves from this pointless battle we made the mistake of taking on.
The moment you accept it is the moment you’ll be free. And with this will come peace. And even hope that one day you’ll be able to trust the universe again. Because doing otherwise not only serves no purpose but defeats the will to fight for what really matters. You.
You’ll still be worn out from the aftermath of the earthquake. No doubt about that. But at least this time you’ll be moving forward.
You might make sense of what you went through or you might never be able to. But if you make peace with it either way, you’ll be able to start moving in the direction of this new reality. Picking up piece by piece the remains of what was shattered within you. Now, that’s the battle that’s worth fighting for.