Sunday, March 25, 2007


SEMANTICS

Working with trauma survivors, many survivors of sexual trauma, I have thought at length over whether trauma "happens to you." I say it happens. I say it doesn't happen to "you." Yes, "you" are in the body that is traumatized, but "you" are outside that body, too. "You," to me, is your soul. I don't believe we are bodies with a soul. I believe we are souls with a body. Therefore, when something bad "happens to you," it doesn't have to happen to you.

It may just be a matter of semantics. It may be a difference of attitude. It may be a difference of having a victim mentality over a survivor mentality. It doesn't really matter what the difference is, to me, as long as there is a difference.

Why would someone with 100 balls in the air choose to keep tossing this one into the mix? I do love me a challenge!

I think how we perceive a situation is as critical to our handling of the situation as anything. Believing is seeing. What we water, grows. Period. If we tend to the garden of our thoughts with gratitude and love, we grow more thoughts of gratitude and love. If we tend to the garden of our thoughts with resentment and unfairness, we grow, WEEDS. The prickly kind. The thorny kind. The kind that makes others run in the opposite direction when they see us coming, to which we say, "See! Nobody loves me! My life is so unfair!"

Perhaps I am way over-simplifying this. Perhaps not. You decide.

16 comments:

Jerri said...

I, too, believe we are souls with a body. But I also believe our soul entered the lives of this body through an agreement to live in and experience its journey.

Therefore, what happens to our bodies is part of the experience our souls carry from this life.

Totally with you on watering what we want to grow. But to carry that thought a little further, if weed seeds live in the soil of our souls, we can only get rid of them if they sprout. If we attend to them enough that they reach the surface, we can then pluck out the damn thorny things and make room for something beautiful.

I think the trick is to pay attention, process our experiences--all of them--and then nurture only that which brings us joy, only that which helps us and others.

It's a fascinating question you raise, Ms. Link.

Puanani said...

Thank you for posing the question. My two cents:
Yes, we are souls with a body AND we each chose our life for the particular learning it would provide SO if we do not allow our experiences to touch our souls, are we not committing ourselves to returning for another round so that we can learn the lessons we were trying to learn this time through?
That said, I agree with you and Jerri, nurture the flowers and pluck out the damn weeds as quickly as you can!

kario said...

Ahh, the philosophy major in me is loving this Sunday morning contemplation. Think I'll go meditate on it...

Prema said...

I can 'believe' in shifting only to gratitude and love...but the body sometimes has a mind of its own. Trauma and the way it settles into cellular memory is complex. The way I think of it is that despite the affects of trauma, as I navigate the symptoms, gratitude and love. And change does happen...but both together, body and mind.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I believe there is a part of each one of us, the Source part, that is invincible, incapable of being hurt. No one is damaged goods, no matter what trauma has happened to them.

It's sometimes hard to convince my personality (and her body) of that though!

jennifer said...

This is something worth thinking about...I'm thinking, thinking, thinking...

Day said...

We are not just a body and not just a soul; we are both. They influence each other. What happens to your body does effect your soul, but how we go about internalizing is what you are getting at.

To me there is where Faith comes in. On earth I can't escape the limits of my physical body but I can look forward to a perfect life to come.

Kim said...

I read this this morning and decided to contemplate it today. LOVE YOU SO MUCH for posing the difficult questions.

1. "If we tend to the garden of our thoughts with gratitude and love, we grow more thoughts of gratitude and love." I believe this very deeply, with all I am, in my bone marrow I believe this.

2. But I still have a hard time separating the body and soul. I am not a trauma-survivor. But I think of the souls of all the amazing women I know who have survived trauma--to me, they are wiser, deeper, richer, and more beautiful from the journey, and it's hard for me to put it just back into their bodies. Even though I would undo it if I could, I feel their souls were touched, and deepened and enriched, by the experience.

But is this easier to say as an observer? Do I feel it because I am so new to my own spiritual journey? Do I even have a right to say it, not having lived it? I don't know. But I love the conversation and want to learn.

Terry Whitaker said...

All these perspectives are fascinating. So much to learn.

Nancy said...

This post and these responses...such a collection of wisdom! I'm not sure any one answer stands alone but together...it says it all.

I believe that there is an attitude that seperates the victim from the survivor. I believe the victim is stuck watering the weeds and the beauty in their garden is choked by their powerful invasive roots.

I don't think, on the other hand, that we can simply pluck the ball out of the air or ignore the truama seed in the soil. It simply festers beneath the surface and poisons the soil, inhibiting good growth.

I like what Jerri said about watering it just enough to sprout. Let it come and be recognized in order to pull it by the roots and be done with it. There is empowerment in that and that is what surviorship is about.

Suzy said...

Hmmm....this is a tough one. I have heard many times on end, "You are NOT your trauma". But the trick is to split the tramua from your being, that has taken up residence inside your being, which for me has been dificult to do. I suppose it's a case of divide and conquer." Separate the two and nourish our being, and squash out the trauma. Easier said than done. There are so many variables involved-Plucking the seeds out may not be possible for a long time and in of itself takes time.
Nice light post Ms. Link!
Love you!

Ziji Wangmo said...

Heavy Duty post- We have expereinces/trauma, they leave imprints and we form our habitual behavior around those imprints for our own survival. We have to become conscious of the imprints, accept them, and then externalize them so that we no longer feel at the effect of them. We can't reject the experience or it will just fester a grow "prickly" and it's power will only strengthen. I'll keep thinking.....

kerri said...

just read a quote this morning that applies to your post:

"we do not see things as they are. we see them as we are."-the talmud

first time to your blog- i like it! :-)

lien said...

sooo true, carrie!!

Monica said...

I agree with Jerri, completely. Pay attention. Don't ignore the weeds. That's where the work is. And it's good work, worthy. If something comes up, pluck it out of there, examine it and learn from it. Easy to say, but I struggle like crazy with it.
And I do agree that there is a part of us that nothing can truly harm. The trick is to dip into that part - to find it in ourselves. It's the center, I think, it's also courage.

holly said...

Been thinking about this for days, and can't stop thinking about it ... so much to ponder. Love these questions.