I stumbled upon an old interview on Speaking of Faith with Matthew Sanford. When he was 13 he was in a car accident that broke his back and paralyzed his lower body. He eventually discovered the path of yoga, and now- even more cool- he teaches yoga! I decided to read his book Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, and I am resonating with so many of his perspectives and reflections on what happens after a traumatic event.
Matthew says: “The accident [traumatic event] did not happen to one person, not even to one family. It happened to a group, to a circle of connection, to a community. We move forward into uncharted territory together.”
We are all living this human experience, even though we feel and express things differently. A tragedy brings us closer together (BOSTON STRONG), but also shows how we all grieve differently.
Some feel guilt: why did I live and others died?
Some feel anger: Why did this happen? How could anyone commit such a horrific crime?
Some feel sadness: Why can’t I stop crying?
Some live in the “What if…” mode and their imaginations go crazy with alternate scenarios.
And amidst all these questions, we often reflect on our place in this world- how we fit into it and what kind of mark we want to leave behind.
Matthew says: “Death and trauma also bring questions…My interest is one of identity. What is identity in the face of radical disruption? Who was I? Who am I? Who will I be? To answer such questions, we need healing stories. Healing trauma requires opening one’s life to interpretation, creating a personal mythology to guide perception, and forging a set of healing stories that create or maintain a sense of identity.”
Matthew continues: “The concept of healing stories- I think it applies all over the place. We’re constantly losing our trust in the world. Things happen, loss of childhood innocence, death of a loved one, where suddenly the world changes its shape, and you have to confront how are you gonna connect back to the world?”
The world definitely changed its shape to me when I witnessed the bombings on Marathon Monday, and I’ve been working on healing stories to mend my broken heart each day since.
Here is one of my recent healing stories:
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain
When you are ready, bring your attention to forgiveness.
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