The Trauma of Life
“I find it fascinating that Buddhist practitioners barely acknowledge the existence of childhood trauma and what may be needed in order to release it. I feel fortunate that I got through it and was able to release some of the traumatic energy that my body held frozen inside. My breaking down had been a breaking through. Someone had seen me and held a space for me to come undone.” Edward Brown, “Being Shaken,” p. 59, “Buddhadharma”, fall 2014
I understand where Brown is coming from. I can’t sit still, either, especially in the evenings when I sometimes have restless leg syndrome. It is unbelievably annoying.
To me, the real issue is the fact that life itself is traumatic. Barry and I go to the neurologist Monday. I am concerned about his losing weight because I’ve read that it is a sign of end-stage Huntington’s. What if he lives another six years? I need to know the doctor’s expert opinion because the prognosis determines my plans. If the doc thinks Barry will be gone within two years, I would probably stay in Michigan until his end. On the other hand, if he could still be around six years from now, then this is probably the last winter we will stay here. He will need to live somewhere without stairs that does not freeze over six months a year, due to falling issues.
I hate dealing with this stuff. It is so morbid. But it’s the truth. Reality is traumatic sometimes. What is the most compassionate response? I have no idea.
One of my attractions to Buddhism has always been its realism. Part of my problem with Christianity was its otherworldliness. I was dealing with a cancer-stricken husband, going to school, and trying to work, while the women in my church wanted me to help them make baklava for the fall bake sale. No kidding. Their concerns were so irrelevant to me that going to church felt like a farce. You want what? Seriously?
I hope to find a compassionate sangha once I leave Michigan.
Part of what I want to do with my life is to create that space for people to come undone. Life is not always pretty. But it is always real.