How Can I Trust Again?

“God is the strength in which I trust.” ~ A Course in Miracles, W, 47

I trusted you, God. You were supposed to keep me safe. You had always kept me safe before. What happened? How can I ever trust You again? Or anyone, for that matter?

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 12.51.48 PM

Do these thoughts sound familiar? They are a common response to trauma, especially if you had a relationship with the Divine before the trauma. We are left with shattered trust. We no longer trust God, our fellow man, family members, and ultimately ourselves. It’s a scary place to be.

A common symptom of PTSD is the state of hyper-vigilance. This is a state of being constantly “on guard,” maintaining a heightened awareness of potential threats to your safety. It is exhausting. It is the ultimate state of living without trust.

When we try to live without trust, we are choosing to live in a constant state of fear. If we look at that idea in terms of relationships, it becomes quite clear. When there is a breakdown of trust in a love relationship, you live in constant fear. Fear that the person will let you down again, fear that they don’t love you anymore, fear that the relationship will end. These fears, if not addressed, lead to the eventual undoing of the relationship.

The same is true when we lose trust in our world, God, and ourselves. Those relationships are at risk. The restoring of trust is urgent if we are to heal these wounds of trauma.

How can we come to a state of trusting again?

When we have been abused by our fellow man – sometimes even a family member – our sense of safety in the world is gone. But we find there is within us a drive to find those who we can trust in. It can be a slow process, but every time you trust another soul, the trust will grow. Remember, you’re trying to put back together a vase that has shattered into a hundred pieces. Joining two pieces is no small miracle. Take the time to put it back together at your own pace, with your own sense of comfort, but remain diligent.

There are days when the nightly news and the people you encounter and your own memories and thoughts will bring you to despair in the human race. Seek out that friend that raises your spirits, read the writer who makes you smile, and if all else fails, go to YouTube and type in “compassionate acts,” or “acts of kindness.” No kidding, this works. There are so many wonderful stories on there about good people doing good things. You start to see that there is goodness in the world to be trusted. Take a baby step. There are no wasted steps.

When we feel we cannot trust God, we are at sea without a rudder, a sail, or an anchor. The mistaken thinking is that God somehow abandoned us in our trauma. Let me assure you, God never abandons us. But I felt this profoundly after I was attacked. I felt I had always been a good person, grew up going to church, prayed regularly, sought Truth and honored all religions. What the hell, God?

We have this error in thinking that bad things should only happen to bad people. If we look around us and read the teachings so many profound thinkers, we immediately see this is not true. Read the writings of concentration camp survivors, soldiers on the front lines, nurses in neo-natal ICUs, and spiritual teachers who have endured much. As Rabbi Kushner said so profoundly in his book, bad things do happen to good people. Try to realize that God has not abandoned you. Again, it takes baby steps to find your way back. For me, it started with a shift in perception. God never left me alone in that trauma situation, the Divine was with me the whole time. God was with me immediately after, and angels were sent to help me heal. The more you recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit, the stronger your trust will grow.

Is there a reason some of us experience trauma? I don’t know. But I do know there is a extreme value in healing. Healing from trauma has brought me to a profound trust and faith I may not have reached without it.

“God is your safety in every circumstance.”  ~A Course in Miracles, W,47

Finally, when we feel we cannot trust ourselves, we again have to shift our thinking. Look at what you did to survive your trauma situation. Look at what you are doing to take care of yourself now. You didn’t cause your trauma, you can only cause your healing.

Most of us have seen an abused animal. We instinctively know what they need, right? They need soft voices, soft touch, food, water, and gentleness. We are that dog cowering in the shelter cage. The more we love that dog, the more the dog will trust us. Not all at once, and not in one day, but eventually trust will be restored. The same is true for us. Following trauma, and for a long time after, you will need to give yourself this gift of love and gentleness.

You will trust again. How do I know? Because I did, and thousands before you. Look to the teachers on this topic. We have found the safe rocks to stand on while crossing the stream. Follow us.

Start with being hypervigilant for examples of trust. What we focus on becomes our reality. So says the Universe.

You are Still Beloved.

Give to the winds thy fears,
Hope and be undismayed.
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears,
God shall lift up thy head.                                    Hymn, Paul Gerhardt, 1656

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Mindful New Year

“Now is the only time there is.”       ~A Course in Miracles

meditation-338446_1920

Last night, struggling to fall asleep as I so often do, I paid close attention to my thoughts. I noticed all of my thoughts were either about the past or the future.

I was either ruminating over things that had happened in the past, or spiraling about what could happen in the future. Recognizing this as a futile use of my mind, I reminded myself to “be here now.” (Thank you, Ram Dass.)

Lying in a dark room, unable to see much, there is truly nothing in the present moment to think about. So I began to empty my mind and focus on my breath. I noticed how my lungs fill and empty without my thinking about it. What a wonder our bodies are! I noticed how peaceful and relaxed I became as I emptied my mind of the past and future. If my mind started to drift, I came back to the simple thought, “Thank you, God.” Soon, I fell asleep.

Why is it so difficult to be in the present moment? Why do we constantly drift in our thoughts from the past to the future? What is this human tendency and has it always been there?

Perhaps we have always tended to worry. Plato, who died around 348 BC, once taught, “Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.” Lao Tzu, who lived a century before Plato said, “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” And Jesus taught, “Which of you, by being anxious, can add a single hour to your life?”

These great teachers could have never imagined the distractions we have today! It seems we are surrounded by a world that constantly distracts us from the present moment. Mastering the art of mindfulness, however, can create an oasis from our busy thoughts.

For survivors of trauma, it is easy to feel powerless to these thoughts. We empty our minds, only to have a unwanted memory flash into the peaceful space we are trying to hold onto. We clear our minds, try to sleep, but in the darkness we have anxiety about our safety, and the safety of those we love. How can we harness this wind?

First, we have to really want it. We have to want peace of mind above all else. We have to be willing to let go of the ball and chain we are dragging around.

Getting caught up in memories of the past or worrying about the future is a form of self-imposed suffering.                 ~ Ram Dass

With PTSD, we feel our suffering is not self-imposed. We didn’t ask for some of these memories we have. But the truth is, clinging to anything of the past, or fear of the future, keeps us in a prison of our own making. We must be willing to let it go, even if at first it’s just a few minutes a day. Being mindful and staying present is just like any muscle – we have to exercise it to make it stronger!

Second, find a mantra. Your mantra can be anything. Any reminder that will take you away from the painful past and the fearful future. It can be a favorite quote, a spiritual teaching, anything that brings your comfort. Memorize it and come back to it when your mind wanders. Say it with your breath. Regulate your breath. Think only of the words of the mantra and your breath. You will feel your body calm, your heart rate slow, and your mind will stop spiraling. It takes diligent practice. When it is challenging to hold onto your mindfulness, ask the Divine for help. When you really feel it, you will recognize it as such a wonderful tool in your toolbox, and a wonderful gift to yourself.

Let this be our new workout routine for the new year. And rather than focusing on weight loss, we focus on gaining Peace of Mind.

“It is extraordinary how near we are to our deeper being. It’s just a thought away.”

~ Ram Dass

You are Still Beloved

Victoria McGee

12/30/2015

 

 

 

 

Season of Rebirth

“A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures.”                                                                                                           ~James E. Faust

Blossom Rock

December in much of the world celebrates many forms of birth, rebirth and rededication. It is perceived as an uplifting time of year with people giving gifts, traveling to be together, and sharing common beliefs. If trauma has touched your life, you are likely having a different experience.

Often, the holidays are challenging for survivors of trauma. There may be triggers, family issues, or just that haunting feeling of being different from others. Sometimes we feel we just can’t be as happy as other people, or as happy as we once were. How can we reclaim our happiness and our holidays?

As with much of our trauma healing, the secret is in re-framing, and turning it over to God.

Re-framing our thoughts about the holidays has to do with focusing on the idea in the James E. Faust quote above. We have been through spiritual adversity, and we are becoming new creatures. I would venture to say that no one who experiences trauma is the same person after. Nor should you want to be. Trauma changes us.

“How could you rise anew, if you have not first become ashes?”                                                                                          ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

We had no choice in the trauma that we experienced, but we have choice in what we do afterward: how we heal, how we grieve, how we move forward. We can let it change us into a hard and bitter creature, or a creature who is wiser, deeper, and who can offer grace and healing to those around them.

Claim the holidays as your own rebirth. Be reborn into your vision of the next step in your healing.

We can draw a parallel to our first birth into this incarnation. When we were born, we had no conscious choice as to whom we were born to. Our personality, resilience factors, and appearance were genetically and environmentally fixed. As we grew and became our own person, some of that changed, but much of it is a through-line in our lives.

Just as our first birth, our rebirth carries a set of circumstances we cannot change. We have survived war, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, natural disasters, a sudden death – you name it. But we have the power to now visualize who we will be in the next chapter of our lives.

Look at your next step. Who do you see? Do you see someone who is nervous, not sleeping, depressed, or withdrawn? Do you see someone who is engaged, productive, rested, healthy, and (dare we say) happy? This is your chance to choose. This is your opportunity to give birth to that which is pregnant in you: hope, peace of mind, and the Divine spark.

Our rebirth is as much a miracle as our original birth.

How do we accomplish this rebirth? I believe we need these four steps:

Forgive: We must forgive those who have wronged us, or peace of mind will forever be elusive. As long as we carry this burden, we only weigh ourselves down.

Engage: Be with others. It is good to be alone, but not lonely. Depressions feeds on loneliness. You will have to force yourself sometimes, but feel the fear and do it anyway, as they say.

Give: You may feel you have nothing to give. Everything of yourself has been stripped away. But if you go to the soup kitchen, give out presents to homeless children, or in any way make someone else’s holiday brighter, watch what happens. Rebirth.

Visualize: Spend time – real time – visualizing your new self, the creation of your rebirth. If you’re having trouble, ask God to show you. See this every day, as many times a day as you can. The Universe will conspire to make this vision reality.

As we struggle to be reborn, include the Divine in all efforts. God is our midwife! Just as human birth is painful, spiritual rebirth brings psychic pain. The Holy Spirit is the balm for this pain. Call on the Divine to guide you, heal you, keep you safe, and hold you in the light of love and peace. Feel the warmth of pure Love fill you and soothe the pain.

Rebirth doesn’t happen overnight. Like all healing, it is a process. But why not take this season as a starting point? A catalyst for your new self to begin to emerge? You have nothing to lose, and your self to gain!

This holiday season, be reborn in the sure knowledge that you are Still Beloved.

“This Christmas, give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us.”   ~ A Course in Miracles T, XI

Victoria McGee                                                                                                      12/21/15

Happy Holidays from PTSD

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”                      ~ Albert Camus

rainy-83136_1280

Whatever your spiritual beliefs, we recognize that December is a time of holidays and religious and family gatherings. While those around us look forward to the delights of this season, survivors of trauma often find this a difficult time to navigate. Whether you suffer with PTSD yourself, or live with someone who does, it’s important to be prepared and know that whatever you bring to the season is enough.

For some survivors of trauma, the holidays may be good. For me, it was a rare opportunity to sleep deeply, without fear. For others, the holidays themselves may be when their trauma occurred, and the fight or flight instinct is awakened, despite their best efforts. As we are surrounded with images of love and light and innocence, we may re-experience the grief our trauma brought us; of never quite feeling that profound sweetness of innocence again.

Though that may be true, and we may indeed be changed in irreparable ways, we can still find hope in taking charge of our perspective, in taking care of ourselves, and in taking control of our holidays.

“The depth of the feeling continued to surprise and threaten me, but each time it hit again and I bore it…I would discover that it hadn’t washed me away.” – Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott so perfectly expresses what we trauma survivors know too well. The surprise and fear that feeling something so deeply can bring. It’s like being in the ocean. The same water that lets you float suddenly grabs you and pulls you under!

But we rise again to the surface and discover, “…it hadn’t washed me away.” If we can keep acknowledging that, each time we have a flashback, or a bad day, or a bad night – we haven’t washed away. We are here, and we are doing the very best we can.

If the holidays tempt you to feel struck down by waves (of memory, of family, of expectations, of anxiety) take time to notice that you are not washed away. Keep your perspective focused on your progress. You are here and you have gifts yet to give.

Next, take care of yourself. This is non-negotiable. As a survivor of trauma, you need to be doing this anyway, but even more so at the holidays. The holidays may hold more triggers for you than at any other time of year. If you are not rested, mindful, healthy and balanced, triggers will sneak up on you. Be your own best friend. Don’t neglect the Divine, or the Divine in you, for the sake of pleasing others. Show up when it feels right, and you can bring your best self. If you’re in doubt, ask yourself if a holiday experience is going to drain you, or fill you up? There will be the answer.

Finally, take control of your holiday. If crowds give you anxiety, avoid big parties or malls. If big family dinners are difficult, perhaps join with a smaller part of the family for breakfast, then find a place to be of service instead. You may need to create new rituals to honor where you are in your healing. For some, there is a need to be with family. For others, there will be a need to serve. Some will feel the old familiar need to isolate, but I urge you not to. If you need isolation and alone time for balance, that’s fine. But avoiding the holidays altogether will not serve your highest healing. And that is what the Divine wants for you.

Perhaps all we need do during the holidays is focus on the best ideology of this time of year. Give to yourself and each other: Peace, Light, Hope, and God’s Love.

“This Christmas, give the Holy Spirit EVERYTHING that would hurt you. LET yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us.”

~A Course In Miracles

 

Take good care of yourself. Find in yourself, your “invincible summer.”

You are Still Beloved.

Victoria McGee

12/06/2015

 

 

TRAUMA & RESTORING FAITH

“Faith is not a belief. Faith is what is left when your beliefs have all been blown to hell.”
~ Ram Dass

forest-764924_1920

All who have survived trauma know well the feeling of the broken spirit. The loss of faith that comes with having your belief system ripped out from under you.

How can trauma survivors come to a place of restoring our faith? Our faith has been built over time as we live and construct in our minds the things we believe in. Trauma can shatter those beliefs in an instant.

In her amazing book, Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman, M.D. addresses the issue of faith. She states “(Traumatic events…) violate the victim’s faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis. “

In other words, we begin to question everything we have come to know.

Herman goes on to state the depth of this loss of faith.

“In situations of terror, people spontaneously seek their first source of comfort and protection. Wounded soldiers and raped women cry for their mothers, or for God. When this cry is not answered, the sense of basic trust is shattered. Traumatized people feel utterly abandoned, utterly alone, cast out of the human and divine systems of care and protection that sustain life.”

Let’s re-read that last sentence: “…cast out of the human and divine systems of care and protection that sustain life.”

There is nothing more profoundly despairing than that feeling. To feel abandoned by the Divine is a trauma in itself and leads to the disconnection that is such a hallmark of PTSD. So how do we begin to rebuild our faith?

It is important to distinguish between faith and belief. Beliefs are products of our minds. They are decisions we have made, constructs we have formed to make sense of our world. We believe in God, in certain people, in certain relationships.

Faith is a product of the spirit. Faith is the abstract knowing that the Divine is constant. When there is a crack in that knowing, what can heal it? When there is a tear in the fabric of faith, what will mend it?

After 9/11 there was a wonderful quote by Mr. Rogers going around. His advice in times of extreme trauma was to “Look for the helpers.” This is a start in restoring our faith.

If you have survived a trauma, you were likely helped, if not immediately after, then soon after. Look at those helpers. For me it was kind police officers, a calm and soft-voiced trauma nurse, and my friends who came in the middle of the night without asking why I needed them, they just came. When I looked back on all that, it made a few stitches in my torn faith. I could trust the goodness of those people, and they had faith in me that I would survive this. It was a start.

Who were your helpers at the time of trauma? Who around you still holds you up?

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.”   ~ Psalm 34:18

Another way to restore your faith is to simply ask. Ask God to restore your faith. We can do nothing apart from God. We can’t restore our own faith by ourselves. Sit in quietness and solitude and ask. Gather with others and ask. God will begin to show you the constancy of Love. God will lead you beside still waters and restore your soul. You will begin to see examples of Divine Love that will make you smile, knowing it’s another stitch in your torn faith.

For me, the final step in restoring my faith was through service, and I wish I had come to it sooner. When you want to curl up in a ball and feel abandoned, take action instead. Get out of yourself and find a way to help others as soon as you feel able. It is like a salve to your wound. Compassionate action opens the way for the light to return. Imagine a sky that is all gray clouds, except for one hole where sunlight is breaking through. That is what service will do for your faith.

An added by-product of service is seeing your value in the world again. Sometimes trauma can leave us feeling powerless. Service restores our faith, not only in God, but in ourselves.

I leave you with this inspiration from Walt Whitman:

“The question, O me! so sad, recurring –

What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here – that life exists, and identity;

That the powerful play goes on,

and you will contribute a verse.”

 

Have faith. You are Still Beloved.

 

Victoria McGee

11/29/2015

 

 

 

What’s in your Cloud?

“Be miserable, or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”                                                                                                                                           – Wayne Dyer

sky-690293_1920

What are you storing in your cloud? What are you uploading? What are you downloading? How do these choices affect your life every day? How does it affect the next moment?

Long before the cyber age we’re living in, we all had a Cloud. We still do! The database we carry around, filled with thoughts, feelings, memories, plans for the future, hopes, and dreams. We call it our Mind.

Unlike the Cloud, which is just for accessing stored files, our Mind can also discern, choose, evaluate, create and invent! Those are the amazing gifts of our Mind.

But like the Cloud, we have the ability to choose which files we upload, and which files we download. This is an incredible choice and gives us full power over what we think about, and how we feel. Of course with great power comes great responsibility. (Peter Parker) So when we come to fully realize that only we have full power to engage our Cloud and focus on certain files, we can either celebrate in that knowledge, or cringe from its horror!

Some of us who struggle with PTSD have files that would horrify other people. Trauma that is our own personal heart of darkness. So every day we have this choice. Which files do we download? Which files do we keep in the Cloud, and for how long?

PTSD can feel like a broken record. The same files keep downloading. Even when we try to think about something else, to create something new and good, the old file shows up again. Where’s the pop-up blocker for the trauma thoughts?

Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Initiate a habit of choosing thoughts and ideas that support feeling good and powerful and elevate you to a higher level of consciousness.”

Who wouldn’t do that if they could? Ah, but you can, grasshopper. The key word is habit!

Too often we feel helpless to these intrusive files. But the more often we practice not reacting to them, but calmly saying, “Not now,” and sending them back to the Cloud, the easier it gets, and the less they “pop up.” It takes practice. Mind practice.

Have you ever had the cascading pop-ups on your computer screen? That’s what those intrusive thoughts can feel like. And what do we do when that happens? We usually have to re-start. Same with our Mind. Re-start, and then install an anti-virus.

For me, the anti-virus is God. I could not control these thoughts, my Mind, the Cloud, without calling on God’s strength, mercy and grace. For if I cannot love these thoughts away, God can. Only the thoughts of God can “elevate you to a higher level of consciousness.”

The more of the strength and faith in the Divine I can upload into my Cloud, the more power I have over negative downloads.

Of course the negative files exist, and there are times and places they need to be downloaded and dealt with, but it needs to be of MY choosing, not random.

There are also times the negative files will keep popping up because we need to deal with something. Often, it’s when we need to do the next healing step, and that’s okay. Just listen to your instinct. You will know when the pop-ups are unnecessary, and when it’s time for an “operating system update.”

The choice is always ours. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, just try it! Own it. Choose it.

A Course in Miracles sums this up beautifully:

“And so again we make the only choice that ever can be made; we choose between illusions and the truth, or pain and joy, or hell and Heaven. Let our gratitude unto our Teacher fill our hearts, as we are free to choose our joy instead of pain, our holiness in place of sin, the peace of God instead of conflict, and the light of Heaven for the darkness of the world.”                                                                                      -A Course in Miracles, Lesson 190

 

Never underestimate the power of your thoughts.

What are you uploading?

Keep throwing light on the darkness.

You are Still Beloved.

Victoria McGee

 

 

HOW BIG IS YOUR BRAVE?

When I first heard this lyric in the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, I was struck by what a profound question it is. How big is your brave?

eiffel-tower (1)

This week, as our hearts are turned to Paris and the traumatic events there, the idea of courage and bravery come up for all of us. We all have questions: What would I do in that situation? Are we living in a new normal? How big is my brave?

Trauma survivors know the answer to that. Wherever we are in our healing, we know we have survived what would be unthinkable for most people. If you are new in your healing process, that is enough to know. If you are well into your healing, you know the courage needed to heal is sometimes more than that of surviving the trauma. But you also know the well of courage is bottomless. Even if we lose courage one day, the next day we awaken ready to fight the good fight again.

A Course in Miracles states “there is no order of difficulty in miracles.” I often apply that thinking to trauma and healing. There is no order of difficulty in surviving trauma. If 100 people went through the exact same trauma, they would react and deal with it in 100 different ways. We bring into our trauma a set of beliefs, feelings, thought patterns, culture, and maturity that are uniquely ours. We can never say another person’s similar trauma is more or less difficult than our own.

There are traumas we can look at and know they are more harrowing and difficult to heal, yes. I’m talking about similar trauma. We have an unnecessary tendency to make comparisons. We need to remove all judgment from trauma healing. In a situation needing love, judgment is a profound lack of love.

If we follow this line of thinking, then there is no order of difficulty in courage. What it took for me to survive and heal from rape, was courageous for me. What it takes for you to survive and heal is courageous for you. Don’t play small in acknowledging your courage.

And for those days when your brave feels small, ask the Divine for strength. Ask the Divine to hold you up. I used to imagine sitting in the lap of the Divine and being rocked. It comforted me and gave me strength to go on. Sometimes the well “seems” dry. That is when we need to turn to God to fill it again, and rest in that Holy comfort.

As the initial coverage of the Paris attacks subside, we will start to be hear the small stories. The everyday people who became heroes for others. But we will most likely not hear the stories of the survivors and the witnesses to this violence who may have their own PTSD in the months ahead. They will have to become heroes to themselves as they heal. Join with me in asking God to be with them, and with the families of those whose lives were lost. Their brave IS big enough. My brave IS big enough. And when it isn’t, dip from the well of God’s immense and indefatigable LOVE.

“Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in

Show me how big your brave is~”     – Sara Bareilles

 

Victoria McGee

11/15/15

 

 

Be A Warrior

“We need the courage to learn from our past and not live in it.”                                                                                   – Sharon Salzberg

Courage. It is one of those words that has so many subjective meanings. Depending on your life circumstances, it can mean the bravery to face a military battle, or the bravery to face another day.

People living with PTSD know that the battle to return to “normal” takes courage every single day.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 1.02.46 PM

I say “normal” in quotations marks because everyone’s definition of that will be different, and because we never return to what was normal before, but to what can only be called a “new normal.”

The Serenity Prayer brilliantly encapsulates what a survivor must do.

“God grant me the ability to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have written previously about acceptance, and how that can sometimes be the toughest hurdle to cross when you start healing.

But today we focus on courage. “The courage to change the things I can.”

When we have been victimized, traumatized, and shaken to our very core, it can be difficult to see what can be changed about that. And truly, nothing can. The event, the trauma, the attack, the war, happened. That cannot be changed. So what is within our power to change? More than you might imagine.

  • Our thoughts about the trauma.

Of course our immediate thoughts about the trauma will be dark and tragic and a little insane. For a while, sometimes a long while after, random thoughts and flashbacks will enter your thoughts. Sometimes fluttering through, other times ramming into your brain like a freight train. Realize that you have control over these thoughts. At first, you will feel helpless to their insistence. But practice this: thank each dark thought for sharing and speeding you toward healing, then turn your mind to something else. It can be as mundane as what to eat, calling a friend, or reading. Making this choice in your thoughts helps to disarm the part of you that wants to dwell. I used to sarcastically say to my memories “Thank you for sharing. But I choose not to think about that right now.”

  • How we heal from the trauma.

We have many choices in this realm. In my experience, trauma requires a menu of healing, not just one domain. We can choose traditional therapy, hypnosis, regression, art, drama, group, the list is literally endless. When you add holistic methods it grows exponentially. This is the appropriate place to speak and deal with those dark thoughts! The important thing to remember is to move on if you don’t feel you’re making progress. The healing and the healer has to resonate with you, for healing to happen.

  • How we feel about the trauma.

When we speak of the courage to change the things we can, our feelings about the trauma are integral. There are so many different types of trauma that it’s impossible to address individual emotions about it. You can choose to feel like a victim or a survivor. You can choose to feel different from others, or you can choose to see how our struggles make us all the same. You can choose to isolate, or you can choose to join.

All of these choices take courage. Inner healing takes tremendous amounts of courage. Most people in your daily life don’t know what you’re so very earnestly doing each day. Healing. Loving yourself. Getting up and going out in the world every day. They don’t know that you’re a warrior.

In his book, The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukav says, “When you choose to learn through wisdom, to evolve consciously, your fears surface one at a time in order for you to exorcise them with inner faith. That is how it happens. You exorcise your own demons.”

We all respond to trauma differently, based on our own perceptions, formed by our own life experience and level of resilience. Everything informs our response, from our genetic makeup to our upbringing.

But we all have a warrior inside us as well. And courage. If we ask, the reservoirs will open to us, and all that we need will be provided.

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep. God is awake.”

– Victor Hugo

You are Still Beloved –

Victoria McGee

11/1/2015

YOU ARE NOT YOUR BODY

 

“Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.”          ~ A Course in Miracles

 So what is real? Are we human beings having a spiritual experience? Or are we spiritual beings having a human experience? If we can accept and wrap our minds around the latter idea, our healing can transform us.

water-880462_1920

When I first began to study A Course in Miracles, some of these thoughts angered me. I had been through real trauma, how can they say that nothing real can be threatened? I had been threatened. I had been hurt and traumatized. What are they talking about?

But as I did the workbook and studied and listened and opened my heart and mind, the ideas began to make more sense. Any spiritual path will set you on a roller coaster ride of questioning. This idea makes sense. This does not. What does that mean?!? I get this concept, but not this one! Whatever path we are on, we need to be gentle with ourselves, letting the knowledge seep in as we are ready to comprehend it. Relax in knowing that each small epiphany is preparing you for the next, and the next, and the next.

Accepting what A Course in Miracles refers to as real and unreal is the same as knowing that what is of spirit is eternal, and what is of the body is not. What is of the spirit is real and can never be threatened or destroyed. So in terms of existence, (or that which will always exist), only that essence is real.

When I went through my trauma, I was about halfway through reading Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. Somehow, in the middle of being assaulted, lines from the book floated into my head and I was suddenly aware, very aware, hyper-aware, that “I” was NOT my body. Something bad was happening to my body, but there was a part of me that was not being touched and could not be harmed. Call it my soul, my Higher Self, my Divine Essence, whatever you like. But I instantly knew that part of me was of God, and was of Love, and was ETERNAL.

This was one of the gifts of this experience. There is no quicker way to “get” that lesson and realize what you are not, than by disconnecting from your body.

One of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s quotes sums up this idea perfectly. He says “Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.”

All my life, being raised in a traditional Christian manner, I had seen myself as a body with a soul. Flipping that idea on its head has saved my sanity. For if I’m a soul with a body, then I cannot be contained, or truly harmed. My spirit is of God. I Am.

How freeing is that thought! How healing and comforting!

But to believe it and truly know it, we must tell ourselves every day. Sometimes every moment of every day. I am as God created me.

“I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.” ~ A Course in Miracles

 

I am still as God created me. I am a soul. I am eternal. I am more than my body. I am more than my trauma.

I am Still Beloved.

Victoria McGee

10/25/2015

 

A Trauma Survivor’s Manifesto

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while now. I keep being drawn to this idea of taking our trauma, our wounds, and transmuting it into something better. I look at parents who have lost children who take that grief and start foundations, channeling that immense loss into something new and good.

There is no better balm for trauma than creating your own compassionate acts.

So I give this to you today – I hope you find it valuable. Please feel free to share it with others who need these words via Facebook or Twitter!   Click on the picture to enlarge it!

Trauma Survivor's Manifesto

You are Still Beloved ~

Victoria McGee

Oct. 6, 2015