“Between each wrinkle is a warrior, wounded but willing to show up. Underneath scars are soldiers fighting struggle and stigma. Life’s battles mark us, yet build us.” ~Dan Phillips
Years ago, I was trying to offer counsel to a young man who had returned from the war in Afghanistan and was suffering from PTSD. His life was upside down, and treatment felt extremely slow to him. He desperately wanted me to give him a time frame for when he would feel better. He asked me how long it would take to feel normal again.
I didn’t have the words then to tell him he would never feel “normal” again, but that would be okay. His experience and his healing would integrate into a new normal if he kept up with treatment and focused on the process of healing, rather than the outcome. I did tell him healing was different for everyone and impossible to put a time frame on; so keep going to therapy, keep working at healing, and ask for God’s help. I often wonder how he is doing.
I thought of him recently when I learned about a Hindu goddess called Akhilandeshwari. Translated from Sanskrit, her name is commonly referred to as “she who is never not broken.” Akhilanda means never not broken. Eshvari refers to a supreme ruler. It is understood among her believers that the brokenness is exactly what makes Akhilandeshwari strong. She is depicted as riding a crocodile across a lake, a symbol of not only conquering fear, but using it to get to the next stage.
As soon as I read about this goddess, it resonated with me. Yes, I am never not broken. A part of me will always feel broken as trauma’s wounds are deep, cutting to the core of our being. However, that wound is exactly what makes me a warrior, a writer, a healer, and a messenger. The brokenness gives me my power. The wound sent me deeper to God.
“God uses our wounds in beautiful ways, to heal our souls of deeper maladies.”
I invite you to take a moment to try to shift your thoughts about this trauma, this wound you carry. First, acknowledge that it will always be with you, it is always part of you. You may not think of it very often, or you may still be newly healing and it is ever-present. I invite you to accept it as part of you, rather than wishing it away. Accept that it is as much a part of you as your heart or lungs. It just is.
Now take a deep breath as you allow this wound to be part of you. Feel a softening around the trauma, and your thoughts about it. Honor the healing you’ve already done and feel the tremendous power around that. The power and wisdom you’re gaining could not have come about any other way. Only through the healing of the wound.
Take another deep breath and as you exhale feel the marriage of these thoughts.
I am never not broken.
This means I am always healing.
This means I am building strength and faith and power
beyond who I was before.
This simple exercise can help us acknowledge our wound, and start to see the gifts in it. Just as mending an object often makes it stronger than before, so mending our wounds makes us stronger than before.
“A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.” ~ Carly Simon
Part of healing trauma and PTSD is, of course, effective therapy. If your trauma is fresh (or if it is old and you never really looked at it), you need therapy to truly deal with it. I can’t stress this enough. My purpose is simply to give you spiritual tools with different ways of looking at your trauma, to invite God in to your healing process.
Let us march forward as “we who are never not broken” knowing that is what empowers us, for the best healers are those who have been healed. We are an army of faith and love.
“Don’t moan that you’re broken, be happy that you can break so that you can continuously remake yourself.” ~ Shivali Bhammer
You are Still Beloved.
September 9, 2018