“What is the point?” I like this direct question. It helps me make sense of my work, my day-to-day living, my history, and my visions. It helps clarify my life. “What is the point” is a tool of discernment for me – helping me figure out what all of my experiences (including the traumatic ones) offer me.
So let’s apply this question to real life for a moment. What possible wisdom can I extract from trauma and adversity? If I were to look at my experiences of racism, for example, I could call it out and stop there; or I could excavate the experiences for guidance and gems of wisdom. What do these experiences show me? What can I do with the insights and guidance they provide? The following True2Soul show (Podcast Link: http://bit.ly/2h2IxcG) explores the post-traumatic effects of racism with American clinical psychologist: Dr Monnica T. Williams. Regardless of the type of trauma, how do we deal with its impact as individuals, as a community and as society-in-general? How does this inform our work?
“What is the point?” is an empowering question. It allows me to obtain wisdom through my experiences to move me forward (*Sankofa). Other questions I’ve asked myself leave me less empowered, anchored and victim to my experiences (E.g. “Why me?”). I LEARN what I will allow or disallow in my life. I CHOOSE TO expand and magnify rather than repress and mute. I BECOME AWARE of what and who makes me happy rather than unhappy. I don’t acquire this guidance only from the joys in my life. I am also guided from the pain in my life as well. The only thing is, we are socialised to run from and avoid pain – many times at all costs.
I speak only from my own experiences and journey when I say: “In the world of post-trauma when I allow myself to heal I also have the opportunity to gather insight and power from my experiences.” Although it sometimes feels like adversity throws me around and can even drown me, I’m still here. When the rough waters of life spit me up onto the shores, as long I have breath and life within me, I have a couple of options:
1. I can lie unmoving on the sands – waiting for the tide to come back in and carry me away or waiting for people to come pick me up, take me where they want to go or even throw me back into the waters. OR
2. I can allow myself to rest, heal, gain strength, then get up and seek the treasures hidden within the shores to serve my journey forward. Who knows, these treasures may even help me navigate the rough waters if I ever get caught up in them again. I opt for this one!
*Sankofa is a word within the Twi language of Ghana that translates into English as “Go back and get it”. Sankofa symbolises a quest for knowledge that allows for critical analysis, conscientious exploration, and thoughtful consideration.