Tag Archives: trauma

Flood

After a trauma, a disaster, however big or small, there is a tremor that does not just jar the psyche in the present moment, but is connected to all past experiences. The larger the tremor, the deeper the fissure and the self begins to turn inwards.

This disconnect from the senses feels engulfing. And, if the mind is at all clear, it begins to cry out for some buoy or raft to float upon. What should I do? How will I make it out alive? These questions echo across the all encompassing ocean of despair seemingly without answer.

When the waters are there though for weeks on end, we begin to wonder what the self is at all. In these moments, one forgets the most simple of things, such as the taste of a favorite food or how a certain song creates a great urge to dance.

In time, we may hear a response amidst the chaos. Something that reminds us of who we are, if we begin to ask the question. Perhaps, it is the friend who comments how much they’ve noticed that you like baths. Or, maybe it is the acquaintance that texts you the quote you remember reading years ago with tears in your eyes.

And, at first, sometimes it can feel as though your body is foreign. But, as the waters subside, you find yourself again, clinging wet and gangly to whatever small item you’ve found to hold onto, may it be faith or a practice. And, whatever that thing now found in your hands becomes a seed.

Holding onto a seed can be an experience of clutching or caring. A seed is a small thing. It is not large and it is not heavy. It is both delicate and fiercely strong. Rest it in your hands of dirt. Let the sun warm it. Let the rain water it. Abandon attempts to control its progress or contemplate its usefulness. Allow its growth.

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This prose began from personal experiences with loss and working with clients who have acute stress and symptoms. I want to keep exploring ways the poetic imagination can discuss these experiences in metaphor and with hope. Thank you to those who have walked, and continue to walk, this journey.

Lesvos

In July, I went to work with refugees who were currently staying in a camp on the island of Lesvos, Greece. We spent a week training volunteers around compassion fatigue as well as counseling those in the camp, both teaching coping skills as well as processing seemingly only a little of the trauma they had experienced. After returning, this image has remained in my memory.

“Bebe, those sleepy seeds are still in your eyes.”

He has been

Dreaming

It is all he can do

after waking up in this

place on the dusty

hill, barbed wire fenced in safe

and yet still stuck

in this holding cell, this

waiting

room, for a future he knows so little of.

They huddled in, chilled, as they crossed

with nothing but a few clothes stuffed

between legs, their raft slowly rocking

through that birthing canal,

hoping to make it alive across

the icy waves below. Yes,

he wakes here now,

Dreaming,

day after day, to leave this

place. Dreaming

is all he can do;

these tiny seeds of hope

keep him alive.