I walk up to the bank of the river and kneel down to look at my reflection on the surface. At this calm bend, the water is smooth as if it has never been disturbed. The day is extremely cold and I have just walked away from feeding the cows with my father. At this time in my life, I often stole off into nature, away from other people in an attempt to feel connected and safe rather than live with the distance I felt around my family.
I have recently become a new father and my nine-month old son Luke has become my companion in learning about healing. When he was three months old, I searched for a place to soothe him as he cried. As his little body tensed, his face becoming tight and red as little tears trickled down his face, I would place him in his carrier and walk down to a small stream next to my house.
I recently worked with a man who gave me permission to share his experience through a session plan in which we created together. For the purposes of this article I will not be using the clients actual name. I will use the name John in order to create privacy around the private sessions that we moved through together. John hoped that sharing his experience would help someone else who has been through similar life situations.
When healing trauma, it is impossible to separate the good and the bad, although we often try hard to do so. Through my own process as well as working with others, I have seen how good experiences are often coupled with bad ones. A great example could be a child who uses permanent marker to paint a picture on a window. The child wants her parents to be proud of her beautiful work of art, yet may be punished instead.
Recently, while walking down to the river with my two nephews, wandering through the field on our farm, I felt a tiny judgment run through my mind: “What am I doing, walking through this field? Everything is cold, brown, grey, and dead.” This was a fleeting thought and as I looked down at my nephew’s faces that were lit up with joy and excitement, charging toward the frozen river, I was instantly reminded of...
On one occasion when I was little I walked into my Grandparents house and after strolling into their kitchen, I quickly jumped into my grandma’s lap and sat comfortably. As I looked over at my Grandfather I saw my sister playing on his lap. She touched his face and played with all of his old and wrinkly features.