Last week, I was talking to somebody who was dealing with major life changes. The changes were all the result of one traumatic event which happened to her, a couple of years ago.
Some of the latest changes were “good” — financially and otherwise. She told me that people in her life, more than ever, were wishing she’d “get over it”:
You should be happy now.
Just put it all behind you, and move on!
When someone experiences traumatic events, people have trouble understanding the twists and turns of the healing process.
That includes the person who has experienced the trauma, too.
This person described a lack of control, a sense of powerlessness in the face of unpredictable, upsetting events and forces — including other people’s reactions and her own feelings.
Together, she and I constructed a metaphor to describe how she felt.
First, she was lost at sea, amid giant, frightening waves.
Then, we changed the picture. We imagined her on a surfboard, on top of those waves. The waves were still enormous, powerful, unpredictable. She could not control them, but she could ride them.
Of course, like any surfer, she would “wipe out” and fall off her board at times. But the surfboard would always be there, bobbing nearby in the waves, ready for her next ride.
I like that metaphor. I’m using it for myself, today.
There are always forces — outside in the word and within myself — that I cannot control.
Sometimes those forces are bigger. Sometimes they seem dangerous.
But I always have my surfboard, at hand. And I can always climb back on top, and ride those waves.
What IS my surfboard?
Why, it’s everything that helps, including my
- Connections to other people
- Access to beauty, in nature and elsewhere
- Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.*
It’s time for an image! Let’s see what Google is offering today, for “surfer”:
Gee, that looks like fun!
Thanks to Mark Healey (for riding that wave), National Geographic, surfers everywhere, survivors of all kinds, and to you — of course! — for visiting today.
* Quoting Yul Brynner, in “The King and I”: