Recovering from trauma is all part of the human condition. Most of us begin in trauma as we journey through the birth canal and surprisingly come out a bit squished, bruised, maybe even a bit jaundice. Over the life course, we have plenty of opportunities to experience trauma. The first falls when we learn to walk, may well be interrupted by tops of tables, kitchen obstacle courses and ambition beyond skill. The toddling is instructive. We cry, dust ourselves off, maybe get a hand up, sometimes have our hands held to steady and shepherd us to the next effort and then over time build our capacity, resilience and eventually (if we are lucky enough to have two feet) are able to stand up straight and tall for all the world to see. We get grounded and from there we learn to walk, dance, jump, leap over, run.
My experience in getting over trauma is an act of toddling. There are the inevitable bumps on the head when I raise up with confidence I am ready to stand, and then find I misjudged where the top of that table was, and end up with a bit of a bloody knock. There are the all the visible and invisible hands pulling me up to help me get back on my feet. Some of those hands consciously know the practical help they are offering and others have completely no idea. There are even people who don’t realise how they are being deployed by the UniVerse to help me along the way. These hands turn up every time I get out of my own way and catch the invitations as they come tumbling in to me. I don’t even have to ask sometimes, but I do need to keep my awareness alert and ready to catch as others pitch.
I have people watching me, to see what I will do next, how I will handle situations. Mostly they are kind, generous and encouraging family and friends who want me to bring my best self to all situations. Some have special talents to warn me of obstacles in my path, that might lead to a fall in my toddling. Some have the capacity to cheer me on and chuckle at my more interesting moves as I fall gracefully and not so gracefully from time to time. I noticed this week I have started laughing more and that is surely a good sign. I have also noticed I am beginning to get more playful again, this feels like relief, I have been missing that piece of myself. Truly something is shifting and lifting. I know that I am still toddling though, and falls are inevitable.
Toddling informed trauma recovery includes understanding the mood swings of toddlers – one minute confusion, next rage, closely followed by tenderness. And like toddlers who fall over in their early efforts to walk, there are still days when I want to lie on the floor, bang my hands into the ground, sob uncontrollably and have someone say “there there”, pat my back, bring me food, change my clothes and tuck me into bed. These days are getting less frequent and my internal tantrums are only for a very small audience and do not appear in public places. I am beginning to get excited and making plans for change as in a few weeks I will be travelling, to start walking a piece of the Camino. I expect there is more toddling to come and more sparks to fly.