Healing Emotional Vertigo Sometimes, my thoughts are punishing, my brain on fire. Have you experienced this? I am someone who deserves to be understood and cherished rather than criticized and improved. It is time to arrest the process of depletion caused by the trauma I have suffered. It's time to stop ignoring my body's signals and instead allow them the authority to teach me about myself, time to keep my life as simple and quiet as possible, to allow myself comforts of the senses and small pleasures: Home cooking of familiar foods reminiscent of my childhood. Enjoying a steaming cup of my favorite tea. The sound of moving water, taking in the look of it, the soft caress it provides in a hot shower. Walking alongside it, whether a lake or the sea, as I marvel at its many moods. Laughter is as much a part of my healing as weeping. Revisiting favorite films from my past or watching a new series on Netflix helps to mend that sore ache in my heart that has been my constant companion. It is time to reset my internal clock to the rhythms of nature: Watch the sun rise and set. Gaze up at the constellations. Observe the cycle and changing shape of the moon. Connect to a simpler, slower time. Sometimes life offers a respite, something or, in my case, someone new. My first grandchild was born two years after D-day, and although she lives on the other side of the country, our precious few visits have allowed me to revisit the long hours of my own young motherhood spent watching the magical process of infanthood unfolding. What a treasure to look into the innocent eyes of the future and see in them the simplicity of life as it used to be. Even in a time of great suffering, there can be connection to our depth of character and memory: Memories of a season of life when I was under the protective loving care of my parents, living under their roof, eating my mom's simple, filling meals, lying next to my basset hound 'sister' while synchronizing my breathing with her soft snore. Even if life were no less dangerous and dark then, the darkness was hidden from my awareness as I was cushioned within the walls of my family home and the unconditional love I found there. In this time of recovery, I look for a way to transform all this misery into wisdom and compassion, just as the most revered men and women of history have done, just as every strong-souled person has found reincarnation as a more resilient, empathetic self. Although I allow myself to speak of my sorrow and loss, I will not let it define me. I've found a wonderful group through Al-Anon. The meeting I go to is composed mostly of senior women who have been molded by their grief. They remind me that I have choices, and it is okay to say no. After taking good care of my body and soul for as long as it takes, it will begin to, once again, take care of me. Slowly, I allow myself to enjoy the return of more positive emotions. Contentment sneaks back in with the balm of intentional calmness. A new spark of curiosity, a bit more energy punctuates what have been the darkest days of my life. I can, once again, feel the great tenderness I have held for the important people in my life, both living and dead. Little by little, I no longer feel quite so broken, so alone. It is akin to surviving a near-death experience, filling me with gratitude for the tulip bulbs that are pushing their way through the warming earth and listening to every Michael Bublé song that comes on the radio. It seems I can never plan a day as good as the one that unfurls if I just leave lots of white space in my schedule. Slow down, and let the day unfold. Maybe, just maybe, a day I thought would be dismal will become a bright memory. We all have seasons of suffering if we are fortunate to live long enough. In this season, if I allow myself to explore my self and my relationship to the world, my heart and body and mind will strengthen, grow, heal. Step out of the shadow-life great grief brings. I believe most of us are equipped to heal from trauma. We can choose to dig deep into the entrenched strengths of our identity. The cure is growth. When we expand our point of view, our life, so too, will follow.