I have some pretty impressive cuts on my arm. I both love and fear them. I love them because they are a daily reminder of what I have overcome. However, they also uncomfortably attract the attention of lots of little kids who innocently ask “what happened to you, lyssa?” I usually say it was a lawn mower accident. Once in a while I’ll catch the wide, pointed eyes of adults down to my left. And those are just my arms.
I have tracks, cuts, a stab wound below my knee, cigarette burns on my feet, rope burns on my ankles, jagged scars in my ass where I was impaled on the inside of a car door without the inner siding, a weird knot on my left bicep where I was punched repeatedly in the same place till the skin split open, a c-shape line on the back corner of my ear where a pot cracked on the side of my head.
And… the one on my hand where my old best friend Alecia pushed me into the pool and it caught on the silver metal steps into the pool. A happy scar. One of the best times of my life.
But the rest. Wounds of war and survival. Internal war and external blows. And they are now all fully healed skin… nothing hurts anymore. Not even the emotional scars. There is something so pure and whole about realizing your true nature. That space of being that is beyond your past, personality, thoughts or fears. You are always the knowing of these modalities, you are never the constructs themselves. You are the awareness. This gives you the power to choose your state of being. It gives you the power to forgive. I forgive myself for the tracks and the cuts. Forgive my attackers for the harm they caused me. Forgive the world for allowing such a thing to happen. It frees me from the prison of shame. Or fear. Living in that state is a nightmare for those who have been through things that I have without being able to “snap out of it” once in a while. It torments us and drives us insane. We fear trusting anyone or anything. We can’t stop focusing on our failures or blaming ourselves for them. Hating ourselves.
What I say to you now… it is every person’s destiny to realize this oneness of being, we are designed to thrive. I’m telling you now that, regardless of what you’ve been through, it has no effect on your ability to be present. The more intensely you feel, the greater your focus on feeling the emotions of pain or fear on both a physical and emotional level. However, you’ll want to learn how to dis-associate with your thoughts while you do this. By focusing instead on the physical feelings of your emotions, it draws attention away from the thought pattern that is perpetuating the emotion. Your body will naturally begin to calm. The fight or flight chemicals will begin to drop. This is where mindfulness comes in. Begin to listen to your surroundings and focus on what you see in front of you. Will your mind to slow the racing thoughts you’re experiencing by objectively watching your thoughts. Exercise the range of senses you can access that draws focus from your mind. If you are suffering from PTSD, your mind will take some time to manually adapt coping skills due to the intensity of the flashbacks. However, focusing on what is around you this very moment begins to override the paradigm of fear the symptoms create. Becoming much more present is a natural consequence of drawing your focus to the now. Presence in the now is what “saves” you from PTSD. Not only is the intensity of the symptoms reduced, but you also begin to accept yourself more for having episodes. Radical self-forgiveness is also a natural consequence of realizing full presence. It’s a natural relaxer and gives you a certain confidence and feeling of security. In this state you are better able to handle episodes when they do happen.