Those of us who are committed to our own lifelong growth and development no doubt will experience periods of rest followed by periods of angst followed by periods of searching followed by periods of learning and then by periods of trying to find ways to expand our life to include changes that happen to us as a consequence of this entire process.
Sometimes the changes we see in our self and in our life are very DRAMATIC. Many severe infant-child abuse survivors know DRAMA best because the entire universe that formed us was without healthy patterns of movement in any direction other than the directions fostered by despair and accomplished by violence (of all possible kinds). Thus, for we survivors, learning to find a healthy, balanced pace for ourselves as we go through our life changes often doesn’t feel ‘normal’ to us. We are used to the kinds of dramatic-traumatic UPHEAVALS our body-brain was formed by.
THOSE changes are to me kind of like PRIMORDIAL ones, and I think about volcanoes and earthquakes, tidal waves and forceful winds. Nope! I don’t want my own changes to follow THOSE kinds of courses anymore. I want gentle change, change that I would recommend to happen as if they were happening in the presence of a little tiny infant.
Can there be such a thing as ‘peaceful change’? Isn’t that an oxymoron-contradiction in words? Is ‘peaceful’ something that happens when everything is staying EXACTLY the same (status quo), while ‘change’ is something that must ALWAYS mean trauma lurks somewhere?
Being alive is always about change – or so I have heard. I have also read over and over again in the writings of neuroscientific developmental experts that the best possible safe and secure infant-mother (caregiver) attachment relationships build a little one’s body-brain to be MOST flexible and LEAST rigid in its abilities to adapt to an ever-changing world over the course of a lifetime.
Severe abuse survivors adapted a body-brain in their earliest developmental growth periods in the midst of trauma that most usually remains most centrally in a ‘stress response-anxiety state’ nearly all of the time. That kind of a body (and I sure have one) must learn over a long, long haul what the feeling of being peaceful even is. At the same time, what we really ONLY know is continual change.
Infant-child abuse (to me) means that something bad and harmful is ALWAYS coming at the little one’s developing body, and this ‘always coming at’ creates continual threat to continued life and to continued survival. All these ‘coming ats’ happen to the little one when it is most defenseless to prevent, predict, fight back or escape the really awful things that happens to it. In other words, the ‘center of control’ is NOT within the power of the infant except as it can possibly find ways to adapt within its growing physiology.
Finding ways to move past THIS kind of change reaction is probably actually what all survivor healing is truly about. Our empowerment comes as we learn to recognize both internal needs for change and external demands for change while we remain at as close to a ‘peaceful-center’ as we can find within our self. Not an easy task for survivors, but POSSIBLE as we make progress in our healing and growth.
This process for me seems to be like widening and improving the roadway I move down in my life. My pathway in life began (and stayed for my first 18 years) nearly impassably treacherous. I want to widen it now, level it, smooth it, make it so I can see behind me and in front of me so I can anticipate where I am going as I view where I have been more clearly.
Maybe my own ‘artistic and creative’ way of working on all of this is part of the motivation for all the adobe pathway-walkway work I do in my ever expanding own yard! Who knows?