Crossing the River of Trauma


As we navigate the steps of our healing, it can, at times feel like we're revisiting the same events over and over again. Like crossing the same river that almost drowned you in the flash flood of someone else's rage, entitlement or insecurity.  Maybe you cross it once or twice or hundreds of times on the path back to yourself.

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” Yes, you are different, the water is different, the seasons and time of day have changed and yet, if it wasn't the same river we wouldn't be terrified at meeting it again, exasperated at the evidence that our healing is non-linear, angry that we have to immerse ourselves again on a day when we just weren't planning to get our feet wet.

Maybe during one of the nicer seasons, we discover someone has laid a foot bridge of basalt stone to guide our path or offers a hand to steady our heart. 

Sometimes though, we must cross in the early spring and as we misstep and slip chest deep into the current, the snow melt takes our breath away. There are times, too when we're submerged, face first in silt and sand, daylight blocked by the disturbance of our passing as we are dragged through the depths or left flailing at the surface.

Eventually, though we reach the other side and as we stand on the banks again, having danced with the eddies of change, and the only thing we can be certain of is this...

With every conscious crossing, the grimy layers of shame and guilt of what was done to us and the things we did in order to survive are washed away. The tears and sweat of survival return to their brackish beginnings downstream and we emerge, exhausted, but with the solace that this time, we did not drown.