Harmony of self,
Of mind, body, and soul,
Waits upon harmony of mind,
Note: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD (and other past stress) which has become part of our ethos or basic belief system. February is a meditation on harmony.
Each day is a wrestling match between two minds in one self, a logical mind which guides my rational life, and a feeling mind which becomes my emotional life.
“Left brain, talk to right brain,” is a mantra for some of us in Dr. Hart’s Combat PTSD after care group. It works, usually along with other tools like controlled breathing and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). It works because the feeling mind knows no boundaries of space and time, conflates here and now with then and there, and rages hormonal response to threats long past and far away. It works because we deliberately apply the processes of cognition to our immediate life and quell the nagging dread before it flares to blinding rage. It works because we have learned that it works and we rely upon it.
But, it only takes us so far—back down to a socially acceptable edge of anger, to a sublimation of our fears and resentments.
To go further is dangerous, to dance with our demons at the edge of a cliff of despair, the brink of depression. We hold onto our edge, which is our tolerable anger, rather than dare the vulnerability of crossing the chasm on an ethereal bridge to an imaginary land of Serenity.
It is okay. You have earned the right to stay, to hold onto the sanity of the safe place you have found, the edge against the world that protects you, your family, and the innocents you respect. It is okay simply to know that there is a real place of Serenity and a real bridge to get there when you are ready.
When you are ready—what no other can tell you.
When you are ready, you will need a hair. A long, curly hair.
It is a metaphor for a job that can never be finished, that always demands further attention.
It is a metaphor Tom Brown, Jr. gave us in a story. The hair kept the insistent genie busy because each time he straightened it and let go, it curled up, again. The genie’s job was never done, so he never raged his demand for another job.
My logical mind is where I live. I think for a living. I think for fun. I think for survival. I think because I am.
That logical mind is like my desk, like my entire office (both, at home and at work), full of ideas and problems that demand my attention.
Sitting quietly and waiting for harmony twixt my two minds is futile for an impatient soul with so much important stuff to do. I need a hair—you know—to keep my logical mind busy while my emotional mind expresses feelings to me (so that my dreams might be less disturbing).
I need activity to enthrall my logical mind. It may be yard work, a repair project, or a walk in the woods. But, we can go further, find a hair we can use at work, in a crowd, at a party. We need a mantra or mandala upon which we focus our logical minds while listening to our rational minds.
I like slow music, Native American flute or light New Age. I like sounds of Nature. I like visions and memories of safe places, beautiful places, peaceful places, a clear space, my Sacred Place.
You have such a place, across the chasm. It does exist for you. And, you have the way to get there, to your own Sacred Place. When you are ready.
I hope you find it, and Happy Tracking!