Who are you?
It’s a serious question. Beneath the façade of style and guile, what is your name? Do you have a spirit name? Do you have a spirit identity?
Note: We have been exploring twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD and other past stress. August contemplates Vision.
Vision as an indigenous cosmology is a complex concept with purpose at its core.
When we find ourselves devoid of passion and purpose, the first thing we need to do is stop. But that’s not easy. The rest of the world is zooming by at full speed. Left alone with ourselves, without a project to occupy us, we can become nervous and self-critical about what we should be doing and feeling. This can be so uncomfortable that we look for any distraction rather than allowing ourselves the space to be as we are. (Dawna Markova)
I am a teacher and Nancy is a nurse. We are blessed to be people who have found careers of purpose matching our passions. We have lived our identities. We are lucky.
But, luck needs help. Neither of us found our way accidentally. We wandered. We made choices. I found I enjoyed teaching in graduate school and as an Academic Staff Specialist at UW-Madison. Nancy found she enjoyed taking care of people as an Army medic and a nursing aid. Still, each of us needed a personal crisis to push us to a decision and we needed family to coach that decision. Sooner or later, we all need coaching.
Some of us make major life decisions as children and adolescents that steer our lives by passion. Many of us begin a life of purpose and developing identity. Too many of us experience trauma that disrupts that development.
In 1968 I was a science student accepted into graduate school to study genetics at UW-Madison. I had a research assistantship offer. In three or four years I could be a PhD geneticist and maybe a professor.
In 1969 I went to Vietnam.
Trauma has a way of changing who we are—or, at least, who we think we are. It has a way of changing what we believe about purpose, and it discolors passion.
That’s all I have to say about that.
Oh, I came back to finish my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Genetics, but the passion was gone. I had lost my Vision (although I didn’t know about Vision at the time). That life no longer fit my perception of myself, had I actually faced a perception of myself.
I found my way to a new passion, a purpose that continues to grow and develop even now.
How did I find my way?
How I changed over the past forty-five years is still a mystery to me, a mystery I intend to pursue in the next year, but I know it all began with my searching for a purpose. I stopped and let the world race by me. I caught my breath and saw a glimmer of distant hope. Somebody loved me and believed in me. Answers came.
Have you stopped, I mean really stopped, to look at the tracks in your heart that show you who you are?