I am haunted by people and places from my past. Sometimes, visions come to me in dreams and other times in nightmares. I wake up from a deep sleep with a melancholy I cannot explain nor shake. It sits in a ball between my heart and the top of my stomach.
Where and why does it come to me in these particular moments, and why do I still feel past hurt with such present, real rawness?
My theory is that being in yet another time of geographical and emotional transition brings memories of people and place to the surface of my consciousness.
They are all a part of my, however much I try to bury the less than pleasant. I do not wish to play a martyr or victim, though this I have been told by one ghost from Alaska. I met this ghost during a particularly difficult time of transition in my life. He met me at what this culture would call “my worst,” though truly it was a time of great awakening for my spirit and soul. The awakening came at a cost for my own and others’ hearts. There was a storm before there was clarity and calm.
I have lashed out in self defense during difficult times of despair. I have said and done things that came from a wounded part of me. At these times, it was easier to respond with resistance because I simply did not have the energy to respond with empathy and understanding. I was in survival mode, clawing at whatever I could to stay above water.
As I have moved through one storm after another, the more challenging practice has been to learn how to respond peacefully, or better yet, not to respond at all.
Of course, this practice does not erase my past or heal old wounds. They are there, and I feel them deeply from time to time. Even coming to a better understanding of how and why events played out as they did does not always offer closure.
A dialogue within can be helpful. I am not convinced that a dialogue with people from my past would be productive, as we have each worked hard to stay the course from our own, individual perspectives. Responding through our own lens makes it nearly impossible to meet another person where they are and allow space for understanding and empathy.
I have known my own self for a long time. I am the person I have taken the time to know best, and I am quite accustomed to my own approach to situations, as well as my own way of processing events that come to pass.
The more I come to understand my own self, the more I am able to begin stepping outside of that self to view the world from the places where others’ stand.
If I could go back, would I do things differently? If I knew then what I know now, I would. But such is hindsight. It is not always 20/20. A wise friend once told me that no experience is wasted if you learn from it. So, I will continue to learn, make mistakes, and try my best to bring love into each new situation and person I encounter.
So goes the circle of thinking in my own head. So continues the hurt and healing in my own heart.