Years ago at the other farm our spring ran out of water and we had to switch to the emergency tank. It was not pleasant drinking from that tank. But even more unpleasant was making the trek up the side of the holler to clear out the blockage.
Part of me feels like the past five years has been a spiritual and emotional Trek up my inner hillside to clear the blockage out of my emotions and mind after surviving an abusive relationship.
Digging in the mud and muck, with valid concerns about snakes and bears was a low point in my homesteading career. The same can be said of digging through the shame, anger, blame, and guilt left in my mind and heart during that time.
You see, our hearts and minds are a bit like blocked springs. The water is there. It just can’t do anyone any good because the way out is blocked.
Digging out the spring took hours. We had to use tools, and when the tools didn’t work we had to lay on our stomachs, put our hands into a dark hole, and dig out one muddy rock at a time.
And that’s exactly how recovering from abuse is so often. That is the model I was given to follow. And it took years of digging in the same spot without much progress.
Quite by accident I stumbled onto a different method – joy.
Joy builds up the pressure inside our inner spring and bursts forth. Joy doesn’t always come out in the same spot after the landslide of trauma. But, like the water of a spring, it does seek escape into the larger world. And once a trickle finds its way out, it grows. It becomes a source of life.
For years I thought I had to be the person I was before the trauma scars. I tried so hard to BE HER. But I wasn’t her anymore. I was someone else. I did her routines. I engaged in her hobbies. But the inner life water was still stuck deep within.
Finally, I sat back and thought about what did feel right in my inner world. For me it was thankfulness, appreciation, and deeper spiritual meditation. Focusing on gratitude started building up the water pressure, the joy, in my inner being.
It still took time, but I started recovering my sense of self and security faster the more I focused on what brought me joy. However, what brought me joy changed because the access to my inner spring changed.
That to me has been the hardest part of recovering from the abuse, especially the mental abuse. Not only is there the need to grieve the person you were, the experience, the loss of dreams, but you wake up not recognizing your own innermost self.
There is a period of getting to know the new you and accepting THAT person. It can be frustrating digging in that old hole looking for anything that looks familiar. It’s scary. It is also scary to allow yourself to change and meet the new you after trauma. Those feelings are valid. They are normal. You are normal.
We are not made for violence. We are not born wanting our brains damaged and altered by trauma. But that’s the reality. I will never be who I was. You will never be who you were. But don’t give up. Don’t give up. I’ve been thru the dark night of the soul, and there are brighter days ahead than you have seen. Don’t give up on YOU.
You still have the inner spring. You still have joy deep down waiting to burst forth. You still have happy days ahead.
Take a step back from the old spring box where the inner landslide is blocking your spring. Where do you think your water is waiting to meet you at the surface? What feels good and is not self damaging? What can you do that will help you reconnect to your spring and to the life giving waters of your soul? Are you willing to accept yourself? Are you ready to celebrate your joy and let go of what was?
I can’t answer those questions for you. You may not be ready to answer them either. And that is okay, too. There is no one size fits all to recovering from abuse. I still have plenty of my own inner work to do. I’m sharing what I discovered in my inner world, what helped me. I hope it helps you, too. I truly hope you find your spring bursting forth with the sweetest water you ever tasted.
May your Spring be Abundant,
Your Sister Surviver,
*If you are considering hurting yourself, please see a trained mental health specialist.