Battling the Terrors

My past frightens me. It is a long, arduous trek through unconsciousness. So much of it seems to have happened to someone else. In all fairness, I should have been institutionalized long ago. I should have cracked. But I was lucky. I perfected a serene, composed exterior. No matter what kind of hell was breaking loose just below the surface, it was my secret. No one ever knew, no one but me.

I rarely tell my life story. When I do, people are aghast. Some refuse to believe me. Some are awed. But all listen unaware of their gaping jaws. The things that are easy to reveal, the five marriages and five divorces, are startling enough without getting into the more disturbing details. “You seem so normal,” they say. I smile, serenely, “I am,” I reply.

Trauma remains in the body. No matter how good a person is at coping with life and covering up the scars, trauma lurks in cell memory. It can manifest as depression, panic attacks, or hundreds of other psychological disorders that keep therapists in business. There were times when the roar of terror and hopelessness in my ears threatened to tear me apart. But I have always seen myself as a happy person. Terror and hopelessness are unacceptable to my self-image. Writing became my salvation. I could scream the outrage into poetry or prose, pound it out on the keyboard turning the insanity into something manageable. But ‘manageable’ was merely survival. I needed to believe there was more to life than that.

Then three things happened almost simultaneously. I began doing Qigong meditation. It quieted and focused my mind. I developed a way of writing that took me behind the scenes in my psyche. I learned my truth. And I made yoga a daily practice. Yoga opened my heart. I’ll never forget the moment I first saw myself with compassion. I felt an outpouring of love for the brave soul who had  willed herself through life, raised three daughters, owned businesses, worked so very hard to be perfect while neatly, in quietly civilized fashion, battled the terrors within. I made a commitment that day to her. It was a promise to pursue the joyous journey no matter what. It was an intention let loose in the universe. I had no idea what metaphysical magic I had put in motion.

But any of you who have been following my blog have an inkling of the results of that promise. I have achieved what few are able to in this lifetime, bliss, in giant portions. I live in a place that nurtures and supports my journey. And the terrors? They are being squeezed out. I love the Leonard Cohen lyrics, “there’s a crack, a crack, in everything…that’s how the light gets in…” My tightly held perfection has cracked wide open and light is pouring in. Natural light. Healthy light. And when the little terrors poke their ugly heads out, they’re zapped!

 

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 17:30:23

    I wish you every success with your Writing For Self- Discovery Workshop, you deserve it Sherry. You are an inspiration to us all and I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you have discovered ‘bliss in giant portions’ through your own self-discovery and determination to not let the terrors rule your life.

    I have great respect and admiration for you and I love your vitality, wisdom and humour. Onwards and upwards Sherry Bronson. Lottie xo

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  2. anspired
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 23:54:18

    I so love your honesty Sherry. Mine has been an interesting and challenging life, and if I were able I would be there in a heartbeat! Sadly I am not in a position yet to travel but to be able to read your truth from a distance must suffice for now. And read it I will! xx Annie

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Nov 30, 2012 @ 07:41:27

      There is beautiful freedom in transparency. Perfection is not a warm fuzzy. It’s isolating and fear based. Honesty allows the shadow side to be seen. A real person is a compelling combination of darkness and light.

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  3. Diane Struble
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 08:11:28

    Knowing yourself and accepting same always a good idea. Congratulations. Love always.

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  4. Barb Garland
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 12:21:39

    A friend said to me this weekend that she finds the people she most delights in knowing have suffered a lot. Suffering makes you rich and , rich, you are, Sherry. with lots of love, and congratulations on a quest well orchestrated.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Dec 03, 2012 @ 13:58:01

      The stories I told myself along the way were not stories about suffering. It’s so interesting to look back now and see things from this place of utter happiness. That’s when I experienced such compassion for the scrappy little soul that just kept believing things would get better. And they did!

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