Pain and trauma can isolate us. Focused on something you have lost, or something that has caused you agony, you lose sight of life and get tunnel vision. It can be suffocating.
You relive past events you can’t change. Your memories haunt you like ghosts. You are alone; in the darkness, in the past.
All of this keeps you looking backward over your shoulder. But to live, you must move forward.
Who wants to hear your story? Who could empathize with your travails? Who will understand? Questions like these further beat you down.
One key to taking that first step forward is erasing the fears that you are alone in your pain. You are not alone. We all have cracks. We all suffer. We all get tunnel vision.
It is scary to reach out to people for fear your hand might get slapped, you might get embarrassed, you might feel ashamed and a whole host of other scary emotions. You might. But what is more likely? When you reach out into the darkness and have the courage to keep it there, you usually find someone willing to take hold and help you take a step.
Then there is this present moment. Reaching out to move forward means making a decision RIGHT NOW to act. Don’t put it off. It can be a small step. Write down a plan in a journal. Share a goal or fear or desire with someone. Get out of the house and go to the park. Pick up the guitar collecting dust in the corner. Whatever it is, do it NOW. Act while you have the momentum.
Finally, you need accountability and a plan. Reaching out to someone really means finding someone to hold you accountable. And the only way someone can hold you accountable is if you have a clear plan with goals. Now, it can be a simple plan and simple goals, but defining them, writing them down, and then sharing with someone who will hold you accountable is a powerful thing.
I know. I have been all alone, barely holding on to my sanity and will to live. I wrote the following poem from my book, Who Am I?, when I was sleeping with a gun to my head. I had tunnel vision and I thought my life was over even though I was still just a young man. Less than 9 months after writing this I’d meet the woman who would become my wife. We’ve now been married over 14 years, have 7 children, and have made life incredible. But if you would have told me nine months before I met her that I had much of a future, I would have mockingly laughed at you. What future could a young man sleeping with a gun to his head have?
What did I do to move forward? I ACTED when I decided I had had enough. I bought the guitar I had always wanted to learn how to play. Then I stumbled upon a plan to buy a motorcycle and travel the country when I was discharged from the Marines. Then I told some friends, got some advice, and made my self accountable to those around me whom I had told I was going on the adventure of a lifetime. But oh my goodness was I scared when I started.
Thankfully, regardless of my fear and pain, she was there waiting for me, unknown to us both until I took that step forward to live.
We are not alone in our pain. We turn around, look ahead, and overcome. Together. When you move forward out of the darkness you will find others on a journey toward the light.
From the book Who Am I? by Silouan Green:
A shadow dimly cast
Thin beam, a pale reflection
No trumpets sounded
No proclamation of truth
Holding on to the only thing I could
Because there was nothing else
A couple post reminders:
I began this journey focused on reaching those living in the dark with PTSD. I soon realized their greatest hurdle is one we all face, learning to live free in a world where it is all too easy to get caught up in the stream and lose sight of ourself. I want you to live free.
1) To make sure you receive updates on all my new posts, please either subscribe to the blog or click on the RSS logo at the top of the page.
2) I’m PASSIONATE and COMMITTED about helping people struggling with life learn to live free. Your purchase of Who Am I? and The Ladder UPP are what allows me to meet this demand as much as I can. Many of those groups I travel to help have no money and no budget.
Who am I? and The Ladder UPP workbook will inspire you and provide practical, easy-to-follow tools to live a better life. They will also equip you to help others wanting to live free, from struggling mothers facing a chaotic family to floundering veterans dealing with PTSD, from worn out fathers to teenagers struggling to separate from the pack and find their own identity and purpose.
These are the same materials that I use for my discussion/ peer groups and workshops. You will feel empowered to conquer life and you will feel confident you can help someone take that first step to living free and overcoming life’s cracks. You can get them both by clicking here at Amazon.