Eleanor Cowan


Post Traumatic Living At It's Best

 I felt heavy as I awakened this morning. A toxic splash followed by a few dashes of self-recrimination that got tossed with sharp tuning forks.  It took two seconds: 

“No!” I told myself, and swung my legs out of bed and onto terra firma.

While I am NOT in charge of unbidden thoughts, I am responsible about the time I spend on them. And so, with a hot cuppa tea, my agenda book resting on a colorful pillow on my lap, I begin to plan today – not re-live yesterday ad nauseam.

Today, I’m mailing a special birthday card to a dear friend, and then I’ll prepare a tasty meal to share with a guest this evening. Carol loves my cooking, so I have an extra Tupperware dish set aside so she can enjoy a second helping at the office tomorrow.  There are a half dozen other objectives on my list, some for others, some for me, some that just need to get done.  

I may not feel distress as I obey my own orders, but so very, very often, a lovely little surprise occurs, a little unexpected event or a fresh idea that propels my energy forward to a better place. 

I recently learned that the word 'disciple' means: to follow your inner eye.

Once I told a psychiatrist that sometimes at night, just as I drift into sleep, I am rudely awaked by images of murder and mayhem - and sleep is chased away.  The doctor explained this phenomena to me:

“Your brain wants to protect you for the rest of your life. It's job is to make sure you're always secure.  Nodding off to sleep may leave you vulnerable...as you once were as a child. Maybe you could get hurt, just as happened in the past. And so your brain finds a clever way to wake you up so you can defend yourself if necessary.”  

The doctor said these distracting flashes of violence were meant to keep me awake - and vigilant. 

"They will never stop: A commitment on the part of the brain to protect you is life-long,” she added. 

“So what can I do? “ I asked

Without any hesitation, she spoke words I've treasured for years:

“Make sure that your creative life is passionate, that your day to day is well-lived.

Your violent images will still occur, but you’ll be so exhausted at the end of a well-lived day that they won’t last long – and your own happiness will soothe you as fall quickly to sleep. 

Now, images of murder and mayhem alert me that I'm slipping in my creative purposefulness. 

I remind myself : get busy on something that makes me happy. 

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