Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Does It Mean to B Strong?

Breath by breath, little by little, I am coming back to life after the shocking events of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Being strong does not mean not feeling. If anything it means just the opposite. Being strong means that we also have the capacity to be soft and open our hearts to all of the sensations, thoughts and feelings that arise after a traumatic event meeting them with loving kindness and compassion.

Being strong means being vulnerable and reaching out for a hand to hold, arms to hug and taking a risk to let down our guard. From Priscilla Warner's book, "Learning to Breathe:My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm To My Life":

"The convention of panic was just a thin veil for you," Bob Sachs wrote to me in an email one day. "It cloaked the stillness and compassion that is you. It takes great courage to let it all go and to display the unbearableness of so much love." (p. 260)

Being strong means that we reach out to one another for love and support. We share our feelings. We hug. We cry and yes we even smile and feel joy.

Being strong means being open to healing while feeling all the pain and to not feel guilty that I survived.

I am so happy and grateful to be alive. I felt love vibrate through every one of my cells.

It takes strength to use restraint in what I watch on TV and what articles I click on on Facebook. I am mindful of what information I am allowing myself to take in. I ask myself, "Is reading or watching this going to serve me? Is it going to promote healing or only serve to retraumatize me and drain my energy?" Here is a news story of survivorship and resiliency -- "Dancer Who Lost Leg in Bombing -- I'm a Fighter".

“Overall, I feel like I’m a fighter and I’m ready. I’m ready for the challenge. Someone tried to stop me from reaching my dreams, and I want to be able to just say, well, ‘Nice try, I’m still going to go for it and stay positive through it.’

“And then I have moments, like this morning, where I just get extremely frustrated and I’m just angry. And I feel very dependent on everyone around me – just to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, or just to put on a pant leg or anything like that. And it makes me want to scream and punch pillows and throw water bottles and just get extremely angry.

“So I think I’m still in the coping stages. It goes up and down.”

She is the epitome of Boston Strong!

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