The Letting Go of Last Year

by Sonia Aumen, RYT, Facilitator at Embodied Directions Wellness Sanctuary

Last year wasn’t the best for me. There were a lot of events and experiences that I am still processing and create that pang of anxiety, stress, restlessness. And I am not going to tell you that it was “all for reason” and that I know “things will get easier”. I am currently writing because I don’t wanna forget that I am soaking in it. Through all the shit that has happened and all the horrible feelings, for once in my life, I don’t feel in complete denial of how things went, what things happened or are still going (just because societal construct says the year has ended, problems and the effects of events roll on unaffected by this invisible wall of the new year.) I am here to tell you, I am processing and I am going to grow with this (even though, the growth is not overnight). And I will tell you a little of how I am doing this. I am by no means a therapist, an expert or some fucking guru on spiritual/ mental health.

The Art of Detachment

During my first yoga teacher training, the curriculum carried a book called “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra. In this book, Chopra goes on into detail about how the law of detachment can be the key to success because the person practicing this law will most likely handle failures, unfortunate events with more space and grace. When I initially learned about this, I was like “hell yeah, easy day.” And I was so wrong. What this generated was an enablement of a trauma response known as disassociation. For a few years after and up until recently, bad shit would happen and I would acknowledge it but I wouldn’t actually acknowledge it. I’d let it pass, and I wouldn’t deal with my emotions. Creating so much more pain than would have been there if I would have processed. This isn’t Chopra’s fault, and I am not shitting on his book. I’m saying that I didn’t originally have a good understanding of this law. 

“Be Still And Know…”

This part is pretty simple. I have a personal affirmation that I learned and it resonated. This quote is from the bible but I felt that it still resonated deeply with me. When a person begins a spiritual journey to improve themselves, there has to be a little faith backing them. It could be The Big Man upstairs, Spaghetti Monster or another religious figure because although I am being a little humorous, faith is extremely important. Especially faith in yourself. In the last years, I have started to learn what it means to trust myself. I have also learned when to not trust myself. Because the truth is, I am not a perfect human and I have lived many years of just going with my instinct… This is not healthy all the time because truth be told, instinct can be a traumatic abreaction. (big word don’t dwell, this is my personal experience and not at all me saying that all of your instincts are abreactions). So through learning about myself and having faith in myself and listening to my body’s response to situations, I have been able to become a little more aware and forgiving of myself and things that occur. This creates space and when my mind has discovered space, I have felt lighter. 

This year was all about that faith. I had to trust my inner resource a lot to get me through some rough patches and sometimes I didn’t do well and acted impulsively and then danced back to this inner resource and affirmation. Like I said this isn’t some cure all to a shitty year. Just how I have processed through all the shit.

And Finally, Post Traumatic Growth/ Acceptance.

So what is Post Traumatic Growth? Its some magical shit. I am not like this wide eyed woke ass person. Let’s start with the definition. PTSD Association describes Post Traumatic Growth as:

“Post-traumatic growth (PTG) can be defined as positive personal changes that result from the survivor’s struggle to deal with trauma and its psychological consequences1. The process of post-traumatic growth can lead to improved relationships with others, more compassion, openness, appreciation for life, spiritual growth, personal strength, and a renewed sense of possibilities in the world. This personal growth extends beyond pre-trauma functioning. Therefore, PTG it is not merely a bouncing back to the level of functioning prior to the trauma, but rather a sense of positive growth beyond pre-trauma functioning.”

This means that there is growth after trauma but it does not remove the trauma. It also does not indicate that one has to have some serious ptsd to experience PTG, some people will experience trauma and immediately experience PTG. For some, PTG is something that is worked for. And it starts with a few steps like reaching out for help AND learning about acceptance.

Acceptance is the most difficult part of experiencing hard times. When everything in the world is falling apart, people who struggle with anxiety will usually shut down. Persons diagnosed with PTSD will exhibit symptoms such as impulsive behavior, outbursts, panic attacks, etc. Even as a person who doesn’t have a serious mental health condition, acceptance of tragic events is difficult, it is simply human to have a hard time with life. I am not saying you have to accept everything today, or at the very moment it happens…

I am saying it is okay to not be okay, to be having a hard fucking time. I also want to summarize the balance of being self awareness, self accepting, self trusting. You are your resource, take time to process your shit. A New Year means nothing if you haven’t let go or come to terms with last year’s problems.