"There is some comfort in the emptiness of the sea, no past, no future."- Tom Cruise, The Last Samurai
Every time I’ve thought about quitting the Universe draws me back in. Some of my weakest moments have also been some of my strongest: like waves crashing the shore, my opposition has created a sandy beach— where crags and rocks once were. I have weathered into a safe harbor.
I don’t know how I’ve found strength in those hours, but I have. There is an internal drive or some programming that compels me to keep moving. The same moon that draws the tide pulls me to press on.
Last summer, I was stuck. I think that was the first time in my life I thought about giving up. It was so painful. I thought my life was ending. But life goes on. It always has and it always will. I’m learning to weather the storm. Storms are unpredictable, but our reactions to them don’t have to be. I’m learning to allow myself to feel emotions, validate them, and allow them to ripple away.
The emotions I have felt on this travel assignment have provided me with so much insight into my past traumas— how I handle grief, rejection, stress. The importance of remaining grounded and humble but strong in my convictions is paramount. I have always been a flexible, adventurous soul. Doubt has never entered my mind. My faith in myself, my confidence, has always been stronger than any storm, but last year tested me.
Arriving in Miami, the place where my trauma occurred, created turmoil. I quivered: the smell of the beach, the sound of the ocean, the salt in the air— I was overwhelmed. My hands were shaking. There was a lump in the back of my throat and I couldn’t swallow. My heart began to race. My mind was flooded with thoughts I wanted to repress, but here I was in the eye of the storm— at a COVID epicenter with symptoms of PTSD.
Mystery and adventure are now my cage. The unknown frightens me. These were my big thoughts as I had no idea what hospital I would be working at. My frame of thinking began to box me in. I wanted to run. My feet couldn’t move. I had come here with a purpose, but the emotion was suffocating.
“I can’t do this.”
I wanted to click my heels and go home. There was no Toto, no Scarecrow, no Tin Man— only me the Cowardly, Cowardly Lion.
But a lion is still a lion.
Today, I watched the sunrise. And as I stepped out onto my balcony, the waves crashing, sea foam green as boats navigated Her current, I was reminded to be present. The present was a gift. Here I am given an opportunity to watch the sunrise over the ocean with my two sons. I could wake them and point to the sky, knowing that it wasn’t the limit; we can reach beyond it. The only limitations we place are on ourself. No trauma can do that.
So, I breathed in the salty air. My heart didn’t race. I planted my feet on the ground, I closed my eyes, and I opened my heart.
“I am here and I am now.”
Nothing in this world can take that from me— not even my past. My gift to the world is sharing my gift to the world. I was blessed with the power to always see the good in every situation. It’s a superpower that allows me to inspire others. I forget this sometimes.
This Earth we inherited is a beautiful reflection of ourselves. We are integrated with Her. The waves erode the Earth, but allows us to walk on stones turned to sand, and sand is soft only because it lasted the storm. Many things will enter our lives and erode us, but even erosion is necessary. We will breakdown to be renewed and so is the cycle of life.
I am grateful to my traumas. I know they do not define me. They are a testimony to the many storms I have survived. As I hovered over the clouds, en route to Miami, headed into the eye of a storm, I wanted to let go of my fears. Fear is the opposite of love, and my practice is grounded in the deepest form of love, not fear.
This morning the sun broke over the ocean. My fears came crashing with each rise of the tide, but I knew it would recede. A few minutes ago, I received my assignment for Miami, and I am happy to report all my fears have subsided. After a week and a half in limbo, traveling from Georgia to Tampa and back to Miami, I am finally about to embark on this great big mission of mine— to spread love and healing during a time when we need it the most.
I won’t let fear rule me. I lived for years in survivor mode, and today I want to walk in faith not fear. Love is the answer to all of my fears, all of my doubts, and all of my apprehensions. I’m diving into this assignment, and I will not drown. I claim a victory for this city. I claim a victory over this assignment. I claim a victory over my trauma. PTSD means post traumatic stress disorder— emphasis on post, because it’s in the past, and today I embrace a new horizon over an endless ocean of opportunity.
Remember when we write the story of today, it is written in sand. Everything is temporary. The only constant is change, and the only way to thrive is to be like water and take the form of whatever life throws our way.