Trauma as an Opening

By Shae Hadden

A friend shared corporate poet David Whyte’s recent article "A Fire Inside: Thoughts on the Creativity of Winter" with me. David uses a brilliant metaphor to explore the trauma of loss prevalent in the global economic crisis. He speaks of a a fire burning inside a home on a winter’s day as being like an "internal, alchemical, almost catalytic core of identity-making and decision-making….the soul of an individual" existing within the winter of our current economic crises. Many can equate with a "winter of disappearance, immobility, and the worry, fret and anxiety that comes from seeming to have very little shelter from its effects". David invites us to see such widespread trauma as an opening for us to return to a more internal focus, to examine who we are and where we belong in the world, to see again our lives in terms of our mortality.

The circumstances of our lives will always be changing. We will live in different places, enter and leave relationships, change jobs and careers, play at various forms of recreation, retire from certain activities and engage in others. The balance in our bank accounts will rise and fall. We have a secure roof over our heads and then we may be living under someone else’s roof.

No matter what situations we find ourselves in, the question that will allow us to keep creating our future is always "How will we relate to our circumstances?" Will we choose to see ourselves as victims, traumatized when the things we have become attached to disappear, when "the spring-like world of growth and opportunity seems to close down", and what we thought was secure becomes worthless?

Or will we see this as an opportunity to free ourselves from old patterns, old ways of being and doing that no longer serve us as individuals and as a species? Will we re-connect with our courage and creativity and plant the seeds of new possibilities? Will we find our own ‘inner hearth’ to warm and protect those possibilities as they blossom?

What will we choose for this next season of our lives?

© 2009 Shae Hadden. All rights reserved.