Trauma and Love

I’m sure that a lot of people have written about this—much more intelligently than me, I guess. The reason to write this post is that as I was having the image I will describe in a moment come to mind, I felt a powerful sense of “Yes, that’s it!” And if you enjoy it even a little, maybe it can help you let go of some old pain and share it.

The image is really fairly simple: your sense of being alive, healthy, loved, connected—in short that things are going well for you—is a bit like a soft ball. Think maybe of an orange. It has a soft, juicy inside that is literally like the water of life, refreshing and full of nutrients. And on the outside there is a shell, something that keeps it all together.

Whenever you experience a threat to the juice running out, when there is a sense that the shell might get damaged, in those places the shell will get extra protective features. Those features can come in quite a few forms, depending somewhat on the precise biological setup of the orange. In some cases, there will be tiny sensors placed around the topics, the areas of the orange that start sending warning signals, telling the orange to “get out of harm’s way” as soon as you can. For human beings, that looks like conflict and emotional pain avoidance.

Another form creates little venomous pustules, and so whenever someone touches the orange in those spots, they will have red angry burns erupt. This type looks a bit like anger-triggering, where the person who might get too close to the orange is receiving some painful message coming back at them.

Yet another form creates signaling to the outside that they are in danger, a kind of “call for help”. And there are still many other kinds, each a practical solution to the problem of how to avoid losing any juice.

So, how does this matter?

Well, I invite you to ask yourself: what’s the purpose of the orange (for human beings that is)? I hope you can appreciate that, at some point or other, the orange is meant to provide its juice to the world as a contribution to make life more wonderful, to replenish others, to show to the person drinking the juice just how awesome it is.

And the secret to the replenishing juice we humans carry in our hearts, which we protect with all these different tricks that evolution has come up with, is this: it never runs out if we share it freely and willingly. That juice is your life force, and so it seems to make sense that it needs protection—and physically speaking that is absolutely true. Your life, on the biological level, needs protection. On the emotional or psychological level, however, it works differently.

The protection does not come from a simple mechanistic layer like the peel of the orange. To protect your emotional and psychological well-being, it seems to me necessary to fully grasp the power that your life force represents. And then to use that force in ways that support life.

One way to learn how to do this is by revealing the soft flesh under the shell. It clearly seems beneficial to do so with people whom you have a general intuitive sense of being supportive, and whom you don’t feel would squeeze all the juice out of you against your will, to rob you of your life force if they could.

Once you meet someone you feel you can trust, and you sense a spot on your shell that has been reinforced with whatever your general approach to protecting your life force is, you can try and open yourself up from the inside. Given that the reinforcements grew out of a deep need to protect yourself from bleeding out, that will be a bit painful and scary of course. And so the first taste that you and the other person may get is a bit bitter-sweet, like having the oil of the orange peel mixed into with the juice.

For that reason I think it’s a good idea to tell other people something like: “Hey, I would like to open myself up a little bit with you. And as I feel very self-protective around those topics, some of the things I say may come out with a bit of anger, or guilt, or shame. Do you think you can handle that and still enjoy seeing me—or rather first the worst and then the best in me—come out of my shell?”

And some people will indeed have a hard time enjoying that process. It will remind them of their own weak spots, and how they are protecting themselves. Maybe it’s best to find someone else who can enjoy that process then.

My experience, however, has been again and again that as soon as I find someone with whom I can share a weak spot with, a place that I have long felt needs protection and self-defense, and I share both the bad and the good, this is a wonderful way of reconnection. It is a feeling of the life energy in you awaken in ways that are difficult to describe as anything but the deepest, most profound joyous moments of my life, when I felt this powerful sense of, “Yes, I can share this!”

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