To This Day Project – Shane Koyczan
A poignant poem read with amazing feeling, and animated.
Please share this with others who think they are the only ones hurt this way.
Together we can heal.
I have been asked many times over the years if forgiveness is necessary for emotional healing. My quick answer is: self-forgivness is necessary, forgiving others is not.
Forgiveness helps when you no longer need the anger to keep you safe…
Anger is a very useful emotion. It fuels our actions to keep us safe, and to push destructive people away. Forgiveness is counter-productive, in my opinion, when the person continues the harmful behavior.
I find that once someone is safe, and well away from danger that forgiveness can be helpful, although is not necessary for healing. I have forgiven some people who have caused me trauma in the past. Usually, after they change their behavior. Some others I have forgiven because I realized that they were doing the best they could.
However, expressing anger also helps change freeze responses in our bodies. Anger can help us change self-negating patterns into self-care patterns. Don’t let an eagerness for forgiveness get in the way of righteous anger. Righteous anger is when we have a full right to be angry and the anger can help us create a better life for ourselves and others.
Even self-forgiveness may not come easily. Sometimes I need to change a behavior before I can forgive myself for having done it. Particularly behaviors that hurt others.
Ironically, I’ve found that the hardest things to forgive myself for was being powerless when someone else was hurting me. Just accepting that I can be that powerless at any point in life can be very difficult. When I have been able to forgive myself “for being human” this way I heal faster and become stronger.
Essentially, you have to use your own inner wisdom to decide when forgiveness is right for you.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
Listen in to an inspiring conversation (interview) with three positive change consultants who volunteer helping those who’ve suffered trauma to transform their lives.
Two wonderful women from Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) interviewed me this evening. What a delight to talk about how people can transform trauma and create vital cycles in their lives.
This is a posting from a Vital Cycles group member.
In the two years I’ve been working on my healing I’ve learned so much.
I can sometimes see what triggers me and why. And I can choose to leave the room or situation, or change the channel on TV. I can now realize that what has happened to me is not my fault… it’s those that hurt me. And no wonder I feel like I live in hell. Who wouldn’t? I know my anger is really intense. I feel a lot of pain and sadness. I know when the memories are coming in, and it’s ok to sit and feel that pain and cry some of it out… even though it hurts to be there. It’s ok to talk about it now to my therapist, they can’t hurt me anymore. And I will be listened to and believed. I can accept I have been abused and mistreated by the people who were supposed to love me. I mistakenly learned to think of that as love. That’s not ok, but I accept it. And it’s also ok if some days I don’t feel any of this acceptance and struggle to get through my day. It’s ok to be stuck feeling that I’m in hell too. All I can do is the best I can do. It’s hard work and I’m far from done.
It’s amazing how much I’ve changed. All of you, Vital Cycles, and my wonderful therapist have helped me so much. Thank you for listening … 🙂
(Note: A member of Vital Cycles offers this hopeful and compelling writing to the healing community at large. This member was quick to point out that despite the first line, healing has indeed removed a vast majority of the pain that used to seem a permanent part of life.)
DARK TO LIGHT
My pain is something you can’t take away from me
Joy was snatched away
Pleasure was contaminated
Security was destroyed
Self-love was mangled
Love was withheld or too costly
Identity was scrambled
laden with tumultuous trauma
imprinted with others’ shame, hatred and perversity
Childhood itself was desecrated, torn and in shambles
What was I left with?
What could I call my own?
Who was I now?
Only my pain
my seemingly unending sadness
Ha! Underneath the damage and destruction
throughout the hell
trauma and upheaval
A small white light flickered
awaiting the day
awaiting the moment it was declared safe
to emerge unshielded
By this time there were many layers
deep, dark, and thick
overlapping and covering the light
Walls had been built
Traps had been set
To protect that flame
of pure self-love
Somehow a belief emerges
more than my perceptions
more than what my feelings tell me
more than the immensity of garbage and vile refuse
piled deep within
That, for some reason
I deserve to be happy
I deserve to find peace
I deserve to heal
to fling off the self-loathing beliefs
to peel back the layers of garbage
to air out the rancid and reeking areas within
I could change
I could emerge
as a sleeping giant of light
shaking off sleep
pondering the horrific nightmares that still linger in my mind
Wondering which is reality
the beauty and light I remember before I slept
or the scathing hell that made all seem darker, smaller, meaner
and dripping with the slime of shame.
My perception slips with the ease of years of routinized habit
and all appears grimy again, weighty, arduous
I stand again
A foot in each land
The perception I adopt depending on the direction I turn my head
Both realities real enough
‘though I see the darkened world as illusory
there is need to move in it
essential changes are only possible by operating within its parameters
using its rules and limitations
The dark world offers resistance
precipitating agonizing movements
which develop power
The light world has no stimulus
for that kind of growth
Until I am strong enough, clear enough
the dark world will draw me in
pull me downwards
imbue itself in my body
necessitating increasing strength and clarity
to move forward
where my love
I am led
To where I don’t know
Except, that once there
I will move more powerfully and freely than ever I could have known
I will continue to seek pockets of darkness
so small to my perception
I will move within them
adopting the reality of their illusions
in order to attain the growth
which can be developed from within them
These bits of darkness
they float suspended
within the sustaining, golden, ethereal light
From afar they appear as sparkles
adding diversity and beauty to the ether
After sufficient growth
This giant, of which I am
will burst out of the ether
discovering it is a clear giant awakening
in a light world so bright and so clear
emerging out of a world so gold and dingy
In this brighter world
the light so bright as to barely be in a visible spectrum
there are sparkles of gold
pockets for the newly awakened giant to merge into and find growth
I do not know
do I know
And only by intuiting
with senses not for this dark world
All is good
yet, is it bad?
It is better
Which way one turns
and which world one is in
defines the judgment