As Jess and I drove west for his Vision Quest, we had lots of time to talk.  At one point, Jess said, “It is surreal to think I almost died.”  Deep breath, mama.  Yes, it is sweetheart.  I took the opportunity, carefully, to enter into a deeper conversation with him.

When something we experience feels surreal, my experience is that we have not integrated it yet.  I looked up the word “surreal”: having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal.  This makes sense; when we have a traumatic experience of any kind, it transcends our ordinary sense of reality and our mind has trouble finding a place to put that experience in our regular files.  So, we split a part of our consciousness off and it orbits around in our psyche, moving in and out of our sight depending on whether we heal that situation or not.  When something we’ve experienced feels surreal, it is because our mind hasn’t quite found a place to put it yet.

The orbiting part can get triggered by something we encounter, and suddenly it is right there, in front of our eyes again.  We can then re-experience the trauma of the original split, feeling the emotions and bodily sensations as if we are undergoing that experience again.  That can create problems in one’s life.

I am a proponent of integration, or wholeness.  I learned early on that the orbiting parts haunt us, not only because they can pop up unexpectedly and create havoc in our lives, but because they are a part of us and want to come home, to be part of our consciousness.  Any part of us that is split off wants to come home, just like we want to come home to our birth place or to where people love us.  The call to come home is strong, and it is the same with parts of us we would rather not own.

Experiences that have created a split in our consciousness (or, trauma) overwhelmed our system in that moment, and that creates a psychic wound.  A wound requires a healing.  It doesn’t have to take years and years of therapy to do it (although that is a perfectly fine route until you discover there are other ways), but it DOES require healing.  It is always astonishing to me how some folks think it is okay to walk around with their mind blown to bits, but they would certainly go to the doctor for antibiotics if they are sick, or go to the emergency room if they broke a bone.  I find that the physical body is an extension of the emotional, mental and spiritual body, so if there is a wound in our mind, it requires attention.  You can read more about this in my post, http://liciaberry.com/2013/02/18/the-5-stages-of-healing/.

Jess’ injury was traumatic to his brain and body, but it was also traumatic to his mind.  Our whole family has been very focused on his recovery, for obvious reasons.  Now that he is regaining some feeling of normalcy, it makes sense that his psyche is ready to work with the part of him that has not yet worked through the experience of almost dying.  The fact that he was thinking about this and then said it out loud means he is beginning the process of integrating the experience.  This, of course, means that the rest of us in our family will, too.  What will be the next chapter for us?

Wholeness looks different for different people, but it always feels the same.  It feels like coming home, like being reunited with a part of yourself that has been far afield and has returned to you.  Often it feels like you didn’t even realize you were missing that piece, especially if it has been many years since the original split occurred.  But it always, always feels like a homecoming.  Every time I have integrated another part of me, sometimes dramatically and sometimes very subtly, it is a keen sense of being bigger, stronger, more stable, more solid in my core.  And that strength of integrity emanates outward, making my energy field very powerful.  If we want to do good things in the world, that is important.

Read more about integrating parts of self and recovery from trauma in Soul Compost-Transforming Adversity into Spiritual Growth

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