Transition: Noun: The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
Talking with a friend yesterday about unexpected life changes caused by health conditions, I was reminded of my early adult life when health challenges caused my body to not function the way I needed it to as I began to fulfill my lifelong dream of country living. My dream became derailed at the same time it was becoming a reality.
Miraculously,I recognized the letting go process necessary to move forward. This process of grief and adjustment is one I’ve had to repeat many times, not without struggle.
My friend also lives with a life-changing health challenge. We discussed how traumatic events are a component of life, no one escapes them in one form or another, yet understanding them as an inevitable part of living, to be used as a catalyst, is not taught to children.
And how would you teach it, without causing anticipatory fears?
Watching the preview of the documentary, “Class of 9/11” about 6 year olds, now 16, who witnessed the attack on the World Trade Center and were evacuated from their school located close to the site, I was struck by how the different young people assimilated the horrific experience. I think about children worldwide who witness and experience trauma at an early age. Many grow strong, becoming agents of change in their communities; others suffer from post-traumatic stress, depression, even suicide. Is the difference in their personal make-up? In how they are taught to view the experience?
I think about the fires raging in Texas, destroying homes and leaving behind charred land where few people will want to return and rebuild lives. Yet nature will return, many plants even thriving in the blackened remains.
Much is written about how to engage young people more with Nature. The concern is that without an appreciation of Nature, the technology-raised generations will not care for and preserve it. Perhaps the importance of understanding Nature is not only for the environment’s sake, but also for our own psychic survival.
Nature is a magnificent example, the best teacher of the cycle of destruction, change,and rebirth. It is constantly adapting to it’s own challenges – a river changes direction after a land slide or earthquake, wildflowers bloom in profusion following flooding, and, like the mythical Phoenix, there are plants which require fire to exist. Nature also constantly adapts to the unpredictability (from it’s point of view!) of human impact. People cause trauma to the earth in small and grand ways, yet the earth seems to rebound, recreate, restore itself. Yes,there are concerns about how much trauma certain environments can endure, but looking at Nature’s recovering process has helped to understand what Nature needs to survive, and it might help teach us that rebounding, changing course,redefining is part of living. If taught that we too may need fire to thrive, might we then be better prepared for the inevitable sufferings in life?
(I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I had this photo to share and butterflies are certainly wonderful examples of transitions, perhaps not brought on from trauma, since their process of metamorphosis is part of their life cycle. But again, Nature teaches– using its inevitable change to emerge to a higher place, the butterfly is an age-old metaphor. Enjoy my resident Lorquin’s Admiral!)