Many people have experienced terrible trauma and struggle to heal; to feel worthy, deserving, and lovable; and to see themselves as capable. Normalizing therapy and healing work in all its forms is one of my goals because healing is truly life changing. My story about my own healing – LIGHT BOUND: a Healer’s Journey through Trauma, C PTSD, & Anxiety published right as COVID became a global thing. The weekend the launch party was scheduled, the shut down happened.
Since worldwide events have drastically altered so many things and since we are all waiting in so many ways and so many are struggling at this time, I have decided to share the book here as a series of blog posts. Sharing the book on a worldwide platform requires some courage, which my journey has required from the beginning. Here is simply another opportunity for me to grow more courageous.
This book is dedicated to all of the amazing men, women, and children, who have survived horror yet still managed to hold onto themselves, to compassion, and to kindness. May we all heal and truly see ourselves as the amazing and wonderful people that we are inside.
I am not a guru, a mentor, or a guide. I am a woman, who discovered herself and her own inherent abilities through healing. This book is simply a sharing of the bits and pieces of my life that were fractured and how I put them back together. It’s the telling of my journey from wishing I had never been to a new reality: a life of joy and gratitude and the wisdom that the journey brought to me.
I would never have believed in the fantastical experiences of altered states – those are for fantasy novels or sci-fi films. I would never have believed that true and deep healing occurs in the manner that mine did. I would never have believed that my strongest skills, gifts, and abilities would arise from the horror of a childhood of abuse, neglect, shame, repression, oppression, and depression. That the cure, like that in snakebite venom, was in the poison, and I would never have believed that I would write a book about my experiences. Yet, here it is.
The actual writing of this book occurred by and large in a series of hardbound, black artists journals. The journals are filled with drawings, dreams, hopes, fears, goals, disappointments, triumphs, and cycles of healings that like the seasons contain death, rebirth, growth, and harvest. With each cycle I learned more, developed new awarenesses, and worked on the same issues, but from different sides – a multi-pronged approach to healing, all the while leveling up. Climbing up the spiral, like one would a ladder to reach the top only to discover – there isn’t a top. There are just new experiences and new ways of being.
Many talk about the triangle of Mind, Body, and Spirit in regards to healing. For me, it was and is a pyramid of Mind, Body, Spirit, and Emotions. When we experience deep trauma in our childhood that continues for years, our emotions often cloud into obscurity our minds, bodies, and even our Spirit. This cloudiness for me was mostly Fear with a lot of OG – Obligation and Guilt. This FOG filled me, hovered around me, and hid the way forward.
As I worked through the cycles of healing: Calcination, Dissolution, Separation, Conjunction, Fermentation, Distillation, and Coagulation over the course of the last several years, I realized my journey had an ebb and flow to it. I contracted and expanded over and over again, squeezing out in spurts the poisons that sat within and between my cells and then expanding – filling up those spaces with good things: small doses of compassion, confidence, courage, worth, respect, love, and awareness of and for myself. Eventually, those small doses filled up the vessel of my body, where the good outweighed the hurt.
I read, researched, and worked hard on myself. I sobbed and laughed, broke and mended, despaired and blissed out, as well as every emotion in between. As my emotions stabilized, my mind began to clear; as my body stabilized both my mind and emotions began to settle; and as I continued to heal my mind, body, and emotions, my connection to my Spirit, my essential self, strengthened and began to chime more and more with crystal clarity.
Is my life one of unicorns, rainbows, pots of gold, and heaven on earth?
Yes and no because my life hasn’t really changed. I get up and do many of the same things I have always done. I deal with all the issues that are simply a part of life. However, I have drastically changed inside. I found my light, and it shines so brightly. I am tapped into it all the time. It runs through me and is me. I have lit the dark within at the same time that I embrace my own darkness because it, too, is me and holds just as much wisdom, healing, and joy as the light.
I no longer hide my darkness nor hide from my darkness. I welcome her, take her hand, and hug her to my heart. She too is beautiful and makes up the other half of the whole that is me.
I write this book in part as a celebration of me, the triumph of not light over dark, but of embracing the whole of me, of conquering the FOG, the anxiety, the C PTSD, the memories and those awful feelings that lurked within, the codependency, and the beliefs of shame, worthlessness, and annihilation of self that sat in my center.
So many suffer from trauma, and so many have C PTSD and anxiety. We are judged harshly, and we judge ourselves harshly. I embrace my vulnerability in sharing my story because when we share our stories, not just of our triumphs, but of our failures and our darkness, we learn that we are not good or bad. We are not the labels, nor the stories, nor our thoughts or emotions. We are everything and nothing. We are the light and the dark because we all have darkness and light, and when we consciously embrace our darkness and seek the wisdom within it, we can grow and heal. Every emotion, experience, choice, and person has a wisdom, a lesson to learn so that we can grow. When we become students of our own lives, we open ourselves to the wonders of learning about ourselves in a whole new way.
LIGHT BOUND is my journey.
Copyright © 2020 by Ashley Marshall-O’Dell