April 2015, our home was a flurry of activity. My husband at the time, worked from home and I had been homeschooling our four kids, ages 8, 10, 13, and 16, for. . . . ev. . . . . .er. We were weeks away from relocating our family to Thailand to teach at an international school. We had a revolving door of friends and a pile of teenagers on the couch laughing and procrastinating at all times of the day and night.
One moment life was business as usual, the next I couldn’t remember what year it was or why my body hurt so much.
On the way home from the kid’s charter school classes, April 14th, I had all of them in the car with me. “Who wants to stop by the library before we head home?”
Only my book worm, Abiel, was excited about that. Everyone else wanted to get home to find friends to play with so I dropped the younger three off. Abiel was in the back seat when the siblings left the car. She decided to be chauffeured to the library. Chatting about the day, all green lights down my favorite tree lined, one-way in town, I glanced in the rear view mirror to catch her eyes as I respond to her comment.
“Mom! Mom! Are you ok?! Moooommm!!!” I’m swimming in darkness and I can’t pull myself far enough out of my brain to answer her. I slip back into the inky black and wake up in an ambulance to questions about my name and age and what year it is.
“Emie Locke. 39. Where am I? What happened? Where are we going? What happened?”
“You were in an accident, ma’am. We’re going to the hospital.”
“Mom. We were going to the library. We got hit. I’m ok. Dad is going to meet us at the hospital.”
I sustained a severe concussion, whiplash, back, hip and knee pain. Abiel sustained a herniated disk. Miraculously, nothing was broken and we were relatively ok. I refused to believe the doctors who projected 9 months to a year for my concussion symptoms to fully resolve. I decided to give myself a month to heal from the body pain and then we would continue our journey to Thailand and life as usual.
Nope. Screeching halt.
“What am I doing in this room right now?”
“What year is it?”
“When did you say that? I don’t remember ever talking about that?”
“No, we can’t have people over! I can’t handle the noise.”
“I’m sorry I can’t help you with that. Can you ask your dad?”
“I need to lay down again. Would someone make dinner and start the laundry please?”
Everything stopped. Overnight. The longer my time in bed lasted, the longer I felt like I wasn’t myself, the more and more hopeless and restless I became.
“How long will this take?” I would sob into my pillow. “My kids need me. People need me. I HATE THIS! WHO AM I?” But I had nothing to give. I was unable to give. Everything hurt and nothing was the same.
Slowly I surrendered to the pause. Slowly I learned to let go of guilt for receiving help. Slowly I allowed myself to wonder who I was when everything I could “do” had disappeared. I tried to ignore the feelings, the dreams, the sadness, the loss of identity. All my props and distractions were gone.
Several months into the healing process, I was still struggling with intense concussion symptoms, whip lash and a couple points of constant stabbing pain in my back. Someone recommended a CranioSacral Therapist. I was desperate by this time.
Week after week, I would lay on her table and she would do her thing and all I could do was cry. She rarely spoke. She was simply present to my pain. And with her loving witness, all kinds of pain surfaced from the deep. All I could think about was my shitty marriage and my dying soul and the cognitive dissonance wrecking my world particularly around my religious beliefs shifting and feeling so unable to be honest. My body pain began to lessen with the bodywork and my increased level of honesty with myself. The two were inextricably linked.
I became more aware of my power to choose. Unfortunately, the choices became more poignant. The gift of my accident was the stillness it created for me to see myself and be honest. I had nothing to hide behind for months. I saw my sadness, my pain, my anger, the game of blaming my husband and religious community for my inability to create and be myself. It was no one’s fault but my own. Now I had to face the mess and find a way through to new life or keep going, business as usual. Only now I knew that if I chose business as usual, I would be choosing the death of my soul to keep giving life to a game I had created from my childhood trauma patterns.
Here I am five years later, looking back over the work it has taken to make the choices to save my soul. Things had to die for this new life to emerge. Things I deeply valued and even created, I chose to destroy for the sake of Life. Almost everything looked like insanity and chaos and despair, except for the spark of fire in my soul that grows with every breath I take. From the death, grief, and uncertainty, a new path is unfolding. Out of the screeching halt, self awareness and new options came forward. With courage and support from gentle, loving, conscious humans, I have been able to rebuild.
Mama Earth has been asking us to pause and reflect on the state of her health, the state of humanity’s health for decades. She keeps giving us opportunity to see the state of her soul and the lack of vitality in the human condition. She keeps asking us to let go of the agendas we are moving forward so fast and furiously we don’t even stop to assess if we’re still alive or if she’s still alive in the process. She is not healthy. WE are not healthy. Our global community is not healthy.
I see this tragedy as a gift. May we have the courage to face ourselves. May we have the courage to look at what we have created internally and externally. All change must start within our own soul if we hope to save the soul of the Earth we love. Can we use this time to allow pain from deep hidden places within ourselves and the Earth to come forward so we can grieve and dream a new way of living, first in solitude, then together within our families? In time, may we grieve and dream a new dream with our communities and with the world at large? I believe we can heal.
May you find your roots and ground into the soil of Unconditional Love. May you feel held by the Beautiful Earth, Filled with the Light of the Sun, Breathing in the Breath of Life. May you take this time to rest, release, observe, receive and heal. May you learn the art of allowing greater wholeness, freedom, flow and peace in a new way.