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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

TSL Pt. 3 - A Lukewarm Life

One of the consequences of trauma can be that we have felt pain for so long that we decide the only way to move forward is to dampen the pain. Whether our original pain was physical, emotional, or both matters little because all suffering eventually impacts our emotional life. Consider that chronic physical pain eventually has emotional consequences. We don't just say, "Ouch! That hurts!" Sooner or later we start to ask why this has happened and the pain - now physical and emotional - starts to wear us down. Eventually we blunt the pain, effectively turning down its volume. That decision comes at a price, however, because we can't selectively dampen only the pain. The result of turning down the pain is that we turn down everything. It doesn't
matter how we turn our pain down, whether chemically, through concentration techniques, through distraction, the effect of our "remedy" is that we live a lukewarm life. Beyond that, our coping techniques only work up to a point. There is pain that is too intense to be ignored, and all of our pain will eventually rise to the point where we can't ignore it. Then we may have a second problem on our hands, as the shot of whiskey that used to help us get to sleep turns to two, three, and four or more shots.

Human nature being what it is, the odds are we will put off addressing our issues until we are left with very little choice. Since it is almost certain that the "very little choice" moment will come eventually, why not start dealing with the impact of our trauma today? Why not take an honest look at where the past is influencing how we deal with people or circumstances today? In my last post I wrote about trust being impacted by trauma. Those trust issues are ubiquitous, affecting all of our relationships - even our relationship with the Divine. If I can't trust other human beings that I can see, how will I ever trust God who cannot be seen? Even before all of that, when we have been betrayed so often that we have lost count we likely don't even know how to tell when trust is appropriate. We have some work to do!

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