Archive for January 25th, 2012

PhotobucketI recently rode on an airplane when I took my kid to visit Hogsmeade (Harry Potter’s city) in Orlando, FL. I thoroughly enjoyed the flight.

The reason this is significant is because I used to have a phobia of flying – I mean a really serious fear of flying. I would obsess over any plane crash in the news. I would watch specials explaining why planes go down and what to do if you are in a plane crash. I would wear jeans and shoes that tie so I would be protected from fire, and I would count the number of seat backs between myself and the nearest exits so I could locate them even in heavy smoke.

The list goes on … I would pray and pray and pray in my head from the time I walked into the plane until it landed. I would jump at every sound, such as when the wheels were pulled up or rolled back down. I was a complete basket case in turbulence, certain that I was about to die.

How I moved past the phobia is another story for another time, but I am now completely free of this phobia. A couple of years ago, I endured very heavy turbulence as the plane landed during a heavy storm after circling for hours because the airport had been closed for severe weather. I didn’t break a sweat. At no point did I worry about what might happen.

Here’s the healing metaphor – Every plane I have ever ridden in has gotten me from Point A to Point B. Most flights were uneventful, and some had quite a bit of turbulence. Regardless, I arrived at my destination all in one piece.

Outwardly, nothing has changed. I still board a plane, leave Point A, and arrive at Point B. The difference is what is going on in the inside. I have gotten from Point A to Point B feeling like a crazy person, and I have made the trip completely relaxed. My reaction to the flight did not change the outcome.

I am trying to apply this metaphor to my reaction to healing from child abuse. The healing process is going to get me from Point A to Point B. I can go there kicking and screaming, or I can sit back and let the healing process do its thing with no interference from me, but I am going to get there either way. It’s up to me whether the “trip” is miserable or uneventful.

Some parts are out of my control, such as the “turbulence” I experienced in dealing with the heavy memories I processed during the holidays. However, just as in a plane, choosing to ride out the “turbulence” without adding my own freak out to the mix made the “flight” less unpleasant.

The bottom line is that healing, like flying, is about trust. I used to have trouble trusting that a plane would take me to my destination. Once I chose to accept that I could trust the airplane to get me there, I became able to let go of the need to be in control and trust that the pilot would get me there.

The healing process is the same way. I am learning to trust that when I experience heavy emotions, I don’t need to react. Instead, I need to trust that the healing process is taking me where I need to go, and I’ll ride out whatever turbulence comes with the trip.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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