A reply to: A letter from Kaitlin
It felt so good to talk to you. I’m glad you called. It didn’t feel weird at all, as I thought it might, because you sound just like you, and I feel like I’ve known you forever.
How did it go with the therapist?
I hope you have someone who reinforces a sense of agency and helps you create your boundaries and rediscover your strength! Remember: there are so many therapists out there, so if for any reason, this one doesn’t seem to be effective at this time, you have the right to find someone else. You’re the client.
I might have not been clear when I told you about going back to school: I’m not going back to study art (I’m an artist already); I’m going back to study art therapy!
I’m training to become a trauma specialist, using my background in art and folklore to help with healing. Well, that was the original intention. What’s happened is that learning about healing from trauma has become an over-riding passion for me! Now I want to be more than an art therapist: I want to be involved in all the aspects of trauma healing.
Everywhere I go, everyone I meet, every news story I hear, every novel I read, every work of folklore I tell, every painting, every play, every piece of music, every dance, every yoga pose, every tremble, and every shake–it all seems to rotate around the story of trauma and how our amazing, resilient and wise bodies help us to heal from it.
I must admit that when I first made the commitment to study trauma therapy, I felt a bit of trepidation: I was worried about the stories I might hear about the terrible things that have happened to people. I didn’t know if I would have the internal strength to bear witness.
But what has happened instead is that I have come to learn about the incredible wisdom of our neurology and physiology in helping us to survive both as individuals and as a species. And this is something that we share with all mammals!
I’ve come, too, to learn that there are deep paths to healing, within the very coding of our bodies and our cultures.
Rather than feeling defeated by what I’ve learned, I feel hope.
Ah! I’m trying (always) to restrain myself from talking on and on about this too much! Mizuki, who has endless patience and indefatigable interest in all things theoretical, tells me with a laugh on a nearly daily basis that my efforts with restraint are ill-fated. I will never succeed! But watch…
I’m moving on to new topics!
In your last letter (which, I know!, was months ago! I’m sorry! I had no idea being a full-time student and a mom and doing an internship would keep me so busy!), you asked about Mizuki and Youssef and if marriage were on the horizon! Let’s just say, they are interesting–and mutually interested–friends.
Our lives are so much the better for having them in it.
True, getting needed time alone is a challenge, but there’s always a long solitary walk through the hills! And the rewards I see in Jena’s flourishing make up for having traded in my solitude for company.
Jena loves having Youssie and Mizi around.
How are your children and grandchildren? Did you enjoy the holidays?
We barely celebrated–we’ve just been so busy with everything. Plus, since we’re all from different cultures, we’re not really sure what we’d celebrate–maybe everything! Or maybe we’ll invent our own celebracion de familia someday… In the meantime, we’re celebrating the everyday.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the full spectrum of life. I think that for most of my life, I felt that “the bad things” were something to avoid. They were evil intruders that tried to rob us of our happiness. But as I learn more, I discover that the full scope of life–and that includes challenges, disaster, and hardship, too–contribute with all of life’s beauty to helping us live richly, fully, and with vibrancy. We are wired to survive–and wired to thrive. Look at all the good that has come to both of us through all the challenges we’ve embraced.
Kaitlin, fill me in on all your news, especially on your hopes and dreams and new discoveries!
Happy belated holidays! Let’s talk again soon!