Most people who have gone through this much stress during their prime would call it a mid-life crisis. The more spiritual of us would come to know of it as The Dark Night of the Soul or a Spiritual Awakening. I actually believe we all go through this process at some point as it’s a stage for us to answer to our authentic selves, be deconditioned, and question what we know or thought we knew. It’s the breaking point of how much suffering and frustration we’ve endured in life and allows us to take charge and align ourselves to our true values to live authentically.
In a short and sweet nutshell, soul exhaustion, spiritual awakening, the dark night of the soul, or midlife crisis are all a cause and effect of when people live their lives out of alignment with their true authentic selves. The struggle, frustration, and bitterness (also known as suffering) come because they constantly put energy where it doesn’t fully align with their core values. Yet, they still do it because of society or family conditioning and feelings of obligations. Think of it as being slowly cut by a thousand paper cuts. Eventually, you’re going to break down and question everything.
Although the road to recovery from soul exhaustion seems dreadfully long, there’s no denying that there were also moments of joy between all the grief. I feel that it doesn’t do life justice to the only talk about the negative that was experienced but not to mention the joys that life also brings.
Upon waking up from my “midlife crisis,” I can honestly tell you that I’m thankful for the experience. Why? Because it’s here where I acknowledged all the baggage, conditioning, toxicity, and excessive beliefs that were limiting me. The tremendous pain and sorrow that I experienced weren’t due to the abuse that I went through or the traumatic events that had occurred within the year, it came from the experience of understanding, forgiving, and accepting of how I was nurtured and those who broke my heart.
The biggest part for me was forgiving. I now understand that forgiveness is the act of relinquishing the emotional feeling to the situation or person. This act is not for others, but it’s for an internal state of existence for yourself. It’s also to find inner peace and become an emotionally healthy and intelligent person. The result of forgiveness is the beautiful feeling of compassion for yourself and others.
In my case, I finally found peace. However, the biggest liberation comes in making the changes within myself for my kids and me to be resilient with it to end our intergenerational traumas.
But it’s in the moments when we surface from our suffering do, we begin to really appreciate and are grateful for those who love us for who we are and the simple things in life that we take for granted. It’s such a tremendous feeling of appreciation that has taught me to hold on and be more aware of these times.
During this time, my trauma mind was operating on fear and anxiety, which played many tricks on me. It’s insane how the mind can operate. I went through a period of thinking that crows were a sign of bad omen as they started showing up everywhere in my backyard, which frightened me even more. Every time I heard a caw, I was on edge and wary of what was to come next. However, there was one early morning where I was having my coffee on my back patio watching and listening to these crows, I finally notice that there were also other birds chirping away in the distance. As I paid more attention to those birds (the robins, finches and swallows) the sounds of the crows’ caw became a bit less intimidating.
So, what did I draw of this? Ok, first, I wonder if this is how ancient superstitions started. Because it’s human nature to create stories like this to adapt to situations that we’re in, especially in a time period when we’re not so educated. I’m digressing. Ok, secondly, if negativity is like a crow’s caw, and positivity is like all the softer sweet chirps from the other birds – then it’s my attention that needs to be refocused. As good and evil, positive and negative, experiences are happening all around me. I choose what I want to focus on and what my mind chooses to attach labels to. This is where I realized that you and me – we all have the power to recalibrate to live freely.
Why didn’t I see it before? Because negative emotions such as fear and anxiety will take your mind, body, and spirit on a wild, muddy ride. It’s the equivalent of dropping a large stone in a river, the stone will stir up with muddy debris at the bottom of the river, and you can’t see anything clearly. In these situations, it’s natural to want to react right away. However, if you remain calm and let the debris settle, you’ll be able to see things clearer. The same goes for your mind and erratic emotions. Emotions can come in waves, and those waves are sometimes really intense. If you react to the intense feelings right away, you may miss the entire picture. I had many lessons to learn from this year. This was one of them. Do not react. Wait for clarity and respond.
Lastly, I was out with my 14-year-old son, Jason, last week, and I took the opportunity to talk to him about our most recent issues. I’ve noticed that it’s affected him a lot. In fact, he has panic attacks over the last year due to these issues. Jason has been doing extra things around the house in hopes of alleviating stress and tension. He’s also on high alert at any signs of disagreements, trying to be the peacekeeper should anything happen. The kids are at times also taking their frustrations out on each other. This makes my heartbreak because it’s not his job. I felt guilty and crushed to have put him through this.
As I talked things out to him, I realized that I was in my 30’s reliving my trauma when I was 13. Except for this time, I’m the adult. Hear me out. When I was 13, my grandfather called the cops on my parents. When he was 13, his grandfather committed fraud activities leaving so much destruction and trauma behind. My parents fought with each other and blamed one another for this. Although Mike and I don’t blame each other, we were arguing the same way because we felt so much pain and pain tends to narrow a person’s perspective and make people selfish. How my parents argued was very traumatic to me. They became toxic, physical and very hurtful towards each other.
As I was resonating with Jason, nailing all his feelings and telling him I understood how surreal life seems to him sometimes, I knew that he’s scared of the unknown. He felt like he’s a bystander witnessing life unfold in front of him, feeling powerless. At this moment, I began to see that my current situation is the exact replica of my parents, even down to how they were arguing and how aggressive things became.
The more I spoke to him about it, the more aware I became of the generational curse that was happening on many folds in front of my eyes. Here’s one thing I feel as though I did right, I spoke and educated Jason about it. My parents never talked to me about any of these things. I was open to him, and him to me. I respected all of his thoughts and didn’t leave my kids out to fend for themselves because that’s what I wanted needed when I was his age. Although parenting is tough and life happens – my child’s best interest is still my top priority.
I had been really concerned over the amount of trauma that both my boys witnessed last year, and I’m constantly checking in on them and coaching them through their thoughts and feelings. And, yep, it’s another layer on to my already full and spiralling out-of-control mind.
But here’s the awesomesauce, I had been so focused on the negative that I didn’t see the positive until recently. My boys are also constantly checking in on me, just as much as I was on them. They’re more in tune with each other’s feelings now, as well as my feelings – but not in a submissive way, in a compassionate “I see you as a human in pain” way. To me, this is revelating, and I feel like Mike and I may have actually accomplished to stop a small portion of generational trauma on some small micro level.
You see, growing up in my family (and Mike’s too), although we would hear our parents argue and fight with each other, we wouldn’t dare check-in. It was almost as though it was their private lives, and we would be disrespecting them should we talk about it.
But isn’t being aware of our emotional and mental health a need to be talked about? The fact that my boys are open and talking about their issues is one step towards the difference it’ll make for them and their own kids. Unlike Mike and I, they don’t internalize their feelings, plus they’re recognizing all types of emotions and people and are learning to respect others for who they are. Also, Mike and I are open to our need for counselling with them. Thus I can only hope we minimize them from developing behavioral and mental issues and remove the stigma from seeking mental health care should they ever need to. I also hope that should they go through anything detrimental in their own lives as parents, that they remember to correct things along the way to prevent history from restarting itself.
All of this drives me to the same conclusion that the resilient ones who make it through all this will know that there are always ups and downs with life. Nothing is stagnant. But what needs to remain static is the awareness that throughout your experience, there’s always something there that is calling you to learn from. If you make it out from the dark hole, you’ll end up stronger than before. These are the ones that makes the changes in the generations to come. This is where the beauty begins.
Lastly, with all the hurt and suffering in the world, I feel so much gratitude that we still have our house, health, and kids. I mean, what makes us so special to be still standing while others have literally lost everything. Every day I look at my life, there are always so many pockets of positivity that I can focus my attention on. Whether it be hearing my kids’ laughter, seeing my fridge full, or even just a hug from my Goldendoodle Maggi that fills my heart with warmth. These pockets of light dull away the negativity that others have caused in my life. I recognize that not many have these positive moments to be thankful for. So I’m grateful, and I believe that things are right where they’re supposed to be.
Although the year 2020 has been (and still is in 2021) a considerable f*cking pain in my ass, and I’m exhausted, poorer, and I may have more wrinkles on my face than what I’m supposed to have at this age. The thing that makes this all worthwhile is knowing that I have a purpose, finding myself and aligning my life to what really matters. But the best part is knowing that in my generational family tree, the curse ends with me. If I did my job right, my kids, my grandkids and great-grandkids won’t have to go through all the pain and suffering as I did.
Only the good prevails.