Healing Thought of the Week: Feel Joy in the Present

New Year’s even has special resonance for me in my PTSD recovery history. Here’s how I describe it in my trauma recovery memoir:

I am terrified I will never be well. I press forward and then find myself such an emotional wreck that I burst into tears in the middle of a massive New Year’s Eve party at the fabulous Breakers hotel. I can’t get outside of my head for even this one night.

I grab my brother’s hand. “Let’s dance!” I say, and pull him into the crowd. On the dance floor my body relaxes and my mind suspends until I become only the feeling of every dance, only a soaring, swelling experience of freedom coursing through me as my body melds with each note. Something strange is happening. I am waking from a very long, deep sleep. The phrases of music are luring me back to consciousness. I want to run and leap and shout and laugh and sing. I feel an exorbitant joy. Suddenly it occurs to me: I might free myself from the past by feeling more of this joy in the present.

It is after midnight; the new year has begun. I decide that by my fortieth birthday, a little over a year away, I will replace this bogged-down fear and depression with the thousand unbound effects of joy.  In order to do this I will need to find a way to bring more of this joy into my life. I will need to dance. A lot.

(To read more from my trauma recovery memoir, click here to download an excerpt about how I made progress.)

The next year had its ups and downs; I failed a lot. But then, just under the wire, I achieved my goal. Which just goes to prove, you don’t know when recovery will happen; you only have to keep your focus on that intention.

You have enormous healing potential. The goal is learning to access it.

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