ASK ABDI: HOW DO I FIND CLOSURE FROM MY TRAUMA?

QUESTION: In my country, a club burned during a rock concert; 32 people are dead and 130 are in the hospital, 90 of them very critical. Two days before, I got out of the hospital after eight days spent in an emergency room with second degree burns on my face, neck, and hands following an explosion of the fireplace at my yoga studio.

Detachment of my body and breathing helped me tremendously during the moments when morphine was not enough to calm my pain. It took me a while to be able to say in my mind “I bless my life, I bless the moment where I am now, I bless my mind that is on top of everything, I bless my heart full of love and compassion, I bless my body that is healing right now”. Once I said it, I felt space from pain within me; it was the first time I lived the saying “you are not your body”, because before I understood it only on a mental level. I kept saying this day and night continuously, and they were my “secret medicine” that helped me not to fall into the arms of despair.

But when I came back home and heard about those people, it is like I felt all of their despair and pain on my body and soul. I started to have nightmares with people burning. I felt cold air in the room, which was always waking me up during nights (what do you think that was? was it my imagination? could it be lost souls? I am not quite a believer of spirits or angels running invisibly around my head). I started to feel fear, being prisoner in the house, because of the risk of infections. I was caught between Facebook and TV. Meanwhile, the club tragedy burst into a revolution and people got out in the streets asking for change and for a stop of corruption. My fear transformed into anger and a strong feeling of “enough is enough” regarding my country and the actual leaders.

It has already been a week, and I feel I need to find a closure to my trauma and as well to the Colectiv one, in order to give space to my body, soul, and mind to heal. I believe that there are no coincidences, not even my accident right before, which prepared the space within me to receive this Colectiv trauma. Not even the fact that I was managing my experience very well with acceptance, love, and detachment, but I couldn’t do it with the club tragedy and was very caught up in it. Not a coincidence also the name of the club (Collective). It is like a collective wake-up call, a collective voice that is yelling “enough is enough; it’s time for change”…

Please guide me in finding closure, in integrating this experience… I also don’t feel like teaching yoga anymore; don’t know if it’s my trauma, my financial concerns (didn’t have insurance in the hospital and have a lot of debts), or if it’s also time to stop teaching yoga.

ANSWER: I am sorry for the trauma you have been through. As well as what happened in Bucharest and the Colectiv club fire. A burn like yours is so painful and the brutality is non-stop around the clock. It is such a shock to the system both physically as well as mentally. Remember that you are still in shock, as it has not been that long since your injury. I know you want closure, but that takes time. You want the mental pain to be over, and fair enough, none of us want to suffer. We can help or hinder that process, but nothing will make it happen immediately.

It is not pleasant, but the only way to get to the other side is to go through it. As your skin heals and the immediate physical pain stops, the mental work begins. Reach out; you do not need to do this on your own. A therapist, some energy or bodywork, anything that will help move this trauma out of your bodymind. The “you are not your body” exercise you were using during your burn recovery is the opposite of what you need once that acute phase is over. The body has to be administered to in order to access and heal the emotional trauma. So you need to go back into your body, slowly and gently, to release the pain that is trapped there.

There is so much in this realm that is beyond the mind’s grasp. When one is in as much pain as you were, one is also psychically very open and altered. Hence the experiences you were having. It is not about believing or not believing. No need to take a stand on it. You experienced certain things that were out of your everyday reality. The “cold air” in the room is this: disembodied spirits absorb heat into them, which is why we feel a chill around such phenomena. That has been my experience. And the passing process of disembodied souls can take time. It is not immediate, especially in the case of trauma. You, in your altered state, were tuned in - into that “channel”. That is why you experienced what you did. 

An important side note: in this unfolding drama we call life, there are many channels. The true healing we are looking for is to see and step beyond all these channels, be they “this life”, “the afterlife”, etc. All these bardo states are still part of duality/phenomena. There are so many nuances, and people like to take all kinds of absolute positions on such things. Best to stay fluid and realize that there are many mysteries on the path. To feel comfortable in the mystery without the need of a belief system is a powerful thing. 

Yes, big and simultaneous events like that are not coincidences, but our minds are too little to grasp the full reasons for such things. We might get certain pieces of the puzzle, but the whole picture usually takes time to be revealed. I would say to you: apply some of what you wrote about Romania to yourself. “Enough is enough” and “it’s time for a change”, you said. It might be helpful to examine your life and see where that applies. How can you use this trauma as a way to rebuild your life in a way that is more nurturing to your needs? Be they financial or emotional, what needs to go and what needs to come in, in order for you to feel safe?

Remember again, that you are in shock, so it is not necessary to make radical decisions right away. Use this time to examine and observe. Write things down, because we are all masters of putting the light out that we are shown once the trauma wears off. Just show up as you are doing, you will be shown what the next step is. As difficult as it is, be patient with this process. And yourself.

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