How long does it take to complete a traumatic childhood event to the point of healing? Allow me to submit that specific conditions often determine the length of time. In one particular case it definitively took exactly 65 years. That far exceeds what some would consider reasonable.
Smiling now while reflecting upon an old Southern saying: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” In any case, it seems pretty clear that healing is not limited to time or space. As a spiritual teacher explains, we can heal the past in the present and open new gateways to the future. He uses the Enso symbol as a visual aid to express the completion of old traumas. He teaches that upon completion there is always free space left for future expansion.
Photo credit: zen-circle-five-peter-cutler
An excerpted brief explanation from Wikipedia elaborates on the Enso: “ In Zen Buddhism, an ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create..” This symbol became especially meaningful to me when just last year, on my 70th birthday, I was blessed to complete, resolve, heal and be freed from a traumatic childhood experience.
The journey toward healing the aforementioned trauma actually began just after my fifth birthday when I had been gifted with a small porcelain tea set. It was painted with dainty little dusty pink roses sprouting tiny spring green leaves. It was especially significant because my dad bought it for me. He was a busy man who rarely bought presents for his children. Only twice in my entire life can I recall that he bought a present just for me. This precious gift was certainly worthy of celebrating and treasuring for a very long time.
In childlike delight, playing with tea parties became almost constant as imaginary friends were always ready and willing to “sit a spell” and to have make-believe tea. Day two after receiving the tea set, play turned to horror. A cardboard box “tea table” in the corner of the old green painted tongue and groove country kitchen displayed the treasured tea set. While preparing to pour the invisible tea, a sudden booming voice called out my name and caused me to jump. A dramatic gasp followed as the tea set crashed onto the worn colorless linoleum covered cement floor. I held my breath as I looked down to discover that every single piece was broken beyond repair.
This young girl’s heart was broken that day too and placed into a cage of emotional bondage. The acute pain quickly subsided but the associated feelings were tucked away and mostly ignored for a very long time. Retrospectively it appears obvious that this specific event could surely explain the grown woman’s propensity for tea pots and assorted collections of tea. However, it would still take 6.5 decades before the hurt could be resolved for all time.
Now, we fast forward to summer 2015: While visiting my good friend, Christina, whose 70th birthday preceded mine by a few months, she gifted me with a beautiful deep blue Lapis Lazuli pendant. It seems important to note that one of the energetic qualities of Lapis is that it helps to provide objectivity, clarity, and mental endurance during the release of emotional bondage.
Christina told the story of how she chose it and explained that this was only one gift in a chain of seventy to friends offered in celebration of her auspicious birthday year. This revelation inspired me to do something special too. But what? I certainly lacked the patience and stamina to seek out 70 individual friends and provide unique gifts to each one. What could realistically achieve the same result?
Following much meditation, prayer, brainstorming and daydreaming, the vision unfolded bit by bit. The strongest idea, a really big tea party, brought lots of questions. What would that look like? Who would come? Where could we go to accommodate a party crowd? And, just who could make the appropriate food for multiple dietary needs? How would I ever find enough fine distinctive tea cups for the growing list of potential attendees? As questions arose, there emerged a yearning for a truly unique tea party. My good friend, Carol, offered to loan her prized antique tea cups and matching saucers to create a teacup focus centerpiece for 15 tables. One thing was very clear. There would be no pretend friends this time. Every guest would be a real person!
It was truly joyful planning a fun tea party in creative collaboration with the five year old me who still searched for the mending of her long ago fractured heart. First of all we had to pin down some details then prepare invitations. Oh, what fun we could have!
The invitations were specific: bring your own tea cup, wear a hat, dress comfortably etc. All the necessary info was prepared with a photo of the only proper tea cup I personally own. It was a special gift that set in the china cabinet for years being saved for some unknown future purpose. Now the purpose seems clear as the invitations incited many oohs and aahs.
Party Space was reserved at the local historic Humphreys-Rodgers House. Other basic details were quickly determined and everything was set.
Mike and me BD party
As the big day arrived, my heart began to sing and quiver with anticipation. Dressing with intention, the lapis pendant honored Christina and gave a sense of her presence. A long string of pearls inherited from my step-mother and a fabulous red felt hat previously worn by my deceased Mother-in-law made a perfect fashion ensemble. And of course, a handsome escort completed the scene.
There aren’t adequate words to express the beauty, the excitement, the fun, and totally joyful and expansive experiences of greeting and socializing with unique and exceptional party going friends that day. There were all colors, shapes and styles of crazy hats, fun hats, homemade hats and carefully selected fine proper hats.
Most everyone remembered to bring their favorite cup or mug which incited rich discussion and appreciative observations. Even long time friends seemed to discover new facets in each other via this simple cup ritual that sometimes brought nods of appreciation and at other times chuckles of delight.
Even the steady rain did not dampen our enthusiasm as a musical violin and flute duo provided a touch of class along with a happy calming backdrop effect. Healing came readily and fully into my grateful heart well prepared with joy, delight and happiness beyond measure. Healing is now complete! Aren’t we fortunate that there is never a time limit on healing?!
– Wanda Gail Campbell
Wanda has served thirty plus years as a healthcare professional. Currently, she serves as a Minister of Peace ordained by The Beloved Community. In July, 2007 she completed her PhD in Philosophy focused on Intercultural Peacemaking. For her own spiritual nourishment, she enjoys reading both contemporary and ancient spiritual writings.
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