Many of us will face a personal tsunami at some point in our lives. We will be felled by a great wave bringing with it sudden change and loss. Perhaps your tsunami is in the form of the death of a loved one, maybe it is the loss of a job or a way of life or possibly you have lost the health you took for granted. My own tsunami was in the form of an unexpected divorce after being abandoned via a text message.
Regardless of the nature of your abrupt trauma, tsunamis have some common characteristics. By their nature, tsunamis are difficult to predict and even harder to prepare for. You have to face the realization that you cannot control your surroundings. The world that you knew is gone, swept away in a single move. You feel disoriented as you try to navigate this new realm.
Soon after the trauma, it feels like it will be impossible to rebuild. The odds seem insurmountable. The shock and grief permeate everything and make every move a struggle. Restoration after a sudden trauma is not easy, but it is possible. In fact, you can even learn how to surf your tsunami, moving through it with skill and grace.
The following are my healing tips for anyone who has been flattened by a tsunami.
The blow of sudden trauma is physical. The body tenses as if anticipating another blow. The breath is the first to suffer; it becomes shallow and rapid behind a breast wrapped tight in a straightjacket of sorrow. Release it. It won’t be easy and it won’t be automatic, at least in the beginning. Set a reminder on your phone or computer to take several deep breaths at least once an hour. As long as the body is anticipating another blow, the mind will be as well. Sometimes it’s easier to train the body and allow the mind to follow.