Trauma induces very unpleasant internal emotional states. When an infant experiences an unpleasant emotional state, what does she do? She cries, which ought to bring the parent. The parent then, if he or she is well-regulated herself or himself, will then pick up the infant and go, “Aww,” and hold that baby and rock them, or sing to them in a sing-song kind of way. That will regulate the child’s internal state. Then the infant learns that emotional states that are unpleasant come and go. It’s okay. If I can’t handle it, I can ask for help. For the many of us who didn’t have that kind of holding environment, who didn’t have the parents around that could hold us in our unpleasant states and soothe us and regulate us because they were not regulated themselves, we end up fearing that these difficult emotional states are permanent and ‘I will stay stuck in them’, ‘I will never get out of them.’ Then what do we do?
One of the great things about reaching midlife is the perspective and the clarity we get as time begins to feel more precious and important. I remember reaching a point in my life where I no longer had the energy or the desire to chase after anything anymore. Not only that but it seemed like the strategies I used for most of my adult life – setting goals, creating detailed action plans and working my butt off to make success happen all stopped working.
This entry is taken from one of the most beautiful film scenes I’ve ever seen. It is between a father and a son. I wonder what the world would be like if there were more experiences like this in the world between parents and children.
It is a conversation between the son and his father after a young man staying with the family over the summer–and with whom the son has been having what he believed to be a clandestine relationship–returns to his home. The son after riding with him to the town with the airport comes back quiet but obviously impacted.
By slowly converting our loneliness into a deep solitude, we create that precious space where we can discover the voice telling us about our inner necessity–that is, our vocation. Unless our questions, problems and