Five Gifts from All Hell Breaking Loose

The years 2005 and 2006 made up the most transformational period in my life to date, and I still struggle to make sense of it.  One time I made a list of events that happened in sequence and it took up two full single lined pages. Suffice it to say the chain of events was enough to cause even nonspiritual people to wonder whether I had been cursed.  I cannot tell my full story due to the people involved and the public nature of this journal, but everyone has their own times of crises and many far worse than my story.   So instead, I decided to share gifts of transformation that piggybacked the traumas.

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As long as there is a spark of life left in you, no matter what is stripped away from you, you will be carried by some unseen force.  I have always been uncomfortable using the word God, as it conjures a male human for me personally, and I believe this force is greater than any man or woman.  Call it what you will, before my immersion into deep crisis I was unsure, but now I know such a force exists.


The human heart has greater capacity than you might think and you are stronger than you ever know.  Until you have reason to know.   During crisis, I transformed from an introverted, cynical person feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders working 60 hours each week and raising a toddler, into an open and extroverted person, reassured by humanity’s essence.  I found myself reaching out to welcome, comfort, provide resources to others.  I even was asked to write a speech and give it before 600 people!  Now I’ve reverted to a less cynical version of my pre-crisis personality, but knowing a more confident, engaged and welcoming person lurks inside is valuable.


Become like water when nothing makes sense outside of you.   Pour through cracks, linger in eddies, breathe in bubbles of inspiration and be guided by bridges of support.  Especially remember to breathe.


Forever forward you will be able to separate the little things from the big. That person in front of you ranting to a policeman about someone cutting in a ferry line? Not so big, when your child’s 7-year-old friend is in hospice and you just spent two weeks in solitary hospital isolation.


People are as capable of magnificent generosity as they are cruelty.  The more fully humanly vulnerable you allow yourself to be, the more others respond.

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Why numbers in Spanish when I don’t speak Spanish?  Because the sound of the language reminds me of growing up in New Mexico and because I lived communally with mostly Spanish-speaking people for 1 of my 2 years of trauma.  All I learned to say were greetings of buenos dias, buenos tardes and buenos noches, but our eyes spoke all we needed to know.


About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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2 Responses to Five Gifts from All Hell Breaking Loose

  1. Lindsay says:

    Beautiful! I like to refer to “God” as a “higher being”. Thanks for the reminders, Erin.

  2. Kiri says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Much as I would never wish my darkest times on anyone else I too am grateful for what they taught me.

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