My boyfriend goes into the kitchen, and there are dishes in the sink. I’m sitting on the couch, aware that this is one of his only pet peeves. The instantaneous trigger reaction begins, and my whole body begins to pump adrenaline. Then I take a breath, then another deeper one, and remind myself that this is now. This is my boyfriend, the most gentle, loving man I have ever known. The trigger reaction, locked deep within my molecules, comes from living with a man whose reaction to dishes in the sink very likely could have been screaming anger, dishes being thrown and broken or even physical violence – all of this inflicted on my mother. I lived with that man for the first eleven years of my life.
These leftover seeds of post-traumatic stress come from growing up, during my most impressionable years, in a house that was more of a war zone than a nurturing nest. The standards of perfection were always changing and therefore could never be met, so at any moment there could be fits of anger, rage, fury and violence. Going to sleep at night, regardless of bedtime stories and snuggles, could mean being awoken to the sounds of screaming and hitting, sometimes followed by our mother leaving to seek the safety of a domestic violence shelter for the night. As much as I can recall, waking up in the morning wasn’t about the joy of a new day. It was about avoiding and sidestepping the unknown thing that would provoke an outburst of anger and violence. Sometimes, it was about being the fierce voice of reason and pleading for the peace and joy that childhood craves. Other times, it was about taking the courageous action of dialing 911 to literally save a life. Always, it was about preserving an ounce of hope for a different future.
What I have always known, before I could form the words until now, is that kind, loving, generous and gracious love is quite possible. In this lifetime, I have pioneered a journey for myself of traditional therapy, western medicine, life-coaching, spirituality and intense trainings in energy therapy and consciousness work. Many bright lights, healers and mentors have contributed to the elimination of about 90% of my PTSD and have helped me learn how to create my sweet, beautiful life. I have learned to be my own leader. I know I will always be learning, creating and leading myself to something greater. Now, I strive to inspire others to cultivate brighter futures for themselves.
I #SeeDV as a cycle that affects everyone in the family, and it can be broken. While there are still threads of the past that show up, today they contribute to my weaving a fabric of conscious choice to create the kind of life I always perceived was possible. Please know that any choice you make to create a change for yourself is conscious kindness to build a more loving and grateful world.
Danna Lewis, Conscious Leadership Expert, two-time best-selling author, radio show host and hands-on energy healer. She has 20+ years of business experience, trainings and certifications in consciousness and empowerment coaching. Danna currently lives with her boyfriend of two years in San Francisco and Monterey, CA, where they spend weekends with his son. Learn more at www.dannalewis.com.