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No One Can Take Away What You Put in Your Own Mind
May 11, 2023
At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.
-Frida Kahlo, 20th-century Mexican painter

In her beautiful book, The Choice, a memoir of transcending her experience in Auschwitz, Dr. Edith Eva Eger writes about speaking to a group of soldiers just returning from Afghanistan:

"I was there to talk about my trauma - how I survived it, how I survived the return to everyday life, how I chose to be free.” She goes on to explain:

"My mama told me something I will never forget. She said, ’We don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but no one can take away from you what you put in your own mind.’...Standing on the stage...I could see in my conscious awareness something that is often elusive, often invisible: that to run away from the past or to fight against our present pain is to imprison ourselves. Freedom is accepting what is...Opening our hearts to the miracles that exist now."

Beloved speaker and author Holly Elissa Bruno has written a book with the intention of providing inspiration to all who have had to deal with challenges in their lives (perhaps all of us?) – and to all early childhood educators who support children affected by adverse childhood experiences. She explains:

“Learning from trauma, even admitting we were traumatized or that our lives have not been as seamless as they appear is difficult…You know a traumatized person. Or several. You may be one. Trauma can terrorize at any age. Surgery is trauma. Loss is trauma. Trauma is an abrupt, life-stopping moment of being threatened with extinction.”

She offers hope that trauma can actually be a path to growth and strength: “Witness our resilience,” she writes. “Trauma faced has become our spiritual guide home…Walk beside me through the streets? We don’t have to run. Happiness is patient and devoted to finding us.”


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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Kirsten Haugen · May 15, 2023
Eugene, OR, United States

Thank you for your thoughts - much appreciated!

Akezia Archibald · May 11, 2023
West Harlem Community Organization
New York, NY, United States

Thank you (to whom it may concern) for sharing your unique thoughts on trauma and how it may indeed be our pathway to true happiness. That is of course, as discussed, once we decide to view it from a different light, one where we are the victor and not the victim. It's a perspective not many of us remember we can hold. I do not usually write comments but I surely felt guided to express my gratitude for this well written piece. Thank you again.

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