This week marks the 20th anniversary of the huge flood that wiped out much of the cities of Grand Forks, North Dakota and even more so, it’s sister city, East Grand Forks, Minnesota. I lived on the MN side.
I have been watching many posts from those who were there, and each one touches my heart deeply. We all shared a common trauma, and many lives were totally changed because of it. For many of us, time was now divided into life before the flood, and after. Some people left for good, while others tried to rebuild. People who moved to the area after the rebuild didn’t quite grasp the severity of the experience, and I remember someone saying that people should just “get over it already”. Not that easy. Although two decades have passed, the feelings may still be there- not as intense, but still there under the surface.
Last night as I was sitting on the couch thinking about it, I found tears running down my face. The sirens, the helicopters, the leaving grabbing nothing but our kids, the lines at the gas stations on the way out of town. The silence of all of us taking in the scenes before us- it was heavy. The memory of the shelter at the community college of a small MN town, the sheer numbers of people in shock, going through the motions of checking in and trying to get children calmed down enough to sleep on cots. My oldest son and I went back the next day to get our dogs, as we were told to get out immediately, and there wasn’t time or room for them. We were met with what seemed like an ocean of water, and a kind man who boated my son in to our house. The dogs looked at him like “Seriously. We did NOT do this. There’s no way we could pee this much!” He barely was able to get in, as the water had filled one level entirely, and up to the next. They boated their way back to where I waited, and we returned to our shelter city. I slept in the car with them until we could make other plans. I felt and remembered the nightmares of all that followed.
Funny how you don’t really think about these things much anymore, but the memories are there, deep inside. Trauma runs deep. It hides.
It can also become someone’s normal.
This huge upheaval forced changes in a huge number of lives, as well as the communities we lived in. For many, it had an incredible impact on their personal and spiritual growth, and perhaps even changed their priorities. It forced people to take a look at their lives to see what was working, and what had been a diversion from what was actually meaningful to them. Nothing was taken for granted in the same way again. Saving something for a special occasion no longer exited, as you realized EVERY DAY IS A SPECIAL OCCASION.
Every day we are faced with changes we can make in our lives in order to be the best version of ourselves. With the busyness of life, we often keep putting things and decisions off until later. Events like the flood we experienced create situations in which we were “asked” not so gently, or “forced” into making the changes that were needed. We forget that changes are necessary before we can move forward and lead the lives we were created to live. These might be habits that we have, ways of thinking and being, or even people that have been in our lives that no longer seem to fit. After years of the same patterns, these new changes become challenges. If the area in which change is needed is a major life lesson for us, (there are twelve) it is also an area in which we have a total blind spot. This can be very frustrating for the individuals around us, as everyone can see what is happening except us! Some examples of this would be the individual who encounters issues at work, leaves that position to take another, yet runs into the same issues in their new job, only this time the situation is more intense. If they do not learn to master the issue, it will continue to show itself, intensifying in each new situation until it gets so uncomfortable they are forced to deal with the real problem.
Another example of this would be someone who, multiple times, marries the same type of deceptive, manipulative, domineering individual (even to the point of coercion), and experiences greater and greater financial ruin, or some other repetitive pattern, such as the pain associated with being in yet another loveless, deceitful relationship. Or it might be someone who is repeatedly drawn into abusive relationships. Everyone around them can see the lessons in these scenarios- except those going through them. At times, they do see it, but do not know what to do about it until the pattern becomes so painful they get help, or get out of the situation and learn to master the lesson.
Others are facing the challenge of having loved ones who are working through, or being confronted by their issues, suddenly bring up things that happened years, or decades ago. The challenge for them is not to be drawn into someone else’s issues or drama, to realize that it is not about them, but about the person who is beginning to work through their life issues.
So, how do you know if the issues are yours or not?
Honestly take a look at your life- at yourself. Are you living from a place of integrity? The dictionary definition is: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole and undivided.
Are you honest with yourself and the people in your life? Are the people who are in your life there because you honestly love, cherish, and value them, or are they part of what needs to be released so that you can live the life you were born to live? Are they in your life for the right reasons, or is anyone being used? Have you learned what you needed to learn from them? Is it time to move on? Is it time to move forward in your life, to live a life beyond your wildest dreams?
Honestly ask yourself: is there anyone in your life that you have issues with? If so, who are they, and what are your issues with them?
Who, or what, is holding you back?
How can you move forward to live a life beyond your wildest dreams?
There are many modalities and courses at Awakened Living that can help you through these issues and more. Guided imagery therapy is a fantastic tool to help you get the answers you need. It helps you get to the root of an issue, empowers you to deal with it, and move forward.
Note: For those going through PTSD in dealing with memories of the flood, or other issues in your life, guided imagery is an excellent tool to help you through the difficult times.