There was before. There was after.
And there was one night that fell in between.
When that night of July 27, 1971 fired out of the forgotten, it landed with the same intensity that created it in the first place. Splitting into words, it broke apart what had happened. Then using my voice, it pieced together a story that marched to its own beat.
At its end, when I thought I was done, the story demanded a sequel. “Go back,” it said. “Take back your power.”
All I knew to do was talk therapy. But it was no match for my kind of trauma. So I stopped talking and began tuning into what came between before and after.
It was one second stuck in a rut repeating the same scene over and over. The second was red hot. Flashing distress. Caught in a death grip. It was pure panic. Undiluted fear.
And it was what I had to face if I was ever going to be free.
Nothing in the arsenal of our time could begin to touch that second. Because it was primal. It didn’t respond to reason. So, I bypassed my mind and drilled into the knowing of my body. And that knowing knew that only ancient wisdom could speak to my fear.
When I called upon that intelligence, it came. And it began reconnecting me to an existence that has always existed. It showed me how to draw out what was inborn and track truth to where it lies untouched by thought.
In that inner space, I stopped being afraid of my fear. I stopped being ashamed of it. Only then could I honor that second for instigating my struggle.
Still the beat between before and after can pound through my bones. Maybe it will always be a part of me. But by chasing that moment when I dodged death, I discovered how to be fully, undeniably alive.