• Charna Cassell, MFT

Who Do You Want To Be?

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Asking who do I want to be today, tomorrow and a year from now is always valuable to reflect on.

I had a teacher, Brother Ishmael TehTeh, a mystic from Ghana, and he said, “Every day I wake up and I decide what I want to be. Today I am Joy, and I practice joy.” He stood 6’3”, with an endless grin, thumping his chest with his hands, as if he packed the joy into his heart.

We do get to choose this, though a history of complex trauma can hijack your nervous system and leave you feeling like you have no choice. We always have a choice, even if we don't like the options. And it is okay to choose to eat cookies for dinner and take a bath. We need to be gentle versus judgmental of ourselves right now. We can be accountable and kind at the same time.

I imagine many of you are pinballing between all three of these zones, even in one hour or day. Shelter in place is similar to being on a silent meditation retreat where you have the opportunity to observe yourself and your habits.

On my first silent 10 day retreat, someone in the eating hall sneezed and I wanted to say bless you, another dropped her fork and I wanted to pick it up. I watched all of these impulses to take care of people and how frequently my attention was drawn to the external.

Yesterday, I watched a man struggling with three huge bags of groceries, his face hidden behind a mask, walking towards my apt building. Instinctually, I shouted out an offer to help him, thinking he was my neighbor and not thinking he may not want me to touch his bags. He was not my neighbor and he did not want my help.

This is a time to bring our energy and attention inward and be mindful. This does not mean you stop offering care and support to those around you, but the invitation is to do it mindfully.

Email your challenges and curiosities about sex and sexual trauma as a 30-second voice memo (if you are okay with your voice being used) or an email (for complete anonymity) to laidopenpodcast@gmail.com.

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