Now How ‘Bout That

Meditations on consciousness


Sara Brinkac (She/They) / Columns Editor

Jasmin Linton (She/her) / Illustrator


Spring has sprung and nature has once again offered us a wonderful lesson on life. We can see in real time, blossoming in front of us, the cyclic existence that is living. This spring I am inspired by a couple things. First, the sun and how much seeing it really does affect our human experience. Truly, top notch stuff. Second, is the idea of growth and the depth of what growing really means. 

When I got my concussion, I believed I could have complete control over my recovery. With enough attention, accuracy and analysis I could protect myself from any future upset and see myself through the healing perfectly. I believed ‘growth’ was coming out of this experience with the tools to never feel pain or fear again. 

Well… At some point I realized that hyper attention, critical accuracy and consistent analysis is also a great concoction for another thing: Anxiety.

Anxiety can seep into our mind and take hold of our body in many ways; it roots in the feeling of danger and perpetuates the fears of our past. It’s tough stuff. Especially when you get into states of constant nausea, headache, dissociation and panic attacks. In a state of anxiety the mind and body become cyclical forces of suffering when the underlying assumption is “I am unsafe,” and “I can’t control it.”

I look at the bush outside my window. 

I don’t know the name of the bush. I’m not a botanist. But the budding flowers on it are what’s important to me now. The beautiful growth of a plant that I have watched be pummeled with snow, drenched in rain and tossed like salad in the wind. It has survived. Not by stopping these forces, but by accepting them. Through allowing the snow to insulate it, letting the rain hydrate it, and releasing that which does not serve it to the wind, the plant has grown. 

I believe to grow is to work with your environment. To not see things as a fight to be had or a poison to be avoided but rather an acceptance of experience. My concussion flattened a large part of my life. I felt the garden of my mind had been set aflame with suffering. Everything I knew to keep me safe and my heart open had disintegrated to a toxic ashy fear. I felt I was near unsalvageable, I was fragile and could be destroyed by the slightest inconvenience. But life, in its ever humbling existence, had to continue. No matter what I thought about being unready, life had a way of confronting me with new scary experiences

After a while I made a choice, at my own pace, to accept my pain. It wasn’t at all straightforward and I still have weeks of being consumed by it. But I have made a decision in my direction of growth and to allow my environment to open my heart rather than embitter my soul. 

In the last few months, the wind has picked up and the ashes from the fire are stirring. The dense layer that covered the garden of my mind awoke softly and is beginning to dance away with the wind. However, just enough is deciding to stay and lovingly give nutrients to the soil.

My mind is becoming lighter as I let the fear of my past be carried by the wind. I still have incessant whispers that run scared pulling at my sleeve terrified of life. My new relationship with my environment however has allowed me mercy and compassion for these fears. I am beginning to grow with them rather than be buried by them. 

Letting go is hard. Really hard. When your body, quite literally, holds onto trauma it becomes acclimated to a state of pain. I believe that growth is the process of reconciling with what you subconsciously fear. When one releases the need to control their pain they allow the room to grow from the experience they had. By not obsessing over direction, where or who you are supposed to be, one can allow life to unfold in a much more loving manner. You can watch your mind from a state of curiosity and compassion rather than a state of pressure to be better or safer.

After this process with my concussion, I am developing confidence in the fact that I can always find my state of harmony. While I may become unbalanced and fearful when confronted with new experiences, I trust now that I can release my need to control. I can allow life to be.

Now, I sit at the top of a large oak tree looking below at the land. Rivers and valleys I never thought existed, released from things I once fearfully gripped. I think to myself “Huh… Now how ‘bout that.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *