In search of dolphins

Last night I watched an awesome documentary called Dolphin Boy.  Its about an Israeli teenager called Morad with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, who was brought back into society and himself using dolphin therapy  (for the record, unfortunately Im not one of those super-educated extra-cool people who watches intelligent documentaries...most of the time Im satisfied with America's Next Top Model).  It was a simply-shot, non-pretentious tale of human tragedy and self-sacrificing love...and yes it made me cry.  But it also got me to thinking about how I handle things in my own life.

While I am fortunate enough never to have lived through anything remotely as traumatic as what  Morad had faced, I could see echoes of my own coping mechanisms in his behaviour.  I too shut down on the world and those around me, not to that extreme but I still choose to retreat.  Feeling nothing is less hurtful than feeling the pain.  And yes post-traumatic stress disorder is an overexaggeration of normal, healthy coping strategies, but perhaps I too over-react to things.

I did a long hot exhaustingingly exhilarating summer working as a camp counselor at Camp Sonshine, one of their favourite phrases was "Growth Days".  Growth Days were their overly-enthusiastic typically American ways of turning a stressful, exhausting bad day at camp into something positive.  For a while I dismissed it as nothing more than that, but now I see the value in that way of thinking.  Having a "bad day" is unproductive and pointless for myself and everyone who I snap and moan at, but having a "growth day"...well now that has the potential to add value.  Life is an endless lesson.

The concept of growth days works extra well if you combine it with the "5-5-5 rule" which the lovely (and soon-to-be-wed) Goddess Leonie shared with the world the other day.  To sum it up, if you cannot honestly answer the questions "Will this matter in 5 days...or 5 months...or 5 years?" with "yes yes YES!"  - then you know doesnt matter today either.  Its just a growth day.  Grow, and tomorrow will be better.

But what haunts me, what sends me to my retreated safe place inside myself, is WHAT IF the answer really honestly truthfully is "Yes".  Yes it will matter in 5 days, yes it will matter in 5 months and yes it will still matter in 5 years.  How am I supposed to count this as a growth day, how am I supposed to act like this is not important?  How am I supposed to find the strength not to hide away inside myself and face the pain as the tiny insignificant prinprick that it so obviously is not?

I dont have the answer and I certainly dont have the proof of how to overcome this problem, but I do have two suggestions.  Maybe Leonie's 5-5-5 rule isnt quite complete...maybe you have to extend it till the answer is "No".  Will it matter in 50 years?  Er...yeh maybe.  OK - will it matter in 500 years? Hmm..well the chance of anything at all about my life mattering in 500 years is pretty much zero, so Im gonna go with No.  And oh yeh, if an event within this millenia-rich universe has no impact in 500 years time, then I can logically see that it doesnt matter today either.

But there is still a fatal agonising flaw in the argument, because there is a big difference between things that cross the millenia in their power and meaning, and the "little things" that do still matter to me.  Maybe I should be striving for that deeper level of connection with the universe where the "little things" cease to matter, but Im certainly not there yet.  So the potential for pain still remains, and I am still left in hiding. 

So whats the second suggestion?  Well...maybe I just need to find my dolphins.


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