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What contagion do you want to be part of?

Chaos is contagious.

So is ease.  Goodness.  Kindness. Generosity.  Compassion.

In times like these, when anxiety is high, isolation and separation is the name of the day, we need to spend time developing something to antidote it.

For one thing…LAUGHTER!

Yesterday on the group coaching call for the Transformational Academy one of the people, a therapist, shared an experience and it touched everyone’s funny bone.

We laughed and laughed. I can still feel the giggle in my belly.

So necessary during these times.

Since so much is contagious we get to choose which path we take.  

We get to choose who we want to be in this moment.

Do we want to choose to sow fear, panic, anxiety?

Or do we choose to conquer our own distress to have the life we want?

This is why I consistently say – and believe- that trauma is a modern–day Bodhisattva training. 

A Bodhisattva is someone who transforms their suffering into compassion.

Cuz don’t we all know this… the painful reality of life is that we’ll suffer.

None of us go through life unscathed.

Most of us do everything we can to dull the pain of life, shape-shifting so we can feel better about it; the suffering of life creeps in offering us loss, grief, sadness, despair, anxiety, depression, hopelessness.

That is one option.

There is another option, one sculpted by the ancient wisdom traditions that honors the suffering of life as the doorway to cultivating compassion.  The traumas and distress of our lives are not to draw us deep into the grip of despair but rather to be the unique prescription for our individual healing.

Inherent in the wisdom traditions is a fundamental truth: The cycles of suffering are not meant to victimize us in its grip.

Suffering is meant to transform us from within, carving out what isn’t us so that our more authentically beautiful selves can emerge. Just like in birth, as we emerge from the birth canal, the cycles of suffering are designed to squeeze us out of whatever comfort zone we were in to step into a new, foreign land, one that we might not have imagined could turn out this good.

It’s a different journey, one that requires a new center of gravity.

Primarily, we’re asked to slow down time, grounded in the present moment.  As we do, we orient away from an outward orientation, where our senses are receiving information through our eyes, ears, touch.  Slowing down we awaken to an inward attunement, centered in our heart where we have access to a perennial wisdom that guides us forward.

This inner attunement has a different language than the one most used in our current world.

The second shift we take is an intimate one, going from our heads to our hearts…activating the heart’s code.  It’s a language many of us know intuitively but don’t access frequently enough for it to guide us.

We take steps in fits and starts, sometimes finding a time-limited groove…’til the next cycle of life activates our fear – and we step back into the comfort of the known.

Yet we long for that home that the heart beckons…actually “beacons”… us to. 

The Sufi poet Rumi describes this, “Love is the language that cannot be said or heard.”  It’s as though there is an inner tuning fork that vibrates, capturing us, inviting us in.  We hear the vibrational call, pause, trying to orient and find that sound.

Without taking the journey from head to our hearts we’ll miss the signals that invite us in.  Our mind confuses the message, reminding us of all the many times we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone only to be disappointed, discouraged, rejected, or worse humiliated and shamed.

Stay safe, our protective parts yell!  “Don’t be misled – again!” our thoughts tell us in no uncertain terms.

The Persian poet, Hafiz, claimed in his poem, “I know the way you can get when you haven’t had a drink of love…your face hardens…”

Today is a good day to pause.  To open to where the simple fragments of life, of love, are beckoning you.  What contagion do you want to be part of today?  What draws you toward the life you want to live?

What contagion do you want to be part of?

Deirdre Fay, LICSW

Deirdre Fay, LICSW, has decades of experience exploring the intersection of trauma, attachment, yoga and meditation, teaches “a radically positive approach to healing trauma.”  An international speaker and workshop leader, Deirdre has written Becoming Safely Embodied (Morgan James, in press), Attachment-Based Yoga & Meditation for Trauma Recovery (W.W. Norton, 2017),  co-author of Attachment Disturbances for Adults (W.W. Norton, 2016) as well as the co-author of chapters in Neurobiological Treatments of Traumatic Dissociation.  A former supervisor at The Trauma Center, trainer for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute from 2000–2008, she’s also certified in Internal Family Therapy, qualified trainer in Mindful Self-Compassion, former Board member of the New England Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation which add depth and understanding to these practices. Deirdre is a respected international teacher and mentor integrating trauma, attachment, yoga, and working safely with the body. Visit her website to get a FREE Safe Guide to Healing Trauma.

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APA Reference
Fay, D. (2020). What contagion do you want to be part of?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Jul 2020
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