Yesterday I was out for a walk with my friend around Thetis Lake. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon and Paul was sharing with me his recent experience with having his backpack stolen out of his friend’s car. His backpack was full of a number of items that had practical and sentimental value. He was sharing his feelings about it, as well as the opportunities he’d found in the experience.
When we got back to the car, my passenger door was unlocked (we had both double-checked before leaving to make sure they were locked) and all of my stuff in the car was strewn around on the floors.
The world seemed to slow down as I began to take in what had happened. I had tucked my purse under the seat and of course, all of the cash was gone. It was around $100 and yet, all of my ID, credit and debit cards were still there. I recognized how relieved I was that my credit cards and ID were there, and considering that, I didn’t feel too bad about the money being gone.
Then I realized I’d left my iPhone in my purse as well, thinking I didn’t need the distraction when we were out and I didn’t have any pockets to put it in. That triggered me tremendously. I use my phone for so many things every day and it is a private reflection of myself.
I could feel the anger and frustration rise and I started to cry as I was in Paul’s arms. Then I got angry and started stomping around the parking lot and was calling these thieves every name I could think of for invading my space and taking my stuff. I walked across the lot to ask some people hanging out if they’d seen anything and the tears continued to flow.
In the mean time, Paul had phoned Rogers so I could cancel my phone service and was following me across the lot with the phone so I could give my information to the representative.
We’d planned to go to Costco as I had to pick something up, so Paul drove. As he was driving, I felt all these intense and powerful feelings coursing through my body: the guilt and shame of having left my purse in the first place, the disbelief of how someone can go through another’s private stuff, that someone feels justified taking from another without asking, and gratitude that all my ID was still there.
I numbly walked into Costco and grabbed a couple of things. I then realized that they had also taken my voucher cheque for $64 that I’d intended to spend. I informed a staff member and she took me right over to cancel it and have another reissued.
During all of this interaction and phone calling, the majority of people responded with, “Oh yeah, that has happened to me so many times,” or “Just last week someone took my phone,” and “I’m so sorry.”
Paul continued to drive while offering possible solutions to the missing phone. When we got home, he insisted we go together to Rogers immediately and deal with replacing my phone. I agreed and we did. After a lengthy period of time including him insisting that they address replacing my phone as soon as possible, a new phone was ordered, I got a loaner phone in the meantime and we came back home.
He left and then I observed myself feeling more normal, amazingly calm and together. I phoned a friend to share this crazy adventure and found that there was little to no charge concerning the entire event as I talked about it. It was astounding to me.
As I shared the story, I realized that the safety I felt having Paul there holding all the space was crucial for me to be able to fully express all the emotions flooding through my system. It allowed me to feel them all and they moved through, rather than getting stuck. We kept moving and I kept talking. Each thing we did to clear things up allowed me to feel empowered, seen and heard.
The reason this is so profound for me is that I have spent the majority of my life in numb. From a very early age whenever something traumatic would happen to me, I would shut down and detach and then be unable to move or do anything. In fact, I had just touched some of those old emotions prior to our hike when I found out about a deadly landslide where we used to live, which evoked similar emotions to an event when I was 22 years old and my best friend was killed. I was frozen and numb for years following that.
It has taken years to move from that place of numb to yesterday when I had the internal permission and safety of Paul’s presence to feel and express it all in a very short period of time. Knowing I was being taken care and supported along with finding my way out of numb over the years made it possible to move through it all so quickly.
In letting go of the money and my phone, I was in turn able to receive the help of a friend and allow him to hold space for me through an avalanche of emotion. He even paid for half the cost of my replacement phone.
Giving and receiving fully is stepping into the full flow of life. Whoever took the money and phone can have them. I wish them well and hope that one day they will have the opportunity to remember their own innate goodness.
In turn, I am open to receive all that life has to offer me in return.
p.s. Since the initial writing of this experience I have been receiving on a daily basis supportive and unexpected gifts including a late payment from a session months ago that almost covers the amount of money taken and a grant for helping to hire someone to provide respite care for Raven a few hours a week. I’m excited and curious about what may be coming next.