The Other Side of Reason – Book of dreams

Since 2013, recognized author and community leader for mental health, David Gibson, has battled the inner world of PTSD to find some measure of hope within. He uses his writing to explore how his journey as a survivor has enabled him to come to terms with PTSD and the new reality of his life. His 'Reflections from the Other Side of Reason' not only invite the reader into his life, but offers insights on how to grow and build resiliency. By sharing his experiences he takes away any toll for others to walk down the same road.

[Book of dreams]

It was unexpected.
Where madness makes for moments that you never could have planned.
Serenity rocked by fear and darkness.
A beginning that felt like the end.
Suddenly your life woke to a premonition.
There you were promised a great life.
And you waited, though you were not yet born.
There at the door, returned from having lived a thousand dreams.
Your life, like rivers, moved fast toward the sea.
What will be the last book you read?
If I have nothing else to give you, let me show you how to believe.
How to open windows of life with every page you read.
How to close the door softly when it is time to move to a new chapter.
To discover yourself between the lines of possibility.
It will be your eyes that will light the way.
With your thoughts there will always be another day.
These are the stories that weave a tapestry in your book of dreams.

“Someday when the pages of my life end, I know that you will be one of its most beautiful chapters.” ― Unknown

It seems we live in a world that tells us it’s not ok to be compassionate and kind to ourselves or to others. We need to “grind it out,” “just do it,” and “suck it up.” But guess what, that’s not my kind of world, and I doubt it’s yours either, because really, that’s nobody's world. If pushing and shoving, striving and suffering is what it takes to be ‘all in,’ then I want out. I’m not down with this whole notion of “pushing through the pain.” Screw that!

The healing me—the one that I’ve come to know more recently—is trying to be more gentle and loving. He knows that today is just a day. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a day. Instead of getting caught up in what “caused” today, or how to “fix” today, I’m just aware. I notice. I observe. I listen.

So what’s with the attitude Gibson?

A magical little miracle came into my life, that’s what – life’s game changer.  A bundle of possibilities – his name? Jovin, my first Grandchild.

It’s been said that a grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher and a little bit best friend. The grandparent and grandchild relationship can be one of the most important in our lives.

News that you’re about to become a Poppy suddenly brings you up short. It makes you feel – and how can I put this delicately – ancient. But, of course, it’s not like that at all. The conventional wisdom is that grandparents have all of the pleasure and none of the anxiety.

But it doesn’t seem to have quite worked like that.

Bits and pieces began to appear from the spider web shrouded attic, relics of our own parenting, “for when he comes here” (we’d found out it was a boy). “Oh, and we’ve agreed to buy the baby stroller.” “We have?” “Our son & daughter-in-law want a new-fangled model.” “Of course they do. And how much is that?” “Don’t ask.”  Good grief the Pink Floyd song all over again – ‘Money’…. (Look it up Millennials)

I’d also forgotten how incredibly small babies are – so small I was terrified to hold him. Get it together man, you had four lads, this should be second nature to you? Instead it felt as if the earth had turned another, inexorable notch on its axis. Life, it often seems to me, is a series of rooms that you walk through, closing the door behind you as you go, casting a glance over your shoulder at your own past, your own youth, knowing that you can never go back. Marriage. First child. First mortgage. I felt I had walked into another room – but this time to be greeted by the most miraculous gift.

It seems to me to be evidence of some greater design of the continuum of life that such joy should arrive at precisely the moment you most need it. Middle-age arrives. Recovering from trauma & PTSD. Your spirits begin to flag. One’s sense of wonder becomes blunted by the routines and pressures of life. Friends – contemporaries – have life-threatening diseases. You suddenly realize that you can no longer play a competitive game of soccer – not even indoor seven-a-side – and that you’re the only person in the office who knows who ‘Get Smart’ is and who the rock band Triumph are (or should that be, were). You begin to be brought up short in the face of your mortality.

And then suddenly here is the very embodiment of wonder and innocence; the most timely reminder that life is essentially good and kind.

I search his face for evidence of my son, myself, my father – the great-grandfather he will know only through stories and photographs. The generations stretching into the past and into the future, of which he is now a new and magical link. His eyes flicker between amusement, fathomless mystery and naked curiosity – who’s the old codger, and why does he keep looking at me like that? I can only guess at how he feels. But I feel as happy as I’ve ever felt in my life. Even if there is a poopy diaper to change.

So here I am – Poppy and my new found little Bon Jovin – Be grateful.

There is an Irish saying: “This is a day in our lives, and it will not come again.” Live every day with this in mind.

Until next time.