Finding meaning and making sense of the everyday


I’m into the seventh week of my family’s annual beachside holiday on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Every year we come down to immerse ourselves in the soothing, natural delights offered by seaside living. Endless, changing vistas of magnificent skies and calming seas provide soul-healing space for us all.


Traditionally, in previous years I have luxuriated in a daily early-morning swim in these divine waters to reconnect myself to nature, however this year has found me struggling to relinquish the warmth provided by my bed in favour of the invigorating seas.

I am also here in this peaceful place to bring my PhD thesis to its conclusion. I have managed to set aside a significant time period to achieve this, and have found myself more focused on paying greater attention to the need to sit down and commit to my writing. Even for this though, I have on many occasions curled up on my bed and allowed myself the luxury of immersion in the inner world of my thoughts.

Today is different. As I awoke to the sound of the seas lapping on the shore, I checked my emails to find this commentary from Heather Plett. Just as I did when reading  her article ‘Waking up is hard to do‘ (see also the link within this to ‘Holding space’), in ‘Trauma and Trump’ I found incredibly powerful words that connected deeply and provided me with a sense of profound personal meaning related to my response to Trump, and to others who have behaved towards me in ways that are cruel, dismissive and lacking in emotional intelligence.

Heather speaks, amongst many other things, about the somatic response of trauma and grief we experience and the ways our bodies unconsciously react to deeply disorienting situations.

Her words stirred me intensely, and I suddenly found myself longing to step into the comfort of the sea, to feel her soothing balm on my skin, to luxuriate in her embrace. So while most of my fellow seaside companions were still slumbering, I returned to the sea for my early morning swim.

I have much sense still to make of this, but it has affirmed, most significantly at this point, the emotional and physical connections we have… across our own times and across generations… and the ways in which these past experiences inform our present realities.

In response to the cognitive understanding of my past emotional and physical reactions, my body yearned to reclaim its power, to counter the unconsciously expressed trauma and grief, experienced through an act of reconnecting with healing rituals. It also reminded me that we are always in a state of becoming… we are always learning and unlearning our ways of being in the world.

Heather’s words spoke to me at a very deep level and uncovered personal revelations. Her may not connect with you, but I encourage to have a read to see if her thoughts stir anything for you.

I wish you a magnificent day ahead…


About Jennifer K Miles

I am an educator, researcher and writer, passionate about storytelling and its power to change perspectives of self. Through undertaking the journey of my own transformative learning, I now work with adults to support them in drawing forth stories of the strength and potential gained in their lives, as they move towards the creation of their stories as yet untold. My three beautiful adult boys are the most precious part of my story, and continue to walk with and support me in undertaking my PhD research. I write about story and transformative learning ... the circumstances of our lives and the stories remembered; influences on the construction of our self-identities - positive and negative; critiquing the assumptions and limitations we have come to accept about ourselves, our potential, and our place in life; daring to imagine a story untold.

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