Level 2

So, every time I leave the trauma ward where I work, I walk down the stairs past level 2. I could bypass this floor, take the lift straight down and out into the sunlight. But I don’t. I walk the stairs.

One by one.

Level 2 is ICU. It’s like walking through the rawness of human emotion. People are stripped back to their bones. Eyes are wide and wild. Bodies are bent and broken. And while there are different ages, different nationalities, different languages – they all smell like adrenalin, sweat and microshield.

Pain can be really lonely.

I have no idea who these people are. Or the stories behind their emotions. Whether they are on level 2 in grief or hope. In sorrow or gratitude. In loss or forgiveness. But I wander through their loneliness and offer. Sometimes a smile. Sometimes a touch on the arm.

And sometimes a random hug.

I have the blessings to be able to descend the flight of stairs to level one, where I can jump in my crappy car and drive the road back to the sea.

After my code grey filled shift this week, we took our smalls to the local park. To the swings.

One took a seat and wanted to be pushed.
One took a seat and tried to swing herself.
One climbed the frame and proceeded to wrap her arms around herself and swing upside down like some random primate.

Although together – in their own space of creation and experience – world’s apart. Yet all smelling of adrenalin, sweat and pears soap.

And it dawned on me how even a swing set can be a lonely thing. How our own individual experience of play can differ. Of feeling can differ. Even when we’re doing the same thing. Yet if we can appreciate the rawness of human emotion a little like a swing set, we may begin to see.

That sometimes there’s a time to be pushed.
That sometimes there’s a time to swing yourself.
And that sometimes there’s a time to throw caution to the wind, hang upside and maybe even give someone a random hug.

With the strength of allowing pure spontaneity comes the connection of kindness and compassion.

Think throat opening backbends and inversions.

I keep going back to level 2. I do it because it continues to bring me back to the only thing that is real. The only thing that can heal the human soul.

Spontaneous expressions of Self. Love.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.”

George Bernard Shaw

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