Loving the Real-How to Do This

by bryan maynard

I’ve been away for a while. It seems that my life is like the four seasons: I enter and re-enter the Winter season where the school of love teaches me a ‘deeper way’ of learning to love. I would rather post neat, cliche statements about love and be done with the learning than go through these Winters, but this isn’t how it goes for me. It’s more like what Rumi talked about a long time ago.

The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. HOW DO THEY LEARN IT? They fall, and falling, they’re given wings.

I struggle to embrace this season whenever it is happening to me, but in my efforts to live from the transforming power of the heart, I often must allow myself to go into Winter. This means I have to fall down off the tree and be crumbled into the soil. I have to let the fruit of relative wholeness dry up as it seems to want to do and descend into the nether-world of the unconscious where the life processes of self  are waiting to produce the same fruit the next Spring. In my Winters, the very fabric of my way of thinking and feeling are challenged and exposed for what they are: maladaptive forms of grasping for peace in life and avoiding pain.

“You Have Developmental Trauma Disorder”

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) or Complex PTSD. It is given to people who live with terror as children and adolescents. It’s worse than PTSD for adults who did not have childhood trauma. For those of us with DTD, we grow up with our brains neurologically formed into a state of chronic panic, and we suffer the symptoms of PTSD all our lives.

PTSD Brain


I am learning only now about the effects this has had on brains like mine. Because I grew up with guns pointed at me, blood spilled, bones broken, teeth smashed, and with the kind of intense fear that made me piss my pants because I was afraid I was going to die or because someone I love was being killed before my eyes, my brain learned to shut off all feelings that go with living an intimate life with others and I became an outstanding performer of good deeds without a brain-ability to be present to most of it. I don’t remember my childhood, and worst of all, I don’t remember much of my adult life. “Honey, do you remember what we did for my 40th birthday?” “Hmmm…well…gosh, I don’t remember. I am sorry.”

I have done some good, inner work these past few months with wise helpers, and I am back to share what I am learning. These are the things I will be writing about regularly:

How do you learn to love the real? (What is the real, by the way?)

How do you learn to be present to the real?

And, frustratingly, how do you, on the one hand, do change work, or healing work so you can become more present with a wholeness that is liveable and, at the same time, learn to accept and love what is real?

How do you learn to access the power of the heart and help bring it ‘up?’ to that level where it can tolerate and grow from ALL of what life has brought you, is bringing to you at this moment?

I am committed to learning how to love WHAT IS REAL. And to sharing what I am learning from others who are further down the path.

I’m back…for a season or two.