Growing and flourishing into fuller living

April 23

Last week I was listening to a podcast on human flourishing after trauma. Davin Carr-Chellman faculty member at Dayton University, began with a definition of a profound experience as one that makes an indelible mark on our lives; it disrupts our normal life and we proceed as different people on a new path. We can’t go back. Profound experiences can be positive or negative.

Trauma is a type of negative profound experience. By these definitions Covid is a profound experience and a trauma for individuals and for the collective (our local, national and international communities).

One of the podcast speakers, Katie Wilson was working as a licensed psychotherapist specializing in trauma before she came face to face with the personal trauma of an aggressive cancer that attacks her eyes. Now she is teaching psychology at North Idaho College and studying human flourishing after trauma. According to Wilson anyone can flourish after trauma when we allow suffering to become a teacher gaining for us perspective, wisdom and a deeper appreciation for what is most important for each of us. 

There is much about living in a pandemic that we cannot control. We can feel angry and disempowered. What we can control is how we respond to Covid; We can allow our current suffering to give us the perspective of living in greater solidarity with others in the human family. It can help us to grow into our bigger, better, more fully alive, flourishing selves.

Gratitude Prompt: How have I experienced a fuller life after suffering in the past?


According to the Buddha, Life is “dukkha”, “which is most often translated as suffering, but is sometimes translated simply as “unsatisfactoriness” or as “stress.” (Norman Fischer)

In our humanity we are trying to prevent and heal suffering … and so we should. The wisdom of the ages across faith traditions teaches that there is also value in suffering; when we are able to let it teach and transform us, we live and love more deeply and experience life more fully and joyfully.

We are all designed to be resilient but some people have more of something(s) that increases their capacity to flourish after trauma. Among other things these bonus factors include supportive family/friends, perspective thinking, experience of over-coming and healthy spiritual practices.