Harness Fear On Your Behalf: Embracing Traumatic Anniversaries

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”  –Joseph Campbell

On the heels of my post on fear last week, which resonated with a lot of people (thank you for all the emails and comments), it became quite clear that a lot of us allow fear to bully us into places beneath our truest selves.

In honor of stepping into fear, rather than away from it, I had an idea that I thought I would share with you.

While applying to attend a TED conference, I found the application was somewhat daunting. I printed it out and stared at it for a while. Then stared some more. Of course, I was procrastinating. I whined to myself, picked it up, re-read the questions, got all squirmy and put it down again. Then, I realized that once again, I was being corralled by fear. I get quite uncomfortable when I am asked to write any kind of accolades about myself. Statments like, “List your achievements” are just the kind of thing that will have me wiping my counters.

I forced myself sit down and write out the answers. I am a bit nutty when I write. I don’t know about you, but my process is somewhat convoluted. I start out with a yellow pad (I am very picky about my paper) and my pen (also neurotic about my writing utensil) and jot ideas and sentences down. Then I transfer the scribble-scrabble to my laptop. My hand-written versus computer writing is quite different, as though two different humans are composing the words.

Back and forth I went until I had the questionnaire pretty much complete. At this, I was quite proud of myself.

This kind of mental volleying happens often for me. Take my To-Do list: the things I want to do and need to do, but don’t do because they scare me (or are a pain in the ass), so they sit there taunting me from the page. I always feel better after I simply do them, but I seem to enjoy drowning in anxiety first.

Right after I hit “Send” on the application, a rush of relief and joy came over me and I said to myself, “Now, why did you have to make that so difficult?”

As I was reveling in my accomplishment, I had a thought. Next week is the third anniversary of the life changing summer, and for the last two years this date was a rather wild ride. These energetic portals to the past can be traumatic, something I discovered the hard way on the first year. I have found that rituals are important in managing the energy and conversation is imperative to keep everything flowing, and I make a very concentrated effort to inhabit this sensitive time with intention and tenderness.

This year, I am going to do something that scares me, like sending in the TED application, every day until the date, as a way of pro-actively establishing a new way of being going forward and keeping the fire burning on this path of personal evolution and healing.

Fear be damned.

Three years ago, I had a strong sense about how I wanted things to feel three years out, in 2013. Perhaps because I would be turning 50 and that seemed like a big benchmark to me. Three years seemed a reasonable amount of time, although I had no idea how this moment would look. In the midst of the chaos, I had lofty goals about healing and transformation for my family, and if you have ever set intentions, then you know how powerful the mind can be at manifesting intense desires that come straight from the heart.

It is how this blog came into being, and how I started speaking, and why I decided to sing in front of people. Not that I set out to do these things specifically, but they are all the culmination of the fierce energy I channeled back then.

At the very least, doing things that scare me might be an intriguing way to engage the universe on my behalf.

Do you have creative ways to handle traumatic anniversaries? What has been the most helpful practice for your peace of mind?

Thank you for sharing this journey with me — I cherish your presence here.

Love. Breathe. Heal.


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

  4 comments for “Harness Fear On Your Behalf: Embracing Traumatic Anniversaries

  1. August 12, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Hi Dianna!

    I read your post an hour or so ago and I immediately wanted to respond. I couldn’t find the words and realized I had to walk away and let your questions steep in my body and mind. It sounds like we are very close in time as far as experiencing our traumas (mine was four years ago ~ I had two about 4 months apart). I have handled each of those differently, yet always very aware of the dates and how my mood was affected among other things. What a positive and inspiring way you’ve decided to handle yours. I’ve mostly just observed what I was feeling that day(s) and did my best to let it flow ~ to not prevent or stuff my feelings. I’d also look back to the day that changed everything, and the growth between then and each anniversary date. Which helps me to be thankful for where I am now. There are ceremonial things to do such as plant a tree, pick a special song that helps you release your grief/anger/etc. The thing about traumatic anniversaries is that they are a reminder of the death of the life that once was and the birth of the life that is yet to be forged. Its an odd feeling of grief/relief/fear of the unknown/moving on/letting go/and creating something new. One time, years ago, well I guess it wasn’t that long ago, but it feel like forever ago, it was an ex-boyfriend’s 30th birthday and I hadn’t seen him in a decade. It was a very unhealthy and toxic relationship and I had worked a great deal to heal those scars. For whatever reason, his pending birthday was seriously bothering me. I decided to make it a day of joy instead of something I dreaded (for whatever unbeknownst reason that was)… my parents and my brother and his wife, were wonderful at obliging me ~ and we celebrated his birthday. I made cupcakes, we sang, “Happy Birthday,” lit candles, the whole shebang. It surprisingly released me from all the negativity I still harbored towards him or the relationship. I no longer think of or even remember his birthday and if I do, it is no big deal. And as I’m writing this ~ I am going to do this for my other traumatic anniversaries next year (already passed them this year). Thanks Dianna ~ once again, I’m so glad you are sharing your story and your process with others. Blessings ~

    • Dianna Bonny
      August 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Toni: Thank you for sharing your experience here. I am sorry to hear you have suffered trauma as well but it sounds like you are bending the universe to aid in your own healing. I love what you did with your boyfriend’s birthday. Sometimes energy just needs to be acknowledged to be released. Bravo for being so creative! Love hearing from you. xo

  2. August 13, 2013 at 3:16 am


    Loved this post and found your story to be very inspirational. I loved the tenacity you show towards your life. I wish you continued success and I am grateful to have found your blog. I will be back. Thanks again.

    • Dianna Bonny
      August 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

      So happy to have you here and thank you for the good wishes. Look forward to seeing you again. xo

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