Life is filled with multifarious experiences, ranging from joyful and exhilarating to distressing and painful, yet all of these events are part of what creates the unique qualities of our being, the ineffable beauty of our presence. After encountering intense situations that resulted in physical and psychological trauma, I spent a great number of my years not feeling safe enough to be present in my body and therefore, not being present to my own life. I had no idea that I was numb and shut down, or that my psyche had been fragmented. At that time, I was unaware of the rage and pain buried deep within me. Even though I thought everything was fine, what I sensed on a more intuitive level is that things didn’t feel quite right, as if something, somewhere indefinable was scratching-scratching-scratching, trying to get my attention. This sensation persisted until I faced myself, looked at the wounds that were raw and festering, and began the process of healing. Everyone’s journey is unique, there are various paths and many different approaches to healing and awakening. What I am offering here are a few of the techniques that I used to help me move through the trauma and help me heal on multiple levels.
Blame and victimhood interpret experiences as “you did this to me”; the you includes God, religious deities, or the Universe; strangely enough, the identity of you is almost irrelevant, it is our mindset of having our power or innocence stripped away that is the most damaging. Guilt, shame, and self-blame interpret experiences as “I did this to you” or “I can never forgive myself for what I did.” In either case, assigning blame is the result of the mind petitioning for reason, grappling with a situation or action that may never make sense from a limited perspective. A piece of our personality becomes enmeshed in the timeline of the experience and we find ourselves mentally playing out the scenario over and over again, unable to get past it or to move forward with our lives. This creates rips, holes, or tears in our energy field and the personality or psyche becomes fragmented. This is what the shamans refer to as soul loss (sustos).
The cyclical nature of conflict, strife, and pain (and the associated adrenaline rush during these times) can be highly addictive to both the brain and body. Many of us have also unconsciously used these energies as a form of identification with a particular persona, or as a method employed to control or manipulate others. Over time, the excessive stimulation takes its toll on the body (insomnia, high blood pressure, adrenal fatigue, etc.), on the spirit (dimming our Light, diminishing our connection to the Divine), as well as alienating us from healthy relationships.
The ruminating mind can become fixated on the desire for a specific outcome, be it justice, retribution, or simply the need to be right. Stepping outside of ourselves and our own perception of the experience allows the opportunity to examine the scenario from a more expanded view, perhaps offering some understanding of karmic influences, motives, etc. We may never know the details of the soul contracts and karmic agreements that put into motion the events and experiences that shape our lives. However, we can choose to adopt a state of mind that is oriented to unity-consciousness, for example, “we chose to come together and create this experience for a particular purpose.” What is originally perceived to be a tragic experience may end up being the greatest act of loving-kindness (Grace), or the catalyst that transforms the course of our life. To take it a step further, according to the Buddhist concept of interdependent arising (the cyclical process of consciousness creating identity by entering form, responding to contact of the senses, then attaching to certain forms, feelings, desires, images, and actions to create a sense of self) we do not exist as separate beings. There actually is no “self” or “other”. If one considers this to be truth, then aren’t we both the giver and the receiver in any interaction? Or the perpetrator, victim, and rescuer, and their more enlightened counterparts, the archetypes of the creator, challenger, and coach? Doesn’t that change our frame of reference, if we know that we are choreographing the events of our life for our own awakening, as well as playing all of the characters, and being the very stage that the play is enacted upon?
Cultivating acceptance through practices such as mindfulness, meditation, letting go, and seeing the beauty in life, help to restore the flow of energy from areas that have been numb or shut down, and heal the wounded heart. Practices that develop forgiveness, such as authentic communication, written apologies, journaling, forgiveness affirmations, allows the wisdom or lesson from the experience to emerge; revealing previously-hidden gifts or blessings that we can use to propel us forward and to help others on their journey, as well. This quote by Jack Kornfield states it eloquently, “Like the practice of compassion, forgiveness does not ignore the truth of our suffering. Forgiveness is not weak. It demands courage and integrity. Yet only forgiveness and love can bring about the peace we long for.” For a different angle on why and how to truly forgive, and seek forgiveness from others, watch this short video excerpt Understanding How Forgiveness Plays in the Role of Reincarnation.
The mind wanders ceaselessly between past and future, exploring the landscape of thoughts, ideas and illusions, but the body and senses are always in the living present. Often many sensations and emotions are interwoven, so that truly assessing our well-being can be challenging. We think that we have resolved an issue in our life, then the next thing we know, we feel triggered and reactive, being confronted with our pain all over again when we least expect it. That can be an indication that trauma is present somewhere within the physical body. Anointing the body and self-massage with intention, helps to clear stuck energies and promote healing and integration on the physical level. Here is a simple way to infuse unconditional love into the physical body, bringing healing to all of the places and spaces that have been affected by trauma or numbed by shock. Place a small amount of oil in the palm of your hand and take a moment to focus on your intention on a specific energy such as unconditional love, forgiveness, gratitude, or an affirmation such as “It is safe to be in my body”, and direct the energy of your intention into the oil.
Gently apply the oil to each of the locations listed below:
When a level of healing work has been completed on the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual levels, any rifts, holes, or other weak points in the energy field can be repaired by practicing the following meditation:
Both of these practices offers you the ability to heal to redeem yourself. Redemption is a powerful word I look at is as the Latin version of a major first step towards liberation. Redemption comes from the Latin word “redimere”, a combination of re(d)-, meaning “back,” and emere, meaning “buy”. The word “redemption” is also defined freedom from captivity, reclaiming the lost pieces of the self that have been disowned. (For a deeper teaching on healing fragmentation of the psyche, referred to in the shamanic traditions as “soul loss”, read Brook’s insightful blog, Healing Soul Loss) Once we have redeemed or reclaimed these lost pieces of the self, we are living more in alignment with our true nature and singing our unique song, the song of our soul. And when we are free to live as Soul liberation comes naturally.
The residue of experiences from our past create a unique contour or “soul topography”, where our authenticity, vulnerability, and openness emerge and are apparent to others, creating points of connection through similar or shared experiences. This gives us the grace to connect from our light, from the healed parts of us versus our pain and what a beautiful way to interact with each other!
Walk in Beauty,