Today, I am steeped in the feelings of density from my childhood trauma. Yesterday, a high school friend contacted me on Facebook out of blue. It has been several decades since I last heard from her. She is visiting other high school friends, and contacted me to say “hi.”
For those who follow my blog, you may know about my childhood history of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse by my parents. Since then, I changed my name and have no contacts with my parents, due to continuing trauma caused from our interactions. This is why is was unusual for my friend even to find me on Facebook, as I no longer identify with my past.
This trigger from my past truly surprises me as I believed that much of the past trauma had been addressed. Apparently, I am wrong. This friend is not the first person from my past to contact me recently. Two previous boyfriends who caused much adult trauma in my life, and another high school friend contacted me within the past two years. Surprisingly, some found me on Facebook under my new name!
My need to escape my past appears not to be a very effective coping skill as I am experiencing the triggers from past trauma now. Interestingly, as for the adult trauma I experienced, I appear to feel little reactions from these two previous boyfriends. However, the contacts from my high school friends still remind me of the trauma from childhood.
This is how I dealt with these contacts. I do not reminisce about my past, because the human brain does not distinguish between actually experiencing past trauma or when discussing the past to include the trauma. It is simply experienced as trauma by the human brain. As a result, I chose not to revisit the past with others by choice. It causes reinjury to us as many trauma informed therapists will tell you. I politely tell them that I am unavailable, and do not continue to engage. In my opinion, these individuals are no longer in my life for a reason.
So the true question is how do I reduce this density within me from my childhood trauma? First, associate the negative experience with a positive thought or memory. The human brain learns through negative experiences. As a result, our brains tend to retain negative memories and experiences much longer than positive experiences and memories. For example, instead of remembering the physical abuse, try to remember positive moments with that individual. However, it does not mean we forget, repress, or suppress that the physical abuse actually occurred.
Second, find deeper meaning in the trauma we experienced. How did it make us into the person we are today? How did it make us stronger and more resilient? How did it help us find our own power? Third, learn to regulate our emotions from our trauma triggers. After a trigger, we will experience a host of emotions, such as guilt, shame, pain, hurt, etc.) Use techniques such as meditation, yoga, reiki, trauma releasing exercises, breathwork, guided relaxation, and journaling to regulate these feelings. Tell yourself that these feelings are normal for someone who experienced trauma, and there is nothing wrong with you.
Lastly, practice the true meaning of acceptance and letting go. Truly letting go is to accept what happened to us, and its current impact. When we refuse to accept what happened to us, and we wish for a different outcome, we become trapped in the cycle of trauma. Accept all that has happened to us, including its current impact, and the pain of the trauma will release. All these techniques are difficult to accomplish, but they are all possible for everyone. May you find peace and healing from your trauma. (Copyright 2021 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)
I want to discuss a sensitive topic of toxic positivity and lack of authenticity in the spiritual community. This has come up for me recently, as I have been seeking an energy practitioner to help me with my emotional issues in my spiritual practice. During my interactions with these practitioners, I observed toxic positivity, lack of appropriate personal and professional boundaries, and denial and suppression of their own emotional issues and problems. This is particularly troubling as they are teachers/advisors to others, but they are unable to have a healthy emotional life.
I first noticed this problem with an energy practitioner and clairvoyant who advertises providing miracles to her clients. However, in observing her life, she has failed to provide for herself the very miracle she advertises. First, she had a sexual affair with a client/someone to whom she was providing advice. Then her marriage fell apart, and her husband left her which she then claimed to be the victim of abandonment. She preaches love and empowerment, but does not display these virtues in her own life. I do not deny that she may provide good advice to her clients, but shouldn’t she first apply this advice to herself, and give herself this miracle first? This illustrates someone who may not be authentic to herself and others.
The other issue facing the spiritual community is toxic positivity. It is defined as the overgeneralization of a happy, optimist state that results in denial, minimalization and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience. In the spiritual community as I have observed, there is suppression and denial of any negative emotions. For example, when someone violates your personal boundaries, I have been told by a energy practitioner to send love to those who hurt us. That may be true in forgiveness after the violation, but first you tell that violator to stop violating your boundaries, and stand up for yourself. What I observed is that this practitioner ran away from her violator(s), and live in isolation from the rest of the world so she can avoid setting healthy boundaries, and stand up for herself.
There is another energy practitioner who suffers from mental illness, but outwardly displays a positive disposition to others. However, I observe his behaviors full of anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, sadness, and isolation. Because he displays this false positivity to others, he can continue to deny his mental illness to himself and others. These examples illustrates toxic positivity and the lack of authenticity to oneself and others. Because of this toxic positivity and lack of authenticity, these energy practitioners can continue to suppress and deny their negative emotions, so no change is necessary allowing further isolation, and complacency. Sadly, this toxic positivity and lack of authenticity is not in the highest good of these individuals.
As a member of the spiritual community, I believe this continued suppression of negative emotions, and denial of the authentic human emotional experience will only keep us trapped, isolated, and stuck in the very negative emotions we are attempting to deny and suppress. To be conscious and aware in our spiritual practice, we must become authentic. Authenticity include both positive and negative. May you find authenticity in your spiritual life. (Copyright 2021 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)
It said that people are brought into our lives to teach us important life lessons. A wonderfully kind, generous, and loving person came into my life to teach me unconditional love about a year ago. She is my longest and most beloved Reiki client, and the lessons she is teaching about unconditional love is helping me transcend from my smaller self to my higher self. For several months now, I have had clients leave my Reiki practice where I needed to learn how to “let go.” However, I did not learn this during their departures. Recently, my longest and most beloved client told me she is moving with her family to another state. I have worked with her through her cancer treatments and helped her management her cancer recovery. I truly love her dearly as she is such a beautiful and kind soul, and I want what is truly best for her.
During her Reiki treatment, I meditated on what this situation is intended to teach me. My higher self explained that I need to learn to “let go,” and learn unconditional love. During this meditation, all my fears surfaced including fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, and fear of failure. As I meditated on these fears, my higher self said that if you truly love her, you must let her go, and support what she thinks is best for her life. My higher self also shared with me that I must allow her to learn her own life lessons, and that I cannot protect her from the pain of growth.
After the Reiki treatment, I explained to my client that whatever her decision, I will support her decision and help her. I explained what unconditional love is to her. It is to love another based on what is best for them, and not based on my needs. I told her that I loved her unconditionally, and that it will not change our relationship. I felt sadness, but I did not feel anger, disappointment, or resentment toward her.
For several days after our meeting, I felt the stages of grief, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression/sadness, and acceptance. These phases came sometimes within the same day or over several days. If I truly learn this life lesson, I will be able to unconditionally love all my loved ones. I have even changed my behaviors with those departing from my life through celebration, gift giving, and the hope of seeing them again in the future.
Even with death, I believe we can apply the same principals as we celebrate our loved ones’ life, and hoping to see them again in the afterlife. May you find unconditional love for your loved ones. (Copyright 2021 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)
I have been exploring releasing my need for approval from others, and the subsequent feelings of guilt for setting healthy boundaries with them. Guilt is such a destructive emotion and force within us. The cycle goes something like this. I realize that I am in a relationship with someone with unhealthy boundaries. I then set the boundary with them after explaining why I cannot accommodate their request. They become angry, resentful, and hurt. I realize that I really need to let this person go, but because I live within the same community, I still need to interact with them. Then feelings of guilt set in and I find some way back into a relationship with these individuals with unhealthy boundaries, and the cycle repeats.
This cycle is called the cycle of “suffering,” when we engaged with those with unhealthy boundaries, many who are mentally and physically unhealthy. Many will bully you into breaking down your healthy boundaries. This is not unusual for many, I suspect. Getting out of the cycle of “suffering” is key in staying healthy yourself. It also means that we must be willing to give up the approval we seek from these individuals.
The key question is why do we seek approval from those who are emotionally and physically unhealthy? I surmise that it goes back to our families of origin who forced us to live with their unhealthy boundaries and strict code of conduct and rules. Becoming aware of this dynamic with others is the first step in escaping this cycle of “suffering.” Setting healthy boundaries and sticking to them to protect ourselves is a form of self love, and don’t let anyone bully or manipulate you into giving up your healthy boundaries. It is our true path to freedom! Unhealthy people keep us in sickness, both mentally and physically like crabs in a bucket. Crabs pull each other down when one crab tries to escape from the bucket in which they are trapped. (Copyright 2021 Awakening Journey with All Rights Reserved)
During a recent incident with my spouse, I needed to admit to myself that I still carry the pain and hurt from those who harmed me. I reacted in a way that was out of character for the person I have worked so hard to become. It even surprised me, but when I dug deeper, I admitted to myself that I have not let go of the hurt and pain from those who harmed me.
Forgiveness means to let go of the hurt and pain by those who harmed us, but we need not forget their deeds or trust them again. We also need not allow these individuals back into our lives to cause more harm. In order to forgive, we must let go of justifiable anger and rage against those who harmed us. I must admit that justifiable anger feels pretty good, and even powerful on some emotional level. However, justifiable anger keeps us in victimhood.
Because we are victims, we are repeatedly harmed or injured, and there lies the problem. When we are injured or harmed, we need to ask ourselves, what is my contribution to this problem? How can I change in order to avoid people who harm and injure me? What is within me that attracts these individuals who harm me? Once we change our perspective on our circumstance, we begin to gain power over our lives.
I am in this emotional and spiritual place. As Jesus Christ once said on the cross when being put to his death, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This is meant to forgive those who put him to death, but also forgiveness for all humanity. We don’t need to seek vengeance against those who harm us as the Universal Law of Karma or the Great Law of Cause and Effect will take its actions in its time. Trust in the Universal Energy.
This letting go process frees us to move our energy on a more positive spiritual path and allows more love, compassion, and kindness into the universe. I think this is what is meant by “Let go, and let God.” May you find forgiveness of those who harmed you. (Copyright 2021 Awakening Journey with all rights reserved)