“When you start to be present for yourself and feel what there is to feel to completion, you begin to embody higher frequencies, and you become lighter, freer, and more at peace.”
For too long, you have been frenetically racing around to mend a self that you believed was broken. You’ve read countless self-help books, talked through your issues numerous times, and completed a slew of workshops. But most of this was focused on changing your thoughts or building up an impressive repertoire of nice spiritual concepts. The process we are discussing is an experience of energy changes within you. It is less about knowledge and more about living in connection with your authentic self in each moment.
At first, it can be hard to just be with yourself, as you are awash in internal discomfort. You are so trained to get somewhere, to have or create a point for everything. You are a professional human “doing,” programmed for high performance, low maintenance, and fast delivery.
I have worked with many people who sought me out after years and years of talk therapy without finding the healing they sought. I’ve also worked with people who have spent years in various forms of emotional release therapy, such as Primal Therapy, without finding the healing they seek. I myself had years of both forms of therapy without finding the inner peace and joy I was looking for – until Inner Bonding.
Peter A. Levine, in his excellent book, “In An Unspoken Voice,” states that
“…feelings accessed through body awareness, rather than emotional release, bring us the kind of lasting change that we so desire.” p. 345
In my experience, it is not an either/or situation – either we access our feelings by being present in our body, or cry or pound in emotional release, or talk about it.
Most everything that we have to say about life and our relationships with others -- and how we talk about the part of us that wants to smooth things over, keep them from being disturbed -- is a form of saying something nice about what is killing us.
Here’s the bottom line: We just don't want to go through the pain of doing what's right when it's right to do it. That’s the whole shebang.
It isn't you I'm afraid of, it's my own pain. It isn't the condition I don't want to get in and mess with. I don't want to get in mess with the parts of me that are going to beat me over the head with threats and all other forms of conditioned reactions.
Everything about your work is bringing you to a point where you understand the need to bear yourself and to do so despite being unable to do it. Then you are upon a cross. Then you go through what is required of you to have your own life.
“Your core wounding is separation from self-love, which results in deep feelings of unworthiness. The healing of that wounding is a journey back to your Essential Self..“
The details are inconsequential. in fact, you may not even remember what happened. What is important is that there was some pivotal juncture in your formative years when you first realized that your Essential Self did not fit into the conditioning of the world into which you were born. It was a moment of emotional torment and upheaval, imprinted on your being like a vibrational energetic tattoo. You were not safe.
Simultaneously with that event, a deep sense of unworthiness entered your vibrational sphere and became cemented in place by shame and guilt.
One afternoon we went for a walk, searching for a beach, to take a swim in the refreshing, sparkling Mediterranean sea.
We eventually found one and hiked down to a sweet little cove with a sandy beach jammed packed with men, women and children, in all shape and sizes.
As we waded into the water, I noticed a small canoe-like boat that was painted red and on the side were the words, in big block letters, Salvatore.
My first thought was,
“I wonder who Salvatore is and why does he need his name so boldly on the boat?”
And, even though I don’t speak Italian, I soon figured out that it Salvatore wasn’t some man’s name but rather it means “Savior,” and that this was a boat used by lifeguards.
As all of us navigate through these scary and difficult times of the COVID-19 virus, it’s becoming clear that there aren’t enough lifeguards right now, and it’s really up to us to figure out how to rescue ourselves and our loved ones.
Take a deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Just breathe. Those three phrases are ones we’ve all heard before throughout our lives, and with good reason. Breathing is not just the way take in oxygen to keep living, it is also one of the most powerful tools we have for dealing with negative energy. However, there’s a big difference between the negative energy we experience throughout our day and deep-seated emotional or psychological trauma.
How does a person get traumatized?
Trauma can occur from any number of things that we experience throughout our lives. According to teachtrauma.com, the most common types of trauma are the following:
- Child Maltreatment/Neglect
- Domestic Violence
- War Related Trauma
- Medical Trauma
- Traumatic Loss
- Natural Disasters
- Sexual Assault.
There are some basic symptoms of trauma that you may be able to notice. People who have experienced trauma may appear shaken or disoriented, and may not respond to conversation in a normal way. They may also appear withdrawn or not fully present in the moment, even when speaking.
It may sound strange and improbable, but this short article explains how it’s possible to actually change your past, and let go of any painful experience that wants to haunt you. The secret lies in awakening a little-known skill that every person is given at birth, but that few ever realize they have: the ability to start life over any time we choose.
It’s true: today is the first day of our life; but this truth is only of use to us if we know how to turn its power into something practical that can free us from the painful regrets and disappointments carried over from our past.
It may seem at first like starting life over every moment is a daunting and impossible task, but there is a simple method of bringing this power within our ready grasp. Here’s how we get started winning our new life: we must learn to allow every movement in our life – every unwanted memory, every emotion, every thought, and every relationship we have with whatever moves through us – to have its own life.
“Anthropologists and archeologists have confirmed what Mayan legends and prophecies have long told us.” The Mayan shaman stands near the Great Jaguar Pyramid in Tikal, Guatemala, and speaks to our group.
“The Maya had lived on these lands for nearly three millennia,” the shaman continues. “They excelled in agriculture, pottery-making, hieroglyph writing, and mathematics, and devised calendars that are considered more accurate than our modern-day ones. As you can see. . .” He spreads his arms to the pyramids and temples surrounding us, “they had amazing architects, artists, and engineers. And also, extremely hierarchical male societies, with kings who controlled about 50 huge city-states. The farmers and artisans who lived outside the cities were expected to provide large portions of their produce and products to the royal and priest classes inside the cities, while the latter, through their rituals and prayers, would bring rain and abundant crops. This type of colonialism reigned for hundreds of years. However, in the end, the proliferation of the cities created crises that now seem harbingers of what we today are experiencing globally. The draining of the swamps and the deforestation required to build the great plazas, pyramids, and temples caused a radical loss in rainfall. The climate change that resulted could no longer support the agriculture required to feed the large populations. Around 900 AD that once-great civilization ended. The people abandoned their homes and migrated to the highlands. Since the royalty and priests could no longer survive in their cities, they too fled. The cities eventually were taken over by nature. They lay hidden as tree-covered hills for centuries.”
Many years ago a family member offered one of my daughters a shiny new helium balloon. She was very excited. We were outside on an overcast and windy day. I attempted to help her hold on to it, thinking it might fly away. She was an independent three year old that wanted to do it alone. The balloon was loosely attached by a clip to her dress. Eventually the clip failed and the balloon slipped from her grasp. We all watched the balloon float farther and farther away. My little girl fell apart into a inconsolable storm of pain, loss and anger. I knew it wasn’t just the loss of the balloon. We had just moved to Alaska from the East coast with out her father. The balloon was another thing removed from her small world. I will never forget her pain. I will never forget feeling so lost and helpless as a parent. It seemed like I could not ease her heartbreak.
Most adults have experienced the same overwhelming emotions and sense of loss my child did at three; just for very different things. Often we experience our losses with extraordinary anger, pain and grief; because it is tied to something else. Regardless of our age, we can loose control in the surface wave of emotions, that pull us back into thick muddied waters holding past events.
The journey of healing our ego wounded self is a profound and deeply sacred journey.
“Does the wounded self ever get healed?”
“How does the wounded self get healed?”
“What happens to the wounded self as we heal?”
My ego wounded self, like everyone’s, came into being when I didn’t receive the love I needed and I decided that it was my fault – that I wasn’t good enough. I hid away my core self and went about trying to figure out how to be to get love, avoid pain, and feel safe. I developed many of false beliefs about myself and others, and learned to be very judgmental toward myself to have control over getting myself to do things “right”, so that others would like me and not get angry at me or reject me.
Oscar was stuck in his life; the following issue he presented in our session was one example of how he was stuck:
“My parents are coming to visit tomorrow and, as has been my pattern, my house is a dirty mess. I usually spend the day before they arrive frantically cleaning, which I will do today, but this time I’d like to do it differently and not beat myself up and judge myself. How to get the tasks done with peace, joy, and compassion? It’s a challenge because I feel pressured and get angry with myself for letting things go.”
“Oscar, there must be a good reason that you keep your house a mess and then feel frantic when you need to clean it up. How old were you when you first started resisting things like cleaning up your room? And how old were you when you started to beat yourself up for letting things go?”
“I think I started resisting things when I was very young. I resisted getting toilet trained, and I resisted getting good grades. My mother was so controlling and invasive that I think I learned these ways of not being controlled by her.”
“So the part of you resisting is two or three?’
“Yes, that sounds right. And now that I think of it, my mom was very judgmental and I think I took over the job of judging myself when I started junior high school.”
“So you have an inner system with a young adolescent trying to control you with anger and judgment, like your mother did, and then a 2-3 year old not wanting to be controlled and resisting. As long as these parts of you are in charge, you are not going to be able to clean up with peace and joy. Is it just about cleaning up that you procrastinate, or do you do it with other issues?”
“I do it most of the time with everything.”
So, how do you put the past behind you?
Here are four tips I’d like to share with you today to help you heal your old wounds and move on to a better and brighter future.
1. Practice Forgiveness
Whether it’s forgiving yourself for a mistake that you made or forgiving someone who you believe harmed you, forgiveness is one of the best possible things you can do to heal yourself from the past.
You may have heard the saying, “Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” It’s true. When you continue to be angry and bitter about something that has happened in the past, the only person you end up hurting is yourself.
“I want. I want… I want…. It’s one of the most dangerous phrases you will ever speak.”~Jan
How can five letters hold such power?
I WANT has the immense and immediate ability to rip you away from the grace and power of the present moment while disconnecting you from the joy, passion, and peace that is your birthright.
In short, these two tiny words equal suffering. Let me show you how.
Two Tiny Words, An Immense Amount of Suffering
I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be successful. I wanted financial independence. I wanted to have kids. Lots of them. And I wanted to be loved (for a while I thought by George Clooney!?!) Oh, and I also wanted to have long, thin, beautiful legs. Seriously, Gisele Bundchen legs!
I wanted it all, with all of passion and conviction I could muster.
But my wants remained loftily stubborn. Out of reach. In fact, for the majority of my life, the absence of checkmarks on my ‘want list’ (and my bitchier days, my ‘deserve list’) made me firmly believe that life was against me.
I was a classic victim, sure that I had an oversized bullseye on my back. My life, I felt, was downright unfair, so I took every opportunity to remind the universe of this fact.
All because my wants weren’t showing up.
Ram Dass was one of the first teachers I resonated with when I stepped onto the spiritual path. He is a revered master of bhakti, or devotional yoga. I came across his classic Be Here Now at Russell Library in Middletown, Connecticut, while browsing the religion/spirituality section. My account was in good standing (an unusual state for me at Russell Library, since I was always overdue on something or other), so I took Be Here Now home. Since that day, I’ve considered Ram Dass an inadvertent punk-rock spiritual guide.
For those unfamiliar with Be Here Now, it’s a divine cookbook, divided into three parts. The first covers ex-Harvard professor Richard Alpert’s 1967 voyage to India, where, through a series of incredible events, he met Bhagavan Das, a fellow seeker who introduced him to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba leading Alpert to become Ram Dass. The third section is a series of practices from meditation to yoga (and much more) to help readers as they begin their spiritual adventures.
When I was just beginning to get interested in spirituality and meditation, I stumbled upon Buddhist teacher Tara Brach at my local library. I checked out her book Radical Acceptance during a time when the only thing I was willing to radically accept was deep self-loathing and an overall feeling of discontent with the world. Thanks to Tara’s insights, I began to awaken from what she calls the “trance of unworthiness.” She explained it to me like this:
“We might know we judge ourselves, but we don’t often get how much that squeeze of ‘something’s wrong with me’ is a part of everything, so that in every interaction on some level, we’re not free to be as spontaneous or playful or alive, because we’re afraid we’re not going to be the person who’s accepted by another. Even when it’s not the deep ‘I’m damaged goods,’ there’s still a sense of not enough.”
Every evening for many years, I continue with this little ritual that I’d like to share. Although it’s quite simple, I find it’s really powerful to have an intended thought powered by light. The simple act of lighting a candle every night for me reminds me that all thought has power, and keeping a candle lit safely for a while helps me to send and keep positive thoughts on a desired intention.
Candles have been used since the dawn of time for meditations, blessings, spiritual and religious ceremonies, healings, prayers, celebrations, abundance, psychic development, to feel comforted and protected, to hold the memory of a loved one, and yes … even romance! The uses are endless.
Many people choose candles by scent, some choose by color, while others are simply fine with a plain candle, or even a tea light in a votive purchased from a dollar store. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. No matter what you choose, it’s the positive use of the candle that makes it special.
Every day people use candles in a positive way without even knowing it. Ask yourself: “How many times have you blown out a candle on a birthday cake?” What you’re actually doing is that when you close your eyes to make a wish (holding that special thought) and then blowing out the candle, is that you’re actually sending off the wish while bringing your desires to light.
Man is this a tough one for some of us. It sure was for me.
Blame was my go to. It was my only recourse many times. “It’s not my fault or don’t blame me” were common responses when I was in “trouble” both as a child and even as an adult. I found a senses of freedom in blaming someone else… for my bad day or bad mood, my ruined event or experience… It was “easier” to blame someone for the seemingly bad things in my life…
Market studies show that the personal development/self-improvement industry is growing at a rapid pace. More and more people are spending more and more money to help them lose weight, improve relationships, manage stress, attain success, increase productivity, achieve balance, and find fulfillment.
Yet despite the increase of people investing in self-help tools, techniques, technologies, teachers, and coaches, daily I hear from people who are stuck. They feel helpless, resigned, and frustrated after months or years of:
- being on diet and exercise routines yet not seeing a shift in their weight or inches
- trying to adhere to a budget yet never getting out of debt
- practicing yoga and meditation daily yet still being consumed/paralyzed by stress and anxiety
- looking for “the one” yet finding no one special
- wanting to start, ramp up, or change careers yet continuing to sit at the same desk or lie on the same couch
In neuroscience, as brain function becomes more and more illuminated, the assumption grows stronger that our brains control our behavior. This idea isn't true except in a limited sense that needs to be carefully defined. There are things that your brain controls, such as the fight-or-flight response. But for the vast majority of brain functions, you have a choice how to respond. "My brain made me do it" doesn't hold water even when it comes to things we want to blame it for. Take mental disorders, for example. If you are depressed, there may be a family history involved, which suggests a genetic component, and the drugs to treat depression act on the brain, without a doubt. But consider the following:
Have you ever severed a relationship, but even though the person was no longer in your life, you still continued the relationship in your head? Consider that the very act of keeping it alive even if only in your mind means you are still in it. Perhaps that happens when you feel a relationship is unrequited, and you’re not letting go, or you’re nursing a resentment because you won’t, or lack the self-awareness to see your part in the dynamic.
This is not about self-blame at all. It’s about self-accountability and freedom.