Looking Back to Move Forward
By Julie Matheson
Every once in a while I will hear about some healing modality that promises easy emotional transformation without pain, or without having to revisit the trauma from the past. When someone offers a “no pain” with “lots of gain” approach I say, hum…I’m not so sure about that. The grist that creates revelations is in the struggle. The true gifts of awakening lay waiting in the trapped energy of the past.
In fact, real transformation happens when we get brave, and venture to revisit feelings associated with some defining, painful life moment and discover the decisions we made about ourselves at that time. Those decisions get locked in, and have incredible staying power, whether they are true or not. They lock in because they happened during a moment of shock, trauma and fear.
When it comes to encoding a negative belief about yourself, the causing shock or trauma could be ANYTHING. It could be a real life-threatening situation, or it could be something scary seen on TV, or a betrayal by a friend or lover. In any case of shock or trauma, your body gears up for protection, whether the threat is a bear chasing you through the woods, or reading something a bully posted about you on Facebook.
When something shocking happens we fight, flee or freeze. When the body goes into shock and fear, it doesn’t matter if the threat is real or imagined. Your nervous system reacts the same way. It makes your heart beat faster, it pumps blood to your extremities so you can fight or run, and it suppresses the immune system to reserve energy for dealing with the danger.
Next we automatically and immediately try to make sense of what happened because we smartly want to learn, and prevent it from happening again. The thing is, generally speaking, positive beliefs about ourselves do not usually get encoded in our psyche during fight or flight moments, and that’s because fear is present. If you have fear, then you likely have a situation ripe for locking in a negative belief about yourself.
Further complicating things is that because the traumatic moment was based in actual experience, it is very convincing to your mind. Since these negative, and often inaccurate, beliefs about ourselves get locked in during shocking, traumatic and fearful moments, they skew our future perceptions. So, whenever a similar event triggers that initial traumatic memory, we are not able to see things for what they are. We are NOW seeing things through the lens of a past, negative experience making it very difficult to see and sense reality.
So then what happens? Unfortunately these negative beliefs, which were convincingly based in experience, inadvertently cause us to place ourselves in situations where something similar happens again. Shocking and traumatic events will repeat, thanks to the self-fulfilling beliefs we locked in, until we stop to identify what decision we actually made, and clear out that emotional energy. Until we make new decisions that override the ones made during shocking moments, the traumas could repeat again and again. And, although the events may look entirely different, the emotions involved will be poignantly similar.
Finally, here’s the good part. Trapped in negative pain energy is the gift of true understanding, and a better, stronger, wiser YOU than if traumatic events had never happened in the first place.
There are safe and effective ways to release this trapped energy. It involves sitting down with paper and pen, lighting a candle, calling in Higher Support, breathing deeply, recalling the moment when the traumatic event happened, and asking yourself what you decided in that moment about yourself. And assessing… is it true?
And then staying with the feeling, ask, “When have I felt this way before?” You might explore the age you were when the trauma happened…as age determines the logic used when the belief got established; and record how many times the belief has been reinforced through repeat experiences.
By now you can see that many repeated traumatic events could mean a person is walking around in a fog of misperception that needs compassion, healing and release.
When you take the time to ask yourself questions about when certain beliefs took hold, and humbly listen for the answers, you will be miraculously unlocking negative energy and setting yourself free. When this happens the true gift of self-compassion comes rushing in and you will be able to tangibly know and feel the strength, wisdom and awakenings those moments were meant to facilitate.
Please do not feel you have to tackle this task alone. Call me or some other trusted professional. We are here and happy to help.
Julie Matheson is an intuitive holistic counselor, helping clients gently shift their perception one pattern at a time through her guided writing process and energy clearing work. www.lotusflowerliving.com 617-233-4251