Reclaiming, Embracing, Embodying Innocence

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IMG_1084Someone recently shared with me that the were able to see an innocence within me. My initial thought to this was one of surprise. Really, how could this be? This made me realize that I had not fully embodied this belief of innocence.
As I open deeper into forgiving myself, I understand that I have still been blaming myself and believing that I was responsible for the innocence (I thought) I had “lost”. The innocence of a child that I told myself I would never get back. The disgust, filth, and guilt I felt for myself because of what I experienced. The horror, shame, and pain I held in believing that I was dirty, damaged, and no longer an innocent child. The burden that I then came to assume, that it was my responsibility to hold the pain of others to make them feel better. In doing so, sacrificing myself because I was not pure enough or worthy of joy and love.
Believing that I was no longer innocent made me feel robbed of the joy of experiencing life and feeling the sensations of pleasure, as I was no longer deserving of it. I felt heavy, burdened, and the weight of it all felt like a suffocating weight pushing in on my chest. It began to get harder to feel compassion as I could no longer hold any more of others pain. There was no space for myself.
There were many things that I enjoyed in my life and yet I observed that in doing these things I experienced little joy. I feel that part of this for me was my inability to recognize my innocence, to feel that child like wonder and excitement. Understanding that it is not my responsibility, embracing my true god-given innocence, forgiving myself, and understanding that my innocence has always and will always be there, has begun to open me back up into the sensations of joy. My perspective on life is shifting again.
Innocence to me feels like a breath of fresh air. As I sit back into this sensation an opening is occurring and a deeper understanding and feeling of love for myself is settling in. I had disconnected myself from innocence with judgement and criticism, separating myself from the pure divine love that I am. Embracing this truth once again, has sent bubbles of joy cascading out from my soul.

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Forgiving Myself has freed another chain holding me down!

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Forgiveness, so what does this really mean? I knew the importance of forgiving myself for deeper healing to occur, and yet I danced around completely feeling into it. I knew that I still blamed myself for what had happened to me, and I found it easier to forgive others for hurting me, than it was for me to forgive myself. I just wasn’t quite sure on how to really forgive myself, and so I just continued to sit with this question until clarity came. I now realize that I held a deep buried ancient belief that I needed to sacrifice myself to keep the peace, and so I kept silent and allowed the abuse to continue, not just to me but others as well.
Forgiving myself was a process that I did little by little, day by day. I began to treat myself better, I ate better, changed the critical damaging thoughts that I continuously had running in my mind. I chose people, things, and places that were nourishing and nurturing to me. I made one choice after another that supported me in loving myself.
Then one day a deep body felt wave of sensation, of recognition, that I had punished myself long enough and that I could now forgive myself washed through me. I was not to blame, I was not responsible for the actions of others. I did everything that I could at the time with the resources that I had. An understanding then emerged that I was Alive, and that I was now free to live! IT WAS OK TO LIVE NOW! The voice of my soul pleaded out for me to hear and the recognition resonated in every cell of my body when I became quiet enough, and ready to listen. This message came to me through an interpretation of a dream that I had. How powerful our dreams can be as part of our healing and guidance!
The other part of the struggle to forgive myself, was a belief that in order to forgive, you needed to forget and just move on. I could never forget, so how could I forgive? I have a deeper sense of what forgiveness means now. A definition I recently heard from Wayne Dyer helped put things into more perspective…. Non-Judgement, Non Criticism, Non Condemnation = Forgiveness.
Further writings that I have come across also helped settle this belief I held. It says…”Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Forgiveness empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you.”
A quote from Fred Luskin states “At the most basic level, forgiveness is on a continuum with grief. When you’re hurt, or violated, the natural response is to grief. Forgiveness is the resolution of grief.”
Forgiveness is the resolution of grief! To sit with this knowing and feel the weight that has lifted off me as I no longer sit in the puddle of this trauma, is indescribable! Every time I think that I have found such a blissful state of stillness, I sink deeper into another pocket of it.
Forgiving myself has freed another chain holding me down!

Transformation from a traumatic state to a peaceful state

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I wanted to share this week, a page from the book Waking the Tiger – Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine. This sums up for me this new place I have come to explore. A place that I was once skeptical would EVER be possible. The shift in my being from a traumatic state to a peaceful state.

Page 193… Transformation

“For a traumatized person, the journey toward a vital, spontaneous life means more than alleviating symptoms – it means transformation. When we successfully renegotiate trauma, a fundamental shift occurs in our beings. Transformation is the process of changing something in relation to its polar opposite. In the transformation between a traumatic state and a peaceful state, there are fundamental changes in our nervous systems, feeling, and perceptions that are experienced through the felt sense. The nervous system swings between immobility and fluidity, emotions fluctuate between fear and courage, and perceptions shift between narrow-minded-ness and receptivity.

Through transformation, the nervous system regains its capacity for self-regulation. Our emotions begin to lift us up rather than bring us down. They propel us into the exhilarating ability to soar and fly, giving us a more complete view of our place in nature. Our perceptions broaden to encompass a receptivity and acceptance of what is, without judgment. We are able to learn from our life experiences. Without trying to forgive, we understand that there is no blame. We often obtain a surer sense of self while becoming more resilient and spontaneous. This new self-assuredness allows us to relax, enjoy, and live life more fully. We become more in tune with the passionate and ecstatic dimensions of life.

This is a profound metamorphosis – a change that affects the most basic levels of our beings. We will no longer view our world through fearful eyes. Though our planet can be a dangerous place, we will no longer suffer from the constant fear that creates hypervigilance – a feeling that danger always lurks and the worst often happens. We begin to face life with a developing sense of courage and trust. The world becomes a place where bad things may happen but they can be overcome. Trust, rather than anxiety, forms the field in which all experience occurs. Transformation ripples out into every corner of our lives, much like the debilitating effects of trauma once did. Tim Cahill, the adventurer and writer, puts it this way, “I put my life on the line to save my soul.” In trauma we have already put our lives on the line, but the reward of salvation is yet to be claimed.”

Reading this brought to my awareness where I am. Integrating this felt sense of trust and peaceful into my body. I am grateful, and hold the support and encouragement for those struggling on their journey to also feel this bliss.

One step at a time, one day at a time.

What is it about trusting myself that has me feeling disorientated?

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What is it about trusting myself that has me feeling disorientated this week? I have peeled back many layers of distrust as I have opened into feeling safe enough to inhabit my body again. I have trusted the process to get here even when it felt like hell, and I would have preferred in the moment to hide. I have trusted my intuition as it has guided me to the people, places, and experiences that I have needed to heal. I continue to trust it as I take each new step in creating my life. I trust my seen and unseen supports that are always with me. I trust my journey knowing that each choice I make is neither right nor wrong but just a choice that leads me to a new experience, and understanding that if I don’t like it, I have the ability to change it. I have learned to trust that I am safe and I can always remove or defend myself if I am in a situation where I am not. I trust that I have my back and that I have the support and resources that I need at all times.

And Yet…..

I witness that there is a newness as I have learned to trust my feelings, my gut sense, and heart felt knowing. I have learned to differentiate, trust, and allow the sensations of pleasure. To my nervous system, there was no difference between pleasure and pain, all sensations registered the same. They invoked fear, panic and there was a time that I would even dissociate. Also at a young age, I discovered that I could  help people feel better when I held their pain and suffering. I formed the belief that this was my responsibility. As I result, I walked through the world with no boundaries taking in the hurt around me as my own. I could not trust what I was feeling as I did not know what my emotions were or who I was. It got to the point where I felt like I was going to loose my mind and I did not leave the house much. Letting go of this belief and recognizing that I am only responsible for my own healing has allowed so much more space within me, the ability to see and feel who I truly am, and trust it.

I took me a long time before I could say the words, “I trust myself”. It took more time before I believed these words and longer yet, to be able to feel this in my body. As I have begun to allow myself pleasurable experiences, I have accessed a new part of myself which has not fully integrated yet. I am now able to experience sensations and emotions with a new perspective. My brain registers that these are safe pleasant feelings and sensations, and my body now trusts that this is also true.  As I began to re-frame my beliefs around trusting myself and what I felt, confusion set in. At first I thought that I still must not able to trust what I felt, but I was shown many examples over this last year where this was untrue. I was trusting what I sensed with my body (but perhaps maybe only at the skin barrier).  I was growing frustrated trying to understand what it was about trusting myself that I was not understanding.

Ah ha…

I trusted what I felt, but I did not trust it wholeheartedly with my body. I recognized that I needed to embody the sensations, emotions, and trust of what I experienced. Trusting with not just with my head, a gut sense, my knowing, but to feel this with my whole body, incorporating all parts. Giving permission to my body to trust, choosing to continue to let the sensations in, recognizing these as positive experiences. This feels disorientating as it integrates, but I am now able to feel this new trust in myself as it soaks through my skin to settle into my bones. Its new, its uncomfortable, and I rest back opening deeper into it.

I TRUST MYSELF…. these words today have a much deeper meaning as I peel back another layer, widening my perceptual lens and allowing this integration. I shake and I soothe as the process unfolds.

Trust

Healing does not always come in the manner that I expect

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Healing does not always come in the manner that I expect, but it always comes in the form that I need. Once again, I was shown this as an experience was presented to me. My initial response had me caught up in the sensations of trauma and my view to what was happening narrowed. My world became distorted and I felt the pain of past events rise up and take over my reactions. This had me sink into a layer of great disappointment. I was disappointed in myself and with the experience of pleasure that I was wanting to have, as it did not present as I was expecting it to. I was holding attachment to an outcome and how I thought it would look like, and feel like. I was still trying to control my healing, instead of allowing it to occur. It was my perception of the event that I first interrupted as being so unpleasant. I was fixated on the old patterns and behaviors I exhibited and what I had “done wrong”.

As I stood back and became open again to a new perspective, I became aware of the new choices I had made, and what I had done differently. I was able to understand a deep seated belief that I had about myself, as it was brought up for healing through this experience. This belief that I was harboring was hindering me from having the pleasant experiences I was yearning for. It order for me to move deeper into the healing that I have been doing, this experience showed me what was holding it back. It taught me many valuable lessons once I understood it for what it was, just an experience. Also, in letting go of taking the situation personally the emotions that arose began to fall away and the belief of being traumatized all over again, dropped away.

How we look at a circumstance, an event, even people, and choose to feel about it is truly in our perception. I am amazed at the difference I felt once I changed my perspective. I was open to looking at it differently and everything shifted. I even briefly started to complain about why I had to go through such hard lessons ect., but then once again understanding, that I was making them hard through how I was perceiving them. I saw two completely different views to the same event and I chose to re frame my experience and so the healing continues, and I continue to grow.

Taking things Personally

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I have been observing my behavior and reactions to situations and people around me, and that of others recently. I listen to my clients, friends, family, and strangers as they speak. I witnessed a common theme which led me to the question, why do we take things so personally and interpret others issues as being about us? Why do we allow the actions and words of others effect how we perceive ourselves and dictate our mood?

It wasn’t so long ago, that I also lived in this prison jumping instantly into defense in reaction to others emotions or words. I took things to heart. If I came in contact with someone having a bad day, angry and spewing it towards me, I gave it right back not even realizing what had happened. Ahhhh what a viscous cycle it was. Then I would spiral down into that deep dark hole, as the energy was sucked from me. What did I do to this person, I don’t deserve to be treated this way, what’s wrong with me, ect. ect. ect. Sound familiar? Then I would allow it to “ruin” my day and pass the nastiness along. I chose (without knowing it at the time) my reaction.

The inner work that I have done has changed drastically my perception, understanding, and how I view things now. The first step is knowing how and why you are reacting, so then you can make new choices! I’m learning to not let my mood be dependent on someone else. (Am I still affected? Yes… I’m still human, I still forget  sometimes to ask that question, Is this mine?) Is the anger, hurt, or frustration coming at me mine? If its not resonating from a place inside me, I allow the wave of emotion to wash over me, and I no longer cling onto it.

A strangers bad mood has nothing to do with me, what I have done, or who I am. I choose how I respond to it. If it stirs up great emotion within me I stop and ask myself, what is it that I am feeling from this interaction, what is it triggering in me? Why am I reacting in this manner? Then it is my responsibility (if we choose to, its always our choice) to own and heal that part of myself. What gets brought up for you? Maybe you feel bad because you somehow believe it is your fault? Do you feel helpless, because it reminded you of a time when you couldn’t help someone you loved that was hurting? Are you uncomfortable with anger because of your childhood? Does it remind you of an old unresolved trauma you have buried? What does your reaction say to you?

Sometimes with those we love, we feel a great need to fix, change, or react back to them when they are having an “off” day, and are in a less pleasant state. This used to make me feel worse, and it wasn’t usually helpful for me at all. It is not our responsibility to change someone else’s mood or fix the state they are in. When this situation occurs and it isn’t something that you have done (nothing you need to make right or apologize for ) don’t take it personally, it is not about you. If you react, sit with the reaction you have, acknowledge it, feel where it settles in your body? What emotion do you have? What is it telling you? Is there some belief that you are holding about yourself, your world?

Now, I am going to tell you to take it personally. lol But in a different context. If you react to it, it is yours to own and  work with, it is personal but let go of the blame to others for making you feel this way, or for doing this or that to you. Look within yourself and see what has been overturned in you and brought up for healing. This experience has been shown to you in reflection of what is stirring already within you.

Open to the possibility of a different interpretation of what is going on. Sometimes our belief of the experience may actually have nothing at all to do with what’s going on. Everyone is dealing with something. Have compassion for others, and most importantly, have compassion for YOURSELF!!

This concept of not taking things so personally has brought me such a sense of freedom. So how do you help others when you bump up against them in this ‘negative’ state? (emotions are just energy, our perceptions to them makes them good or bad in our mind) What I have experienced to be so profoundly helpful for me and what I now can do for others, is to hold a healing space for them. In short form, you become completely present within yourself, grounded, and open to all the energy around and available for all of us. Feel your own support, unconditional love, and that ‘still’ place within you. This is turn allows them  the space, feeling of safety, and support within themselves that they need to shake off whats built up in them. When you hold this space for someone they recognize this place also within themselves (at a very subtle level) and it gives them the energy they need to make a shift.

This is a much more empowering place to live from.

INTEGRATING THE NEWNESS OF CHANGE

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Lately I have found myself feeling a bit speechless. The words have not been coming to me and my writing has stopped. Over the last few years the words, feelings, and tears have spilled out onto the pages. They  brought me much healing, understanding, encouragement, and strength. I have opened, grown and found the support within myself from them to make the changes I needed in my life. These words have soaked through my skin and settled into my bones. They have reminded me of who I am, motivating and encouraging me to keep my eyes up and moving towards that which nourishes me.

Recently, I have needed to go through a period of integrating and soothing as I journey through this experience of change and transformation. I have felt a great sense of loss and grief as I let go of the familiarity, comfort, and security of the things, people, and identity of who I believed myself to be. I also hold excitement of the freedom as I learn and witness that I am enough, and that what I have been searching for has been within me all along. I am my support, unconditional love, comfort and strength. Acceptance of who I am brings me into stillness. My thoughts, beliefs, perceptions create my life. I CREATE MY LIFE!! So now I sit with the questions of what do I want, where do I want to go and how can I support others on their journey?

I also experience the feeling of guilt over the excitement I feel to be moving on with my life.  There is a part of me that believed that this was not an acceptable response and that happiness is not allowed.That critical, self-sabotaging ego that was battering me!! I have also become aware of that small child part that believed she was responsible for holding others pain. I acknowledge all of these emotions, holding them all together and allowing each their expression. I allow their energy to rise up within me and wash back out like a gentle wave. I feel the fluidity and strive to sway like seaweed while connecting, rooting into the earth, and opening to the energy and support of the heavens above.

I breathe, I move, I write, and I make conscious choices to things which will nourish and support me. I remind myself to rest back, to feel into the ease, to move through my experiences from that place of stillness within me where all my answers, support, and knowing lie. That place where the essence of who I am radiates out from. From here, experiences I encounter and the emotions that arise do not become overwhelming. I can see more clearly, my perceptions do not get skewed, and I learn to not take things personally. This has been very freeing and healing for me. I remind myself constantly and consistently to make these choices. Day by day, moment to moment, one by one, I change these old patterns and beliefs.

I ground and fill, keeping myself in an energy rich state and so therefore I am stable, my strength unwavering.