It takes enormous courage to allow ourselves to remember, to dive into the depths of what is deeply unfelt inside our bodies.
“We can’t create a new future while we’re living in our past.”
— Dr. Joe Dispenza on “Becoming Supernatural”
Many teachings of ancient mystics and sages of our world all share the same universal truth; that we already have the answers we need inherently within us, and we simply need to listen.1
This deeply powerful, yet profound teaching of “know thyself” (also inscribed at the entry of Apollo’s temple) lays the foundation of all self-knowledge upon those who dare to seek it.
Perhaps the healing we are all searching for isn’t found in pursuing accomplishments and things to validate our experience or to feel more “wholeness.” Perhaps it isn’t about how we move through life externally but through the venture into our own wilderness, an inner landscape of our wild unknowns.
Perhaps the goal isn’t to “conquer” anything outside of who you are but to finally accept yourself completely.
A return home.
Triggers are sensory reminders of an unfelt past.
My exploration began as I noticed trigger patterns in my behavior— intense feelings that would arise surrounding a simple thought or relating to an experience, followed by tension and discomfort in certain areas of my body. The simple awareness of this process allowed me to observe how my body was still holding onto something that was felt long ago.
As I traced back to these original feelings (the ones I could not find words to hold,) I uncovered a series of deeply traumatic events that took place from my childhood, extending through to adolescence. I realized everything I was doing in my life was trying to run away from my past, whether it was in the way I perceived the world, drawn to the relationships I felt I needed, and searching for things and experiences to numb how I was truly feeling.
“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”
— Rumi (13th Century mystic and poet)
A Return Home: Deep Shadow Work.
Understanding where our traumas come from is known as shadow work2. In Jungian psychology, the shadow self is the part of us that is “hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior.”3 It is everything that we did not have the capacity to process, so we repressed it into the unconscious, where it remained “stuck.”4
The shadow part of who we are is essentially created by our emotional wounds— it is our pain and the suffering to which we have denied and disowned. As Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D., author of “The Body Keeps The Score,” explains, “being traumatized means continuing to organize your life as if the trauma were still going on— unchanged and un mutable— as if every new encounter or event is contaminated by the past.”
Our wounds are like skeletons in our closets; the more we repress them, the more powerful they become.5 Soon, the body becomes a container for pain, a graveyard of dis-eases born from dread, pain, and horror.
Trauma is not only what happened in our past; it leaves an actual residue— a physiological change6 in our bodies that colors our experiences, distorts our perceptions, and ultimately changes how we navigate the world around us.
There is only one way out, and it is the way in.
“The cure for pain is within our pain.”— Rumi
True healing begins when we begin to face our “demons” (which comes from Greek origins, daemon, meaning “guiding spirit.”)
The bravest thing you can ever do is to begin sitting with the discomfort of what happened to you.
Through meditation and writing practices (discussed later in my blog) we can create the space to acknowledge and accept our past.
From there, we have the power to observe and move through our emotional wounds through practice.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”— Carl Jung
You are not what happened to you— you are what you choose to become from it. We cannot change what happened to us, but we do have the power to rewrite our story.
Recreate the connection back into our bodies.
Most of us live outside our bodies because at some point in our lives, we felt “unsafe” being in our own bodies.
When we shift our orientation from living in trauma to being somatically present, we recreate the connection back to ourselves, becoming the masters of our own ship.
The body is an energetic vessel, and in harmony when energy flows freely. Our breath is a gift and one of the most powerful tools to help us move energy throughout the body.
“The nose is the silent warrior: the gatekeeper of our bodies, pharmacist to our minds, and weather vane to our emotions.”— James Nestor, “Breath: The New Science of Lost Art.”
Change depends on our capacity to experience emotions directly and deeply.
This means finding a movement that is less about doing and more about feeling. Yoga is an ancient practice that takes us out of our minds and into our hearts. From here, we can learn how to move from a place of fear and resistance to creating a heart-centered space of living and breathing.
You are your own healer. Nobody knows your pain any better than you do, and therefore, in you exists the key to your own healing. You have all that you need within yourself to “know yourself.”
Though I can’t say I’m quite there yet— as I find myself shifting through my shadows, somehow, I start to see myself as the light I’ve always needed.
The Body Keeps The Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
- Knowledge From Beyond: A Dive Into Mystical Epistemology – Maysara Kamal, The Collector
- “Shadow” Analytical psychology Wikipedia
- The Shadow – Christopher Perry, Society of Analytical Psychology
- “What happens with repressed negative emotions?” Youthaliveportal.org
- “You Only Get More of What You Resist—Why?”— Leon F Seltzer PhD Psychology Today
- Trauma and Memory – TGG Knowledge Center