Let’s start with my story and then see how it applies to you. Last year was the “year of the fire” for me. Just before Christmas my house nearly burnt down. Fortunately the damage wasn’t extensive but the whole year stretched out into one long painful wrestle with authorities who felt I had been negligent for not checking what kind of light bulbs a professional Swiss electrical team had installed in my cupboards. It was incredibly tough going, particularly with the language barrier and the added distortion of German legalese. I felt deeply and wrongly judged, but today I feel blessed it happened because in the process I was able to see and let go of a shadow I may never have seen otherwise. The entire year was full of master teachers. From my perspective, it felt like I was being continuously regressed to earlier developmental stages, each event giving me another taste of the enormous cost of “poor me this isn’t fair!” I probably would not have been able to see this, and cut myself free, had it not been for researching my ancestors, prior training in regression thanks to a course I hosted, plus mentors and brutally honest friends. This helped me see that much of what was going on wasn’t about now at all. It wasn’t even about early childhood, but something far older. The evolution of Self, of family and our human lineage. How each generation who came before us took the baton only so far before passing it on to us. And whether we have the courage to pick up from where they left off and take it further until our own clock stops ticking.
Some days after arguing with the building insurance and blaming them for blaming me, I would have to spend an entire day walking in the forest to get my power back. And then the next day I’d be back to square one. Each episode giving me another opportunity to see the beast I was feeding.
Incredible also to witness how divinely orchestrated everything is that happens to each of us. That “life happens for you, not to you.” This is such a divinely delicious cosmic joke: how every person who shows up in your life is a perfect mirror teaching you something profound. Also, how important it is to suspend judgement and be fully present with whatever feeling is arising. Take this as fuel. Then learn how to shift gears and entrain a more joyful speed without your older survival brain throwing a spanner in the works. This is how we reclaim our power. Not with a whimper but a whoopee!
Step 1. Notice that you have been triggered. You may have been triggered by someone unintentionally or the person may have known full well their impact. At this point, this does not matter! Looking for someone to blame is a red herring. What matters is noticing that your energy and mood has shifted, perhaps dramatically. For example, you might find yourself getting incredibly angry, and wonder where all the rage came from. Or you might find yourself tapping into a huge lake of sadness, or guilt or shame that is out of proportion to whatever was happening in the here and now. Or you might feel nothing at all, numb even, but suddenly find yourself going to the fridge and reaching for chocolate cake or ice-cream, some other comfort food or a stiff drink …
Step 2. What feeling are you attempting to push away with however you reacted in step 1? Can you allow this feeling to surface? Perhaps a feeling of insufficiency and if so how does that make you feel? Try to say “yes” to whatever feeling arises and just sit with it and feel it fully, without thinking too much about the cause. Thinking is what we do to avoid feeling. Some of these feelings have their origin in early childhood experiences but not all. Many go way beyond that, with origins in past generations. There’s possibly no need to go digging for causes. Our digging could also become a form of feelings avoidance.
Step 3. Remind yourself of the 90 second rule. Any feeling cannot last more than 90 seconds. It is reassuring to remember that a feeling dissolves within seconds unless you keep reigniting the feeling with a thought. This then becomes a self perpetuating cycle where you give away more and more of your life-force to feed the beast and keep its story alive.
Step 4. As you process these ancient feelings you free up more and more of the energy that’s trapped in the past. This energy can then be repurposed and re-channeled into new projects.
Step 5. Use whatever events are occurring in your life as opportunities to become aware of how you respond in an emergency. (Do you freeze or flee or fight?) This then gives you a split second to press pause during stressful conditions, before your older survival brain automatically shuts down your creative centers and runs a default survival program, whatever survival strategy worked best for your ancestors several generations in past. Practice self compassion if you miss this step and see it as another opportunity to re-visit the past, and free up yet more energy still trapped there.
Step 6. You’ll find people coming into your life to demonstrate exactly whatever it is you are busy learning. They’ll either do a terrible job or a brilliant job. Both entirely for your benefit. Practice gratitude and compassion, acknowledge grace. Whatever happens light up. Always remember, life happens for you, not to you.