I originally was asked to write this for Lee Harris and it was shared on his site as part of his 'Expert Portal'
I began my life like everyone else, then abuse became my normal. As a child, I thought that ‘normal’ was like everyone else. I later found that wasn’t always true. I also began my early childhood with gifts and abilities my family thought were strange, demonic. I could see things they couldn’t, hear things they couldn’t, and I had the ability to ‘pray’ for someone and watch healing take place. I knew that wasn’t normal, but only because they told me it was evil. I did my best to beat it down as my dad did his best to beat every other part of me.
Darkness has an amazing way of showing the light. For instance, look out into a dark space...is there a light on somewhere? You can see it like a beacon in the dark. But if it were light, and a light was on, would it appear as bright? I feel there is too much importance given to being ‘light’, that we forget the profound truth: without the dark, we wouldn’t necessarily see the difference.
If it weren’t for my childhood, and other acts of abuse that have been perpetrated against me, I would not so clearly recognize the light. I would not have been able to understand there is a difference between light and dark, a difference between pain and bliss. Without one, we would not know the other as well. We wouldn’t see the difference as clearly. Can you imagine thinking what some call light to be the same monotonous delusion of suffering? Thankfully, we have the dark to balance the light so that we can better understand the beauty of both.
To deny one, is to deny the other.
We often hear about being ‘light’, and shining our light. We feel the impression that being ‘dark’, or having any darkness within us is wrong. I believe that to feel anything within us is ‘wrong’...is well, wrong. We are comprised of both light and dark, just as nature has both. One is not wrong and the other right. Both are essential to our experience in this world, how we show up, how we see, and understand. To deny one in favor of the other is to often create a critical nature within ourselves that becomes a critical and judgmental way of being with others, and the self. In this way, we are not loving the self; all of the bits that make us who we are.
In no way am I saying to go on an angry rampage, but I am also not saying to hide your anger, or joy. Our emotions are part of our expression, part of how we show up in the world. When we close off one way of being, repression shows up and things begin to stagnate. When emotions stagnate, then no fresh life can get through. We become, essentially, a dam blocking off light filled emotions and experiences that can help heal us. By hiding from the “dark” feelings within us, we block the balance and simply fester in what now becomes lifeless, darkness and hypocrisy. In our ‘efforts’ to become more ‘light’, we have abused our inner beings with neglect and criticism, and become brooding and dark with all of the words of ‘light’, but all of the judgments and sorrows of ‘dark’.
When we give love to ourselves, and truly accept ALL of our being, balancing the light and the dark with healthy ways...we shift in ways that we only before dreamed were possible. In this balanced state, we are able to shine more because we are now loving the whole of our being and that translates to the outside world. THAT becomes the beacon of light others need and that we deluded ourselves into thinking we were doing as we hid our dark.
The same is true of masculine and feminine energies. We understand the difference between the two. But do we understand how we maintain both within our beings? And that without those energies being in balance...we are out of balance?
It doesn’t matter if one is gay, straight, or aesexual. There is still a balance to the energies that this world is highly lacking. There is much within the context of social conditioning that brings about an imbalance. But the key component is: balance in ALL things is a necessity. And that balance includes releasing those emotions, judgments, or social conditioning elements that are no longer beneficial for our highest good, or healing.
We tell people the best way to declutter a home is to see what you haven’t used in a year and to donate, recycle, or trash it. I feel the same can be said for our lives. The emotions, scars, fears, people, places, or things that have not been beneficial this year, or that have held you down in someway...release!
To me, release has to do with our own forgiveness of self. I am not tied to the idea of forgiving another person, as so many teach. I am more concerned with forgiving me. I found that in my years of healing and gaining tools to help myself and others to heal further, that it wasn’t the ones that hurt me that I needed to forgive. It was myself. I needed to lovingly forgive myself for whatever lack I felt due to the emotions from the abuse, forgive myself for the actions I took due to those same emotions and conditioning. I had to forgive me. No one had ever taught me that. I only heard “forgive others, so you won’t be caged”, or “forgive or you won’t be forgiven”. Fear is not a great motivator for one that walks in truth. Once I was able to alleviate the fear of not being ‘good’ in their eyes, I was able to see the forgiveness I needed to give ME to be free. Ah! And then the magic really began.
I was living at Omega Institute in NY as seasonal staff, whilst working online towards my master’s degree. It was the perfect surrounding to really begin my ascent into healing and shifting. I gained a lot of tools there from Shamanic teachers and learned how to implement those into my own daily practice. No longer was I waiting for God, or some other external being, to heal me, to fix it, to take over. No, I realised God was inside and all of the things I was waiting for someone else with supernatural powers to do...I could do. We all can.
One of the biggest gifts I found as far as tools, included being really present, or conscious. Not the ‘present’ as we hear in the lingo, but so utterly conscious that each thought and word is weighed against ‘why?’.
What I mean is that so often the words, thoughts, and behaviors we have are due to the past pain. We have not only shifted due to social, or behavioral conditioning, but we have also changed based on our memories of pain and how situations, or others, responded in our pain. I call this Emotional Memory Response.
With Emotional Memory Response (EMR), we tend to react based on how we responded in the past according to the stimuli. For example, I was in Ireland visiting my best friend and his partner. We had been at my favorite stone circle and he mentioned to me that he felt I looked to him as a certain archetype in my life, and I stated it wasn’t true; I felt he was projecting. We talked about it a bit more, we laughed and went on our way. I remember feeling the fire of anger inside me when I stood up for my truth. Then, I started feeling that he and his girlfriend were irritated with me for saying what I knew to be true for me. It stayed with me for the hour it took to get home. I could not shake the feeling that they were mad at me. When we got to his home, I went into the back garden and just sat with the earth waiting for a shift, or understanding to come. It was then that I saw it! I had felt that hostility, but not from them. It was my own! I realized that I felt that way due to other times that I had the need to ‘stand up for myself’ and what happened. I never stood up for me until I was so angry, feeling victimized, or abused, that I had to speak or pop! In that beautiful moment, I understood that I was feeling an ‘emotional memory response’ to the situation. It had nothing at all to do with that present moment, but everything to do with the past.
No one was angry with me, I was not angry with anyone, but in that conditioning...I was to believe that standing up for myself would make them angry. Or that I had to be angry to stand up for me. Because of unrecognized, and unreleased past emotional conditioning I was responding to a situation in a way that wasn’t warranted, that had nothing to do with it. And so many of us do exactly that. We often have yet to realize that those aren’t real in this present moment. Those emotions are simply corrupted feelings from the past.
There are many ways to change these as we declutter our emotional memory. One is being fully present and conscious, looking around for the underlying energy that could be causing the feeling. Another is creating new neural pathways with our thoughts. I spend a lot of time in nature meditating to create such new pathways to recalibrate my mind to the best operating system for me. I call this ‘recalibrating negativity’.
It is a simple process of seeing the negative come up, recognizing it, seeing what gifts it held, releasing, and then recalibrating it to positive. (Yes, negativity, abuse, kindness, etc. all hold gifts for us. it is up to us to learn from those moments and how we grow, how we shift...that is our gift.) It seems to be a fairly continuous process as we progress and bring up new layers of healing, thus new layers of hurt that need healing. Recalibrating is a positive determination of change. It can be as simple as hearing “I’m fat” and responding with “I’m beautiful”, or “my body works well”. Changing the chatter from negative to positive will literally change your life.
Another helpful change for me was when I stopped trying to be what others thought was best, and dug down deep into what I thought was best for me. I spent so many years being and doing ‘my best’ to be and do what I was told, or taught that I actually thought there was
something wrong with me. I wasn’t like others, I knew no one like me, and oh it hurt! So, I kept working at changing me, hiding my gifts and abilities, lessening my energy impact, and basically: caging myself.
I put my own self in a prison of my own making by trying to be someone else. I was miserable! As I worked to unlock myself and dissolve my chains, I remembered a vision I had years ago involving a slave walking down an old red clay Georgia dirt road. He was shackled about the feet and wrists, there were about 20 men in the same condition, walking with an overseer holding a rifle. The slave looked down at his hands and his feet and then pulled his hands and legs apart from the shackles. He began running so fast that no one could see him for the cloud of red dust behind him. He realized that he had the power inside all along! I had to realize that as well.
He became my vision for Shackle Free, my methodology for empowering others to heal. But first, he helped me to free and heal myself!
I worked to find my own passions, my own truth, and thoughts on spirituality, life, love, work, etc. I unlocked my cage and dissolved the chains, but at first I was very unbalanced. I was angry at the teachings of doctrine that I accepted as truth that told me I was wrong. I was angry at those that tried to convince me I wasn’t good enough. And mostly, I was defiant and determined to be ME. As you have already read...balance is essential, and blaming others wasn’t going to help me.
I had to simply learn which emotions were harming me, continue to clear the cobwebs, anger, and pain. Then, I had to understand that I needed to love me as I am. All of me. I had to love me to really know, to really heal. And so I found that I didn’t need another’s validation to feel ‘good’. I do not need another person’s consent to be me. I am me. I love me. The only consent I need is from myself...TO BE ME.
Then with that consent and healing, I began to find my balance. I began to find my place in the world. And in finding that place, I found so much more than I could have imagined! I found love for self, healing, light, balance, community, family, home, and the love of my life! I found it all! It took work, there were tears, screaming, anger, release, healing, soothing, love...but I healed. I settled into my own skin and began to flourish! It was there all along, I had it inside. I just had to find the tools to eliminate my prison, and excavate my own history to find my inner palace. And I did!
You can do all of this as well! Each of these are incredible tools to change your life, to heal your life and your being. I teach these and others to my clients so that they can better empower themselves to heal and be/do all that they want in this life. The miracle is real, so are the dreams we have longed for. It simply takes a determination to shift, balance, and reclaim your truth.