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That is a door

At times I feel really blessed and aware of all the great strides I’ve made in understanding myself and my healing journey. November was not one of these times. I wanted to blame it on the moon. With November’s new moon in Scorpio bringing all kinds of past trauma to the surface I was edgy and when I become emotionally uncomfortable, I go straight into fight or flight. I wish I was more like water. I wish I could let my emotions rage and flow through me trusting that they will naturally ebb away. But that’s not my style. I think and think some more and all that thinking creeps into my body and before I know it I am white knuckles and holding my breath.

November had me stuck in a trigger-reaction loop that I couldn’t get out of. I did everything I could to fix my situation. I really love being happy and feeling well adjusted. It’s my favorite. So, I went on hikes with my son. I met friends out for dinner. I even did some of the fun kind of Christmas shopping. But I couldn’t seem to break free. What can you do when you wholeheartedly don’t want to feel it anymore? I mean I am a person who advocates feeling the feels, but at some point it is exhausting. What do you do when you’ve already done the therapy? You’ve gone into the scar? You’ve faced the story? Gone to the healer, wrote the letter, burned the sage, got the massage, seen the medium, talked to angels? I guess, you have to feel it some more? You have to resolve to resolve the same issue that you thought was already resolved. That’s what I thought anyway. Until last night.

I laid in bed and my body was wound tight. What is wrong with me? I thought, I’m actually stuck. So even though I’ve been through this before, I decided to trace it back. The anxiety started when my son was born. (Well, it actually started when I was pregnant.) I had anxiety that I was going to lose him tragically because that had been my experience with people I loved. I lost both my parents in ways that pulled the rug out from under me (as well as having a miscarriage with my first pregnancy). If I am vigilant, on guard and absolutely obsessive over my child’s wellbeing, I will never have to experience that pain again. Of course, that’s not the way it works. But my mind didn’t know that. It wanted to save me from experiencing that pain again. I love it for that. I understand it and did healing work around it. Then when my son was about three I was blindsided. I had a brand new anxiety about my son being sexually abused. This is hard and I don’t really write about it much. This time in my life was dark and devastating. I began having what I can only describe as emotional flashbacks. It felt like I was being terrorized. So, this time I went to traditional therapy because I wasn’t handling any of it very well. I was having violent nightmares, I was angry and impatient all the time and I couldn’t believe that after all that I had already been through in my life that this what I was dealing with.

We all have a past. We grow from it,  we do the work, we count our blessings for what is still a poignant and beautiful life and we move on. Worry comes with the territory for most parents. I like to believe that Sal is my littlest teacher. He is here to bring awareness to my shadows and be the catalyst for deep healing. It’s so beautiful. But what comes next is the tricky part. If I cannot count on the world to be always be kind and I cannot keep him locked away, what can I do? What can I control?

I thought about all the obstacles and habits I have overcome to get to this point. I quit smoking a long time ago. I no longer drink in excess in order to feel and process emotional pain. Those were temporary solutions that helped me deal with anxiety. They were coping strategies that turned into habits. I thought about habits. Can it be that who I am right now as a mother is a result of a habit? Have I become addicted to worry and fear?

Luckily I found a book that I wasn’t even looking for (my most profound reads always land in my lap this way). The book is called “Becoming Supernatural” by Dr. Joe Dispenza. I can hear my father yelling at me from the other side: just get on with it Amy and live your life! Sometimes the life your living, even when wildly counting all your blessings, is hard. And if you are dealing with any sort of trauma that is now beyond your thoughts and has made a home in your body without you realizing it, it’s really hard. Finding this book (I hope you read it) really helped me understand that I don’t need to go deeper into the feels. Furthermore, the more you are habitually in the feels the worse it can get. As a long time massage therapist I know what can happen when people hold chronic tension, emotion and stress in their body. It becomes painful and it compromises the immune system.

After being in talk therapy and doing extensive work my therapist finally said, now you have to let go. I thought, what?! Wait a minute I’ve spent all this time to heal and now I have to do what the new age philosophy told me to do in the first place!? Just let go?! But she was right and maybe if I stayed in therapy longer I would have learned how.

The brain thinks the thought over and over again. I am afraid. I am worried. I am afraid. I am worried. Loving people is anxiety. Over and over and over again. After a while, the body matches these thoughts with a feelings because, well, that’s what the body does, it feels things. Eventually, the body almost craves the thought in order to feel the feels that are familiar (safe) even if they are altogether unpleasant. I don’t think I ever considered that we could be addicted to feelings. Most times were are told to “let it go” or that we are attached to “our story” without ever really knowing the mechanism that’s driving it. Well, that what this book does, it explains in details, with research and science, how to move beyond our habitual thoughts to a more natural consciousness.

I deeply honor my story. My past informs every bit of the person I am today. But does it mean that it has to control me? Absolutely not. I’ve been an advocate of our emotional life because I believe it is what makes us messy, beautiful humans. I’ve gone the route of trying to spiritually bypass things in my life and it doesn’t work. I always end up with a far greater reckoning and a achey heart.

“The doors to the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes

When I read the last part of this quote, I took a deep breath. It felt like permission. I think the open door I want to walk through right now is of a deep, full and sane life. I want to open up and make room for new, spontaneous things to happen in my life. It’s really hard to do that when you are constantly fighting old battles.

This morning I stretched myself out on my bed and thought despite it all I am going to choose to feel absolute bliss. Bliss for this breath, bliss for this body, this life. That’s it. I don’t have to habitually think of anything right now. Try doing this. Try feeling bliss and ease before coffee. No list making, projection into the future (or past) or worry about the day. Just try to not feel anything but waking up. It is hard! You will begin to realize how challenging it is for our mind not to habitually try to “help” us, warn us, prepare us.

My prayer for this week is to be aware of all the habitual things. Luckily there is a full moon coming this week! December 3rd is the Cold Moon and it will appear bigger and brighter than any moon this year. It’s going to shine the light and I am going to face myself with fierce tenderness and try to sink into a sweet surrender.

And of course, I am excited to finish this amazing book. It really is a fascinating read that has given me a lot of hope about working with my mind-body and getting unstuck.

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