New Fears vs. Old Fears
Anyone who claims that they have never been deeply hurt or had any fears is lying
to you and themselves. No one and mean no one gets through life without
experiencing both. It is part of the human condition, and it’s not going away anytime
We are hard-wired to feel fear which was originally essential for our very existence.
Back in the caveman days, you could turn a corner and be faced with a man-eating
dinosaur. Your brain would sum up the situation and trigger one of two reactions.
You either fought the dinosaur or tried to outrun it. It was a straightforward, concise
system that worked for millions of years. The problem is it no longer works in
modern-day society. We have become the top predator in the food chain and no
longer worry about being eaten by a much larger aggressive beast.
Now the “predator” in early childhood is our parents or perhaps another adult. And
under extreme conditions of emotional abuse, abandonment, or trauma, we resort
back to the same fight or flight self-protective state. Once in a therapist’s office as an
adult, the therapist asked me to go back to the age of seven years old. When I did, as
I was sitting there in her office; my feet started going up and down as if I were trying
to run. I told her that I was hiding in a closet and was scared to death of my Father.
He was emotionally and verbally abusive, and I was hiding from him in a closet. She
asked me why my feet were moving, and I said I want to run and get away. She
reminded me that I was safe now, but I still couldn’t stop moving my legs. This is a
perfect example of a fight or flight response.
The Fragility of Being Human
As we get older and experience life, we all make wrong choices, feel disappointment
in others, ourselves, and experience emotional pain, including heartbreak. Those of
us who didn’t get the proper mirroring from our parents and the permission to
express our feelings had no choice but to suppress them. The question is if we
couldn’t talk about them and be afraid to feel them because we got the message that
they were not important or valid, then where did they go?
The answer is they got pushed down and stored in our bodies. If we start doing this
in early childhood, the odds are we will continue to do so throughout our adult life.
With time, these stored emotions become trapped in certain parts of our bodies and
physically affect us.
For example, I have lower back pain that started in my thirties. I had undergone
every test known to modern medicine with no concrete diagnosis. By my forties, I
developed arthritis in the same area. Since childhood, I have stored all my pain from
abandonment issues in my lower back. This is where the root chakra is located, the
energy center for our feelings of stability and security. This makes complete sense
since I had neither in my childhood.
Many health issues can be tied to stored emotions. I was diagnosed with a thyroid
condition in my early thirties. This is not surprising because I was not allowed to
express myself vocally as a child. I was raised to be seen and not heard, and if I were
upset or crying, My Father would say stop crying and go to my room. The thyroid gland is located
near the throat chakra, and hence the connection between my suppressed voice
developed into hypothyroidism.
Getting to the Root of the Pain
The practice of meditation is becoming mainstream today, and thankfully more and
more people are turning inward for stillness and answers. The practice of grounding
during meditation is to connect with the earth and be more present in our own
bodies. For many of us, that have experienced early childhood trauma, this is
difficult. Our souls tend to be just outside of our bodies because we feel safer there.
It’s like stepping outside to avoid getting hurt or to prevent emotions that we don’t
want to feel.
There are several techniques for grounding. The one I use is to imagine a cord
coming from my root chakra or lower back. While sitting or lying down, imagine
that cord going down into the ground. At first, this may be very scary, and you might
not be able to hold the cord in the ground but for a few seconds. That is fine. This is
a process that, like most, requires practice. Trust me, with practice. You will be able
to hold it there longer and longer. And eventually, you will be able to have it go
deeper and deeper.
You Have to Feel to Heal
Once you get comfortable grounding while meditating, move your intention into
your body. You can do a complete body scan starting at the top of your head or your
toes and slowly move your focus and see what comes up. You might feel a tightness
in a specific area, a feeling in your gut, or your breathing might become labored. All
of these symptoms are normal and could indicate stored emotions.
After doing this several times, try to stay in that area and ride out the feeling. It will
get stronger initially but stay with it. It will subside. You do not need to ask or know
what caused this pain or fear. All the matter is that you acknowledge it. This might
take several times of concentrating on the same area with waves of pain coming up,
but they will subside. The pain cannot hurt you, and feel free to say that again and
again in your head. By acknowledging the emotions, you are releasing them. You
should feel lighter and calmer. You are healing yourself and releasing what should
have been a long time ago.
There are many different ways to heal. Storing these emotions that we no longer
deserve or want can prevent us from fully loving and accepting ourselves. We are all
made up of light and dark. By acknowledging the dark part of ourselves, we release
it allowing more light to come in—what a beautiful gift to give ourselves.