Pause, What, Where, is an exercise we did in a recent Open Floor™ workshop I attended.
After the workshop, I tried a variation of it:
What? – Tension.
Where? – In my abdomen left of my belly button.
Is there an emotion? – Sadness.
How does it want to move? – I started crying.
I discovered a deep well of sadness in my belly. It holds all of my childhood hurts, fears and tears. My body is letting me know, it’s time to release the sadness and heal. I started about a month ago.
As the tears flow, images and emotions surface too. It’s like a PowerPoint presentation, slide after slide, tears + image + emotion. I am blessed with the opportunity to choose what action if any I need to be take. If there’s nothing to be done, I acknowledge the image, honor the emotion, offer a prayer of appreciation and gratitude and allow the memory to turn into light and fade away. It is an intense emotional ride. I never know when another memory is going to surface. Confronting my sadness is difficult at best and often times heart-wrenching. There are memories and beliefs I’ve been holding onto I had no idea existed and yet from behind the curtain of my sub-conscious this well of sadness, these memories and beliefs, have influenced the entirety of my life. As my life is flashed before my eyes, I am thankful, grateful and appreciative that my soul is being given an opportunity to learn, grow and heal. It’s never too late to recreate and truly co-create my life.
I was so glad when October arrived.
September really kicked my ass. This “9” month in this “9” year really lived up to the archetype; endings and consciousness.
I can intuitively sense when something is looming on the horizon or I may begin to notice signs or clues. I can’t always pinpoint exactly how my life is going to be affected but I know something is about to surface. There have been uneventful Septembers. There have been Septembers when I have uncovered life changing information that brought some type of conclusion or ending. The irony is I often wasn’t aware I was engaged in something I needed to stop doing and bring to an end. This September was one for my record books.
As September approached, I wasn’t thinking about endings or what spiritual lesson(s) I might complete. I was thinking about my nephew’s upcoming visit. I was asking myself, “Why do I, once again, feel like I’m stuck and can’t move forward?” I was thinking about the physical pain I began experiencing after an August mini movement workshop and how it had never been this bad or lasted this long. I planned on attending another workshop in early September. I didn’t think I would be able to do a 4-day 6 hour /day movement workshop, dancing at least 4 of those 6 hours. I got still and quiet and went within. I intuitively knew the pain was connected to some personal issue that would surface during the upcoming workshop. This time the “issue” was making itself known through intense physical pain versus the usual series of emotions and/or thoughts. I regressed through my memories scanning my life looking for any event(s) that may have caused an initial injury. I remembered two occasions and both involved a family member. I knew I had to do the workshop, pain or no pain.
I wasn’t disappointed. Day 1, the excruciating pain seemed to melt away. I moved around the floor with the greatest of ease. Pain free, I intuitively knew the physical pain was symbolic of emotional pain. Whether or not I knew it, I was in deep emotional pain and it was time to bring it to conscious awareness to deal with and let go. Day 2 started with a thought popping into my mind as I caught a glimpse of another person’s dance; “I don’t want to be big.” I had no idea where that came from. A few moments later, the thought completed itself; “I don’t want to be big. I want to be small.” It sounded a bit like Peter Pan yet I could feel that it wasn’t about “growing up” but about “being big.” Later the same day, while talking with another dancer, I commented that I was uncomfortable “exposing” myself and my life on social media. By the following morning, I knew I had to follow these thoughts and feelings and uncover how and why they came to my mind. Somehow, the physical pain, thoughts and feelings were connected.
In the days and weeks since the workshop, I searched my past looking for explanations. I started with the obvious. I grew up in an apartment building with, at one point, 4 generations of my mother’s family. I was the youngest in my immediate family and the “family.” I needed to dig deeper. I gave my subconscious permission to release the memories I needed to recall. It was important to understand why I thought “I don’t want to be big, I want to be small” and why I felt uncomfortable “exposing” myself on social media.
Like breadcrumbs, I followed my emotions and thoughts. I repeated “I don’t want to be big. I want to be small.” over and over going deeper and deeper into my subconscious memories. I kept going back through time and space until I encountered a memory that elicited an emotional response equal to what I felt when I repeated “I don’t want to be big. I want to be small.” As the distance memories bubbled to the surface, the painful emotional reaction(s) and corresponding thoughts revealed themselves. I acknowledged them without judgment. They were there and very real. I created them and gave them life. It was time to listen to what they had to say.
I cried as I remembered each event, how I felt, and the thought(s) I used to make sense of it. I cried as I came face-to-face with the “belief” I created about myself and my “relationship” to others in order to cope. Let me just say, I did a whole lot of crying. As the self-investigation progressed, I encountered beliefs that have influenced my perception and actions since childhood. I carried them forward, hiding in my subconscious and affecting my life. I was able to answer questions I’ve been asking myself for years. Upon closer examination, the beliefs were feared based and limiting in nature.
Once I felt all relevant memories had been retrieved, I categorized the beliefs. They boiled down to the following fears: Rejection (not being accepted, invited, liked, loved and welcomed,) Ridicule (being teased, criticized and judged,) Not measuring up (not good enough, smart enough, capable, or desirable,) Being seen (being victimized) and Not being seen (being ignored or overlooked). I was shocked. To realize and accept I’ve been looking through the eyes and re-experiencing the slights (real or perceived) of a “hurt little Michele” was overwhelming.
Transformation is a process. It will take time for me to come to terms with all of this. Now “my” truth is revealed, I can begin the work to “heal” the wounds. I’ve begun to feel calmer, freer, hopeful, lighter, powerful and strong. I agree with the statement “knowledge is power.” The more I know and understand about myself the more power I have to control how I choose to respond to life versus reacting to life and having no control.
Yes, September signaled an ending and with endings come beginnings. I have a new perspective and outlook. Soon, this part of my past will no longer get in the way of my present and my future. It’s time to get to work.