Face Your Memories, Free Your Self

Christmas is a difficult time for some people.  Maybe they are alone and don’t want to be.  Maybe the holidays evoke memories of happier times.  Maybe they work hard and long and have never experienced a slowed-down time alone.  Or just maybe, because they’re alone and quiet, they’re being visited by ghosts of memories.

When something happens that we don’t like, we resist or “stuff it.”  As a former massage therapist, I can tell you that when you “stuff it,” it stays in your body.  In the early ’90s, I took a workshop from Llana Rubenfeld, who had developed a mind-body technique to help her clients release that stored energy.  Remember: anything we resist or refuse to experience gets trapped in the body.

As a yogi who read Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, I can report that resisting, refusing to let the body experience what happens in that present moment, stores it in your heart chakra, which closes.  The problem with that is that it shuts love out, too.  We get jaded, quit trusting, and have little or no joy in our lives.

My life was like that.  Always wanting to please, I stuffed this and that and smiled through the process, killing myself softly.

But then my life exploded last April with a ginormous Cosmic Thump!  I was given an impossible challenge that robbed me of sleep for the last seven months.  It terrified me.  The mountainous threat cut straight to the quick of my existence.

I sweated bullets all day and didn’t sleep at all.  Finally, like a cat being followed, I turned around and said, “Enough!  I will face my fear.”

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.~Frank Herbert, Dune

Chats with experts yielded as many different opinions.  Each one got my laser-beam attention while my mind was spinning off probabilities and expenses, stashing more unfinished business (energy) in my body, denying it for my later use.  The worry depleted my energy.  Drinking coffee or taking another B vitamin didn’t help.  And using Melatonin or CBD oil didn’t bring sleep.

I concluded that “There’s more to this challenge than meets the eye.  I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences.  Some would say I created this.  Seriously?  Why?

And the psychotherapist with NLP training stepped forward and chose to reframe it.  “This is an opportunity to deal with the ghosts, clear old, stuffed memories until I’m free!”

I don’t mean consciously “digging through the dirt” as we do with a psychologist or psychiatrist or even by ourselves. “ Clearing” in this context means allowing the experience to “go through you.”  And so, on the sleepless nights, instead of whining about being awake, I decided to meditate and invite those ghost memories to stay.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” ~Psalms 46:10, Bible

The story in the Old Testament is that God is defending his city and his people and wants them to stop what they’re doing, to trust Him.  The Hebrew definition is to stop striving, to let go, to surrender.  Gurudev uses those words to mean meditate.  And I like all of that.  To me,  “Be still” means quit resisting; stop what you’re doing; surrender.  “And know that I am God” means I am not alone but am part of the all-powerful, omnipresent, omniscient All That Is.

Lying in the cold, dark room, I closed my eyes, nestled under the covers, and started my pranayama (breathing techniques).  Thoughts came up.  They expanded to memories.  (Usually, in meditation, if I have thoughts, I let them float on by because giving them my attention only generates more thoughts.  This time I did not.  I wanted to feel it, so I could let it go.)

I allowed each memory to unfold.  I allowed my body to experience the episode it missed when the incident first happened, when I had shut down (closed my heart) because I didn’t want to feel it.  This time, I did, and it passed through me.

Using the “wide-awake at dark-thirty” hours to clear my blocked energy has been going on for about a week.  I am happy to say that I can sleep up to five hours straight now.  I can also report more physical energy and joy in my life.  I chipped ice from the street by the curb a few days ago, and have shoveled snow as it comes.  My cats noticed my change of mood and responded with kisses.

And that horrific Cosmic Thump?  Mission accomplished.  Like the lizard in the desert, it restored my faith.

And the impossible challenge?  I’ll have another expert opinion in January, and I’ll make the best decision I can, based on the information and guidance I’ve been given—even if it means “giving away” the house.  Despite working on being in the present moment and experiencing it fully, we sometimes have to deal with things, even the scariest thing we could imagine.  Losing my home certainly is.

It took courage to face that possibility.  And it will take lots of clearing to be free.  But I am finally back to knowing that I am not alone, no matter what, because I am part of All That Is as long as I quit resisting, as long as I stop shutting down when things don’t go the way I prefer.

From an upbeat, positive perspective, once again, I am The Fool on the edge of a cliff with his little dog, just as I was thirty years ago, the last time I crashed.

Once again, I am facing an unknown adventure.  Who knows?  It might be the best one yet!

NOTE:  This blog needs an update.  See you in 2020!

Till next time,

Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi


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