Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This appeared in the Daily Soul Retreat today.  I thought I'd share it here on my blog as well.  

Empty Your Backpack
and Claim Your Power
by Barbara Wilder

Recent studies have revealed that school children develop long term back pain from carrying heavy backpacks.  Like children with back packs all people carry a heavy load of past traumas, hurts, disappointments, losses, and grief.  And what I have been noticing in my practice is that most of my clients not only have stored all these past miseries in their consciousnesses, and deep in their cells and molecules, they have also created an oversized psychic backpack in which to haul them around.
Embracing Your Power Woman by Barbara Wilder
A lot of my clients, like so many people in our society, have been working on their psyches and their emotional growth for some time.  Many of them have done various kinds of therapy and have come to me to help them tofinally heal.  My particular form of transformational therapy uses light energy to reveal and then shift the shadow material and burn it up, leaving behind only the essence or the nuggets of truth that each of life’s challenges hold.  But our highly psychoanalyzed society has put such a heavy degree of importance on the work with the inner-child that we have forgotten that the inner-child needs to grow up eventually and become integrated into the healthy adult.  Instead, I find many people so engrossed with their inner-child and parenting their inner-child that they have become over-indulgent, giving away their adult personal power to the wounded child.
In my book, Embracing Your Power WomanI teach women to reconnect with their teenage selves, in order to unlock the door to their second half of life purpose.  To do this they must delve into the traumas, hurts, disappointments, and shattered dreams from their teenage years, embrace them, and love them into healing, so that they can move through the dark passage of menopause into the light of their true purpose.  But again, I often find women wanting to hold onto the pain instead of lifting up into the light of higher frequency, by pushing through, or diving down through the muck to come out the other side in the light.  How much easier it is to coddle the wounded child’s tantrums, than to love her while simultaneously expecting her to heal through that love and come to stand on her/his own.
We humans actually prefer to stay in the old familiar patterns than push through into joy.  Perhaps this is because joy is such strange new territory, and whatever is unfamiliar is frightening.  But what if we could experience the joy?  Would we still want to go back to the old patterns of worry, and pain, and anxiety?  For many people the answer is, yes.  For some people joy seems fleeting, ephemeral.  Worry, anxiety, unhappiness, and drama seem more real in this world of illusion.
My grown son, Sean, and I have talked often about the necessity to dive deep into the darkness and continue until we come out on the other side to discover the light.  One day he called me from Cancun where he was vacationing.  He had gone snorkeling in a lagoon that afternoon with a couple of young women he’d met.  As they dove down into the lagoon Sean saw what looked like a corridor that he felt might lead somewhere interesting.  When he and his friends surfaced he said he was going to dive down there and check out where that corridor led and asked if they would like to join him.  They rejected his offer and he dove by himself.  The deeper he went the darker it got, and he was close to running out of breath.  Then just as he was about to return to the surface, he heard a voice in his heart reminding him that when diving deep you must continue through the darkness.  So he kept going.  Suddenly, he saw light above him and swam toward it.  As he reached the surface, he saw that he had come up inside an underground cave with beams of sunlight shining through breaks in the ceiling of the cave.  The light danced on the water and glinted off the walls.  The water was the purest aqua color he’d ever seen.  He felt like he had discovered paradise.  He was so glad he’d listened to his inner voice that reminded him that to find joy one must continue to dive down when in the darkest place.
But to dive deep and find the light on the other side you must trust your own path.  You must know how to hear the voice of your spirit and differentiate between it and the voices of your wounded child or its extension, your fear driven ego.  The less pain you have in your backpack and the more essence you have in the pouch in your heart, the easier it is to hear the voice of your spirit.
One of my clients, MaryLee, a lovely woman in her early forties, was quite agitated recently after making the decision to attend her high school reunion.  She has suffered all of her life from low self-esteem as the middle child who could never live up to her older sister’s popularity and success.  MaryLee is very bright, attractive, talented, and an immensely loving and caring person, but this lack of self-esteem had kept her living in her sister’s shadow and taking her abuse for far too long.  When she came to see me, she had almost no sense of self.   So, the fact that she had decided to attend her high school reunion after just a few months of therapy was very brave and represented a giant step in her work.  She came for a session the day before she left, and, though she was nervous, she realized after we talked for a bit that part of her nervousness was the old expectation that she should be nervous.  By the time she left, she was in high spirits looking forward to both the Friday night cocktail party and the Saturday night main event.   
Then on Saturday morning I received an email.  The subject line read, “Not what I expected.”  She had been to the first event and was terribly disheartened, reporting that most people didn’t even remember who she was, and that those who did either called her by her sister’s name or asked her, not about herself, but about her sister.  I could see that three months of therapy were about to be washed away if she didn’t find a way to step into her power and not let her shy, frightened, and rejected teenage self sabotage her newly awakening adult strength.
I wrote back reminding her of how far she’d come since high school.  No one would forget you now, I told her, and then added that since few people remembered her she had the opportunity to make a brand new impression with no old concepts to overcome.  I said her job that night was to be the beautiful, strong, and talented woman who she was in the process of becoming, in spite of the sadness that her teenage self was experiencing.
“You are no longer she.  You are in the process of blooming.  Look to this event as a time to heal the little girl who wasn't acknowledged, and embrace the woman you are and are becoming.”   Then I gave her an exercise.
I teach my clients a form of light energy meditation, which helps release the shadow material.  So I suggested that she first go to her bedroom, close the door and begin the meditation.  In the mediation she was to ask her teenage self to come to her.  When she appeared she was to take her into her arms and hug her and ask her how she could help her.  “Then pour the light through yourself and your teenager and be aware that she is being healed.”  I guided her to then spend the rest of the day being with her teenage self.  She was to talk to her throughout the day and especially while she got dressed and did her hair and make-up.  That night she was to bring her teenage self along to the event.  I told her that her teenage self was the most important person she would be with all evening.  And that she was to keep reminding her teenage self that she, the adult MaryLee, was there for the soul purpose of helping her heal.
The next day I was thrilled to get an email from her.  She had done the exercise and the evening had been a huge success.  She had met new people, men and women, who were excited to meet her.  She had reconnected with old friends who were very happy to see her and learn about what she was up to.  And she had had a deeply healing experience with a woman with whom she had had a bad falling out when they were girls.
What MaryLee did on this occasion was to stay in her power as a grown woman, and treat her teenage self as the wounded girl that she was, and offer to help her heal.  Once the wounded child was acknowledged she no longer was in charge of the evening.  Since the adult MaryLee was in charge, the teenager felt safe in the presence of her grown self, and was able to heal.  And to top it off, the grown up MaryLee had a great time.  She stood in her strength and power and no longer had to carry around that wounded teenager in her backpack.  Now, the adult MaryLee has a healthy new part of her personality that is no longer mired in the past.
When we allow our wounded child to run our lives we can’t possibly stand in our strength and power as adults.  But it takes more than acknowledging them.  We have to meditate with them.  We have to talk to them. We have to listen to them.  We have to take charge.  And we have to be willing to let go of the addiction we have to carrying around their pain and indulging their woundology.  (Thank you, Caroline Myss for coining this useful word.)
The light energy meditation that I work with and teach my clients to work with directs the light through the body to release the consciousness of the remembered pain and suffering from deep within the body down to and beyond the cellular level.  This is what makes it so effective.
We do need to release the pain, and assimilate the essence, the gems of wisdom that the pain taught us.  Then we must invite our inner-children to grow up and join us in the present.  And we can’t do it alone.  We must have a connection to spirit.  Because it is the connection to spirit that makes the joy possible.   It is the connection to spirit that allows the healing to happen.  It is the connection to spirit that shows us that this world is not the painful mess it seems.
When we carry the backpack filled with our old pain we make the pain our god.  We allow the pain to drive our lives.  We have been taught that our past is who we are.  It is not the past; it is the lessons learned from our past gathered together in our present that makes us who we are.  When we empty our backpacks of the pain and carry only the essence in the magical pouch in our hearts we will be much stronger, healthier and more powerful.  And we will have the strength to dive deep and come out on the other side where the light dances on the aqua blue waters and we experience true joy.
© Copyright Barbara Wilder. All Rights Reserved.