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Nothing New...The Buried Past Will Keep Hurting Until It's Released

I've been struck with how the relationship I had with my parents affects me in profound ways I wasn't always aware of until something triggers an avalanche of memories and emotions. For example, the death of an uncle unleashed a wave of emotions around my relationship with my deceased dad that took me completely by surprise. Later, explaining this to my cousin and his husband at a dinner, I was caught off guard again by the tears that threatened to stream down my face as my voice cracked and I moved on quickly to a different, safer topic.

And in subsequent days I found random memories popping up. The awkward feeling standing with my beaming dad in a photo taken next to a 1st place science fair project that he basically did for me in the 2nd grade. The time I asked something that upset him so much he said we wouldn’t take our family trip we were supposed to leave on that morning. The absolute dread I felt as the annual High School Father/Daughter Dance approached. Dad was a very traditional Catholic and had major issues around sexuality and did not show any affection towards hugs, kisses on the cheeks, or occasional "I love you's." I recalled sobbing to Ms. Anderson in the high school guidance office about how I didn't think my dad really loved me because he was so hesitant to dance with me. I saw pictures of him and my mom with him looking stiff and uncomfortable. All these memories brought up feelings of shame, comparison, frustration, hurt, guilt…I could go on, but you get the idea. Lots of negative emotions around my dad surfaced when his brother passed away. It wasn’t the first time, but it was one of the more intense times.

So, I thought, what the hell am I going to do about this?!. I’m in my 50’s and these issues keep bubbling up periodically. I've journaled about it, talked through it with my spiritual life coach, cried, and felt sorry for myself. I decided I needed a ceremony! Yup. A ceremony. I've learned from my Catholic upbringing that ritual and ceremony have the potential be powerful sources of healing.

I began by signing up for a morning retreat that promised a ceremonial healing experience. After some presentation and discussion time, the ceremony began with lighting a candle and writing on a piece of soluble paper what was bothering me that I wanted to release. I rolled the paper up and prayerfully and intentionally inhaled and then exhaled on my little scroll for a while. Inhaling the love that was there, exhaling the pain. As I did this, I found myself repeating a mantra that was the positive flipside of what I had written. When I felt ready, I swirled the paper prayerfully and intentionally in a bowl of water. (You could choose to burn it as well; this is what we were provided in this morning retreat. I felt great satisfaction as I watched the ink release and the paper slowly dissolve.) I stayed by the bowl for a bit, brushing off my arms, legs, stomach, and head, a physical gesture of getting rid of any residual energy from these negative memories and associations that were hanging on in me. I also drew the light of the candle toward my heart; drawing in the love. And I sat, prayerfully and intentionally, for a while. Prayerfully and intentionally - that's key to this letting go and inviting in the blessings. No expectations. No “shoulds.” Tune into your gut and let it lead your actions.

What do you do to release past hurts?

I’d love to meet you and show you how life coaching can help you move to the life you envision and deserve. Contact me for a free Discovery Session.

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