At different times in my life, I’ve felt like I’ve been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
This weight, made up of heavy past, disappointments, unfulfilled dreams and brokenness has visited me in different layers over the years, each time begging me to set myself free a little more.
As I enter different cycles in the dance of life, new layers come up to the surface to be healed and released. This process will never, ever stop – that’s how we all evolve and grow.
The truth is, we’re all wounded children, in one way or another. Whether you had a traumatic childhood plagued with dysfunction, like I did, or you got bullied at school, or you got your heart broken or you experienced loss of some kind, whatever it was, we all carry pain of some sort. At some point, you and I got hurt and life was never the same after that.
The pain of old wounds is difficult to process but it’s what we do with it that shapes who we are and the lives we get to live.
Our social conditioning teaches us to ignore our most painful emotions, stick a plaster on our pain, hold our chin up and carry on. We seem to be addicted to feeling good and slapping a coat of positivity over everything, almost at any cost, when, in fact, our most difficult emotions hold so many of the answers we seek.
If we allow it, our pain can be the source of incredible power, truth and creation, but we MUST face it first – and that’s no easy feat.
Recently, I got called by life to do exactly this, and, I’m not going to lie, it was a gruelling experience.
How does life call you and me into action? There are many ways… Sometimes it comes in the form of challenging work relationships, recurring health issues, difficult friendships, break-ups, unexpected events…
This time, life used my beautiful children as the messengers, in the shape of my two-year old’s meltdowns.
Her tantrums, so normal for a child who’s learning to handle big emotions, started stirring something in me that had been dormant for many, many years. At first, I didn’t quite know what to make of it, but the bigger her upsets, the more rattled I felt inside.
The more they happened, the more this tightness in my chest seemed to linger, the more on edge I became, like a trigger ready to be pulled.
Feeling agitated became normal and my children’s beautiful daily chaos seemed almost too much to handle.
I had to work super hard to keep calm and hold tears back in my day-to-day life with my beautiful girls and was confronted by my lack of patience and feelings of panic coming and going in such simple, normal situations.
It would have been easy to put it down to my lack of sleep, or blame it on how demanding it is to raise two kids under two years old when they need me so much all the time… If I had gone to the doctor’s, I may have come out of their office with a diagnosis and a prescription of some sort. And I almost believed it; except, deep inside me, I knew that nothing outside of me is ever the cause of my breakdowns; an unhealed part of my past is.
Also, there was something familiar about these feelings, it’s just that they hadn’t visited me in a very long time…
So I started what feels like a long process of digging and looking for answers to get my power back. What I found, to my surprise, was my rage, like I’d never experienced before. Not the temporary kind, when something happens out of the ordinary, but this deep, raw, old, stale anger that never found the room to be released.
At first, I didn’t know what to do with it. Once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it. It was there all the time, with only a few short breaks of relief. Mostly, this question went around and around in my head: “how can this rage live in the same room as one of my life’s biggest miracles and joy?!”
I was so lost… But I knew it was my duty to dig deep and break through it. And that became my mission.
I set out to learn new tools and called on the wise people in my life to help me discover what needed to be healed.
These blinding, overwhelming, powerful feelings were trying to tell me something important. And I needed to listen. They were pointing back towards my earliest recollection of losing sight of my pure essence, when I felt disappointed, afraid and alone for the first time.
They came with such nearly unbearable and unforgiving intensity that they sat me on my back to make sure I went where I needed to go with them.
My anger needed to be heard, because she was the voice of the little child hurting inside me, who, for the first time, didn’t want to be told to shut up, calm down and be ok. I wasn’t ok and I no longer felt like I could or wanted to sugarcoat it.
You see, I never even considered myself capable of feeling anger. I always thought anger was for people who didn’t have their shit together. I grew up with such unhealthy expressions of anger around me, that I just assumed they were the only way anger could be manifested.
Looking back, though, that anger was there all along; it just went by other names, like resentment, anxiety, self-loathing… Carefully suppressed with a great dose of control, covered by numbing and distracting habits I developed over time to protect myself.
Until my children decided to hold up a mirror and make me look where I’d been looking away from.
They were telling me the time had arrived to look underneath the mat, to find that wounded child, with cuts so deep and so old that seemed impossible to heal…
Of course I was already aware of my wounds. How could I not be?! The dysfunction of my family life growing up hurt me so deeply… In fact, I’ve spent most of my adult life tending to these wounds.
Over the years, using different tools, I forgave who needed forgiveness, had the hard conversations that needed to be had, I removed blame and took responsibility for breaking patterns for the next generation to come. I transformed my perspective and found power and peace.
I also went on to create a beautiful family life with the love of my life.
Mentally, my house seemed in order, so I was confused; after all that, what was there to do now?!
The answer was NOTHING, but to feel the feelings exactly as they were showing up in my physical body. No more suppression, no more control, no more trying to fix things as a way to cope. This was a clear imposition from my heart, longing for freedom and lightness. This was about taking my inner child by the hand and listening deeply to everything she had to say.
With the help of a dear friend, I followed a process to help me feel my feelings more and move fully through all the spaces that were coming up.
Why did I have to feel more?
Here’s what I realised. Even though I’ve dealt with the ugly aspects of my past powerfully in a sense, I’d never actually dealt with the feelings and emotions stored in my body.
After going through such pain in my early years, I vowed to never, ever feel that kind of pain again, and do everything in my power to make sure of that.
Here’s the problem; shutting down my willingness to feel deep pain again, meant that I also affirmed my unwillingness to feel even the slightest level of discomfort. And, because on the other side of the coin is joy, it meant that I shut joy out of my life in these same exact measures.
This dynamic also created a fragile relationship with trust, in myself, and life itself. With me lived this sense that at some point something big was going to happen and I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Control and competence were my best friends for a long time, and they helped me avoid what I was dreading to feel.
But my heart was calling me to open up in all directions, so I can allow more in and feel life fully again, as my birthright (as is yours).
My heart knew there was a new place I needed to get to. Above all, my heart knew it was time to end this suffering for the next generations to come, starting with me.
So I took the leap. I took a deep breath and allowed it all in, as I worked through the process. The rage came and the sadness came, and the panic came, and the shock, and the shame, and the guilt and the pressure. ALL OF IT; stored in my body for years, slowly poisoning my essence and stealing my playfulness.
Several times I felt like retracting, in the face of excruciating pain, but then I took another deep breath, and then another and kept going. For days I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, going through the motions. I didn’t look myself, I felt exhausted, my stomach was in knots and I just felt completely pulled apart. I was at the full impact of the true weight I’d been carrying in my emotional body all these years.
Meanwhile, life outside of myself was carrying on as usual. I still needed to show up and parent my kids, be a decent wife and friend, see people, go places – feeling so, so fragile. Perhaps this was the hardest part.
But I just kept asking what my body needed to heal and taking small actions when I could. And, more importantly, I didn’t hide. I kept calling on my people and asking for help.
Then, after a few days, the fog started lifting. And, awaiting to greet me on the other side was that surprising new place my heart wanted to take me to; INDIGNATION. So new, and fresh, and firm, like a new platform to stand on. Simply, a powerful conviction, grounded in love and truth, that no child should EVER have to go through that. And that I’ll do whatever’s in my power to make sure of that. This will be my life’s work.
Conceptually, I already knew that. But this time, I felt it too and it was powerful.
You see, I’d done the work to get to a point where I felt true compassion for myself, others and the situation. I even stopped wishing it had happened any other way and took the blessings and lessons I got gifted as a result. But my inner child had spent her life looking after others and understanding others and making excuses for others, in such a way that the indignation she also felt inside her stayed trapped in her body, to the point where she even questioned if there was a legitimate place for it.
I heard her and helped her tell the truth. There is, there is, there IS a place for it! And we’re both grounded in it, hand in hand.
And here’s the most beautiful thing about it; this kind of indignation is calling me to serve, not retaliate, because it’s so firmly grounded on love and compassion. It inspires me to go to work on what I know I need to do. And it has given new life to the boundaries I want to create in my world.
Without indignation, we get walked all over, again and again. What’s worse, we tolerate injustices around us and look the other way. We allow niceness to sacrifice the truth of what MUST be said and done.
Indignation is a vital force in unleashing the Goddess within me and rediscovering my true essence. More importantly, it gives expression to my voice and unlocks the truths stuck in my throat. This is the journey I’m on and I want to drag you, my fellow Goddesses, with me, so you can do the same.
Because it’s time, Goddesses! It’s time! Whatever your pain is, it’s time to heal and let your indignation serve the world.
I don’t know what you’ve been through, but I know it’s hurt you and nearly stole your essence. And here’s what else I know. What happened to you wasn’t right and no human being should ever go through it, and I’m sorry you had to.
It’s not your fault and it’s not right, and, I’ll say it again, it’s not your fault and it’s infuriatingly wrong. And I can repeat this as many times as you need to hear it, like I had to repeat to myself. You were an innocent victim.
But I also need you to hear this, as I stand in love and truth when I say it; it’s ok to be a victim and feel everything there is to be felt in that space. In fact, it is vital that you do so. But here’s the thing, staying stuck in that place is going to kill you and rob you, yours and your/the world of your powerful, unique essence.
Your healing is urgent and also your complete responsibility, if not your life’s work.
Because on the other side of your healing is the healing you can bring to your/our world, in the form of your gifts, whatever they are. And the world desperately needs it; more now, perhaps, than ever.
Starting with you and those close to you. That’s where the work starts.
Move through it powerfully, call on your people, invite new people in. Look for tools that resonate with you. Do what it takes. But do it without delay. Use your anger as a propellor, but discover the powerful message behind it – most of all, don’t stay poisoned by it.
It won’t be easy, but with love and support we can do it.
As my gift to you, here’s a letter I wrote to get the process started. This is how it started for me and I promise this alone will give you a sense of relief and will gently point inwards to who you really are. This is step one; the rest, is up to you, Goddess. Go find the answers you need to.
Basking in indignation is still new terrain for me, but I feel its life-giving force working through me, and my deepest wish for you is that you allow your heart to take you to where you need to go.
Go to a quiet place, dear one, open your heart and read this to yourself, as if it was written from your present self to you as a child. The healing starts now.
Little one, don’t be afraid. You’re going to have a wonderful life, full of dreams fulfilled, rich and unexpected adventures and A LOT of love.
I know that at the moment you feel like you’re on your own, but I want you to know that I’m always looking out for you.
You’re adored, just as you are and you always will be.
I’m wrapping my arms around you so tight right now and I’ll do so anytime you need it in the future. I hear you cry and I see your dream-filled soul filling up with fear. I’m here for you.
You’re so young and have so much responsibility on your shoulders! The tragedies in the lives of the people around you aren’t your responsibility. And I need you to know one thing. It IS NOT your fault, NOTHING IS YOUR FAULT.
Free yourself from that burden, because it’s not yours to carry.
I feel the depth of your wounds and I cry for you, because you should never have been put through this kind of pain.
You are joy, you are love, you’re made of dreams, you are playfulness. That’s who you’ve always been. And you and the world needs your own love, your own compassion, and it starts with you.
You’re magnificent! And nothing less than that. I know who you are and will always be here to remind you.
Relax, you’re not alone and never will be. Trust yourself, life and the universe – your life is created inside this beautiful partnership.
Open your arms, close your eyes and look up and around you. Everything will always be ok, even if it takes time.
I see your sadness and your despair. You’re not alone. I am here to support you. Go on, full of colour. I am here.
Leave behind what doesn’t serve you. Forgive yourself. Forgive your parents. Forgive who you need to forgive.
Release and let go. It’s time. It’s time! You have all the answers. Your heart knows. It’s time.
I love you, beautiful soul. I love you, I love you, I love you.”
If you want to take it a little further, write your own letter and say to yourself what you need to hear. You and I have the power to give ourselves what we need. In fact, only we truly can.