When our ancestral trauma surfaces to be healed, it can not only affect us physically, but emotionally too.
It can be so deep for some of us that it can create a sense of ‘soul-loss’.
We can literally feel cut off from any sense of depth, compassion or love for ourselves or others, simply because it’s always been too scary for us to go to these places. Up until this point we’ve only known the shallows, pain, and perhaps everything that isn’t love.
During a traumatic experience, parts of us ‘split-off’, shut down, freeze in place, or dissociate in order to simply ‘function’ within an equally disassociated and traumatised world (a world that often doesn’t allow us the time and space we truly need to heal). Sadly, the knock-on effect of this maladaptive coping strategy is that we wander around with a haunting sense that something is fundamentally missing from us at that Soul level…
…because in many ways, it is.
We have disowned these beautiful albeit traumatised parts of ourselves and they now have nowhere to call home. Until we’re steady enough to welcome them back, they will continue to hover outside of ourselves, manifesting as something commonly referred to as the ‘shadow’, or repressed anger or anxiety.
We may end up projecting these things onto others which is never much fun to clean up, or they might also appear as mirrors in the people around us, causing us to reject them too. Left unintegrated, they all begin to unconsciously run our lives, loves, relationships, and our important decisions (most often not in the most helpful way).
Healing begins with the creation of a safe container.
Our Soul essence can only feel safe to return when our bodies feel safe too.
As we grow our capacity to be with the discomfort they may have caused us, we grow our capacity to be more compassionate with our own vulnerabilities and fallibility, and in turn that of others. We start to light a more welcoming path for them to follow us home, knowing it’s safe to return.
It starts with us making it safe for them and letting them know they are wanted and useful to us. It’s so common for us to push away the parts of ourselves that we don’t like (I spent the best part of two decades doing exactly that), but it’s all of us, even the messy parts, that make us the whole and complete human that we are.
It’s also incredibly common to only focus on the pains we’ve inherited when we’re looking through the lens of healing our ancestral wounds, but we must never forget about the joy and love our ancestors carried for us too; it’s never usually all bad! And it’s the melting pot of ‘dark’ and ‘light’ that creates the intricate, mysterious and embodied version of ourselves we long to be but assume we can’t access whilst we’re trying to push away the stuff that feels harder to deal with. That ickier stuff is actually the gold 🙂
Author Karla Maclaren describes our painful emotions as ‘children of our village‘.
We would never abandon a child by the side of the road, and yet we do the same to the internal wounds and emotions that are constantly asking for our attention because they’ve become too much for us to deal with.
We have to try to learn not to do this with our own hurts, no matter how scary the may initially appear to us.
A teacher of mine Chris Dierkes always reminds me that the key is TITRATION.
We have to go slowly with this.
If our Soul has been lost for a while, it needs to be approached like a deer in the woods; we can start by treading gently and softly so as not to startle it.
One breath at a time.
One practice at a time.
One conversation at a time.
One day at a time.
One tiny piece of our unprocessed ‘stuff’ at a time (because we simply can’t digest all of our trauma at once, it’s not physically possible, and quite frankly, why would we want to do that? :))
It’s all about pace, and working with our own organic rate of release.
So I invite you to ask yourself right now, what’s ONE thing you could do today that could create more safety, space and grounding in your being?
One small thing that feels authentic to you, that makes you feel just a little bit better, softer, more held, safer?
Gradually those small things add up, those breaths get deeper, and your wholeness WILL begin to return, it just takes time.
I trust that you’ll remember that you are worthy of giving yourself that space and time, and that eventually you’ll remember that it’s safe to come home.