How triggers can be your greatest allies….
In the shock of a sudden unexpected situation, you can feel a pulling into unconsciousness, that is, into a forgetting that you are not your emotions, not your mind, not any part of the scenario you are experiencing.
This can relate to any situation, or a certain thing someone says or does, and is usually one that resonates with a fear, trauma or emotional pain or wound suffered in the past, a fear that hasn’t been truly met, acknowledged and released...even though you might have thought it had been! The trigger brings back to life the old accumulated emotion.
This happened for me this Christmas.
Initially the pain can take over, flooding the body in an immediate reaction, heart pounding. You might feel desperately hurt, angry and fearful and so instantly reach out to a friend, a family member, as you identify yourself through the filter of the ‘story’ of what has happened, when the emotional pain verbalises into thoughts about it and creates a frightened drama. Sometimes telling others whilst still in reactive mode might not be the best thing as it perpetuates the drama...and a good friend might even tell you this, or listen, be kind, reminding you of your strength, but not engage with details. In this way, you also see more clearly and can disengage more quickly.
The beautiful thing is, if you can accept what is happening in the moment, be present with it, acknowledge the intense pain in the body, the emotions, the thoughts, be with all of this… you create space around it all, remaining as the witness, not identifying with it as who you are. You do not have to ‘do’ anything, only see if you can allow those feelings to be there, after all they are already there! So if you can acknowledge them and be present with them as they are, you can see what happens, without adding extra layers, such as feeling unhappy about the feelings etc. As Eckhart Tolle enquires, ‘If you don’t mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness?’ You see that it starts to dissolve when there is an inner acceptance of the present moment. The turmoil cannot tolerate the light of Presence.
When triggers happen they are opportunities to look inwards, be self-loving and compassionate. You can find out what these emotions and pains are expressing when you listen without judgement and be your own unconditionally loving parent. In this way you hear them, give recognition and kindness and then you can lovingly release them, seeing the light of awareness and consciousness flooding and washing into the space that has opened within.
A few days before Christmas, in unconsciousness, I panicked, reacting to a surprise and unwelcome situation, and I contacted a friend and another person, heart pounding... but then, after sitting alone calmly and listening in, I realised quite quickly what was happening. In this instance for me it was about boundaries being ignored, disrespected, emotional and physical, an unexpected trigger reawakening intense past hurts that still hadn’t been healed and released, even after many years of No Contact. This was an opportunity to release even more around this pain. (It is a practice also that stops ‘feeding’ energy to the other person, which is what they want and need, if they are a Narcissist, whether positive or negative ‘drama’, they thrive on it.)
When you can remain in and as presence, the fears are met with love and silence and the emotions dissolve, and you stop reliving the past again and again. When inner peace becomes your priority in unsettling situations, peace becomes your reality, so within, so without as Melanie Tonia Evans teaches in her Quantum healing practices. It’s just so true! You know deeply too that trauma energy is not who you are…you might feel intense reaction, anguish, agony, even that you are going to die…yet this is illusion, even though it might rage as so ‘real’ at the time that we mistake ourselves as being it.
A great way to stop identifying with any pain is also not to state, for instance, ‘I am unhappy’ but that ‘unhappiness is here with me’. The difference is the space that opens up between you and it - the space of truth! And such relief and release is felt immediately. All passes, it is not You.
When I was 18 I stayed in a beautiful community that celebrated the light within – a light I had always known and felt since a child. The community embraced all religions and spiritual paths, expressing that which is within and beyond all human-made constructed approaches in understanding. Silent sitting and stepping back, inwardly, onto ‘the observer platform’ was a wonderful early meditation, seeing the space between our essential nature (shared by all of us) and our human mind/body/emotions… years later I realised how familiar this was with Advaita Buddhism and the pointings of Mooji, Eckhart Tolle and many Eastern approaches. Ultimately there is a dissolving of the ego ‘I’ into this essential nature, that it already is! And the experiential knowing that we do not ‘have’ a life, we Are life itself!!
This oneness, so beautiful and true can be felt to be disrupted in our everyday lives, as we live as ‘Rowena’ or any other person, as a surface, ego reality (ego as the idea we have of who we are, the ‘mask’ of the Being). Of course, our true nature can never be ‘disrupted’ and experiences such as mine this Christmas can have such a ‘Whoosh!’ painful effect …and, wonderfully, we can learn from them and remember again that in truth we are not this, they help to wake us up, put things into perspective and remember again.
We still need self-compassion and kindness when we forget in our everyday lives, as we often do! and to put into place measures and boundaries that protect us and help us to live our authentic truth.
So here’s to triggers that may appear to be deeply upsetting shocks on the surface, but are actually angels in disguise! as opportunities to reveal our true nature in ever more clarity.
If I hadn't encountered these and all that unfolded, I would never have been able to express my joy and create, felt or paint, share my work or flourish and thrive!
*In the process of adding... these are the first ones...*
Over the last few years I've read so many books and articles that have helped me immeasurably, in opening up to awareness and understanding of my own experience on the topics of Narcissism and being Highly Sensitive and an Empath. These have in turn led me to mutually supportive communities and individuals who have been inspirational in the most beautiful ways, and also, ultimately and fundamentally, to an experiential understanding 'beyond' the book reading. xx
These resources can lead us to other 'resources'... ones that will become 'pointers' towards an awareness that is far deeper than 'gathering information' or of cognitive awareness/understanding; an awareness that lies beyond any labels we may have for ourselves - labels which may be true on the level of how we function in the world, as individual personalities with particular character traits, such as HSP and Introvert, yet these labels are not the Truth of who we essentially are, beyond our 'form' identity. We can forget this when we are so enmeshed in everyday life, or in situations that may be traumatic, and so at these times, gaining an understanding of how we live and function in the world can be helpful and lead us to others who experience similar, which is a beautiful support, as here we can acknowledge our humanness and individuality, and experience self-compassion and healing ...
... and then we can go beyond these aspects of who we are, on the surface, and the ideas we have of ourselves into the greater truth and recognition... with so many thanks, in my case, to nature, poetry, art, Rumi, Buddhism, Mooji, Eckhart Tolle ...and many experiences from a young age which gave me glimpses of this true awareness of who we really are, of our essential consciousness...
Here's a collection of some resources, partly for my own reference but mainly for any others who come across them and find them of interest and perhaps helpful...
If you come across this page and would like to suggest any other books/resources on these topics that you've found helpful, or would like to make any related comments, please do, in the comments below, or email me :)
These categories do intermingle...
Narcissism and healing
HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)
Introverts! - Susan Cain
Beautiful TED talk!! xx
'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that can't stop talking'
Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön
Advaita teacher/'pointer' - Mooji
Also many wonderful online videos!
Eckhart Tolle - and many online videos!
More... on living and celebrating every day
Louise Hay, Robert Holden, Marianne Williamson, Eileen Caddy, Wayne Dyer...
Daring and Rising! - Brené Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert
Other resources include: