Acknowledging our shadow allows for powerful transformation.
I've been waiting for that 'spark' to write this blog and knowing that it would happen as it always does, I didn't try to force it. On the ferry this evening, I had an epiphany, and almost at the same moment, I knew what the next blog would be about. I am strong in my knowing that part of my purpose on this planet is to show the way to love and compassion, and so I would like to talk of nothing but love and light. I have come to understand, however, that our only path to love and light and compassion and forgiveness is through acknowledging our shadows and shifting their energy from our being so we can let the light flow in. My thought on the ferry was that our shadow - our trauma - expresses itself through physical sensations, and that these are prompts that point us in the direction of our inner work. If we don't do anything to shift the trauma, it will keep preventing us from living our most aligned life.
Yesterday, one of my students was telling me about her experiences at work. The students I tutor are mostly pre-service teachers, so they often tell me about their experiences on placement or at work in early childhood settings. I am very grateful that I have experience to share with them and that I can be an understanding ear for them, but when I hear their stories, I feel knots in my stomach and my cortisol levels rising, and I am immediately transported back to my past experiences - of approximately thirteen years in the industry. Because I am focused on my inner work, I have realised I have trauma in this area that I haven't fully addressed. When we have moved away from a situation and do not often think about it, we tend to think it's no longer affecting us. It is, however, still there, and it needs to be transmuted if we are ever to be free from its residual impacts.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to learn to transmute - shift and transform emotions related to trauma. It is rare that I develop feelings for someone, but it did happen, and almost immediately I started to suffer. I had progressed enough to understand that he was not the cause of my suffering. Instead, the situation was triggering past trauma that I was still carrying. When trauma is triggered, we ignite fear - which unfortunately connects us with our lower vibrational selves rather than our higher selves which align with the frequency of trust and unconditional love. A wise woman on the island suggested that I transmute the pain by looking for the positives in each past experience - ways in which each past experience created change that made me who I am today. Although it sounded challenging, I used journaling to form positive associations with each situation, then created a video to express my new positive thoughts. This process worked miracles for me. When I think about those past experiences, the pain response is no longer being triggered. As a friend on the island said, ''the emotional charge is gone''.
This way of describing the trauma response provided clarity for me. If we are still feeling an emotional charge when we think about a situation that negatively affected us, we are still carrying trauma. Most likely we haven't provided the compassion and forgiveness to ourselves that we are needing. This always comes back to our accepting full responsibility for our reality and for loving ourselves in the ways we need to be loved. This could include reparenting ourselves if the trauma happened in childhood. Trauma doesn't only refer to the big things that happen to us. We also carry hurt and resentment from the many times we have been judged, criticized or undermined by others. On the ferry, I felt a sudden acknowledgement of my past trauma in relation to my work with children. Immediately, I felt it in my body, and I felt the tears come. We need to feel into our trauma and allow ourselves to have emotional releases to shift the energy. I am learning to allow the feelings to arise, sit with them, and release them if they are ready to be released. I'm not finding this difficult. It feels empowering and natural, and I am back to my high vibrational self shortly after.
I am having some healing sessions at the moment, looking at clearing underlying fears and past life trauma. After my first session, I went to the beach at the island for some grounding. As I was leaving, I glanced at the clouds and thought I saw an angel in them. Looking closer, I realised it was a dragon. If you zoom in you will see eyes, nostrils and a hairy chin. There are many spiritual meanings to seeing dragons, but I chose 'powerful transformation' as significant to me. The world is undergoing a powerful transformation at the moment and we as individuals are being called to also be transformed. The dragon in the sky was confirmation that we are always being supported by the universe and our higher selves. We are never alone as we do the inner work, and our potential is beyond our imaginings.
I was espousing the virtues of the menstrual cycle to a friend on the phone last night. Women are privileged to have an inbuilt mechanism for processing emotions and releasing trauma every month. I learned this from Dr Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Dr. Christiane Northrup | Women's Health Expert, NYT Best-selling Author | Christiane Northrup, M.D. (drnorthrup.com) When women experience more heightened emotions during the premenstrual phase, they are not being 'overly dramatic', they are experiencing emotional truths that they have not been acknowledging during the more active times of their cycle. These triggers are happening so trauma can be illuminated during this phase, and then released during the phase of rest and reflection - their period. Men also need to regularly take time for rest and reflection. There is strength in vulnerability; in allowing emotions to be felt and seen. If we are busy and active all the time, we may be distracting ourselves and avoiding seeing vital truths about ourselves that can enable us to move forward.
We must ensure that our trauma doesn't 'become' us. We are much more than the sum of our life experiences. Trauma and pain can be heavy burdens to carry, pulling our vibrations down with them. Many people don't prioritise the inner work. When we are in survival mode, personal development is not high on the list. When we understand, however, that our individual spiritual growth has the potential to positively impact everyone around us, and even the vibration of the planet, we realise that this is our most important work. My inner child has been doing some painting lately. This is my higher self, standing above the rough seas of the world - that is functioning in survival mode - holding the vision of a better world that is to come. When we release and transmute our past pain and trauma, our hearts become fully open to love, and we are able to embody our true selves as powerful creators of our reality - multidimensional beings who have the power to create worlds.
*Photos from my weekend adventures: Surfers Paradise Beach and Minjerribah (Straddie).
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