There’s some awkward truth to, “it’s not you, it’s me,” even if you don’t really mean it when you say it. There’s always an element of yourself in the problems you encounter. Whatever other people do that triggers you indicates some part of you that still needs healing.
How does this work?
We carry the energy of our karma (prior life issues) and our trauma (current life issues) in our energetic fields (in our bodies, so to speak) and walk through life trying to work that out on anyone who can play a role that fulfills this pattern. If you have issues with your mother, for example, female authority figures in your career, etc., as well as future romantic partners may exhibit similar characteristics to your mother that drive you crazy.
It will seem like this energy is inescapable -that you run into it over and over again throughout life. And it feels that way because it’s true, but for reasons that are extremely hard for us to accept. We project into the universe the energies that are most present for us, at any given time, and this is then what is reflected back to us, by the law of attraction.
This is maddening until you learn to recognize when this is happening and learn how to break the cycle by releasing the stuck energy that’s at the root of the behavior pattern.
What happens is that you develop emotional bypasses to avoid certain feelings that cause you discomfort. You jury-rig a way to avoid acknowledging the pain you feel, but instead of actually avoiding the pain, you just bury it in your field as invisible baggage that eventually weighs you down. And, like a splinter trying to work itself out, it makes itself painfully noticeable until you can finally work it out. This is why you will relive the same negative patterns again and again: you’re subconsciously signaling to the universe to manifest another opportunity to learn the lesson –until you do.
How to spot your shadow
Everyone is susceptible to this because we all possess a part of ourselves that is invisible to us; a shadow self. Within you is a demon of your own making, a creature composed of all the things you dislike about yourself and don’t want to face. Your trauma –and the things you do to cope with it– causes you discomfort (like the splinter) and you can either choose to deal with it or pretend like it doesn’t exist in by blaming other people when it happens.
You can’t see your shadow but you can learn to recognize certain habits that appear when your shadow is influencing your behavior. Any time someone is triggering you, for example, you can be sure your shadow is showing (to everyone but you). And there are a number of other dead giveaways that you can use to spot (and tame) your shadow that I’ll cover later.
How to improve (recognize and release)
Obviously, once you recognize an issue triggers you, you’ll want to work on it as soon as you can; simply because it makes no sense to go on living with discomfort for long than you have to, once you’ve uncovered the source.
To rid yourself of the trouble, you need to release the energy that’s trapped in your field by finding the original wound -following the emotional thread back to the first time you in your life that you felt like you do now. Once identified, you can work on releasing the energy associated with it.
Releasing energy is simple enough once you know how -and there are a variety of techniques you can learn. At the end of this post I’ll give simple, straightforward instructions for a ritual of release that you can perform easily on your own.
Once the energy is released, the energy blockage is cleared, etc. you will find that those situations don’t happen to you as often, and that when they do, you can handle them with grace.
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Thank people who trigger you
People who trigger you emotionally are doing you a favor, albeit an awkward and unpleasant one. It’s very to do in the moment but one of the best ways to “see your shadow” is to catch yourself before you react a trigger.
Witnessing this moment taking place lucidly is an enlightening experience, if you can ignore the sting of it, because you can clearly identify an issue that needs work. Then you can focus on that issue in your personal practice or take it to an energetic healer (or your therapist if you like doing things the hard way) to help you release the energy.
So in that sense, it’s a valuable, humbling experience express gratitude for the people who provide these learning opportunities. You don’t have to thank them personally but you might as well thank the universe for putting them in your path. Personal growth isn’t usually pleasant but it’s extremely beneficial, and hard to come by, so there’s a lot of reason for gratitude.
Don’t hold your growth against yourself
We’re always growing / always learning and there is no shame in this process of self-improvement. Yet it’s very easy to become embarrassed or to engage in self-loathing when you finally become aware of those parts of yourself that you don’t like and want to change.
Easy, but fruitless…there’s no point in it because if you are improving, by definition, you are always better than you previously were. The energy you waste on feeling embarrassed for the past would be better invested in improving yourself. You have to release the energy of the past to make space for the future.
Don’t try to solve every problem at once
Discovering an issue doesn’t always mean you need to address the issue right away. If you’re working on a number of areas of personal growth already, evaluate what’s most important and pin anything else until later. You still have the benefit of awareness of the issue and can take steps to avoid triggering situations and work harder at controlling your responses until you can adequately address the issue.
Trying to process too much at once just leads to failure, and worse, feeling defeated. This is terribly counterproductive to your overall healing and self-improvement journey. Don’t overwhelm yourself, stay focused, take your time, and implement mitigating strategies.
What stuck energy feels like in the body
When you feel sideways about something going on in your life (consciously or subconsciously) your body reacts to that emotional energy and you experience physical sensations with non-physical causes. If you’ve ever been to the doctor for a weird physiological symptom and been told “it’s just stress”, this is what they meant without realizing it.
Stuck energy, as in “emotional energy which hasn’t been released normally”, gets trapped in an area of the body related to the issue either physically or metaphorically. Physically, like when someone is physically abused and later has energy trapped in their body where they were injured. And metaphorically, like when emotions get caught in your throat or fear twists your stomach, etc. The sensation is very physically “real” but its cause is metaphorical.
The latter scenario is the most common with metaphors like “carrying a heavy burden on your shoulders”, or “butterflies in the stomach”, or a “broken heart”, telling stories to help us understand the non-physical causes of physical sensations.
Releasing the stuck energy you discover
These metaphors help locate stuck energy in your body: a broken heart, burdened shoulders, etc. Using the chakra system it’s easy to determine the energetic center closest to the stuck energy -and this tells us how to address the issue.
- 1st chakra (root): Connection, security, nourishment, survival instincts, base needs.
- 2nd chakra (belly): Lineage, family, children, sexuality, belonging, fear, shame, guilt, etc.
- 3rd chakra (solar plexus): Identity, drive, confidence, ambition, aggression, motivation.
- 4th chakra (heart): Giving or receiving love, grief, sadness, loneliness, nurturing instincts.
- 5th chakra (throat): Expressing yourself, speaking your truth, sharing what’s in your heart and on your mind.
- 6th chakra (third eye): Modes of thinking, frameworks of mind, visions of the future, values, ideas, clarity or confusion.
- 7th chakra (crown): Spirit, connection to the divine, higher awareness, divination, psychic senses, truth and wisdom.
A root chakra issue like insecurity is addressed by strengthening faith in the natural world -literally, go grow a garden that feeds you.
Issues with drive and motivation can be addressed with solar remediation, solar talismans, heliotherapy (sunbathing), and confidence-boosting activities like improv, public speaking, etc.
Mending a broken heart is about catharsis, helping and healing others, experiencing beauty, expressing love for and receiving love from others, and expressing yourself creatively.
And so on…
Release comes in many forms and the “best tool for the job” is sometimes dependent on the nature of the emotional / energetic wound you want to heal. But you can chip away at nearly any energetic issue with a simple all-purpose ritual: the fire ceremony.
A simple fire ceremony
All that is required for the simplest version of a fire ceremony is a candle and a small piece of wood like a toothpick or a tiny stick. In the context of this ritual, wood is simply stored kinetic energy that is ready to be converted into thermic energy (heat) through the transmutative effects of the element of fire -the fire releases the energy in the wood.
- You can add your own energy to the stick so that it, like the kinetic energy latent in the wood, will be released when the stick is burned.
- To add your own energy to the stick, spend a few moments bringing the energy into your awareness, both in the mind (think about it) and in the body (feel the sensation of the non-phyiscal emotion).
- With that held firmly in your mind, blow that awareness into the stick.
- Light the stick on fire and watch it burn to ashes until it goes out will focusing on the intention to release that energy.
- Blow the candle out when done and go on with life without focusing directly on the issue (like walking away from a crossroads without looking back).
Practice this ritual daily / regularly for greatest effect. Once is ok but repeat this for a few weeks per issue and you’ll notice the difference.
Be kind to yourself.
Forgive your slip-ups, celebrate even the small victories, and expect the process to take time. You have to enjoy healing to stick with it long-term so try not to make yourself miserable or you’ll have a very difficult time sticking with the changes you need to make.
While healing experiences aren’t typically pleasant in the traditional sense they are fulfilling and they yield great benefits in the long-term. There are few experiences more freeing than realizing that you are no longer slave to embarrassing emotional outbursts or unable to enjoy experiences that you used to love because of painful associations.
But getting to that point takes effort, time, and discomfort -and all you can do to ensure your eventual progress is to stick with it and to be kind to yourself in the meantime. That, and keeping a wary eye out for the signs of your shadow at work; because each time you feel triggered, it’s just a sign you still have some work to do in that area. Make note of it, be grateful, and move through it as best you can; being kind to yourself when you stumble.
To find out how shamanic energy healing can help you release personal, generational, and past life traumas, and heal other aspects of your life, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, book a session with me at The Sacred Serpent. Use the code FIRSTSESSION to save 50% on your first booking.