I am a huge fan of Michael Brown’s wonderful book The Presence Process. Its not just a book it is an entire programme of weekly meditations with exercises and one pertinent focus or insight which he outlines on a week by week basis to help us connect to deeper levels of our being. In the book he explains how we tend to disconnect from our bodies feeling and inner child so that later in life we end up with all kinds of problems and shut downs on emotional and bodily levels that limit us and bring our old pain alive and how we struggle to really recognise the deeper experiences from the past that are drawing challenges and pain into our present lives.
Logging on to re-edit this post today I just came across a fellow bloggers post entitled No Words. Over the past few days I have seen her flip from a place of radiant happiness to a very dark place and I can only imagine a happy time is triggering all the unresolved pain of her past. There is no drug that can take this deep pain from us. That is my experience, in fact in a novel I am reading about a girl who is raped and given a drug immediately after to ‘forget’ she ends up trying to take her life. In the novel what is explored is how the mother unconscious history is carried by the girl attracting to her a violent incident.
It is my firm belief that trauma is passed down to us, disconnection from the body into the mental body or defensive ego (as opposed to the ego as a centre of consciousness that may or may not be open to the connects of the unconscious or subconscious) is passed down to us. If we really want to heal we have to look deep within and learn to connect to the vibrations in our cells, vibrations of anger, grief, fear and distress that so long ago we locked away.
In his book Michael explains that every single incident that appears to trigger our pain in the present is always triggering our past. We cannot blame the present trigger for being a ‘messenger’ that carries within it echoes and echoes of earlier experiences which hold up a mirror to our earliest years. Only by connecting to and exploring how we are reacting including examining the stories we tell our selves about what happened and our capacity or incapacity to bear or feel it can we start to gain any deeper clarity into our deeper felt sense and the impact such things have had on our emotional body. By learning to be present to our inner child on a bodily level we can learn to pay attention to the stored charges and do the work to release them by releasing the vibrational energy, be that tears or anger or shame or fear which may be felt quite literally as a quaking in our entire being and body.
I have had the book since January and I am still only part of the way through and yesterday I found it so very helpful, especially the chapter on freeing ourselves to feel safer and more connected to the child self within who holds at a very deep level vibrations of emotions and feelings we had as youngsters and learned to bury or shut down deep inside.
In the chapter today Michael was speaking of how as children we learn to naturally dissociate or disconnect from bodily and instinctual felt realities and place our attention in the mental body. We take distance from what was too painful at the time to feel, what the adults around us shamed us for feeling. Their own disconnected behaviour injured us and made us feel powerless at the time, especially if we were not allowed to express how we felt about it and we store those unexpressed feelings deep inside our emotional body.
Yesterday I was working with the dental trauma that is being triggered for me with the prospect of dental surgery to remove my front tooth. As I have shared before this was the tooth that got broken, split in two when my mouth hit the steering wheel in the serious MVA I had at age 17 and my tongue torn right down the middle amidst other injuries. At that time I was only just a few months out of braces. This afternoon I felt the deep emotional charge of how it felt to be forced to go through painful tooth removal and orthodontic procedures when I was about 15 by my mother. For some reason she was always trying to perfect me and make my appearance more appealing. She also didn’t like the way I spoke and threatened to send me to a speech therapist. The belief that was passed on to me so often throughout my childhood was that there was intrinsically something wrong with me and how I looked and behaved. Also I was what is known as a tongue sucker as a child and this was something that I learned from the orthodontist was not a good thing. It pushed my front teeth forward but when I look at photos of me as a child my teeth aren’t really that bad and I look quiet happy and secure before I had the braces.
Today when I sat with my body and inner child and felt deep inside how it felt to be forced into something that I was entirely powerless over I suddenly knew so much more about why I have struggled as I have in my life at the deepest emotional level, how and why I came to be almost stuck and unable to move very far from a few rooms in the house at the coast I was taken to in the months following coming out of hospital after 3 months of being pinned to the bed in skeletal traction all those years later after a marriage ended, a marriage in which my husband was threatened by my need TO REALLY FEEL WHAT WAS NATURALLY COMING UP IN MY RECOVERY PROCESS AT 10 YEARS OF SOBRIETY.
I was aware of how and why over the past 10 years or more my body has gone through nightly spasms, twists, tics and turns around both the time of the second accident and head injury triggered just after a session of cranio sacral to deal with the trauma imprints of the first. And it occurred to me last night that between 4 to 7 pm is the time of night when as a baby I struggled to be born against the resistance of my mother holding me up and inside her because she had other tasks to do that had to be completed before I she would go to the hospital.
I understood the deep imprint of why I naturally hold myself back, why I challenge everything and question if my instincts and responses are real or true. And I not only understood but I actually felt the entire enormity of it in my body, not in my head, not as ideas about what happened to me, not a stories but as a fully lived body experience that made my entire body shake. It was then that I understood how powerful the work and words of Michael Brown are and how powerful his presence process work really is.
Luckily I had my therapy session yesterday afternoon due just about an hour after all of this rose up inside me today. It could have been the next natural phase after the experience of surrender I had yesterday when I realised I had to have the tooth finally taken out, but as I have struggled with it last night I realised how the so called infection in my body could be related to other factors and having that tooth out is going to trigger a lot for me.
I am going to need to be so present to my body if I do decide to go through with it. And I am aware of the anger and feelings of powerlessness I carry as I feel so much has been stolen as a response and continuation of what others power over me as a young child felt like, while on some level I am grateful to know now why and how I have felt powerless for so long.
I now know how ignorant it is for others to say to us that ‘we should be over IT by now’ (whatever ‘it’ is) when dealing with deeply rooted pain that has not been fully processed or that ‘we should use mind over matter’ to overcome things when actually doing so is actually no more than a diversion or a temporary escape from what our bodies need to remember and draw our attention to, so that we can bear witness and release those old vibrations of grief, or fear, or shame, or anger from our systems, not by projecting them onto the triggers today but by pulling the projection back and learning to responding to them from within in such a way that we uncouple them from those triggers in present time which are nothing but messengers for old pain and trapped or blocked emotions we so need to liberate and release in order to understand better how powerfully our present can awaken our past.
To end this blog I am going to share some of what Michael wrote in the chapter I read today in the hopes that it may help others out there to find their own healing. Over years of using the presence process Michael cured himself of a formerly intractable neurological condition that plagued him for years. Using his process and reading others testimonials makes it very clear that such inner noticing and attending to the inner child and his or her responses and feelings to triggers in the now really can help those of us who have so long ago somatised deep emotions, or trauma. We need to bring all the presence we can, not only to our deep reactions and responses.
As we become proficient at responding to surfacing charged emotions, a sense of safety gradually seeps into our overall human experience. This means that as we step into the role of taking responsibility for the quality of our experiences, our child self starts feeling safe again. It becomes safe to depart this illusory mental experience called ‘living in time’ and re-enter our body, which is our authentic home while we journey through our current experience. By intending a conscious return into our body, we simultaneously choose to become physically present in each aspect of our experience. As we do so, we discover that a safe child is a spontaneously joyful and creative child
Our regained physical presence is a gift because it empowers us to redirect our intent, which enables us to consciously steer ourselves into experiences that serve us. This is the moment in The Presence Process when we embrace the task of taking charge of our experience.
We have two tools we use to navigate toward, through and out of all our experiences attention and intent……Because we are adrift in the mental plane, we don’t realise our life experience is a vessel that’s being driven by the continual surfacing of unintegrated discomfort.
In our view of our physically and mentally transfixed condition, we tend to perceive ourselves as being forced, moved along against or will by seemingly unexpected and unpleasant physical events. We tell ourselves stories about these events. Based on the stories we tell, we take reactive counter measures. But as we are discovering, these unexpected and uncomfortable physical events are all messengers – outer reflections of our surfacing unintegrated emotional charge.
The stories we tell ourselves…..establish our current library of core beliefs. Because much of the charge that drives these beliefs was imprinted in our energy system before we had mental and hance a conceptual capacity, none of these stories are valid. They are all effects, which means our beliefs from an illusory mental passageway we mistakenly walk along as a desperate measure of making sense of the apparent chaos and unpredictability of our circumstances. To direct our attention and intent toward them is self defeating. On a psychological level its insanity. We appropriately called it “being mental”.
Because our stories are rooted in what we believe happened to us in the past and what we suspect this means for the future, it means that until recently we have been designing the quality of our human experience based on fearful “guesstimations.” Actually it may be more accurate to sate we have allowed the unintegrated aspects of our child self to be in charge of determining what’s best for us base on its undeveloped interpretation of the world.
Only feeling what is, without condition empowers a return to an awareness of Presence and the radiance of the present moment awareness that emanates from us whenever we identify with this authentic expression of our being.
Michael goes on to talk about how we cannot think our way through the experience of actually connecting in our emotional body, the experiences we have with entering the emotional body of the past bring realisations to us, and its challenging work to stay with this on a felt level without making up too many stories about what is felt. We have to live it which I guess is where I reach the limits of what I am trying to explain in my blog here. Much of what we go through is beyond words and yet as bloggers we use words to try to express.
In any case this post doesn’t really flow or read well but I am going to keep it up in the hopes that some of it may be helpful to others.