HOW WAS I TO KNOW?

HOW WAS I TO KNOW?

“How was I to know that what I am you didn’t want me to be?”

I have no recollection of what play that line is from. I heard it when I was between eighteen and nineteen years of age, in a small Illinois theater. I recall little else about the play itself. And yet my entire body remembers vividly the feeling that occurred as I heard an actor utter that line.

“How was I to know that what I am you didn’t want me to be?”

Those words reactivated an internal trauma it would take decades to even begin to integrate.

We knew little about the dynamics of in utero imprinting or of birth trauma when that declaration first landed with a thud in my inner being. Science has now discovered and proven that our emotional bodies begin being primally imprinted about three months after conception. Everything that happens around and within our mothers has an energetic impact on our developing self. We literally float and are fed by the energies happening in the womb. This is one of the drawbacks to traditional psychotherapy. Most of the wounding that occurs for us is while we are precognitive beings. Trying to think and talk our way out of our pain is minimally effective. At some point we need to drop into the very emotional pain we spend our lifetimes trying to avoid. Endlessly talking about the story mostly just keeps us in an ever-looping story.

Until one day an idea or a statement startles us and triggers the inutero trauma we are being called to stay with, feel through, and integrate.

How was I to know that what I am you didn’t want me to be?

The mentality of those words pointed to the emotional trauma that had been holding me just below the surface. Drowning me. Suffocating me. Killing me ever so slowly yet with ever-increasing intensity.

The grief was devastating. I am certain that is why I cannot recall the name of the play or the exact location of the theater. I felt as if I had been hit in the chest by a ball bat.

It didn’t take me long to begin to master ways of deadening the pain of that re-traumatization. Overthinking, avoidance, recoil, addiction, and withhold served me well.

Until they didn’t.

And so, much of my personal spiritual awakening has been about dealing with and integrating the grief that gripped my heart and stifled my expression. The felt-sense imprinted grief that made me believe that what I am the world at large and the people of my direct sphere didn’t want me to be. This attractor was mirrored and experienced in my family, my schooling, my religion, and my relationships.

And it was most evident in my own inner atmosphere.

How could I have known that what I am I didn’t want me to be?

I am beyond grateful to report that I have successfully dedicated myself to dealing directly with this trauma and its myriad effects. I remain watchful for when it is activated. I no longer allow myself to become snagged or entrapped by ongoing resentment, projection, or blame. That does not mean I live in self-diminishment and fault, taking on the pain others cast my way. I stay awake to the fact that it is my trauma and grief that draws and attracts experiences to aid me in my integration. And the more I heal the stronger my boundaries and self-referral become. I am clear that we are all wounded in relationship, and we heal in relationship. We are all imperfect in our ways of relating. It is a painful and unfortunate effect of our imprinting.

And so, I take responsibility for how I may inadvertently hurt others. I become clearer and clearer about how I may declare and deliver that same devastating declaration to others:” what you are I don’t want you to be.” I own and I compassion where that comes from, and I choose as quickly as possible to apologize and amend my behavior.

And on rare occasions I take that same ball bat to my chest. It is a cost of my shared humanity.

When I slip up and my imperfection comes forth, I can be and am still rejected and, in not the same words, be told “what you are I don’t want you to be.”

The impact is not the same. It is not as devastating or as long lasting. For now, I know that what I am I accept myself as being. The grief that gripped my heart and dammed my expression has been lessened by the internal work that I have done. The once traumatizing effects of my familial, educational, religious, and relational programming grows thinner and less commanding with every passing year. Every prayer, every meditation, every authentic relationship, and my own staying presence has largely set me free.

And so, moment by moment, I choose to reopen. I choose to allow myself to risk exposure. I choose to drop the instinctual defenses. I now know, based on my years of experience, that I can survive any pain. Sustain any loss. Endure any rejection. Self-refer through any others projections and fear-based scripting about me.

I am liberated enough to ask with clarity and calmness “how was I to know that what I am you didn’t want me to be?”

And then in that liberating clarity and calm I move on, certain that what I am I was surely meant to be.