Hidden Toxicity: Forgiving the Institutions That Hurt Us

treeWhen you think of healing and forgiveness do you think of it primarily in the context of relationships? I do. Psycho-therapeutic approaches, holistic living philosophies and the Scriptures all tend to focus on finding wholeness through the repair work we do with others. I would agree; we heal in relationship. However, I’ve recently realised that I’ve overlooked an entire area of healing in my life. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

Having grown up in a severely abusive home and community, I’ve attributed my woundedness to the gross error and negligence of my parents, teachers and church leadership. While it’s true that people were the ones doing the hurting, there was something much bigger that created the framework in which all that pain occurred. It was what I perceived as the religious institution of the Christian church. In objectifying the church, I’ve not recognized how insidiously my unconscious bitterness, resentment and blame has been festering toward it and how this is affecting my life.

In my young experience, the Bible was used to justify inhumane actions. Attending church made you good even if your behaviour spoke differently. Religion gave adults the authority to destroy the souls of children and rob them of their creativity, passion and innocence.

So while I feel like I’ve done quite well with healing myself in the context of relationship, I’ve finally been able to see how my toxic perspective on the church has been holding me back from finding true freedom in other areas of my life. The task of forgiving the errors of a ‘thing’ rather than a person seems daunting to me. It’s not as if those structures can reciprocate my desire for reconciliation. Or can they? Or do they need to?

Social structures are the products of the minds that create them, nurture them and sustain them. And behind those minds are people. I don’t know them. I don’t know their intentions. Much of Christianity, as we know it today, was formed around decisions made 1600 years ago. Yes, I’ve explored and questioned the events that led to its origins. None of that understanding does me any good anyway. Understanding is not required for forgiveness to take place.

Forgiveness is something I do for myself. Reciprocity is not a co-requisite. Forgiveness is a shift in my state of mind from perceptions that held me back to perceptions that set me free. A frequent side-effect is that the forgivee is also set free, but this isn’t a requirement.

People make errors, individually and collectively, for reasons that we cannot truly comprehend. They play their roles and we play ours. For me the question cannot be ‘why’, but rather, ‘what now?’

‘What now?’ involves the gentle guidance of Holy Spirit and the application of Jesus’ unconditional love. Can I forgive that deeply and love that big? Yes. The only question that remains is will I?

Yes.

 

 

Recognize

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Trauma Release Exercises

healingI grew up with abuse. A lot of it. Every kind of it.

I’ve watched over the years as emotional toxicity has manifested in physical disease in every member of my nuclear family. Seriously – every single one is now physically disabled. I believe I have avoided this path by relentlessly pursuing a journey of healing and wholeness. That’s not to say I haven’t had physical stuff show up in my body, it’s just that I’ve found ways to heal that have kept me healthy.

A few years ago I read a book titled Job’s Body by Deane Juhan. The author is a massage therapist and the book unravelled how memories are literally retained in the fabric our cells. This was demonstrated with the fact that an older man who holds his body in a disfigured shape will completely lose his disfigurement when his body  relaxes under anaesthetic. Why? His mind has subconsciously trained his cells to hold that shape while conscious.

Even weirder, take the fact that it has been documented that a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) manifested a personality that was an insulin dependent diabetic, but when that personality was taken over by a different personality, the diabetes literally disappeared!

Clearly, the body stores trauma on a very physical level. Many people work for years trying to heal their memories and emotions and never achieve full recovery.

Recently, I came across the work of Dr. David Berceli who has discovered a somatic (body) based therapy that anybody can do for free. This therapy helps to release the trauma stored in certain muscles in the body. Specifically, the psoas muscles. These muscles are the deepest muscles in our bodies. They connect the backbone to the tops of the femurs; they literally hold the top and bottom half of our bodies together! The health of the psoas muscles affect our intestinal system, adrenal glands, lower back, hips and if you’re a woman – your uterus.

When we’re in a fight, flight or freeze situation it is our psoas muscles that clench up and pull us forward to protect our most vulnerable parts. People who have had chronic trauma in their life do this a lot and guess what? It causes physical problems. So many people who’ve experienced abuse have intestinal disorders, lower back problems, hips issues, ‘woman’s’ problems and burned out adrenals. This actually isn’t a mystery when you understand that chronically clenched psoas muscles from a state of fear can create all these problems!

Here’s the cool part: Dr. Berceli discovered that the shaking response we get after a traumatic event actually releases the trauma retained in the psoas muscles. The trouble is, most of us have taught ourselves not to shake when scared, primarily to save us embarrassment.

Do you know what happens to an archery bow when someone dry fires it? It usually doesn’t look any different on the outside, but the insides of the structure get so messed up and damaged it doesn’t work properly anymore. That’s why archery stores charge people who dry fire bows in their shops. Guess what happens when your psoas muscles absorb all the energy of repeated trauma and don’t discharge it properly? Exactly: you get all messed up and damaged inside just like a  dry fired bow.

If you want to heal from trauma you need to physically heal the part of you that initially absorbed it in your body. Exercises that gently induce the shaking response have been proven to assist with this. I’ve been doing Dr. Berceli’s Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) daily and I’ve seen a HUGE shift in my emotional and physical well-being not to mention healing of a hip impingement issue. If you want to learn more or give it a try, check out these links:

Trauma Release How To

Dr. Berceli Explains TRE

Be Blessed!

 

Highly Sensitive

abstractartI’m a highly sensitive person. I see things other people don’t. I hear the words that aren’t spoken and I feel the emotions people try so hard to conceal. Maybe you can relate?

For me, being highly sensitive is an artifact of an extremely abusive upbringing. These intuitive skills essentially kept me alive in an environment that surely would’ve been the death of me, literally. Today I consider them to be a gift.

Well, they’re mostly a gift. I say this because one of the side effects of being highly sensitive is having a propensity to being easily overwhelmed. It’s called sensory overwhelm. Maybe you can relate?

Overwhelm

The overwhelm comes from my logical brain trying to make sense of all the information that I’m collecting in both the physical and ethyrical realms. This in itself is a faulty modality for processing information, but that’s the structure that our left-brained society has imposed on us through its institutional control of our daily lives.

Whoa – did you just hear that?! It’s true, most highly sensitive people perceive themselves as victims of ‘the system’. And they are. The reason why is because they keep going back to ‘the system’ to find healing. They can’t be faulted for that, after all, that is exactly what we’ve been propagandized to believe will ‘fix’ us.

I have yet to meet even one deeply wounded person who has found complete healing, wholeness and abundance through the ‘fixing’ structures of society be they religion, education, medicine or mental health. I do, however, know a lot of people who’ve become worse and they’ve spent good money attaining it (myself included).

So, what’s the answer? Well, for starters, you don’t need to make sense of all you are sensing! Leave it to your soul or human spirit to sort that out. It will do a magnificent job of this if you give it a creative outlet or go for a walk in nature. Most importantly, ask Holy Spirit to be Present with you in this. Holy Spirit transcends your brain altogether, keeping things simple!

Next, you have to deprogram your thought system. The human brain is a tool for the use of the mind. It’s highly pliant and compliant. As you switch out old belief systems and vigilantly apply new ones, the synapses will literally rewire themselves and eventually create entirely new ways of being. Nearly every other cell in your body dies and is replaced within a 2 year cycle. Do you know what this means? It means that you have the power to become a physically ‘new’ person!

As you restructure your mind and body you open up new and unobstructed avenues for Divine creativity to begin manifesting miracles in your life daily. Miracles are a transformation of the mind and healing is the result. The Bible has so many passages that talk about the importance of transforming your mind. It’s plain and its obvious and yet 99% of people who know this don’t apply it to their life! If churches would teach this one thing well, all other truth and healing would naturally manifest in its adherent’s lives.

The sad truth is that most churches don’t teach this well and you know why…it’s called ‘institutionalized religion’. That’s right, it’s one of those left-brained societal structures.

I go to church. I listen to the preacher. I eat the meat and spit out the bones. I walk in miracles daily and invite anyone who wishes, to join me in the Divine Art of Transformation of the Mind.

May you be blessed to be a blessing!