Understanding My Feelings Behind Flashbacks

An excerpt from my journal Monday, July 27.

I am caught in this depth of sadness and anguish at 4 am. My chest is tight and my stomach is upset. This is how I woke up from a night of flashbacks. Flashbacks have not happened to me in a while so they took me by surprise. However, this time I did not wake up terrified, I woke up with this deep sadness and sense of aloneness. The enormity of these feelings is intense. I struggle as I sit and breathe into the feelings. I realize that these feelings are ones that I have felt my whole life. They were just buried so deep inside me. Outwardly, I gave the appearance that I was a happy and successful student, child, adolescent, young adult, teacher, nun and professor, but inside I was suffering so much with all my secret pain and anguish. Now these feelings are just sitting on my chest waiting for me to compassionately embrace them.  This sadness, aloneness and anguish are part of my true self and part of my personality because they were the most common feelings I actually felt most of my life. These feelings live in every tissue in my body and in every neural pathway. I can feel their imprint in every cell.

It is time for me to spend time with these feelings and to let the energy of these emotions flow through me and out into the universe. They are part of the life force that flows through me. I need to embrace them as much as I did the joy I had Sunday (yesterday) venturing out of my home to go to a musical with my husband. It was a beautiful day, one filled with such joy and peace. Again, the challenge is to compassionately embrace this huge contrast, to feel the fullness and energy of all these emotions and to try to find peace with my mind, body and spirit which stores them all.

If I just compassionately spend time with all the emotions, they will lessen in their intensity. Obviously they were waiting in the shadows to come out in my dreams last night. The great difference is that after all these years of hard work I can feel them and their intensity. Yet, at the same time, I can do my routines and structures that make me experience freedom, joy and success on a daily basis. All is well.

As I have spent the day reflecting on my sadness and anguish as part of my wholeness and completeness, it became very apparent that right underneath them is anger, rage and an inability to forgive. Most spiritual books or self healing books I have read talk about our need to forgive as a way to really heal. Today, I see the anger, rage and inability to forgive as part of my purest, truest self. I feel I am complete and whole as I am. I am enough. All these feelings help me to live a life where I am fully human, fully alive. To feel them all is to experience life to its fullest and holiest. The great thing is that I don’t feel any sense of unworthiness or shame that I am not able to forgive or let go of my anger and rage. I have changed my lifetime belief that “to be good,” I need to get rid of the anger, rage, and lack of forgiveness which was embedded in me from my home of origin, religion and Catholic school education. In response, I see the fullness of my inner life, with all its complexity and fullness, as holy and sacred ground.


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