Healing. My story.
What are you healing from?
↑ The most commonly asked question, after when is the house ready ;)
Food and recipes have taken the backseat with you guys. I've naturally gravitated away to incorporate a wider scope, and I thank you for trusting me in the redirection.
Food and healing recipes was the be-all, my focal point when I began my health journey. Always keen to mend some form of stress-related disorder that had revealed itself, hippie lane was born from my passion to heal with whole foods. And what a humbling beautiful journey it's been.
I shifted gears, taking a holistic approach to healing. It took me some years but I eventually realised that healthy food alone cannot reverse chronic stress. In order to heal, I needed to go multi-modal. To heal, I needed to take an approach that encompassed mind - body - soul, and this led me to trace my pain and it's roots.
Unhealed trauma hurts. Left unresolved, it results in behaviours that self-sabotage and leads us to hold core beliefs that cause us to see ourselves as broken, unworthy and unloveable. Through this tainted lens, we live our lives and instinctively know that we're not whole but don't know why or how.
The concept of 'trauma' or my understanding of it didn't really apply to me, in my life or the selective memories I had about my life. I used to think something big, unforeseen or catastrophic needed to happen for someone to be traumatised.
Nothing major happened to me so how can I be traumatised?
I also knew, instinctively, that I didn't feel safe. I never did. From as early as I can remember, my very earliest memories (age 3), I was scared. I felt insecure, unsafe, like something was deeply wrong or that something bad would happen. The saddest and most haunting part of recalling my experience as a little girl was not that I felt lonely, afraid and worried a lot of the time, but that I was alone with my fears.
This is something I've had to grapple with as I returned to the hurt and faced the pain that I had kept, deep down inside.
A crucial part of the healing process is to revisit your pain. The hurt that you felt as a child. The wounds that left the most visible scars, that led you astray and shaped the way you view the world.
Skimming over the surface, rationalising your experience (ie. spiritually bypassing) and /or focussing on gratitude are coping mechanisms that help you manage your experience but won't undo the split.
To return to wholeness, to heal the split, you need to look it in the eye. To heal your hurt, you need feel the pain, and this requires being emotionally attuned to your feelings, in the way you had hoped that you were cared for when you were little.
This process is called inner mothering (or reparenting), the process of compassionate loving presence for the wounded inner child that felt helpless, desperate and alone.
I never said it was easy.
I am the youngest of three children in my family of five. I was the unexpected (but welcomed) third child, 4+ years younger than my brother and sister. The baby of the family.
My parents, each carrying incomprehensible amounts of generational trauma themselves, did the best they knew how.
I love and cherish my parents. Through the healing process, I've felt anger and resentment toward them, definitely. With time and processing I moved through all the heavy sticky feelings. They meant no harm.
I forgive them. They were well meaning and well intentioned, with a common goal - to set up a secure and safe life for us in a new country, away from the chaos and instability of their homeland.
And that, they did. Australia, the land of opportunity. This was the early 80's. My father was hugely successful in establishing himself as a leading manufacturer in his industry and was able to provide far beyond his expectations.
We had a good life. As I recall the loneliness, I can also recall the good times. My dad was super passionate, his energy and spirit was unforgettable. He adored my mum and their commitment to each other and to their children was evident in all that they pursued.
My dad transitioned 2 years ago. As I learn more about my own pain, I see into his. The more I understand about me, the more I understand about him. And as I cultivate deep compassion for myself, I feel all the more for him. No denying, he was a hard man, a tough father to have, very strict and solid in shame-based parenting. I was afraid of him, growing up. You would need to put your needs aside in the presence of dad. It was his way and you knew it. [What I know now, his need to control others was his way of appeasing his fears and provide a (false) sense security - something he greatly missed as a child and wished he had].
In the same vein, his love was big. His vulnerability was rarely shown yet his intentions were always felt. My mum perfectly balanced his big energy. She was generous, warm and placid. The yin to his yang. They were a perfect match.
My mother was a stay-at-home mum, raising three young children. English being her second language, with very little support (outside her marriage), she did her best. What I remember of my mum was her beauty - she was jaw dropping. Stunning. I remember her being super tidy and impeccably well dressed. Cleanliness, having dinner on the table and having the home in order was really important to her. [What I know now is that being chronically busy is what kept her anxiety at bay. Having an orderly house tamed the chaos inside of her. I didn't understand that, then].
But when it came to the emotional atmosphere at home, we were left to our own devices. Being the youngest (and most quiet of the three), I was more or less alone in my feelings.
My needs went unnoticed - nothing sinister, no harm intended - just overlooked, for lack of better word.
Chronically neglected herself, my mother didn't have the tools for emotional attunement. To be in tune with me, to feel my pain. It's as simple and as tragic as that. My father too.
Dealing with her own unresolved trauma and the demands of her life as a young mum and the painful effect of her strained relationship with her own mother, she did what she could. Attending to the needs of her older children, she had little to give when it came to emotional nourishment.
I felt this, deeply. I was a sensitive child in an emotionally turbulent environment. The only way a little girl of my nature could translate this was to believe that she didn't matter. And that's how the story goes.
I developed ADHD in infancy which I now understand develops in (susceptible) highly sensitive children of families with multigenerational stress. I had severe seperation anxiety and deeply rooted fears of abandonment from the age of 2/3 (from what I remember). When my mum would leave to go so somewhere without me, I'd fear that she may never return. That she may be in a tragic accident and not make it back home. I would wish, hope and pray that my fears weren't real. In a state of panic, highly unsettled is an understatement to how I felt. The turbulence within would settle only and when she would return home, safe. These anxious episodes were frequent and recurrent, and would plague me till I reached my teens.
Doom and gloom, impending disasters, fear that something was wrong or something bad was going to happen - this was how it was for me, my way of thinking. I didn't know any other way.
I was spared during my teens where I went through a period of carelessness. And fuck it felt good. Reckless and rebellious, I suddenly rocked an alter ego that was exactly the opposite of my pre-teen self. That quiet, shy, frightened girl was no longer running the show. It was a sudden transition that coincided with the onset of puberty. Hit with those transformative hormonal surges, a group of rebellious friends and desperate for some sense of control, I was everything exciting and nothing like I was when I was little. My school-life reinforced feelings of worthlessness. Unable to concentrate, and again, overlooked and unnoticed in the school system, I didn't receive the necessary support. Albeit to say, I felt alone and misunderstood. Escapism was the answer. Risk-taking and impulsivity ruled as I fell in and out of young love, and experienced the many ups and downs of life as a teen.
Fearless and free through high school, anxiety creeped back into my psyche, around University age. It would take me years of second guessing, self sabotage, escapism, low energy, disordered eating, perfectionism, getting lost in achievements, productivity, heartache and regrets to work it
Now that I look back (the beauty of hindsight) there were many clues. I just didn't know at the time that what I had been experiencing as symptoms were in fact trauma responses. If you've been following me for a while and have read my blog posts on adrenal fatigue, infertility, food sensitivities, gut dysfunction and other stress-related conditions, the pieces of the puzzle have now, finally, fallen into place. WTF. I had been chronically stressed since infancy. It had no way of being anything other than this.
Turns out I was living in survival mode most of my life and I didn't know it. Triggered in the fight or flight response, operating from a place of distrust and hyper vigilance. Looking out for danger, I never felt truly safe.
The memories I did have (and the lack of them) were a clue into my experiences which were in actual reality, debilitating and deeply traumatising.
The ego does a fine job in protecting us. It hides facts and conceals pain until we're ready for it. It's taken me up to my ripe old age of 40 to come to my senses. 'Coming to senses' meaning 'to recover consciousness' - as per the free dictionary meaning. Such perfection in that term. Coming back to my senses ie. no longer running from self. Grounded in truth, experiencing the present, sensing the moment, no longer governed by past pain.
Healing is the wake up call. Breaking generational trauma is no humble process. This journey isn't for everyone. It requires commitment to stay rooted when the going gets tough, and it really. fucking. does. To see your world crumble as you accept the truth and your reality. The pretty picture you (unconsciously) painted along the way, all wiped clear. The grief and loss has been overwhelming. Yet the joy and hope I feel now, I've never felt - ever before. That's the gift of this work.
There's more to say, lots more, and I hope to share when the time is right. I felt the urge to get that off my chest, so to speak. Another epic term that gets straight to the heart of the matter - the wise folks who came before us really understood what life was about.
Sending love to everyone and anyone who is doing the work, challenging what society deems 'normal' - healing their wounds, clearing their distorted lens, remembering who they are & finding their peace.
Also sending love to all of you who are not yet on or almost walking your path.
We are one.
Love & light to you ✨