Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus

Never Waste a Good Trigger: Part Two

We can use emotional and physical triggers to lead us onto a path of discovery. The unwinding and healing of the trauma trail has many steps. Each step taken is an act of power, which also builds self-respect.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

We can use emotional and physical triggers to lead us onto a path of discovery. The unwinding and healing of the trauma trail has many steps. Each step taken is an act of power, which also builds self-respect.

The emotional charge of an unresolved experience is archived in cell tissue. (To read more about this, look into the resources below.) When our trigger gets pushed in the present, the reaction is frequently bewildering.

More than just back pain

Here is a personal example that happened very recently. My back tweaked from pulling my luggage off the carousel. In the middle of the airport, I was not in the mood to stop, as I was tired and irritable, and in a hurry to get to my next destination. When it happened, all I had time to do was breathe into the tweak while driving away.

Later, as I was doing my practice, I felt into and concentrated upon the sore place in my back.
I focused in on the trigger -- my back pain. I used the stored irritable emotions in there as a doorway... suddenly I was revisiting an horrific experience from early childhood. I tracked back through this familiar territory and, much to my surprise, found the origin of my back tweak hidden amongst many other injuries. The luggage incident helped point to a bigger trauma that still needed some attention.

Make use of your wisdom and knowledge

I started breathing into my back -- that relaxed the muscles a bit. Then I had a big epiphany: As a little child, I just had to be in pain and endure. That is the level of a child's ability to cope. But I'm no longer a little girl. I realized I needed to bring in who I am now to heal the source of this trigger -- the wise medicine woman, injury specialist and yoga teacher with many resources.

I gathered the gifts of wisdom from 55 years of life. I brought in the ways of healing, support, resourcefulness and self-esteem I now have that the little girl did not. My back had been holding this trauma for over 50 years. My self-respect -- for who I have become -- formed into a visceral shining liquid. I poured that respect for my own gifts through my back injury, filling it with a lustrous, liquid pearlescent energy. Then, my back began to unwind and feel good and lubricated.

Understand, I could have just been irritable about being tweaky, or just tried to stretch it out. But instead, I brought this high quality of attention and respect for my resourcefulness into my injury and a beautiful process unfolded. I reached a different level of epiphany and response.

Discovering what gives you leverage with your pain

The leverage was not applying a specific gift or tool. What worked was applying the respect of who I have become to the injury. I had discovered a frozen toxic little ball that entrapped the damage. I poured my warm liquefied respect onto that frozen ball; it melted, freeing up the child. She had been imprisoned in that trauma for over half a century! As a result, the child released the damage, grew up and integrated with who I am now -- the adult.

I am very grateful for the experiences of healing. They are part of what inspire my aliveness. I love these mind-bending, cellular-transforming experiences that happen through quantum leaps.

Step into your power

As you start to work with the stew of emotions and unravel the shards of pain, you gain insight and power. The charge from the trigger begins to disperse. An important step is to bring the resourcefulness of the present-day self down the trauma trail to the past experience. Deliberately apply the wisdom of who you are now into the process of healing and resolution from that past event. Include the old beliefs that accompany the event into your healing process, so that they can also be seen from a fresh perspective.

I know sometimes it takes a while to care enough about yourself and believe you can heal. I am telling you that you can heal.

Healing steps: In the case of an injury (this includes emotional injury)

  • Start deep breathing into the injury and ask, "When did I first feel this pain?" There maybe a few different times this injury has cropped up in your life -- encompass each of them; it's all useful information
  • Bring a feeling of respect for who you are now into the injury. Haven't you grown a lot since then? Honor that. Use deep breathing to soak in the new truths and fresh energy of your self-respect.
  • Step out of the limited paradigm that you were living in when you first felt this pain.
  • Take your wiser self -- built with the truths of who you are today -- and revisit the past self that's frozen and isolated in the pain. Use the tools of your wiser self to free up that part of you. Invite and welcome this newly freed aspect of yourself into your present life.
  • Get curious about what unfolds... feel for the first shimmers of change.
  • Reinforce the new paradigm in daily living: Start by implementing deep breathing, active feet and check for and change boggy thinking. Have compassion for the wounded parts of you. Honor who you have become and who you are evolving into.

Now, take the action. Care enough to never waste a good trigger!

You can read more about working with triggers in Ana's book Fierce Medicine, now also available as an audiobook.

For more by Ana Forrest, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

Learn more:

Molecules of Emotion: Why you feel the way you feel, by Candice B Pert

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, by Carolyn Myss

Bioenergetics, by Alexander Lowen, M.D.