In order to understand this whole business about childhood wounds and their healing process, I want to remind you of how our bodies shift from a parasympathetic state (rest and digest) to a sympathetic state (fight, flight or faint) when we face fear or hurt. We know our bodies are designed to spend most of their time in the first state, so in order to be healthy, every time the second gets triggered we need to find our way back. We (specially children) instinctively do so: through crying and raging, laughing, sweating, yawing and shaking while feeling safe.
The trouble is when we don’t do those things, or not enough. Then residual chemicals and emotions stay stuck inside. From then on, our system is constantly trying to release them, and they can feel like dammed water pushing against the sluice gate. If they are not let out, when there is a new event similar to the original one which also causes hurt and painful emotions, this will add to the first lot, starting to create what American doctor and healer Barbara Brennan calls a Frozen Conglomerate. Marion Rose, my AwP mentor, calls it a Sweet Spot.
Even though the term is a bit of a mouthful, there are three things I like about the Frozen Conglomerate analogy. One, there is always an original wound, often created when we were babies or small children. And on top of it there is a collection of hurtful events of a similar nature which added to the original wound. Together, they make the Conglomerate. That makes a lot of sense when we start healing, because we end up encountering all of those experiences one under another, like layers of an onion. The second thing I like about the analogy is that the pain remains frozen and fresh as the moment it happened, even when it is decades old and the sensory memories, for example images, might have faded. You can provably relate to that: “Wow! I didn’t realise I still felt so strongly about this!”. The third thing I love about the Frozen Conglomerate analogy is that, the way to melt it, is with the warmth of unconditional love.
In my case, my original wound happened when being left in my cot to cry as a baby. I do not have any sensory recollection of it, no images at all. But boy!, do I remember the terror I felt! As clearly as if it had been yesterday. On top of it is the beginning of school before I was emotionally ready for it, and a myriad of other ways in which I was pushed to grow up, to take steps in life before I felt safe enough to take them.
So in order to heal this I need three things: one, to access the stuck emotions in my system. A common way is to be triggered by something or someone; my trigger this time was my children beginning the school year. The second step is to feel safe enough to express those emotions. The third one, to express them in a healthy way (anger and raging must be expressed without hurting anyone or anything).
One of the things I love about Aware Parenting is that the tools I have learned to help me parent my children better can be extended to any kind of relationship. I have applied them successfully to my relationship with my husband, my extended family, my friends, my kids’ teachers… and most of all, to parent my own inner girl. That, in fact, is essential, because what we can’t give to ourselves, it will be really hard to give to our children. So I tried to listen to my inner girl with the same quality of warmth and non-judgement I use for my “outer” children.
Regardless of what has woken me up in the middle of the night, if there are unsettled feelings inside, my thinking goes into overdrive, trying to cover them up with distraction. But, of course, between the feelings and the revving of my brain, there is no way to sleep. Getting up and writing is like setting an intention, is like giving that little frightened girl inside the message: “Ok, I’m here, I’m listening, I’m all yours”. I let her guide the pen, without censorship, even if it doesn’t make sense. That’s the open listening quality that allows the process to begin: accessing the stuck emotions in my system.
Eventually the writing starts to make sense. Sooner or later I’ll have an “aha!” moment and the tears will start to flow. Then the wiser part of me, what Marion calls the Inner Loving Mother or Father, will step forward and offer all the empathy, compassion and support needed. It is exactly the same as with our children, whether they wake up in the middle of the night or whether they are upset any other time during the day: if we make ourselves available, if we prioritise listening to them and if we do it without judgement, eventually the Balance of Attention will be perfect, we’ll reach the Frozen Conglomerate and the emotions will begin to flow. By offering the empathy, compassion and support needed, we make the space safe, we set the ideal conditions for healing to happen.
This is how Frozen Conglomerates begin to “thaw”. When they are small, them might melt in a single session or a few. If they are bigger, we will need several, some times many (many!) sessions. But if every time we touch them we offer the ideal conditions for healing, eventually they will melt to the core and disappear all together! This is the best news ever: life without triggers! Joy, peace, enlightenment!!!
I am looking forward to living my life without even the subtlest of fears, without that underlying anxiety I can barely notice because I am so used to living with it. I have already come a long way. There is a world of difference between me now and 10 years ago, when I became a mum for the first time and my Core Wound got stroked in a huge way; or 6 years ago, when we moved from Scotland to Australia and the same happened again; or even between now and last year, when I had my last phase of anxiety. A big, BIG difference. I am stronger, more grounded, less angry, more compassionate, more peaceful, empathic, joyful, fun… I seriously reckon when I crack that one I’ll be enlightened. In the meanwhile, the journey is full of treasures.
If you see yourself reflected, touched , inspired
or if you have any questions or comments,
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