Commusings: Bless & Release by Danielle LaPorteSep 24, 2022
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Hello Commune Community,
We are anchored to our sense of self through a feeling of physical and psychological continuity. We look more or less the same day to day – though, of course, there have been billions of cellular deaths and rebirths since our last gander in the mirror. A mere flip through a photo album is enough to demonstrate that nothing about this physical organism is permanent. Am I the cherubic baby, the disheveled college student or the distinguished denizen of middle-age that types this note? Of course, I am none of these things. I am a process, spontaneously emerging moment to moment.
Psychologically, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves day to day also moor our self-identity. But, upon closer inspection, our personal folklore is as transient as our gut bacteria. Our opinions, priorities and affiliations are fickle over time. Even our most personal stories bend to comport to the human we want to be on a particular day.
Every experience of the past is happening in the present. In this way, the present creates the past like a boat creates the Kelvin wake behind it.
Being moored to our past chains us to our narrative life. We rehash the painful chronicles of our existence and project them into the future as negative anticipated memories. It’s not that trauma isn’t real. But trauma, as Gabor Maté succinctly elucidates, is “not what happens to you but what happens inside you.” It is not the agonizing event itself of neglect or abuse or oppression. Trauma is the suffering that you bring forward, what Peter Levine calls “the tyranny of the past.”
This realization gives us the agency to let it go. This great exhale is often the product of moving from our narrative lives to our experienced lives, the ones happening right here, right now. This thorny shift is the target of myriad therapies and practices.
How lucky we are to have brilliant minds like Danielle LaPorte helping us navigate such a thicket! Today’s essay is an excerpt from her new book. I can’t wait to read it.
• • •
Bless & Release
By Danielle LaPorte
Excerpted from How to Be Loving… when your heart is breaking open and the world is waking up, by Danielle LaPorte. Available Oct 2022. Pre-order here.
Retelling old stories can hold us back from healing.
I’ve had plenty of therapy. Jungian therapy, Gestalt therapy. A Jewish Buddhist psychotherapist. Most of my girlfriends have had a ton of therapy, which means I’ve gotten therapy by proxy: “So what did she say about him projecting all that onto you? Oh my God, brilliant!” For that matter, a bunch of my friends are actual therapists, coaches, healers, or facilitators, and I trained some of those facilitators myself. I’m covered.
There’s been heaps of recapitulation and reclamation in my personal processing. I have cried, talked, and tapped it out. And with the exception of one very cranky counselor who I’m sure was projecting her unresolved issues onto me and accusing me of transference (see, this is the shit you say after you’ve had a lot of therapy), I’m grateful for every single hour doing the work that helped free me to Loving awareness. Some very skilled mind-knowers have guided me through the darkest passages of my life, and I’m indebted to them.
When we stay attached to our experiences, we can create suffering. So the healing inquiry is: Are you willing to give over one painful experience—and the suffering that came with it—to your heart for healing?
Just one? And then another and another? Bringing each experience up to be accepted and completely Loved? So that it can be fully released?
The most sincere healers guide you to fully examine your woundedness—its origins and impacts—and to free yourself of its origins and impacts. We dive into the watery realms of past pain, and we reclaim the parts of ourselves that were dislodged by the floods of tragedy and trauma. And we resurface. More whole and more buoyant. Ideally, we keep flowing downstream with our lives. We move on.
But the shadow self finds those old murky waters of pain so tempting. And it will send us back, unnecessarily, to stir up old memories. We keep talking about our painful events. On and on with the retelling. We turn the trauma into a main character in our life’s theater. Somehow, we’re always finding subtle or overt ways to reference the pain in our conversations.
We impose past story lines on what’s playing out in our current life. We might talk about how the new, challenging person in our life is a repeat pattern of someone in our family of origin. She’s a replay of my mother. This is the “father wound” all over again. And yes, Psych 101 will tell us that we repeat patterns until we become more conscious and break the cycle. The wounded self Loves to re-create what’s familiar—even if what’s familiar is unhealthy.
But we can get trapped in the analysis merry-go-round. We keep looking at our present through the lens of our past. We walk through the world, through our relationships, asking, How is this a reflection of my past? And that’s an incredible disservice to our healing and the opportunity in front of us to Love.
Let’s say your father was absent, so unconsciously, you married someone who’s out of town for work a lot and it’s a source of pain—and healing—for you. Maybe your sister stole your boyfriend in high school, and now you’re in a business partnership with someone who steals the limelight. Those old patterns may, in fact, be playing out.
On one level, it’s productive to make the connection between past pain points and what we’ve created in our current life. (Notice I used the term “created” and not “attracted.” I think “attracting” is more passive sounding than how manifestation actually works. Created feels more . . . dynamic and responsible. We like to think that we “attracted” that bad character, but that we “created” some good fortune. We’re creating all of it.)
Back to how our past shows up in our present . . . Seeing what we’re creating is brilliant self-responsibility. It’s a means to empowerment.
But! There’s a shadow side of correlating our past with our present life. We keep digging up what we’ve laid to rest. And when we do that, we’re reenergizing that old pattern. We’re reinforcing the old form. The retelling of those painful stories can hold us back from healing.
Perspective informs our reality. If we choose to perceive people as repeats of our past, then we’ll keep repeating the past. We can choose to let someone be who they are for us today, not a hologram of yesterday’s issues.
Oversimplified Instructions on How to Let Go of the Past
- Identify the wound. Where do you feel restricted, weak, or incapacitated?
- Identify the impacts of the wounding. How does the woundedness affect your thoughts, words, actions?
- Apply the medicine of Forgiving and Loving Kindness—for yourself and for others .
- Leave the past in the past. See people and events of today with a Loving gaze. Which is to say, let Love dissolve your doubts.
Letting Go vs. Cutting Cords
If you’ve done some metaphysical homework (and my guess is you have—you’re here), you’ve probably come across the idea of “cutting energy cords” with people and places. We “send all that energy back to its source and cut-cut-cut those cords!” That practice can be a powerful remedy to imbalances and protecting ourselves. But . . . sometimes . . .
If you’re in an emotionally volatile space, it can be difficult to dissolve energetic ties with people you’re angry at or a situation that felt wounding or hurtful. The “cutting ties” gesture itself can have an underlying aggression. And that will just generate more angst—which is just another energy hook, more of the same story.
You can’t let go of something that you’re aggressively trying to let go of.
We want to gently and thoroughly let go of all of the residual scars of a painful connection or event. Your part in the pain, their part in it, the pain in the middle. The pain over the pain. And then we offer it all up to be transformed into a higher vibration—which is how we create Wisdom. With the help of the Divine, we refine our suffering into Light.
We don’t want to approach this as a “cutting away” or separating from our sorrow. It’s about turning to the Divine with our pain and being healed through that connection.
Ultimately this is about identifying with our expansive nature, instead of feeling constricted. Constriction grips. Expansion lets things flow. And when we’re expanded, we open ourselves to receive more healing and blessings.
Nothing leaves us until we thoroughly Love it.
We can’t curse it to release it. We can’t attack it to release it. That only creates more clinging and pushback.
Bless it: Thank you for what you taught me. May you be free.
Then whatever it is—a relationship or a painful thoughtform—gets what it’s always wanted: some Love.
And then it will go on its way.
Danielle LaPorte is a member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100, and creator of the Heart Centered Membership + Leadership Program with facilitators and coaches around the world. The former director of a future studies think tank in Washington, DC, where she managed a team creating global scenarios. She now speaks about the intelligence of the heart on her podcast With Love, Danielle.
Her most recent book, How To Be Loving…when your heart is breaking open and the world is waking up, is also an Audiobook + ebook, with a companion deck and journal. Danielle is also the author of The Fire Starter Sessions, The Desire Map, White Hot Truth, and producer of dozens of meditation kits and online programs for spiritual support.
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