Regret, guilt, and shame are difficult feelings to contend with and at times completely debilitating. All three rooted in the past and grow into the present as weeds in a garden. These weeds emerge with distorted memories tainting our current perception. The memories commonly contain themes of being a victim or an offender, making “catastrophic” mistakes, doing something wrong, hurting someone’s feelings, causing someone pain, not doing enough, not being good enough, and more. The vines of these themes, often grow distorted, self-limiting, and self-defeating thoughts/beliefs creating the feelings of regret, guilt, and shame.
The past serves a powerful purpose (if used with compassion). The past helps us to learn lessons so we may reduce the frequency of distorted thoughts/beliefs and maladaptive behaviors or better yet release and transmute them. Obviously there is truth to the memories we hold. We may have indeed caused harm to ourselves and others or someone has caused harm to us, but we tend to over-exaggerate past mistakes, weaknesses, and “failures”. Remember at the time of the memory you most likely behaved from a space of limited awareness or a clouded, confused perspective. You participated or reacted from what you knew at the time.
We also tend to discount positive aspects of our memories and hyper-focus on the negative. Even in the most traumatic events there is some positive such as the lessons learned from the event. These events offer opportunities to grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, to learn responsibility for our energetic presence, to learn appropriate and healthy boundaries, to learn what we don’t deserve hence to learn our worth, and/or to learn how to unconditionally love ourselves.
When we hyper-focus on the negative, the past becomes binding like we’re dragging our own personal shackle and chains. The burden becomes so great we disregard or bypass the lesson and punish ourselves endlessly with the “debilitating trio”: regret, guilt, and shame. This excessive self-deprecating reaction to our memories keeps us bound to the past and distorts the present.
How do we liberate ourselves from this bondage?
When you feel the harsh jerk of the shackles and chains from the past due to a trigger in the present, just know it is an opportunity for healing. The skill to free yourself from this oppression involves transmuting the memory. You change the memory to how you would want it to unfold knowing the lesson you learned from the past and the wisdom you have in the present.
If the idea of changing a memory brings resistance, then it’s all the better reason to try this intervention. The resistance is just the shackles and chains wanting to keep you captive in a cycle of suffering.
The resistance may also be due to the memory involving someone or a situation that caused you harm. It may feel as though changing or transmuting the memory takes away justice for the other’s wrong doing, especially if amends haven’t been made or consequences haven’t been received. On the flip side, it is much greater injustice in my opinion for you to be carrying the burden of these restricting and oppressive feelings causing you to be punished endlessly. Why are you being punished for another’s wrong doing? You are for the most part not in charge or responsible for another person’s behavior unless they are a child or have an impairment. You ARE in charge of your own well-being, which does include regaining your empowerment. The practice of this skill is not denying that a wrong doing was done. By transmuting the memory or even just flooding the memory especially yourself with white and golden light, you are dissolving their power over you and releasing the negative energetic cord/attachment you have with the person or situation who harmed you. This frees you from being held captive to the memory allowing you to implement healthy boundaries and/or pursue appropriate consequences from a space of clarity. This is forgiveness and empowerment.
If changing the memory releases your captivity to the past, then why not be free so you can be the person you desire in the present moment? By releasing and transforming these chains you can offer an authentic amends for any harm you may have caused or be released from the disempowered energetic trap of being a victim. Memories are meant to teach us, not to imprison us. Let the memory do its job of teaching, so it may be transmuted into light and so you can get back to the present without the burden of the past.
The skill involves visualization and meditation. The skill will be most effective after you reduce any anxiety or distress as a result of a memory being triggered in the present. Effective means to reduce distress are grounding, objective thinking, empowered self-talk, diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, or whatever technique resonates with you. Centering into a grounded, calm, and clearer space increases openness and decreases any resistance to healing.
Begin the meditation by imagining yourself encased in a white column of light extending from the Divine, God, Source, Spirit (whatever resonates with you) all the way down to Mother Earth, Gaia. This column of light offers protection and support during your healing. Recall the memory as if you are seeing it on a movie screen. Flood the memory with white and golden light so the light fills the entire room or space. Imagine rays of white and golden light extending from your heart to the memory. The light and heart connection transmutes any negative, denser energies attached to the original memory such as the “debilitating trio” feelings, anger, resentment, sadness, fear, etc. Replay the memory as the person you are now who learned the lessons from the past, the wiser person, and the person who desires to respond to the memory’s events from a higher, compassionate, and loving perspective.
Once the memory is complete, offer the energy of gratitude for the opportunity to heal the memory, which subsequently heals the present moment because energy doesn’t know the concept of time. Close the memory with another burst of white light and see it dissipate into the expansive space around you. Imagine the column of light from the beginning of the meditation seals off to form a white sphere of light surrounding you. This sphere of white light is a shield protecting and repelling any negative, denser energies desiring to shackle you and to hold you back from your highest potential. The shield compassionately reflects back to the source the denser energies for them to heal. The shield is fluid and allows you to receive and to give unconditional love.
Experiment with the meditation. You may adjust or refine the imagery with whatever resonates with you, but maintain the intention of transmuting the memory with love and compassion. You may also utilize this skill in written form. You may literally rewrite the memory using similar aspects of the meditation. It will be more effective to handwrite than to type.
MY EXPERIENCE USING THE COPING SKILL
My beloved dog of 13.5 years passed in February. Guinness was a chocolate labrador full of anxiety, but a most beautiful soul that was completely devoted to us and yearned to always take care of us. Initially, when we first adopted her which was a few years after the death of my husband, I disliked her. She was needy and constantly intruding into my space. It took me a bit of time and patience to begin to like her and to understand her purpose in our lives. She taught me so many valuable lessons, mainly unconditional love even for the anger I suppressed following the death of my husband.
Five months after Guinness’s passing, we were ready to bring a new dog into our home. We adopted a handsome, young male labrador mix from the human society. My daughter named him, Apollo, because he’s a golden color and has the energy of the sun, as well as, a healer. The picture included in this blog is Apollo.
As I began to care for him, such as buying his food and accessories, feelings of regret and guilt were seeping from my subconscious into my conscious awareness. My mind was being plagued with negative thoughts such as: I didn’t buy Guinness the top brand dog food at a specialty pet store like I’m doing for Apollo; I didn’t give Guinness filtered tap water; and I wasn’t as tolerate with Guinness’ puppy-ish behaviors, her shedding, and her misbehavior, like I am with Apollo.
I could feel the pull of regret and guilt wanting to anchor me into a cycle of suffering, but I resisted. I began reminding myself with an objective perspective, I did my best caring for Guinness at the time. I also reminded myself of all the abundant loving moments I shared with Guinness, rather than the temptation to become hyper-focused on negative times. I realized she also made me a better pet owner and with this realization I offered her so much gratitude and unconditional love.
After I implemented objective thinking to the recalled memories, it opened a space for me to accept and not to resist healing. I settled into the healing meditation and imagined a column of white light surrounding me. I flooded all memories of Guinness and I with white and golden light. I opened my heart, extending rays of light and unconditional love to her spirit. Any feelings of irritation, anger, or annoyance were dissolved and transmuted into light. I replayed all the memories of caring for Guinness knowing what I know now. I provided her with the best food, filtered water, and tolerated her jumpiness in her youth, her shedding, and all the other irritations/annoyances. I was consumed with extreme happiness, content, and love knowing I could bring this energy into the present for myself and Apollo.
I closed the memory and released it with a burst of white light and unconditional love, while sealing myself in a sphere of white light. I had a concrete sense the past was healed, as well as, the present. I also had a solid confirmation that Guinness’s spirit ALWAYS knew and loved the true essence of my spirit and payed no mind to my human mistakes and blunders. With this new knowledge, I was filled with absolute gratitude once again for my beautiful earth angel.
In addition, this skill has also been quite effective in resolving and transmuting memories of childhood trauma. I no longer recall the memories with guilt and shame.
Thank you Spirit for providing an opportunity for healing.
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The purpose of this blog is to share with you how I integrate my professional mental health experience, personal experience, and spiritual awareness in the form of coping skills. By sharing my experience, it is my hope it will provide a practical example how to interrupt and eventually resolve the cyclic energy of suffering and to elevate your energy!
Visit my website: http://divinehealingmastery.com or my Facebook page: Divine Healing: Poetry and Coping Skills (https://www.facebook.com/DivineHealing.Poetry.Coping) to learn more about me and to read my poetry.
PLEASE BE ADVISED
The coping skills provided on this blog are meant as a tool to aid in healing and not for psychotherapy or social work practice requiring a contractual, professional relationship. If you need consistent therapeutic care and/or crisis intervention due to being at risk of harming yourself or others, then seek professional and/or emergency services immediately.
These skills work best when you are ready to heal. It is OK if you are not quite ready. Please be gentle and patient with yourself. You will heal when you are ready. Sending you so much love, warmth, and compassion.
© Stacy L. Pintor 2017. All Rights Reserved. (No part of this blog may be reproduced without written permission from the author.)