Not Healing, Transmuting

Trigger warning, this blog post refers to violence to children but not in any detail. This is a positive sharing. A couple of months back, I wrote a post on facebook which to me took a lot of courage. I will link the post below if you are interested. You do not need to read the facebook post, which has a higher level trigger warning than this blog post, related to maternal violence towards children, to relate to this article. Many people did read my facebook post though, and reached out to me afterwards with their own stories which made me feel that my instinct to start writing about trauma and healing is on the right track.

In that facebook post I opened up about my process of diagnoses for CPTSD and ADHD. At the time I was in a very fragile space to be honest. As I was going through the diagnosis process the psychiatrist asked me if there was anyone who knew me between the ages of 5 and 12 who may be able to give information to help with the diagnosis. I reached out to an early childhood friend who found me on facebook a few years back. I hadn’t seen her since I was 14. I asked her if she or her mum had any memories that might help. I was shocked when she replied that she witnessed multiple instances of violence towards me from my mum, which she described in detail, and although i couldn’t remember the specific instances she gave, they were in line with my experience with my mother, who sadly had a lot of trauma, was undiagnosed on the autism spectrum and I am certain also ADHD, and had very low emotional control with no support. The details she shared triggered a sensorial response in me, a release of suppressed sensorial memories, physical memories of pain and discomfort which I had come to accept as ‘normal’.

This suppressed experience of violence and it’s normalisation had affected my whole life. Likely contributing to my ADHD experience. My life was a constant struggle for survival and feeling unworthy. I experienced chronic anxiety and bouts of depression where I couldn’t move for months, and at times thoughts of wanting to die. Any success I experienced in my theatre and writing I often sabotaged with deep shame, and I was very afraid to take risks with my work. I was very afraid to express myself fully, and trust my own instinct. I had been so ingrained to be quiet, to accept low level treatment, that I really found it difficult to trust my feelings about my boundaries with others or to let love into my life. Setting a boundary literally invoked intense fear in me. As I result I myself was abusive in my relationships, projecting fear of abandonment and disrespect onto them. I am pretty sure if I had of been diagnosed in my 20’s and 30’s, I would have been diagnosed with BPD, which we now know is trauma related. These awful feelings of self hatred and self denial then lead me to avoid relationships all together, to avoid intimacy, feeling that I was unworthy. And although on some levels I achieved some success with my theatre and art, it was always start then stop. I was so afraid to expose myself and literally had a terrible time after every project, even if it was successful. I would face deep depression and self doubt afterwards. This is all still there, but slowly, slowly now it is shifting. And I have to say I am feeling great. The best I have ever felt. And this is why…

From the experience of my childhood and teenaged trauma coming to the light, and allowing it to be seen properly for the first time, and from all the sharing from others which was evoked from my sharing publicly, I have come to understand that healing isn’t the final goal available to anyone. What is important is transmuting. Healing is a part of the journey for sure. It’s an ongoing journey I’d say. But the only reason to heal really, is so that we can transmute our experience, our trauma, our pain into power. Into light which we can shine onto the world. By stepping beyond healing to being truly who we are, without shame or fear, we transmute. Because in accepting and loving our trauma, alongside all aspects of ourselves, we hold so much power, so much compassion, so much depth. After such a long time of suppressing it, I can truly see how powerful expressing the truth is. Yeah some people might find it unpalatable, indeed people unfriended me on facebook after my sharing. This is still a big fear for me, not being believed, being dismissed, not validated. But that’s OK, because they also have their own journey and need to have their own boundaries. And slowly slowly I am learning not to value myself by anyone else’s judgement.

Healing is a really important stage of the journey. Recognising my own trauma and holding a loving space for it has been a HUGE turning point in my life. But the concept of ‘healing’ by default suggests that there is something wrong. Something to be fixed so it can be presented again as if ‘normal’. As if ‘healed’. There is an implied judgement, that there is ‘good’ and ‘bad’. That things should be a ‘certain way’ and that someone who has experienced trauma or abuse falls short of this ideal. And we all have trauma to some extent, it is a the way our brain forms in response to our environment to ensure we have maximum potential for survival.

Transmutation, on the other hand, implies that there is no judgement, that while there are things which are imbalanced and caused by injury, there is a power beyond our understanding available to us, which can enable us to use the trauma as fuel to shine a light in the world, to shine a light in the darkness. As Rumi said, the wounds are where the light enters. That is how I perceive transmutation, allowing the transformation of lower energies into higher vibrating energies to occur, through holding space for them, for not gaslighting ourselves about them, through allowing ourselves to feel them and release them, for as long as it takes, so we can exist free of fear and shame and create safety and truth in the world with our light.

Don’t get me wrong. As I said above, healing is important. Many spiritual teachers say we don’t have to heal, we just have to stay in positive mind, or that all we have to do is ‘align with soul’. Many of these teachings come across to me as ableist, from teachers without an experience or understanding of the complex and powerful process between healing trauma and spiritual expansion. If you sit in meditation and have an incredible freeing experience with unprocessed trauma, there’s a good chance you will be slammed the next day with intrusive thoughts, rage, sadness, remorse, or what ever it is which needs to come up. I call it the ‘swing back’. Sometimes it can be brutal. It can trigger severe trauma. But this is healing also. If we don’t understand how important this process is we will just give up and go back to feeling shame. Back to feeling we are not ‘good at it’ or to holding on to past resentments. At one point I stopped meditating because of this. I knew instinctively I needed to address my trauma head on, to acknowledge it and face it before I could keep going deeper into myself, and getting an offical diagnosis process was a part of this. I stopped meditating for almost a year as so much pain was coming up as I shone a light into my self and onto my past. I self medicated a fair bit to be honest as it was so painful. I was a mess. But I allowed myself to feel fully, for the first time. It was frightening. And now, I feel such a lightness I had never felt before. And, yes, meditation is super important to my day now more than ever.

We have to listen to ourselves so closely to navigate this minefield of healing and expansion. We have to train ourselves through this process to become so attuned to our inner knowing that even slight twinges of discomfort become an opportunity to TRUST and HONOUR ourselves to such a degree that we are ready to walk away. Even if we fucking paid for a course of 10 sessions. The moment we detect that social media scrolling is affecting our sense of self worth slightly. Even if it’s a friend or family member who we feel we owe something to, but we are exhausted by it. If it’s enough, drop it.

Then the next step, if our feelings tell us to do something, we should also trust that, and do it, even if we are absolutely terrified. Ahhh, now that is how we transmute. Continue to go deeper into yourself, through the fear, because that’s where your intuition will lead you. Not easy to do if you have ingrained patterns to accept abuse and gaslight yourself! But this is what you are overcoming. This is what you are transmuting. You have to trust your intuition, even if you are terrified and the more you do, the more you see how spot on that intuition is. And the more things start to unfold in positive ways. The right support and help to heal will emerge too. And the more you will expand your idea of yourself. And connect with the higher power available to you beyond yourself. It is the cycle of healing, then connecting with the higher power, that can really shift us through stuck patterns and into new realms of existence, that we may never even have imagined or thought possible. That is what I mean by transmute.

Yes, healing is not the ultimate goal. It is only part of the process. It is an ongoing process. Acting on our courage, stepping up in our power, as we bring things to the light, is the ultimate goal. That is true healing. And only each of us knows what that means for ourselves.

Here is a Botanic Mystic Transmute T-shirt, with botanic lettering, modelled by my daughter Lillian. Actually it’s a mock up using a photo of her modelling but you get the idea. If you like them and want to support our work, you can find them here. Go friends. Transmute, transmute, transmute.

And here is the transmute owl poster above as a downloadable print.

You can see the original facebook post here. Feel free to connect with me on facebook.

See you next time.

transmute transmute transmute

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