The Triggers are Never on the Outside

Oct 11, 2022

So, this morning I received an email from my child's school, telling me that I was too late to complete an important health care plan process... That I'd missed my window of opportunity.  It was my own oversight. The deadline had been a few days earlier than I expected. 

I felt my insides begin to burn. My still-warm breakfast of oats and fruit that I’d sat down to eat a few minutes earlier was wasted on me. I couldn’t eat. All at once I was sinking… drowning. This couldn’t be happening. How could they shut me down like this? I felt destroyed. And then I caught myself. While in this moment it felt as if my heart had actually stopped... Like I was falling and desperate to scream “How could you do this to me?”... At the very same time I could notice it all. I could call myself out.

I’m thankful to acknowledge that the work I do continues to ease these jarring, reactive seconds, minutes, sometimes hours. I remember that it wasn’t so long ago that I might have been forcibly stuck for perhaps days, at today’s challenge. I’m grateful to be seeing my sore spots and my reactions in situations like these.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Day, for another hour or so in the UK, and for this reason I wanted to share, to talk about this acute moment in time where the emotion snags or seizes us, surfacing to dictate our next move and how it's so potent that it feels it will pull us under at that critical instant.

What if you were able to pause and capture that pivotal second, to sit with it, experience it, sense into it and get curious? What if you were to hold it and allow it... drop all resistance and really FEEL it? How would it be to give it that space? In this state of awareness, perhaps you might acknowledge a texture to the sensations... maybe a shape, maybe a colour. Maybe it’s all rather non-descript and only wants to be silently felt.  

I wonder if you can notice the basic emotions that are present? For me, this morning, it was grief that I felt as well as fear and, as I dwelt inside that deep sadness, some pictures formed for me and some parallels naturally unfurled. You see, this whole process for my child’s education had had me, for so long, earnestly battling for his life opportunities. So much disclosure and sensitive explanation, requiring a considered and understanding response. I was deeply invested, emotionally and so, when I leaned into everything that was going on inside of me, I received a strong impression of a door being slammed... Of a door being firmly shut. The door was SO big. Me on one side... My father on the other. He had closed the door. He’d shut me out. I could not understand. I was destroyed by his rejection. 

All at once, the dots were connecting, so I stayed there. Of course... 'they' were ‘shutting the door’ on me!!! I stayed with my younger self. I sat with her, I listened until I could even hold her. My tears fell as she felt my presence and then, somehow we intertwined.   

I checked in with my heart and the fire was out. It ignited way back when my father shut the door and only the embers were fanned alight again today. Never will I feel such profound grief as I did back then. The embers will fan again I'm sure and I know that next time, they will be quenched even quicker.

This work is for us all, so that we can judge less and be kinder to ourselves and one another.