Quaking and Burning

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When drugs and alcohol collapsed my life I was definitely old enough to “know better”… and obviously that kind of thing is not about knowledge. As my mother said about it, “But you never took drugs”. Correct. Until I did. I was 35.

Because everything fell apart so completely I met the first of two incredible therapists. He was one huge ear. Listening was what he did best and I had a lot to say. We never got far past surface issues to what really needed to be seen, yet it was very helpful. He was the second person, up until that time, who gave me unconditional acceptance; such a huge gift! And through the insights gained with him drugs became history. Alcohol lingered for a few years and then it too evaporated.

He set the stage for what would come later: the second therapist, a woman who also had a huge ear as well as the ability to lovingly reflect what she saw happening when I could not. With her gentle yet incisive feedback I began talking about things that had previously been unavailable even to think; they’d not been so much as a glimmer on the horizon.

I addressed the core issues of this particular life: childhood trauma and its deep, powerful and utterly beneficial (until it wasn’t) denial. Suddenly the absolute fact of these were staring me in the face and I did not look away. Exploring happened. Every sludgy, forgotten and pain-filled cranny was searched. Found were the events I’d been looking for all my life without even knowing they existed. I was 62.

Two things stand out about that time. The first is that there was clearly a total readiness that had not been fully formed in the earlier scenario. When it showed up, denial was no longer needed as it had done its job. What was its job? To keep the trauma and its aftermath well out of awareness. To protect first a small child and then the adult she became. From what? The overwhelming fears, memories, feelings and thoughts that could have been spirit crushers, life deadeners.

And it worked. A few memories that were somehow easily rationalized away were all that were present throughout the decades before denial dissolved. The vulnerable child and her older counterpart were safe from the effects of complete memory for most of a life.

The second stand-out is that the collapsing of denial and the flooding in of memories and realizations were concurrent with the literally overnight appearance of the burning desire for spiritual awakening. In the same time period of seeing the past come into focus came the consuming fire for waking up. They were two sides of a single thing.

The confusion resulting from the sudden seeing of the truth of childhood utterly shattered the sense of self, life and orientation to all that had been known. It was an earthquake that helped trigger the fiery conflagration of awakening. And together they destroyed all ideas of the past and future, leaving only the moment. Eventually trauma became simply a word; conditioning but false ideas believed. A new living began.

Bottom line 1: perfect timing is always at play, no matter what the story seems to say.

Bottom line 2: We think denial and unconsciousness are bad or wrong somehow when in fact they are protective, shielding allies that drop their vigilance when it’s time for fullness to be felt.

Bottom line 3: Life can be experienced big and free. And not just bigger and more free than past events; also without the conditioning and programming that is cooked up after those occur.

Work with it. Work with life. Be open, be willing and look deeply. It’s all right there and it’s never, ever what you think it is.


About Lisa Kahale

Just THIS.

2 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing this. This is deep stuff and I assume it must have taken a lot of courage to write about it. But it is so helpful to others who go through this as well. Amazing that this was coupled with the desire for awakening. This is not the case for everyone who had childhood trauma. But for some , the trauma serves as an important trigger in the process of awakening.

  2. Hi Karin and thanks for your comment. Yes, how this all showed up for me is not the case for everyone. I thought it pretty amazing, too! One thing is fairly clear about awakening: it happens however it does for each of us. Mine happened like that. And I do think it was the disorientation of finding that my past was not at all as it was thought to be that was the door-opener in a big way. I was pretty closed up. An explosion on both fronts was obviously necessary. And it did not take courage to share this, actually… no longer is there huge emotional baggage around the trauma. There was shame, fear, powerful anxiety and at some point it all evaporated. Sweet in the extreme…


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