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Rewriting Painful Memories

During my 25 years as a freelance court reporter, I observed behavior and listened so keenly, this skill is engrained in me. I practice this skill with my self-awareness. Yesterday I noticed how often I was sighing. Big deep breath sighs. Was I having trouble breathing? Tension, fear and agitation were also present. Something is going on.

My body speaks to me. Sometimes I don’t understand the messages. Other times I get them crystal clear. I notice repeating patterns. When I feel irritated by other’s behaviors or objects annoying me, that’s the first cue something is up. When I look deeper under these annoyances, there’s a reason behind my annoyance and then I can address it. I’ve learned to delay kneejerk reactions and just watch and listen because almost always it’s an inside issue. I liken it to the feelings I get with the onset of a cold. If symptoms come in fast, the cold resolves fairly quickly. If symptoms crawl in slowly, my issue is deeper. In either case, this knowledge helps me.

Yesterday’s tension rode on my shoulders all evening, into the night and woke me this morning at 2am. I feel like the world is ending. I feel overwhelmed with terror. I feel immobilized and nauseous. I ignore and distract myself with music, guided meditation, puzzles, reading. Nothing is working. The terror feels real, right now bad stuff terror. It feels huge and will annihilate me.

Going through this experience is not new. In fact, this particular memory is not new. It’s been with me all my life. I am grateful to my wife who is well seasoned on helping me clear energy.

Once I was able to speak, my talking brought up memories. I remember when I was between 5-6 years old, standing on the stairwell of my elementary school. It was an old building with dark hallways, bare lightbulbs illuminating the stairwells and thick concrete walls. I am standing on a stairwell heading down to the basement where the cafeteria is. I am immobilized with terror. I can’t move. I can’t speak. All I can do is throw up.

Memories hold energy. I’ve had a lot of practice clearing energy and with this practice I’ve learned to trust my Higher Power. Trouble breathing is my first telltale sign of trouble along with the tension and the tears. A memory presents itself for delivery out of my body much like having a baby. Memories emerge when they are ready to emerge. This was one of those times.

Holding the idea that this experience may be an opportunity to clear energy, I chose to feel my fear instead of ignore it. Jean Houston taught me how to go back into a memory to change it to an empowering experience. I could feel my knees shaking as a small child and Shirley the adult appeared right beside her. The stairwell held just her and I. Everything else disappeared. As I supported her, I realized this is my first real experience as an empath soaking up and feeling emotions all around me. In my little 5 y/o body I could hear the whispers of other’s thoughts, feel the emotions whirling around me and the energetic world beyond my own skin. I was terrified.

The key to rewriting my memory is feeling the emotions and then visualizing my presence, my wisdom, my maturity and reminding me I am not alone. I remind my little girl all I’ve learned as an adult. Yes, what I am experiencing is a real feeling and it is scary. It is also a gift I knew nothing about then but know a lot about now. I am okay. She is okay. Every time I flash on this stairwell, I will be there with her standing by her and explaining to her what I know.

I chose to pick a wisdom card from Keepers of the Light Oracle Cards by Kyle Gray. I opened the box and out fell one card – Serapis Bey.

“Serapis Bey is the light keeper in charge of ascension. He once served as a priest in Luxor, Egypt, helping those passing on to cross over into the light. Now he is a presence we can call on in order to ascend. Ascension means rising up … Serapis Bey can guide us from the lowest states of being back to the light. His energy is almost like that of a phoenix, giving us the support to move out of our own hell or darkness into a space that supports our growth.”
“The stars cannot shine without darkness. You may have experienced a low state of being, trauma or depression, but this is a new beginning. Become aware of growth. There is always room for improvement. There’s also a sense of presentation now. You may be receiving documentation or certification to acknowledge your growth or experience. It’s important to cherish this time and to realize that without the challenges or obstacles you have faced, you wouldn’t be as strong, powerful or focused as you are today. You are ascending personally and spiritually at this time and the Universe is here to support it.”

Participants’ Reflections:

  • The shared wisdom in this group is awe-inspiring

  • Thank you so much. That was such a powerful reading. We think our memories are fixed as we remember them, but we really only have the memory of the last time we accessed the memory. So we can actually change our memories. Going to that workshop with Jean Houston really affected me. She calls it time traveling. She took me back to a moment in my childhood where I felt that I wasn’t good enough and I was being berated by my parent. She helped me modify that memory so that my adult self was with my inner child. So now, every time I think of that memory, it isn’t the same. I am aware the strong loving adult, the strong loving parent is there with my child. The memory no longer has fear in it. It is time traveling and changing the past. It was powerful what you went through. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Thank you. I’m going to have to do the Jean Houston exercise. I had a traumatic experience with my father where I felt humiliated when I was about eight years old. It’s stayed with me ever since and affected my attitude towards money. In this group, we look to you for inspiration. I hope that you, in times of need, as you did today, reach out and share so that we can support you. It has to be reciprocal; otherwise, it’s a huge drain on you. We appreciate what you are doing.

  • I love how you said that memories emerge when they choose to. I’m always in fear. I feel that I have a terrible memory. I worry about dementia. I loved your words because it gives me encouragement. Often times, people will bring up memories and I honestly have no recollection. Was that me? There’s zero memory there. Other memories are so vivid. You are right, they emerge when they choose to. Sometimes, I’ll have a random memory and wonder why I thought of that. Thank you. I found those words encouraging.

  • Thank you. I’ve been to Jean Houston’s workshops. I chose to go to a very positive, powerful memory. I told myself to know what this really feels like, this is important, remember this. In the meditation, I went back to my childhood and flashed on different memories when I was feeling uncomfortable and was there with myself. Even lying in a crib when I was old enough to remember, but for prolonged periods of time it felt like. What I got in the meditation was that I am always there with myself. And now, I’m here with myself. I don’t know if you call it my Higher Self, but I don’t feel alone. I feel like I am here with myself and I’ve always been here with myself. So thank you.

  • I’m not familiar with Jean Houston’s healing of memories. I’m interested in that. Without having that perspective, it seems the older I get, I try to convert my bad memories into teaching moments. I took a poetry class and our assignment was to write in the mindset of another person who had been a difficult person in our life. He said that when we begin to write, what may come to mind is someone you are least wanting to write about. That poem that I wrote was the most healing thing I have ever done, said, or felt about my father. It was me trying to understand where he came from as a child and the wonderful things that we had done for us. He was way to harsh on us and inappropriate with me. That’s the way I’m looking at bad memories. I never took swimming lessons and he wanted us to swim. He took us to a pond. There was a pier and the water was eight feet deep. He literally picked me up and threw me off that pier. That’s how I learned to swim. I think of it when I hear that expression sink or swim. Did he have plans to jump in to save me if I didn’t tread water? Thank you.

  • I did convert my memory. That’s the right word. I’m doing it Jean Houston style. You are doing it a different way. She has written books about this. I advocate journaling because it is pulling up from the deep and we can convert a memory if we are willing to go into the memory.

  • This was the first time in my life that I think I really did try to walk in my parent’s shoes. I pulled a lot out of sweet stuff about him.

  • Thank you for sharing that. It’s not easy.

  • Jean Houston isn’t the only one doing this. I did it with my therapist. She hypnotized me and got me to picture the adult me being with the child me, and just being a loving presence. You can do this by yourself; you have the ability to do this without reading any books.

  • I think it was impressive that you were able to identify the memory. Yesterday, I did not feel comfortable in my skin all day. I was anxious, crabby, irritable. I got my first Covid shot. Driving there I complained all the way and was anxious. I never thought of saying why am I like this, never thought of digging deeper. It may have related to getting a smallpox shot as a child and the lady coming. It’s hard to get in touch with those memories and figure out what it is. That you were able to do it is great.

  • I don’t know whether I’ve even gotten in touch with it until today, which is why I am so shaken. It was clearer. All the other times where I’ve felt terror, I’ve never been able to attach it to that moment until this morning. And then, other things started opening up. To me, it’s such a deep memory and it’s held such fear in my life forever, it’s a process. I like to think I wasn’t ready to feel it until today. So I didn’t have the information. I just never understood myself. It’s all a process.

  • Thank you. It’s interesting that you can remember that far back. I have difficulty remembering. You attached that to being an empath at a young age. I always thought the feelings came from my childhood. But not necessarily as an empath. You said something about trying to not have a knee-jerk reaction. I have a lot of free time in my work and I can suddenly feel panic-stricken or in fear and I wonder what happened. I’ve worked with the Internal Family Systems approach to healing memories and they talk about the Higher Self and the Lower Self who is like the inner child. I reparent that inner little child and I ask if are you in danger? What’s going on? I talk to that little child and comfort her. Usually it is nothing. It’s my thinking that gets me there. It’s interesting. It used to bring me down into the rabbit hole. At one point, I sat down with my father and asked him about his childhood. He shared what it was like for him. It helped me understand where he was coming from and it was helpful for me. I let go of resentment and wishing it was different. My therapist told me to write a script. I get upset over the script, but this is the script. I can’t change it. Thank you.

  • Thank you. For me, I resonated with the relationship with oneself, to be there in a kind, loving, supportive way with a different perspective. The perspective that I know from who I am, growing and learning, what I have to say. It’s so important to be reminded of that. During the meditation, I reflected. I have a potpourri of things that are making me anxious right now. I focused on one, my health, which I worry about. I went through each worry and really captured it in ‘what will I be like in five years?’ I am basically fine now with some limitations. It was again pulling me back into I don’t know what the future is. I only know what I know now. Pulling me back into the landscape of being with oneself in a gentle and supportive way, with the appreciation of being human and not feeling alone. It’s an amazing concept, if I am able to do it.

  • The overriding emotion I was having this morning was not knowing what was going on and feeling alone, abandoned. I had no idea what to do. I think it’s why I started this community, because of the fear I felt about Covid. Knowing I needed to meditate and be with myself, what better way to do it than to be with a group of people because then we are not alone. We can remind ourselves we are not alone. And when we are alone, we can remind ourselves we are not alone. And maybe that reminder can bring in some comfort. We can be gentle with ourselves and be our own advocate, put our hand on our inner child and say I am here for you.

  • I have a lot of stress being the primary person in this move, and getting everything together. A couple of dear friends extended themselves. The desire to be there to support me really moved me and I didn’t feel alone anymore. Someone really got what was going on inside of me. I’ll figure out a way to deal with it all but it’s not about competency. It’s about feeling alone and the difference is remarkable when I don’t feel alone.

  • That comfort eases up the lock I put on myself and I can’t hear anything, see anything, or feel anything. It turns into panic.

  • I would get annoyed with people who don’t do what they say they will do. I’m the kind of person that if I tell you something, I’ll do it. But then I realized that I don’t follow my own rule. I say I’ll take care of myself but then I don’t. So, I started a process of doing three things every day for my self-care. Simple things, like being here. So now I am doing what I say I’ll do for me. Thank you.

  • Thank you for your reading. When you spoke of terror, I thought of how we are getting more frightened because Covid is getting more contagious and I can’t take the vaccine. When I was growing up, I was lonely and frightened. I remember being on the bus, sitting by myself feeling alone. I could smell the fuel. I do believe I’m an empath. I have to try to block it; otherwise, I’d be on the floor. I remember years ago driving past a building and experiencing an awful feeling. It happened again when I was driving past another building. I can’t put anything more into words today. I’m glad for this group because without it, I’d feel terribly alone.

  • It’s not easy being an empath. I encourage when experiencing a memory like that to bring the adults in to it. We all have wisdom. Whenever I doubt my wisdom, I imagine putting a little child in front of me who is scared and alone, and ask what would I say to that little child? And out from the depths of my soul comes comfort and compassion and caring. That is wisdom. That’s what I turn onto myself. It helps evoke it out of me if I ever wonder if I have wisdom.

  • Thank you for being a meditator and allowing us to meditate. Also, this group is so healing. We help heal each other and ourselves, and I am so grateful. You are a healer.

  • Thank you. I feel your joy, I see your joy, I feel your pain, I see your pain. It’s in the breath that I keep going and I know we can all do that. It’s modeling for each other and believing we can because we are feeling beings. We are thinking, we have energy. Thank you for listening. Thank you for allowing me to share this at this raw state. It’s okay. I hope you all have a blessed day. Be gentle and kind to yourselves because you are worth it. We are all worth it. We are not alone.

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