Healing is a way of life for me. It’s an ever-unfolding and expanding process. I wrote these words after a process I had at a month-long workshop with Innate Wisdom Connection recently and it feels right to share them here now. I’m not really into trigger warnings but I do want to let you know that this post mentions child abuse, repressed memories resurfacing and some specifics around the incest I experienced from infancy. If this brings up things for you, you are welcome to reach out and email me at email@example.com.
One night, my 9 months old baby and I were in the shower together. It had been a long day and I was ready for night to come. Sitting on the floor of the shower with him a different kind of darkness arose from within me. My body remembered what my mind had long forgotten and in that moment, it came creeping in. Not in the way that some memories come, not in a clear picture or scene. A panic. A sense. A knowing. A feeling. I couldn’t breathe. I called for my husband Luke and asked him to take calico and get him ready for bed. I sat on the floor of the shower. I sat in my body. Remembering.
I was once 9 months old and in the bath. My father picked me up and took me out to do what many parents do- dry me off and get me ready for bed. But he did something else in that time too. I didn’t know those details or have much clarity around the remembering that night after I got out of the shower. My body left it there. Hidden until I was ready for the rest of the remembering. A year and three months after that night I sat on the floor in a circle of women sharing during a heroines journey retreat. I had my hand resting over my mouth and I began to develop of an awareness of how often my hand rests there. As I sat listening to the other women in a deeply safe and sacred place, my body led me back. Back to being 9 months old with a hand over my mouth. Except it wasn’t my hand. It was his hand.
In the present, I began to weep and my body froze. Panic. Terror. Powerlessness. Pain.
The group checked in on me and I couldn’t speak except to say, “it’s his hand.” Phoenix, the facilitator of the space, asked me if I was having a flashback. I nodded and she told me they were right there with me and to let them know if I needed anything. Another woman went to get the stuffed animal that represents my inner child and she sat next to me, holding her.
I didn’t share more about my flashback through the week- words don’t often make sense for these kinds of experiences. On the last night, we had a ritual with the men and women of bringing a gift from our journey to the community. In the dark candlelit room, I entered the centre of the circle holding two skulls I had found earlier in the week. I set them down and took off my clothes. I sat naked in the middle of these people I had journeyed deeply with. I put my hand over my mouth and then flung it off and screamed, “No! Stop it!”
There were no other words or explanations for my gift from the darkness.
A few months later, during a month-long workshop, I stepped into the middle again. Onto a mat where deep magic and healing unfolds from the Innate wisdom of the individual who steps onto it. The day before I stepped in, my intuition led me to unfold a process for myself where I asked some people to support me in negotiating with the protective part of me that doesn’t believe any of my memories. I asked that part to step aside and give me some space to explore my healing in this and I reassured it that I’m safe now and capable of feeling the deep pain that comes with remembering. I also set up a safe space and alter for my inner children. I gifted them flowers and wrapped them in a blanket that used to be my brothers and some fabric from my grandmother’s wedding dress. I placed some pictures of little me behind them and a picture of some helpful ancestors next to them.
When I got onto the mat, I shared about my memory and asked to replay it and give my 9-month-old self a new experience. I asked someone to play the role of my grandma, someone to be my grandpa (two people who were in my life at the time the abuse happened) and someone to be my father. We set up the space with a bath (a yoga mat to symbolise it) and a change mat area. With me as the director, we played out two scenes. The first scene replaying the way it happened and one a different way. In the first scenario, I screamed louder than ever before. I felt the terror and I allowed my body to move how it needed to. I was seen and witnessed in a way that I wasn’t as a baby. In the second scenario, under my direction, my ‘grandma’ came in and saw my father assaulting me. She shouted at him to stop and called for my ‘grandpas’ help. She picked me up and took me out of the room. She held me and told me that it wasn’t my fault. That I’m innocent and beautiful. That I didn’t deserve that and it wasn’t okay what he did. I cried into her chest as I listened to her words and the sound of her heartbeat. She told me that I would get through this and that I’d be able to heal one day. I told her that I felt like I should’ve done more or said more to try and get her help. She told me that I did the best I could and that it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t do more to get help, it shouldn’t have happened that way.
I cried for a while in her arms and then when it was time, I let go of her and said a few final words to her and my ‘grandpa’ before the people filling their roles stepped out of the role and came back to being themselves.
Now, from that moment on, I get to live with a new experience. With an experience of being seen and heard in the torture and assault. An experience of getting help and support. An experience of being seen and heard. I can never change what happened for little me but I can offer her a way forward and the space for feeling and having a lived experience of it happening a different way. This kind of healing that Innate Wisdom Connection offers is beyond my wildest dreams. The depth of impact that this experiential healing has had on my life is immense. The depths of my gratitude and wonder for the space they create and hold is something I’ll never be able to express with words but I’ll keep trying because I want to share it with the world.