How to Rescue Yourself from Past Experiences
Updated: Jun 20
"Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.”
– Michelle Rosenthal
Past trauma often has a profound effect. It is common to revisit our mistakes and unpleasant experiences because our emotions are still connected to them. We revisit them to make sense of what happened, to try to understand why it happened. In doing this we relive the experience and perpetuate the feelings associated with it.
One way to visualise the Self is to imagine that we are a comet, travelling through both time and space. Each revisited experience is like a piece of space junk that has become attached to us by a thread and is dragging along behind us. This leaves us feeling drained.
Another way is to ditch the idea that time and space are linear. This means that you can be anywhere and everywhere in space and time. If we can accept how things look from this vantage point, then in moving out of the present moment and revisiting uncomfortable past events we are actually scattering the Self across space and time. This too dilutes our energy and leaves us feeling depleted and drained in the present moment. When we are scattered like this, we cannot be fully present.
In Shamanism, detaching from past experiences in known as Recapitulation.
There are several different recapitulation exercises. These tools address detachment from past events which are unresolved, and which call us to constantly revisit them to achieve that resolution
Breathing Recapitulation 1.
This is a simple but remarkably effective exercise.
Find a comfortable place to sit where you will not be disturbed.
You can do this anywhere. Do not limit yourself to a particular space or time.
Sit with your spine straight
Take your awareness to your breathing
The tidal in and out of your breath
Allow it to slow and deepen
Connect with your heartbeat
Become present within your body
And within this moment
Now visualise the past experience from which you wish to detach
Bring it into your full awareness
Acknowledge all emotions that come up for you here
Know that they keep you connected to this moment in time
Visualise that memory fully whilst remaining in the here and now
Now, as you breathe in, let your inner voice say the words
“I accept this”
And as you breathe out, let your inner voice say the words
“I release this”
As your breath cycles in and out of your lungs
begin to feel calm acceptance of this memory on the inbreath
And begin to feel the release of all negative emotions that have been evoked
on the outbreath.
As you continue this cycle with slow, gentle breathing you will notice that it becomes more and more difficult to feel those unpleasant emotions whilst holding the vision
It also becomes more difficult to visualise the memory itself
What remains is a sense of acceptance and completion
You are now free to leave
You have learned all that you needed to from this situation
The memory has no power
It is simply comprised of facts.
Before you leave this point of space and time, be sure to collect every part of your Self
Leave nothing behind because you do not need to return here.
‘How to Rise – A Complete Resilience Manual’ from Sheldon Press takes you on a journey of self-discovery; it shares over 60 tools and techniques, including meditations with purpose, visualisation exercises and practical tools to help improve your mental wellbeing, reduce anxiety and allow you to take control of your life