Undones, Do You Have Them?

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Having faced death several times myself and recently experiencing the deaths of two very special people, I find myself preoccupied with loss.

Adoptees tend to do that of course. Our beginnings in utero had already started the prewiring necessary for our survival which was begun with loss of our mother.

Of course, I’d like to be thinking of sunshine and rainbows, but the reality for all of us is that death is inevitable. It could be tonight even.. It will come whether you’re ready or not. That is a certainty and we don’t have many of those in this life.

My life has been filled with loss as most adoptees are. The loss of our mother, our family, our heritage, our genetic markers, our family dynamics. Each future loss such as the recent losses I’ve mentioned open that old wound.

Then of course you add in the numerous losses one tends to accumulate over the years and suddenly life appears to hold nothing but darkness, silence, the sound of tears dropping, emptiness, loss of health. Living with an illness that could at any moment take my life brings it all to the frontline.

Being a practicing Buddhist I’m well prepared for the inevitable. I don’t fear death at all and in fact, at times would welcome it. Most people living with Mast Cell Disease can attest to that when you’ve spent days in excruciating pain, vomiting into a pail, fighting the anaphylaxis demons with epinephrine.

That in no way means I want to die. It means I believe one has to prepare for their own death in order to live. A close encounter with death can bring a real awakening, a transformation in our whole approach to life.

The Nature of everything is illusory and ephemeral,

Those with dualistic perception regard suffering as happiness, Like they who lick the honey from a razor’s edge. How pitiful they who cling strongly to concrete reality:

Turn your attention within, my heart friends.

The above is a verse of a poem by contemporary master, Nyoshul Khenpo. It clearly outlines the need to reflect deeply on impermanence. It’s very difficult to turn our attention within and so easy to allow our old habits, our set patterns to rule us! To reflect on this, slowly brings us wisdom. Watch how you repeatedly fall into the same old habits that always bring you suffering. Again, and again, and again. With observance and practice we can slowly emerge and change.

Your Undones…

Your undones are that persistent, niggling, feeling that is sent to you from The Universe, Your Higher Self, how ever you think of what is “out there”. It’s telling you that you have unfinished business. Business that will pester you, stress you and take your energy until you complete it. Mental nags are undones. They remind you that you have broken agreements with yourself and time and time again you’ll notice they rob you of your self respect. Creativity…gone. True joy…gone. Internal peace…gone. You are able to get back all of those things if you complete your undones.

Right now in your mind I’m sure you can identify several. I know I can. They could be unresolved conflicts, withheld forgiveness, appreciation not mentioned, love not given, goals not met, promises not kept. Your life is probably full of many more not mentioned. They come in every size, shape, and in each and every area of your life. Check your basement. It’s probably full of undones.

Let this sink in…You won’t find peace until these undones are completed. Just remember, life is short and very unpredictable.

Triggers…Who’s Really Pulling Yours?

  “Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun.”

Don Marquis

I’ve reflected on the last few years and my reactions to people and events..how many times they have been exaggerated and unpredictable.  At times totally out of context to the situation at hand.

Triggers consist of thoughts, feelings and events that seem to “trigger” an automatic response from us.  The word “trigger” is important here because our reaction occurs automatically.  It might seem as if the reaction is involuntary but the truth is…this reaction, like everything else, is a choice.  Learning to identify our personal emotional triggers is the first step to taking control over how we choose to respond.

Living as adoptees, adults of abuse or rape is especially challenging.  Not only for ourselves but for those around us who take the brunt of our reactions.  I’ve been told it’s like walking on land mines or on eggshells never knowing what “trigger” might be stepped on and the fragile shell come crashing down.

When I was first in “reunion” I was so triggered I was someone I had no experience with, a stranger.  I had no control over my tears, my body, my thoughts, my grief….nothing.  For someone who had been so tightly held together for decades every emotion exploded at once.  The grief, the deep..deep sadness was almost unbearable, yet no one, could understand, as everyone around me, had their mother.  Added in to the mix was that my Mast Cells were heading over the abyss in to Hell and I didn’t recognize, nor did anyone else, the physical aspect to my crash and burn.

Until we know how to correctly identify our triggers they will continue to rule our emotions.  It’s an ongoing process of learning for all of us.  The strengths that have helped us succeed are also our most significant triggers.  If you feel someone is not honouring that strength, emotions are triggered and in an instant we react.  Perhaps with anger or fear. Of course we immediately rationalize it so it makes sense.

The Key is to catch yourself reacting when your emotions are triggered.

If you can do that..you may discover the threat isn’t real at all.  Some of the most common emotional triggers, meaning that you react when you feel as though you aren’t getting or will not get one of these things that are important to you are in this group.

being included, acceptance, respect, be liked, be valued, be understood, be needed, be right, be in control, be treated fairly, loved, attention, 

Each of us has some that are more important that others.  Others may hold no emotional charge at all.  This list can be quite long and personal.  Having these needs isn’t a bad thing.  At some point in your life they served or saved you.  The thing is, we may become attached to these needs and when that happens your brain will be on the lookout for circumstances that threaten our ability to have these needs met.  At that point your needs become emotional triggers.

I can only speak from my place, where I sit now, in reflection of my past triggers and pain.  There was a time at the beginning of my reunion I was constantly in a flare.  A flare of Mastocytosis…yes…which plays havoc with my brain but also a place of such pain that the slightest threat to those above needs sent me into protection mode.  Especially, as I mentioned for those who have lived in the adoptee world or world of abuse where we needed to protect ourselves.  I grew up in the era where children were meant to be seen and not heard.  I had no voice in anything.  I had no say in even finding out who I really was, no rights, no love, no validation that I was meant to be on this earth.  I was abandoned at birth, abused and used.  Why wouldn’t I be filled with pain!

Remember when Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth exploded into the world?  It was all about Oprah and Eckhart then.  The online event that captured the world. Millions were brought together through Skype and cyber magic to work through this amazing book together with Eckhart Tolle and Oprah.

I remember the exact moment when I “got it”.  As many buddhist teachings I had been to when I heard the teaching put in a different way… I got it.

The Pain Body

I was going through a particularly difficult time.  My daughter had moved back to Toronto and my heart was broken….enter the pain body.  Huge trigger…abandonment, being loved, being needed, respected and heard.  You name it and IT was triggered.  There were also times in conversation I just lost it.  Pain body took control.  I didn’t see it at the time.  Again, mastocytosis and torn rotator cuff along with dislocated jaw disc created the feeding ground and the pain body gobbled it up and emerged the strongest.

When we have old emotional pain living inside us, as adoptees do, it’s called your Pain Body

This applies of course to anyone but I am speaking as an adoptee and survivor of abuse/rapes.  The pain body is an accumulation of painful life experiences that were not fully faced and accepted at the time.  It leaves behind an energy form of emotional pain and grows with time and experiences all energetic old emotion.

Pain body is the aspect of egoic consciousness.  When the ego is blown up by emotion of the pain body it gains tremendous strength,  taking over the situation.

The challenge is to recognize the pain body when it becomes active, when something triggers the strong emotional reaction.  At that moment, if it takes over your thoughts, the internal dialogue, which is dysfunctional at the best of times becomes the voice.  The actual event is coloured by old, painful buried emotion distorting everything.

For me, living alone gave my pain body the perfect feeding ground.  It gobbled up every negative thought, every painful moment and gained momentum and energy.  You know those times when you can’t sleep and the thoughts won’t shut off or you sit, thinking for hours about a specific hurt..The pain body thrives on those times.  It literally is eating you alive…just waiting for the next time it can emerge after a trigger.

Imagine then, if you are with someone who also has an unidentified pain body!  The ego/pain body loves other people, especially those who jump in and take part in the chaos of negativity.  It even pokes those people to trigger the response it needs to grow.  Of course, if you aren’t present in that moment and aware, you will immediately react….and now, there are two pain bodies feeding off of each other and loving the drama!

I started recognizing my own pain body and it then becomes so clear.  We carry so much unacknowledged pain even from generations past.  The challenge is, of course to acknowledge and recognize our triggers and where they originated.  A huge part of that is  being present.  Being able to step outside of ourselves and see clearly when the pain body is attempting take over.  Not an easy task but the more practice, the more awareness we have..the easier it gets and the pain body loses energy and power.

When you notice that you are emotionally reacting you have to shift your emotional state to think through what your trigger might be.

Relax…breath and release the tension in your body

Detach…clear your mind of all thoughts

Center…drop your awareness to the centre of your body, feel your breath

Focus…find one word that represents who you want to be or feel in this moment

Once you shift your emotional state, you are free to check if someone is actually taking something away from you or not.  You can then ask for what you need or let it go and move on.  Keep breathing and thinking of your keyword and you will deflate your pain body, your triggers and your patterns.

Freedom does exist

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