On a recent visit to my hometown this summer, I was struck with an insight that hit like a lightning bolt.
It has become the norm for me to dig up the past, relive old memories, find myself in turmoil, and generally lose myself trying to change ~ in some way ~ what has already happened whenever I return to my hometown.
The triggers are everywhere. All of my senses are involved in a triggered moment and I have found myself trying so hard to behave differently when I am aware that my buttons have been pushed. Sometimes I am successful and at other times, not so much.
You might wonder why I bother to go back if my visits home are so challenging for me. Well, I have a number of reasons. The obvious ones include my family and friends who I might not see very much if I didn’t go home. I also find a bit of space for myself and my desire for introspection is satisfied. It takes me out of my day-to-day routine and simply changes my inner landscape.
I have roots in this city and there is a part of my soul that is simply called back to this familiar place.
And perhaps, most powerfully, my soul knows that I will be given the opportunity to grow each time I return home. My many visits over the past several years have brought me face to face with so many aspects of my being that just bubble to the surface when I arrive. And when I’m here, I can’t seem to run from it no matter how much I wish I could.
Do I Really Feel This Way…Now?
On one particular day, that lightning bolt hit me. The trigger ~ whatever it was ~ is not significant anymore. In fact, I cannot recall anything that happened that day that set my emotions into upheaval. I just remember the moment when I felt it.
I was standing there, feeling unsettled, aware of old emotions that I commonly experienced while I lived in this city and on my visits in recent years.
Suddenly, I asked myself “Am I really feeling this now or is it just an emotional habit?”
Maybe, it isn’t just about habitual behaviors we engage in, but also about the habitual emotional responses that arise within us.
Could it be possible that I was remembering a common feeling and that was enough to trigger the experience of it? Could it be possible that I might choose a very different feeling in the face of a familiar circumstance?
The truth is I no longer feel these old feelings anymore. I remember them but I am aware now that it is just old, stagnant energy.
Isn’t it amazing how powerful the memory of an emotion can be? We are actually tricked right into that emotional experience in the moment if we aren’t careful. We expect to experience a feeling and so we do.
We can get so used to certain emotions arising that we believe we are still attached ~ not fully healed ~ not over it yet. We waste time thinking we have more to process ~ more to release.
Let it go.
When you are triggered by historical emotional energy, take a second to check in.
Do you really still feel this way?
Is this a current emotional energy or is it tied to the past?
If you discover that your feelings have nothing to do with the current reality of your life, heave a sigh of relief and know that you are more powerful than any old memory that threatens your present state of peace.
Thank this last little trickle of ancient sentiment for that last lingering look behind before you forge ahead with a cleaner slate.
Let’s get started!
What emotional habits are you aware of? What gift do they offer as they leave your life?