Thursday, October 1, 2015

Discovering a Sense of Safety

Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.

Jeff Cooper

Safety is fundamental to our development in becoming a balanced happy human being. During this 30 day process of self discovery we may encounter an inner child who does not feel safe. As children, many of us did not get the nurturing we may have needed.  In these situations, the child within us may find it difficult to function as a healthy adult.  Safety, security and stability are essential to our mental health.  When we don’t have these basic conditions as children we can be emotionally stunted in our adult lives.

I never felt safe with my father.  Maybe it’s because I sensed that he himself didn’t feel safe. His mother was bipolar and the black sheep of her family.  She grew up as one of six children in a poor Jewish immigrant family in Pittsburgh. She was poorly treated by her mother and was generally considered big and dumb.

My grandparents were divorced before my father was three and his father basically disappeared from his life. My unstable grandmother wasn’t able to take care of my father. My father was passed from relative to relative and eventually spent much of his childhood in an orphanage.  He wasn’t up for adoption, he was just there because it was an affordable place for his mother to leave him.

As a result of these rejections and instability of his upbringing, my father had low self-esteem. To compensate, he had many expectations and plans for me. He wanted me to be a doctor, as I doctor I would have the success and recognition that he hadn’t achieved.   When I rebelled as a teenager and decided to be an artist he was devastated.

Years later my father accepted me as I even felt very proud of my artistic endeavors. He had done a lot of work on himself and his worldview had changed. He had learned about “following your bliss” and had wanted that for himself and his children.  Although, I was happy to be accepted by my changed dad, my wounded rejected inner child was still in need of its own healing.  I had internalized his hurts, disappointments and low self-esteem.

If you believe in the science of Behavioral Epigenetics as I do, you understand that I had internalized the hurts and rejections of generations of family members.I don’t know exactly where the transgenerational trauma begins in my father’s family.  I have heard murmurings of my great grandmother having had a miscarriage a year or two after my grandmother’s birth which led my great grandmother into a period of grief in which she could not parent my grandmother. My grandmother was sent away then and at several times other times as a child.  Maybe the trauma goes back to Eastern Europe and the sufferings incurred by being a Jew there.

There can be many reasons for my family trauma.  All I know is the trauma was there and it was passed at least from my great grandmother to my grandmother to my father to me.
  All of these feelings of familial inadequacy are part of my DNA.  But this story is not without hope. Through yoga, meditation and other spiritual work I have begun to heal my both personal and trans-generational hurts, grow my self-esteem and feel safe.

Our inner-child  wants to be unconditionally loved and feel secure, stable and safe. As adults, we have the power and responsibility to nourish our inner child. It is never too late to heal!

In the past, we may have blamed someone else (often our parents) but starting today we can take the role of caregivers for the child within. We can understand that some of our trauma may not be specific to us but may be transgenerational and we can start the transgenerational healing through yoga, meditation and other spiritual work.

Meditation and yoga have been proven to rewire the brain. Guru Singh, a champion of Epigenetics, once told me it takes two hours of spiritual work a day (yoga, meditation, journaling, prayer, art, music . . .) to heal the transgenerational trauma inside of us. 30 days of yoga and meditation will shift your perspective on the world and bring a tremendous amount of healing power to the mind, body and spirit. Let’s start this healing process today by recognizing all the goods things about ourselves and write them down.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It is much appreciated.