Triggered: What to Do When the Past Shows Up

Triggered: What to Do When the Past Shows Up
February 06, 2019

If you are alive, then you have experienced pain.

Also, if you are alive, then I believe that there are still plans for you here.

Which means you'll need to create a healthy relationship with the pain you had or are experiencing today.

This last week has been hugely eye-opening. And that last sentence has absolutely become a focal point.

I, too, have room to grow. I was triggered by an activity I attended recently. I was the youngest by decades - and I thought that I would be okay. I thought I could laugh my way through class, knowing my only other option was to cry. But alas, I cried. I cried because a woman twice my age walked up to me and asked, "How does it feel to be surrounded by old ladies?" My face grew warm. As much as I wanted to say, "It feels great, actually. I'm just thankful to be alive." I couldn't even respond. It felt as though I had received a punch in the gut, even though her words weren't meant for hard.

When class ended, I headed straight to my car and cried.

Actually, I cried the rest of the day. And I realized something so important. Melanoma isn't over. It's a part of me now; and I need to create a healthy relationship with all the pain I had from that experience. I didn't realize my relationship was unhealthy with the big C... I just thought it had ended. Yet there is something so life-giving about embracing what was instead of stuffing it into a bag to put high up on a shelf. Cancer was ugly and awful and scary. It was also a spiritual game changer. So mostly, I speak of it with gratitude - because it made me a better, more present and aware, me. Yet, it also turned my life upside-down and fears linger about how much I can push my body. (After all, I'm thirty-three and my body has only just begun to prove trustworthy...)

Let's talk about what you do when you get triggered.

What does your relationship look like with old pain?

A few years ago I entered a program called Celebrate Recovery to get rid of past hurts I clung to like a security blanket. Each defined and refined my world. And not always in a good way. From this experience, I know the value of thanking life for it's lessons and parting ways with what you no longer need (like fear). And while I haven't done it yet with Melanoma, I plan to. Perhaps it will be my Valentine's Day gift to me. Make peace with the past. Move forward toward the gifts life still offers.

Will you do this too? Are you able to thank something that triggers you for all it has gifted - while making a peace-pact with all its' hurts?

I'd love to hear what you think, and if you'll participate in this challenge. It can be as simple as writing your pain a note, meditating on what value you've experienced from it, or centering a yoga practice, walk, run, or hike around letting it go. Sharing any of these experiences with a wise and trusted friend or counselor is absolutely a bonus. We're better together. Always.

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