Ever heard of the saying "Time heals all wounds"?
I remember my dad saying that when I was a kid, and I accepted it without much question. It seemed like it was true. Things that once hurt, seemed to hurt less as time passed. But from my own experience over the years, and from seeing my clients going through their processes in Breathwork sessions, I've witnessed that the saying isn't true.
Many of us have old wounds that we've minimized and dismissed (the old "I'm fine" self talk), but the memories come back - and so do the feelings.
If something's fully healed, it can't come back to sting you. That's like saying a cut on your finger which healed 10 years ago can somehow reappear. You might have a scar, but it wouldn't still hurt 10 years later. It's either healed, healing or it's festering. I'm not saying the emotional body is exactly the same way, but the logic still applies here. If time actually healed all wounds, then we wouldn't get triggered, years and years later. The truth is...
Time doesn't heal all wounds, it buries them.
The layers of other experiences in our lives as time passes can make us forget, but that's not the same as healing.
Instead, these wounds come back over and over. A smell, a specific place or déjà vu, can trigger a memory or flashback. We think we can keep the peace (our internal peace) as long as we don't talk about them. But they're still there underneath all of that, and can be secretly influencing us through our subconscious all the while.
Someone once described to me an image of a child driving a car, our inner child. We think they're in the back seat (if we acknowledge they're even there at all). But it turns out they're actually at the wheel.
In the same way, when we have childhood traumas, it's usually that pain - and the biological drive to protect oneself, that's actually influencing the decisions we make. No amount of forgetting can rectify that. If we address those traumas and release them, then it dissolves this need for protection, and we can begin to encounter our experiences without our pain creating a bias.
Consider how often you have either witnessed someone, or yourself overreact to something another person has done - Because it reminded you of a past event. Perhaps you didn't realize that you were triggered, but you did see that you overreacted and apologized. People are doing this all the time. It's like a game of squash gone haywire, as it ricochets back and forth throughout our communities, the whole world, really. If we take action to help ourselves not get triggered, then over time we can end the madness and the suffering.
Okay, so we know it doesn't work, but why? Why can't we just forget the pain away? By the same logic that we can forget that we ate a candy bar, but it's still inside us, forgetting the things that have happened doesn't undo the trauma.
There's also this very important factor: we now know that trauma is stored in the body. So while your mind forgets, your body doesn't.
If you can think back to a time when you may have had a flashback to an awful memory - do you recall your physical reaction to it? You might have cried. You might have felt a surge of Cortisol (stress hormone) or Adrenaline run through you. You might have felt anger return with the memory of the event. These are all your body's responses to what happened, and they come back very quickly. Your body's triggering is an example of that unresolved trauma in your nervous system.
In the years after my dad died, once in a blue moon I'd get a flashback of being in the hospital with him, watching him die - And I'd get a shot of pain in my heart and it would knock the wind out of me. I'd stand there in the store, glassy eyed, trying to breathe and bracing myself on a wall until it passed.
So you see, we can't just forget, not forever. Our nervous system keeps track, so that's where we need to go to release it.
Healing is also an active process. It's the work we usually don't wanna do (unless we're ready), but it's also the most rewarding. Consider this: You work at your job and you get paper money. Work on healing yourself and you get access to limitless joy and freedom - the things money can't ever buy.
It's normal to feel a bit apprehensive or scared when we begin any kind of healing or therapy. We're scared of what might come up, after all we've been pushing it all down for so long we might not even remember everything that's happened. But just because we forget doesn't mean it's gone. It comes back as soon as we open that door - But you know what that means? Then it can come out! You're not going to experience that pain forever if you let it out. As Gangaji says in Open, Unprotected and Free:
"In protecting yourself, you still experience the pain. The protection augments the pain, turns the pain into suffering".
She goes onto say that the only true suffering is the avoidance of pain, not the pain itself. Because when we let the experience of pain come, it simply passes through us, and then it's gone. It's when we try to run from it to protect ourselves that the pain stays with us, and we suffer.
Burying our wounds might have been the way we've always done things. It might seem the most comfortable too.
But we can change.
We can try something new.
We can face our traumas and release them.
And we can finally heal.
~Wishing you a peaceful road, wherever it may take you <3