Journey into the Past
Time travel. Is it really possible? Can one really go back into their own past and heal from trauma? Intrigued? So was I.
When I first discovered there was a therapy that purported to do this I wasn’t my usual skeptical self. This time, I thought why not? Give it a try; the worst that can happen is nothing will change and like all the other counselling, coaching and psychotherapy you’ve had over the years, you’ll feel better for a while.
I’ve always been reluctant to look at the shadow within myself. It’s huge and frightening. A place I don’t want to go, with a face I don’t want to see. I don’t suppose anyone really wants to look at their dark side. Throughout my adult life I’d heard various descriptions of depression and somebody famous once described their depression as a big black dog that stalked them. But being a dog lover, I never liked that analogy. Knowing that the way I react to situations with my bouts of depression seemingly rooted in my past, I decided to keep an open mind and so I took the first step on my healing journey.
The journey began in my recent past, taking off the armour I wear to protect myself one piece at a time. The armour I wear is heavy, but it protects me from injury and I’ve gotten used to carrying it. However, as the pieces came off I felt lighter, freer and less burdened; I felt I was enjoying the ride so far. Travelling in time is tiring. Exhausted from my travels I slept better than I had in years. I’m sure losing a few pieces of armour helped!
My trips into the past continued, visiting various times and places, seeing people that caused me pain and healing. Each time I removed another piece of armour, until eventually I had none left.
As the last piece of armour fell I sensed the shadow behind me and I closed my eyes thinking that maybe time travel wasn’t such a good idea after all. I knew I had to turn and face this creature, but I was petrified. What was I thinking? Give me back my armour my mind screamed! But this was the point of my journey, to finally face the shadow, it was the only way to heal. I knew that, but now that I was here it didn’t seem like such a good idea. Taking a deep breath, I opened my eyes and slowly turned around.
My breath caught in my throat. What stood before me wasn’t a colossal fire breathing dragon with huge, sharp teeth or a terrifying demon from the depths of hell, it was me. My 7-year old self stood before me, small and fragile.
‘It’s been you all this time.’ I said.
‘No, it’s you.’ She replied.
‘I don’t understand.’
My 7-year old self and I looked at each other.
‘You’ve lived your whole life in response to things that happened to me from my time in the womb to my seventh year.’ She said. ‘Cared for by parents who were in so much pain themselves that they didn’t know how to show love. A father abandoned by his own mother at the age of five, hardened by the world and incapable of showing love and affection. A mother traumatised by events in her own childhood and losses which she was never able to heal from left me feeling abandoned and rejected. In my child mind, I always felt that I’d done something wrong. I thought that if I did well at school and was always at the top of my class it would make them happy, make up for the thing I did wrong, but nothing I did ever felt good enough.’
We stood in silence for a while as I processed the things she said to me.
‘You didn’t do anything wrong.’ I said
‘No. You didn’t.’
I finally understood why I’d spent my adult life always trying to be the best at everything I did. All the striving to be first and constantly looking to others for approval and validation and the disappointment and abandonment I felt when people around me accepted my help, took what they needed and moved on. On a subconscious level I was always trying to impress my parents.
Understanding brings clarity. I could heal these old wounds and give my younger self the assurance she needed to believe and accept that she wasn’t to blame for anything.
No longer a shadow, my younger self shone brightly in her child-like innocence.
‘Come here.’ I said opening my arms to my younger self and as she stepped into my arms I closed my eyes and hugged her.
‘What do we do now?’ She whispered.
’Anything we want.’ I replied.
‘We could play?’
‘Sounds good to me.’
I don’t know how long we stood together but when I opened my eyes I was back in the present and she was gone. Although not really gone, she’s a part of me. No longer a shadow that I avoided, but a memory of my past that’s now healed.
If you get the chance to journey into your own past, take it. You might be surprised at what you see. As for me, my inner child has asked me to go out to play and I’m going. What are we going to do? Anything we want!