On Fear, Past Lives, and Present Ties
Originally published via Wordpress August 8, 2018.
You guys may not know this, but one of my greatest fears is water. Honestly, I didn’t even really know up until recently (apparently I tend to block out things that scare me, or just don’t think about them, as I’m sure most of you do.) But it was brought to my attention through a past life channeling that occurred during a session with my Reiki mentor, Virginia Mason Richardson.
I’ve never been particularly drawn to knowledge of my past lives, thinking, “Well, what good would that do me anyways since I need to focus on the here and now?” But for some reason, when Virginia asked me if there was anything in particular I’d like for her to tap into during our session, I felt compelled to ask if there was anything in a past life that might be an unresolved energy vibrationally holding me back in some way.
After a few moments of silence, she asked me, “Do you like water?”
Hm, I thought to myself, never really thought about it.
“Not really?” I finally said. “I mean, I don’t hate it.. But I mean nine times out of ten, if I’m at the pool, I’m probably just laying out. And then occasionally I'll dip in.”
And truly, the more I sat with it, I’ve never been one to spend a whole lot of time at the beach, the lake, or even in a bath. Water skiing has never appealed to me, and surfing straight up terrifies me. Even deep sea diving feels claustrophobic when I think about it even though I know it’s a whole other world down there and supposed to be totally gorgeous and people seem to like it a lot. Then I thought about it some more and remembered one of my worst fears as a kid was being in my living room, looking up, and seeing a giant tidal wave pass across the skylight, knowing it was too late, knowing I was going to die. It’s eerie.
So anyways, Virginia proceeded to tell me what she saw: I was being waterboarded (I had to look this up since torture techniques aren’t really my thing) - which is a method where someone places a wet rag over your nose and mouth and dunks your head repeatedly in the water, simulating the feeling of drowning. I was pretty shocked- totally not what I was expecting. Judging from the clothes, she said that it felt fairly recent; maybe the 1800’s, and as though during a time of revolt. I was in a servant’s position for someone in power, and I was being tortured for information. The kicker was that the person doing it to me (not that he was very happy to be doing it) was also someone who had been a lover, and in fact had been a lover in this life too. This resonated with me on so many levels, explaining the turbulent, psychic connection I had with that person and the reason for the difficulty in breaking that bond.
Before I could get all enraged and blast his phone for something he would have no recollection of doing anyways, my mentor stopped me. “I wouldn’t get too mad,” she said. “It feels like he was also the one that saved you. You didn’t die from this.”
So that was interesting. I let it go.
And by let it go, I mean I dealt with this new knowledge for a week, contemplated telling the person, decided against it, and let myself just sit with whatever it brought up (which was all kinds of painful this-life memories), sifting through the nonlinear timeline of cause and effect. I did a lot of journaling about my own Shadow(s) present and past and how I had unknowingly attached this person to that Shadow, ingraining them so deeply into this subconscious aspect of myself until I had created a rather twisted sense of self. So anyways, I did that, and then promptly filed the information away as “dealt with.”
Later that week, I went to one of those spas specializing in sensory deprivation salt water tanks; I had booked a float with my friend Anne Lewis. As I stood before the big white, open clam shell that sat blinking up at me with its changing colored lights, I thought, Okay, cool. I can do this. It’s going to be so relaxing. But wait, I need to turn off the lights in this room like that guy who showed me when he said "people forget to do all the time". So I flipped the switch, got into the tank, closed the lid on myself, and tried to relax even though the water was chillier than I expected and I couldn’t quite get myself comfortably centered.
I know, I know. The whole point of this damn thing is to release control and just let yourself be carried/lifted/held/supported by the salt water. To lose yourself to the timelessness of the space and dissolve the boundaries of your skin to everything else around you (which is apparently why they keep it at the temperature they do.) But the “flow” kept bobbing me up against one corner of the tank and it took everything I had not to keep trying to realign myself and getting strangely aromatic and un-tasty salt in my eyes. The lights were a nice touch though, as was the music.
Then, gradually, the music started to grow softer and softer until it was completely silent. I felt my chest seize up. I couldn’t help myself; I opened my eyes. Pitch black. Total darkness. It was as though my eyes were still shut. Except there was now the burn of salt water in them.
Let me tell you guys, I know it’s silly but another childhood fear of mine is the dark. Especially the whole waking up in the middle of the night without a blanket feeling and being all exposed to the outside. Like some monster is going to get me. But yeah, an enclosed tank of water + pitch darkness...not really a good combo for me. And I couldn’t even open the tank to let in outside light from the room because Genius Me had turned it off, thinking I was so good and prepared.
So I lay there, trying to be zen and embrace the experience and ignore the giant moths flapping around inside my chest. I placed my left hand on my heart and my right hand on my sacral chakra and counted my breaths. I tried to focus on sending love to my root, on grounding myself. It felt like I had just gotten to a nice, dreamy state of being when suddenly I opened my eyes. The music had come back on, pretty lights blinked absently at me, and the water was almost done draining. It took me a second to realize I had totally passed out.
Kind of funny; my trusty, age-old habit of ignoring my fears had kicked in and knocked me right out. Sort of how I can practically fall asleep on command as soon as I hear the rumble of an airplane’s engine. So I chalked it up to “an experience,” and was just glad I got to see Anne (who actually did enjoy her float so you should totally still try it!) We shared stories and parted ways.
My husband laughed when I told him about it. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before,” he said. “It’s two of the things you really dislike paired together- the dark and an enclosed tank of water. That sounds like a horrible way for you to relax.”
I really don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I thought it might be a cool healing experience, or I could use it to dive deeper into a self-Reiki session or another past life regression. Nope, I fell asleep.
But you know what? If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that no matter how much work on ourselves we do and how much we think we’ve cleared, our work is never quite done. It’s an ongoing process, and that’s okay. I can’t erase a lifetime of claustrophobic, trapped energy around something like water by journaling or even doing a water ritual. It’s a learned dent in our energetic landscape that naturally collects like a reservoir. If we don’t want it, we have to keep clearing out the water that collects or learn how to change the shape of the land - and that takes time.
Universally acquired experience and past life energies are very real. We hold these things in our very cells, causing fears, reactions, or buried thoughts that may not even make sense to us. Unresolved guilt haunts you and creates a pain in your chest. That conflicted, seemingly out of place suicidal energy that follows you might come from somewhere like this. Things your body remembers that your brain does not. The soul-part of your body, the Code.
The way I see it, each time we’re here we have a karmic mission, a lesson to learn. And we are going to keep coming back until we learn it. But maybe it’s not our job to figure out and clear all of that built up karmic energy in each life. I mean, yes, we can dive deep and do the work to better understand things that exist but do not serve us. That can be an amazing way to release and move on if you are ready. But maybe you aren’t ready. Maybe the wound is still too fresh to deal with and that’s okay too. If something affects you so deeply that it sticks around lifetimes later, maybe be easy on yourself. If you’ve been given knowledge or insight on an aspect of yourself in this way, simply acknowledge it. Sit with it. Try to understand it. But don’t add it to your to-do list because let me tell ya- until you do some deep, deep work, it will keep coming back. And bit by bit, step by step, as we develop a deeper understanding of ourselves, all of these things will fall into place. Through understanding, acknowledgment, and being gentle with ourselves, healing will replace trauma- even on a cellular level.
I don’t know what your fears are, but whatever they may be- it’s okay. Maybe they are very specific. Or maybe like me, you’ve buried them away and adapted a very neutral, ambivalent attitude to compensate for anything you don’t want to deal with. Whatever they are, get to know that space sometime. But go easy. If flying makes you want to check out, don’t force yourself to stay awake. Just acknowledge that maybe that’s why you fall asleep every time. Everything is connected.