Releasing Other People’s Baggage

Daylight had yet peeked above the horizon as I slipped between the sheets of the massage table. I took a few deep breaths as I waited for Jen to enter the room. I’d been having weekly acupuncture treatments for two months, to assist my body in healing from a sluggish thyroid and my taxed adrenals. And it was working, assisted by the shift in my eating lifestyle. My body has been transforming — and not just physically. Emotionally deeply buried wounds resurfaced — some were new, and some I’d been aware of and I thought healed, circling around again for me to view from a different perspective. The acupuncture treatments combined with Reiki facilitated the release of these old patterns and beliefs.

Of late, it seems I’m letting go of other people — and other people’s baggage.

A few weeks ago, with the acupuncture treatment underway and Joyce doing her Reiki magic, I felt my heart flutter, and then as she worked her way down my body, I had intense pain shot through my lower abdomen, followed by a rush of sexual energy. Inwardly, I asked, “What was that?” Nourredine left my body.

It had been six years since we were last lovers. He’d gotten married, had two children, and still, he was with me despite the many healing sessions I’d done to release him. This time I knew he was finally gone, and I felt a space open inside of me––a space that he had filled for over five years. I felt free.

The Source of My Unavailability

More recently, the issues with my mother resurfaced. These were triggered by my attracting yet another unavailable man into my life, who ironically appeared a week after Nourredine’s exorcism. I traced my “bad picker” back to my mother’s lack of love and affection as early as my birth. Intellectually, I understood why. She’d lost her firstborn son before he breathed his first breath, and shortly thereafter became pregnant with me. I’m sure she was afraid she’d suffer yet another loss. But knowing of her fear didn’t change the fact that her emotions deeply affected me and created the circumstances to where I felt inconsequential, unworthy of love, and somewhat invisible. And that’s the treatment I received from most, if not all, of the men in my life, as well as a few women.

I also had to look at how my mother’s emotional distance created in me my own range of unavailability. I knew how to stay really busy (as she did). I likely stayed in motion with a very full schedule as a way to keep from proving just how unworthy I was of love. I kept myself safe by either having brief encounters that never had a chance of anything substantial or staying completely off the dating grid for the last three years.

While I’d had an epiphany earlier in the week about this issue, and shifted my anger to compassion for my mother, I still wasn’t sleeping. I would wake at 2:30 a.m. and be awake for 2–3 hours. I’d meditate, do Wim Hof breathing, and EFT. Then I’d grab another hour of sleep before it was time to embrace the day — which I did sluggishly.

“What’s been on your mind?” Jen asked.

During those bewitching hours, I didn’t think about much at all. I was just awake and focused on my practice. And a thought of my mother popped in, so I brought Jen up to speed on the latest round of awareness.

“Have you given her back her stuff?” she asked.

I was baffled.“What do you mean?”

“Don’t carry it for her anymore,” Jen said.

I got it. “Oh, cut the cords, give it back to her.”

Jen affirmed my epiphany and then left the room.

Joyce came in and asked, “What are we working on today?” She had never asked me that before. Usually, she silently slipped into the room and began the Reiki session. She nodded with understanding as I explained my focus.

I began visualizing handing my mother a bucket of her emotions — her fear, anger, disappointment, frustration, and all of her limiting beliefs. I kindly said to her, “I love you but you need to take care of your own baggage. I’m not holding this for you anymore.” And then I called in my father and did the same.

Suddenly, a new energy appeared, unbidden. My Aunt Veen came forth and said, “I’m taking back my stuff. You don’t need to hold it for me. I wish you hadn’t in the first place.”

A profound sense of love flooded through my body.

It had been some time since I felt Aunt Veen around me. She was the one woman who saw my potential and encouraged me to rise above the small-thinking mindset of our community and my family. She wanted me to go to college and become financially independent. I caused her great pain when I told her I was getting married, and then within the year that I was pregnant — all before I was twenty. The disappointment was etched on her otherwise calm demeanor. But here, decades later, she lovingly unburdened me from anything she unconsciously gave me in my earlier years.

The three buckets were lined up in my mind’s eye, and behind them were the people they belonged to.

And with that, they vanished. My body sunk further into the table upon my exhale.

Moments later, Jen reappeared. “Wow, this room feels lighter.”

And I was. That lightness followed me through my day.

Joy–A Work-in-Progress

I left the office and made my way to the coffee shop. I had a Zoom meeting with some colleagues, and as I listened in, I suddenly became aware of the salty-sweet ocean aroma gliding past me. I longed to be on the beach.

At first, I made mental excuses about why I couldn’t go for a walk because of my responsibilities. But then I reshuffled my next meeting from Zoom to the phone and took the call, sitting on a picnic table with my toes sunk in the sand. I aborted my original plan to make a mad dash back to my office, and instead embraced an activity that brings me lots of joy.

My old burdened self would have plowed through my day without listening to what I needed — much as my mother did. Self-care wasn’t in her vocabulary. My inner voice for all these years has had to shout through so many other opinions and beliefs that were not my own. And while my self-care practice can be described as supreme, taking moments for pure joy throughout my day are still a work-in-progress.

However, now, maybe that voice no longer needs to shout to get my attention; a whisper might just be enough.

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