The transformation of myself followed a path, and involved a series of ejections of poisons from within. It began with calcination: initiation by fire. We often call it trial by fire. My illusions about myself as unworthy, unlovable, undeserving began to burn. I lost attachments to things, behaviors, and feelings. I stopped evaluating every single situation as life or death, as a potential threat to my safety or the safety of my family. I began to be aware of the tenseness in my body and to begin by incremental changes to stay present.
My interactions began to undergo a radical change as I became less and less under a constant state of fight or flight (fear mode) and became more and more aware of how I was self-sabotaging, self-victimizing, self-prostituting, and not adulting. Usually, this awareness was after the fact, but I was becoming aware of it and again incrementally becoming aware of it sooner, identifying the triggers that caused my reactions. My relationships changed. I stopped being a doormat with my parents all the time.
It was an uncomfortable time for me.
To say the least.
In order to remain present I often found myself walking and counting things, like trees, bird calls, the number of smells I could detect, and the things my body was feeling. This counting kept me from disappearing into the memories that my therapy sessions were bringing up and helped to calm the anxiety and anxiety attacks.
The trial by fire morphed into dissolution, during which time the vast internal, emotional ocean within me rose up and began to dissolve and crash through all of the internal blocks that I had erected so that I wouldn’t feel my unresolved feelings. I worked hard to dissolve these emotional blocks and the old ways of feeling like less than, as well as the rage, the endless grief, the fear, the hurt, the hate, the guilt, the resentment, and the shame. This phase actually took a long time for me. It was two years before I crawled up out of that ocean and onto my beach.
I really tried over and over to circumvent, bypass, and deny this phase, but it wouldn’t be denied, at least not in the long run – even though I certainly tried my hardest. I felt my feelings with a depth and vastness that took me by surprise again and again.
I kept thinking, okay, it’s done only to have another tsunami swamp me and drag me under, especially after therapy sessions and ofttimes unexpectedly. I was forced to slow down, to rest more, to do less because my feelings literally took me over, and I found myself remembering forgotten things and dreaming intense and often disturbing dreams.
I on occasion would have a long-suppressed memory rise up and up from what felt like the center of my body and disgorge itself out of my mouth as I threw up or dry heaved in my bathroom, and then I would gulp in great sobbing gasps as tears and snot poured in streams; my body shaky from the adrenaline rush of the memory. I could not bear to be touched sometimes because the absolute shame and helplessness unfolded itself with the disgorgement of the memories.
Dreams were often so vivid and realistic, I would wake and feverishly try to write down as much of them as I could recall with accompanying drawings and illustrations. Looking them up, I discovered meanings that showed me what I was trying to heal or a direction that I needed to go; my subconscious giving me a helping hand.
In order to stay grounded during this time I began doing little rituals. My mentor taught me one. Every time you go pee, she said, put your attention on your feet – as in literally ground your awareness into your feet. It helped me to redirect my attention, to pause racing thoughts and feelings, and put my energy and focus on the present moment and in my body.
Also, apparently during this time the death of self becomes a distinct possibility. For me it meant confronting the fact that a large, deeply repressed part of me didn’t want to live. I wanted to die, to not be here. I had to own that as well as all of the trauma, the broken, brittle shards of myself that slowly bled me from a thousand tiny cuts and large traumatic wounds. I had to hold my innermost shame, pain, fear, rage, hate, and helplessness in my own two hands, drag them into the light, and acknowledge that they were mine. I had to see, feel, remember, and often relive parts of my life that I didn’t want to face at all so that I could really, truly heal them.
I was in actuality dissolving the cellular debris of my emotions from my body: grief in the lungs and knees, rage in the liver, fear and terror in the adrenals and kidneys, helplessness in my hands, pissed-offness in my bladder, the weight of the world on my shoulders, and a host of other emotions that I had stored throughout my body. When I learned that we literally store our emotions in our physical and energetic bodies, I was skeptical, but as my journey progressed, I learned the truth of it. If we fail to clear out these hard, low vibe emotions, our emotional storehouse can fill up so much that the walls will crash down one way or another. When that happens, it’s easy to get overwhelmed as we become victims again of our memories and feelings. It’s easier to get sick.
I needed A LOT of help during the dissolution process. I saw my therapist weekly, sometimes twice weekly for a time. I did Reiki, crystals, essential oils, and lots of walks during which time I concentrated very hard on nature. This activity gave my brain and body a break, staying in the present so my mind didn’t stray to the past and bring up all the associated emotions.
I watched tv shows. I prayed, or as I called it then, talked to Divine Source, to God. Sometimes, I yelled at the universe / him. I was very conflicted at this point about Divine Source and the whole God, religion thing.
I also played a copious amount of rap music because I found it soothing.
I struggled with peri-menopause and horrid pains that would appear in places in my body and heal only to come back over and over again. It wasn’t until I healed the greater part of certain emotions, forgave, especially myself, and allowed those emotions to go fully that my physical pain healed.
Truly, this period sucked monkey toes.
However, I had incredible moments of pure bliss, total cessation of pain, and indescribably beautiful encounters with my spirit guides. It was these parts that kept me going during the times when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore.
The Separation phase was a relief from the previous one. Separation helped me further tease apart and release all that wasn’t meant for me. I started directing my own journey here and there, no longer quite the victim of my pain to the degree that I had been. I had found enough clarity to see the patterns and programs I had subconsciously been following, like when you suddenly realize you are at stop light, but you were on autopilot, and thank god, you didn’t wreck.
I made more and more healthy choices for myself, leaving the relationship with my parents and brother. I judged myself far less harshly, seeking to reframe my self talk with more compassionate word choices, especially as I began to understand the underlying neurological hamster wheels running.
I took the Enneagram test by Riso-Hudson to determine my personality type. I read the book to learn about my personality and the associated triggers for reactivity. I concentrated on identifying my triggers and changing my reactions. When something triggered me, I would jump on it verbally, an emotional reaction with physical reactivity, which seldom ever led to anything positive from either my body or the other person with whom I was speaking.
I wanted to change my conversations and my relationship with anxiety. So, I worked on identifying my triggers. At first it was only after I had been triggered and reacted; so post mortem. Eventually, I became really skilled at identifying the feeling in my body; the welling up of anxiety or anger, that split second surge of energy that would zing up from my middle, the subsequent tightening of my core, followed by the large muscles in my shoulders and neck or butt and legs tensing. With mindfulness I could pause and take a deep breath, sometimes a lot of deep breaths. Sometimes, I had to say to my husband or daughter, I am sorry, but I cannot talk about this right now because I am really triggered. Can I talk to you about it in a little while?
Honestly, there are still those occasions that I can fall back into reactivity, but the level of it is less. I no longer spiral down into the abyss of negativity.
The conjunction phase was resolution of the opposites, for instance shadow and light, love and hate, and fear and safety. I came to the slow realization that these seemingly opposite ideas are in actuality two sides of the same coin, or a Kinsey Scale, just like parenting behaviors when I was raising my daughter.
I began to make more positive changes, actions to help myself move forward swiftly and with more ease. I devoted more time and energy to care for myself, to set some boundaries, further changing parts of my relationships with those closest to me, like saying no instead of yes when I really didn’t want to do something. Eventually, the things that triggered me became fewer.
The changes that I committed to making were not done, but I got enough of a positive outcome that I felt accomplished, as in I not only liked myself, but I began to love myself. I wanted to keep going. Eventually, I stopped victimizing myself with my memories and feelings. Eventually, I didn’t spiral down to the depths to which I used to go, and eventually I became highly skilled at bringing myself back up to a positive state of mind much more quickly.
It was a magic moment when I realized how far I had come. My conversations became really good with the people that I love, more open, more authentic, and more loving. One of those people with whom I had these wonderful conversations was myself as I adopted new vocabulary and new perspectives of authentic positivity.
Fermentation, the fifth phase, was the ignition of my creative spark, an upwelling of the creative forces from deep within. I connected with what made me happy me – dancing, painting, writing, and singing. I did Chakradance at every opportunity. I painted dot mandala paintings, symbols, birds, flowers, people, and landscapes. My intuition and gifts increased and became clearer. I worked more closely with natural healing: plants, Reiki, and LIGHT work.
Living in an altered state of spirituality – the meditations, connecting with my spirit guides, chatting with the ghosts, etc. was super tempting, particularly in the light of the difficulty of my day to day life as I continued to struggle in ways. However, balance between the present moment and the inner spiritual work was key to moving forward. The distillation phase helped me whittle down more of my ego and settle. I began to meditate longer, listen with an inner stillness to myself and to develop my own unique way of doing things that felt true to me, rather than following formulas or advice that I heard about or read.
I created so much during this phase: my healing business Sacred Journey, workshops on crystals, Reiki, and plant-based healing classes, dot mandala paintings, etc. It was amazing and felt so fabulous!
Finally, in coagulation, I realized the full embodiment of myself, my essential self, the LIGHT, the connection between heaven and earth. In this final phase I achieved a solid core, a soul deep emotional, physical, mental healing that grounded me into myself. I was a fully expressed individual.
I will make this alchemical journey over and over throughout my life, I have already passed through this process again while editing this book. Each time I gain a deeper connection with my truth and my being. I shine my light brighter and brighter. I understand myself, the universe, and my purpose in relation to myself and the world in a fundamentally more connected way, like a spider weaving her web with all that was, all that is, and all that is yet to be.