Articles From the November 1994 Unification News
From the Bottom Back Up
From the Bottom Back Up "Feelings Buried Alive Never Die." A sound byte or slogan, maybe?
No, just the title of yet another book (by Karol Truman) on the topic of recovery and the healing of damaged emotions. At a time when the idea of healing is cropping up in almost every context, with scary implications for many, I feel it's time to say something about how healing has transformed my life. To those of you who are really fed up with going through the motions of living a life of faith, but feel trapped because the resources you have investigated so far just aren't working: I'd like to ask that you give serious consideration to my story. There are things all of us can do to improve the quality of our lives, our faith, our Blessings. We just have to want to enough, and to reach out.
I had to go through a lot to get to the point of understanding that I needed healing, and why. I had this idea that to admit to needing healing was to admit there was something wrong with me. I was afraid of what other people would think. But eventually I just came to the end of my rope.
My husband Wayne and I started living together in the spring of 1987, when our second son was conceived. Though I no longer had a formally- assigned public mission at that time, until the end of 1991 I continued to try to do what I considered to be some kind of public service work--but our family life was a wreck. I was angry at everybody and everything. I went through a time when I couldn't hear even a mild suggestion about what I should be doing from any Church person without having a strong desire to punch their lights out. Periodically I raged at my husband and terrorized my children. I just couldn't stop doing it, though it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Then in 1991 I went through such a string of tragedies and disasters that I really hit bottom. I finally admitted without reservation that my life was utterly out of control. With all my talents, skills and experience my life was not working. I felt lost, powerless and alone.
Shortly thereafter, Richard Cohen came to NY and began doing healing seminars. I got a really strong push to jump into them, and I did. After two seminars and an extended period of self-directed therapy using tools I had acquired in the seminars, I found that for the first time in my life I was beginning to have some control over my life and feelings. I could get out of myself and start paying attention to the concerns of others.
My husband and I began organizing and co-facilitating the seminars of the International Healing Foundation in the NY area. In March of 1993 we started hosting and facilitating a members' support group that meets every Wednesday night at our house in Queens.
I could easily write a book about all that I have been through in this time, but the essence is that I have experienced an emotional and spiritual transformation that empowers me now to address painful, threatening and highly-charged situations with a presence that I never had before. It doesn't mean I don't still get angry and yell and fight with people. But now I know when it's my history coming up, and rather than blaming someone else I can take responsibility for my feelings. The quality of our family life has changed completely. I'd like to share what I consider to be some key aspects of the change.
The first thing I learned about was the origin of the anger that had been wrecking my life for so long. Having experienced damaged emotions as a child without being given the opportunity to grieve and heal, I was carrying these unhealed feelings with me in my body. Whenever a painful situation arose that was reminiscent of my
childhood experience I could only react with feelings left over from the past. Being in the here and now just wasn't an option.
Whenever anyone in a position of authority gave me a direction, I internalized it as being not from True Parents but from the parents I grew up with. Along with that came the expectation of judgment, punishment or the withholding of love if I didn't perform according to a certain standard. I then would compound the situation by blaming and accusing myself for having these negative feelings. Worse, I had failed to overcome them by sheer force of will after so many years of trying. Eventually through healing I could understand that the problem wasn't some fatal flaw in my character, but that I was like a casualty of war whose wounds had never healed. I'd just been hurt, that's all.
One of the earliest benefits I experienced from doing healing work was learning to release negative emotions in a safe, directed and non- threatening way. By getting these feelings out I could level down and get in touch with deeper feelings. Anger and guilt are feelings that are always close to the surface. Below these feelings are hurt and shame. Deeper still are the feelings that are the doorway to grieving- -sorrow, loneliness, a sense of abandonment and betrayal. As I was able to give voice to these feelings as well, I finally could find God's love and forgiveness. Ultimately, I found a sense of my own original value as a daughter of God. As long as I stayed in the anger and guilt I was a walking reactor. But I learned that by expressing these feelings and getting them out, I could go deeper and meet God.
Processing my feelings in this way has opened up a whole new world of experience for me. I am now able to recognize when I am being "triggered", that is, when my emotional reaction to a particular event is all out of proportion to the event itself. If my feelings are extreme I can get them out in a way that's not directed at anyone (by shouting it out or pounding a pillow, or something like that). However, I never lose sight of the fact that whatever the event is, it isn't the cause of my negative emotions. So I don't blame whatever or whoever brings the feelings up. By taking responsibility for my own feelings in this way I have power to direct them positively. I own my feelings, they don't own me. Before I would blame the triggering event or person and give away the power to have some control over the situation. At the same time I was backing that person into a corner because he or she doesn't have the power to do anything about my feelings.
Doing this work has enabled me to understand who True Parents are in a much deeper way. I had to resolve some deep issues with my physical parents (and this process is ongoing) in order to accept in my deepest heart my status as an orphan, someone who never had parents. This is because my parents couldn't be true parents, and without blaming them, I had to come to terms with reality. Because parents are God to a child, if something is wrong a child will always blame him or herself. "God" can't be wrong, or the world doesn't make any sense. In order for me to receive True Parents in a deeper way, I had to stop blaming myself for things I didn't do, find my original value and accept the reality that as a child I didn't have parents. Then I could understand that True Parents are simply the True Father and True Mother that I needed so desperately at that time, and just didn't have.
I now can understand clearly that I cannot fully restore myself or be the doorway for the restoration of others without the healing of my emotions, because I am a child of a Being whose essence is heart and love. Love is an emotional force, and feelings are the bridge between my mind and body. God lives in my heart before He lives in my mind. Ultimately I am to be guided by that Heart as it expresses itself through my healed emotions, eventually informing my mind. If I try to control everything just with my mind, because of the fear of surrendering to real feelings, then my mind and body might as well be living on different planets. Needless to say, there's no room for God in that equation. Through healed emotions God can guide me to keep the balance between the spiritual and physical, internal and external, substance and form. Only then can I truly be subject in the sense that Father speaks about.
I'd like to encourage everyone who feels they're ready to investigate the resources that are available in your area. There are 12-Step programs everywhere, and a growing number of self-help and recovery books on every imaginable topic. Also new methods of counseling, healing and alternative medicine are coming out of the woodwork. Ultimately we can be the ones to pull all these elements together, centering on God and True Parents, but, as the saying goes, "Physician, heal thyself." The most powerful witness lies in the ability to model for others.
I'd also be very interested in hearing your thoughts and feelings concerning what I have shared here. Please write to me at 54-30 153 St., Flushing, NY 11355. We need to communicate--God lives in our relationships. I look forward to hearing from you.
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