One of the most challenging things to do on a journey of self-healing is to deal with traumatic memories. Past trauma and abuse can leave us feeling horrified, powerless, sick to our stomachs, and even more damaged than before. So what can we do? We asked noted author Teal Swan how she deals with traumatic memories so we can better understand and apply these methods to our own lives.
“I have been doing something I think is very important lately,” Teal explains in this exclusive interview. “This has resulted in an increase in the frequency of my OBEs (Out of Body Experiences).
“I’m experiencing life through my physical eyes, but I’m aware of living in two-time frames simultaneously. One is years ago, and one is now. One’s a memory, and one’s the present moment. It has created an interesting perspective about dealing with past trauma.”
“All aspects of that memory eventually become equalized into the present moment,” she says. “The shadow is no longer seen as something that happened in the past that needs to be healed and resolved in the future, but rather it’s part of what you’re experiencing in the present. And for me, I see it from a perspective where there’s no difference between when I relive it and when I don’t relive it. It’s all the same level of intensity.”
“As I’m revisiting these memories, what happens is they lose their potency,” Teal notes. “I’ve gone through so much in my life that whatever trauma or pain or abuse I experienced was just absorbed by my body and integrated into who I am today. It’s no longer something that I’m stuck in.”
“There can be these moments where you feel like, ‘Oh my God! What if they come back?’ But then you think, ‘What purpose would that serve?’ You know? If it served the higher self to have those experiences again for some reason, then perhaps there would be a lesson in the way that you’re going about handling them.”
“It’s a conscious decision I have to make every time I want to revisit a memory,” Teal says. “Am I willing to feel whatever pain comes up as a result of it?”
“What ends up happening is these memories become less potent, and they start to fade, and they start to not be so traumatic,” she says. “And this is something I’ve noticed over time—that my memories are actually becoming more positive. It’s almost like I’m inventing new memories for myself, where I didn’t remember them being that good before.”
“I think of the game Twister,” she says. “Any time we go to play Twister, what do we need? We need a spinner. And when you spin the spinner, it tells you how to move your body.”
“If I’m focusing, and if there’s nothing in my way—like no other memories coming up, or nothing else distracting me—the more likely that I will go, ‘Oh! I remember this!’ And it’s because my body is remembering.
“As soon as that memory comes up, there is the corresponding muscle reaction. So it doesn’t matter how old you are—we still have those muscle memories.”
“So for me, if I’m reliving a memory and I notice some of those muscle reactions coming up, it’s just as powerful now as when I was experiencing it originally.”
She concluded by saying:
“I think it’s so important to allow yourself to feel emotions and remember traumatic memories, and also to see them from a perspective of: ‘What am I going through right now?'”
“So often we want everything in our lives to be fairytale perfect. But we don’t realize that until we deal with the past, we’re sort of stuck in the past, and it’s preventing us from living an actualized life. So I think that memory reliving is a necessary part of human development. It’s how we are able to move forward. It’s how we can claim space for ourselves where things were taken away from us.”