Of course I remember where I was on 9-11. How could I not? And if I am honest with myself, it took many, many years not to cringe every time a plane flew overhead. I just knew it was going to fall to the ground.
Crazy fear, right? Well… that, my friends, is what we call a trigger.
Emotional triggers are any topic or situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Maybe it is a smell or sound. Perhaps it is a color or shape. Or certain subject matter or places. Triggers are very real and are not to be scoffed at.
I’ve been living with Panic Disorder since I was 8/9 years old. Therapy typically wanted to help me understand how to get a panic attack under control while it was happening. However, we spent very little time identifying the why. Finally, I found a therapist that understood the why, however, the time to truly dive deep ran out and I was left still trying to figure out WHY NOW and WHY HERE?
That was the real clincher – why in Wal-Mart or a grocery store? Why at church? Why did these things happen repeatedly in similar places.
What was the trigger?
Then I began to study Chakras. When I looked up a symptom and found the correlating Chakra and what that meant, suddenly, my triggers made sense. How? Memories came flooding back. Little things that I have brushed aside over the years, but suddenly realized where all of this angst was coming from.
And man was it deep.
For one GREAT BIG example – My root Chakra is in need of balancing and cleansing.
I first read the symptom: Anxiety (and yes, all Chakras can represent different issues with anxiety.) Then I read two specific things:
- If we feel anxious because we are simply overwhelmed by everything, feel intimidated, feel caught in some kind of power dynamic in a relationship, or feel pressure to perform well in our lives, our out-of-balance solar plexus Chakra is causing our anxiety.
- If we are felling anxious about our material survival in the world (food, shelter, money and so on,) our root Chakra is out of balance, making us feel like we are in constant survival mode.
These two in particular spoke to me.
I decided to do a little deeper meditation and figure out a little more about what was causing me issues. It was the Peace In Nature meditation that spoke to me.
Try this one:
Peace In Nature
- Spend a minimum of three to five minutes walking outside in nature.
- Walk more slowly and quietly than you normally do. Savor the environment and notice what stands out to you (let it be something in the natural environment.)
- Take a moment to sit or stand comfortably with the piece of nature that captures you. For thirty seconds up to one minute, fix your attention on this spot. Explore its colors, textures, shape, scent, and hot it feels when you touch it.
- All your breath to be long and deep. Imagine you could be rooted like a tree here – stable and grounded – with what you’ve discovered.
- Take a deep breath and exhale with a sigh. Smile. Repeat the process with another part of nature that captures you.
You guys…. it was a tree. The tree really spoke to me. Not really, but figuratively.
So I decided to explore the Root Chakra.
The Root Chakra, according to the book, “Chakra Healing,” is all about being grounded, feeling secure that your basic needs are being met, and feeling connected to your family and tribal consciousness in healthy ways. I began to explore meditations, crystal techniques, essential oil applications, and postures that would help me connect.
What all of this did was trigger a memory or two.
I was maybe 6, maybe younger. We lived on Pineworth Road in Macon. I sat on the bed next to my mother in her room as she was flipping through the yellow pages. She was holding my baby sister, rocking her. I remember my mom crying and calling apartment complexes.
I don’t remember much after that. I know we eventually moved from that beautiful home my parents bought. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe foreclosure? Maybe a drop in salary? All I know is my life changed after that. We moved into a rough neighborhood and rented an apartment. My entire life I had been sheltered- Private pre-school, church on Sunday, Girl Scout camp – and now suddenly I was meeting kids who only lived with one parent and they spent a lot of time at home alone. Kids were smoking behind the apartment building and other kids were telling me about things I was not ready to learn about.
I remember food was simple. Sometimes we did not have electricity (maybe a day or two.) I assume they didn’t have enough to cover the bill. They were young. They were broke.
I remember this girl and her mother came by our home to pick up Girl Scout cookies and I remember how she looked down on me. I STILL remember the face she made. I remember Rodney Chambers in elementary school getting in trouble in PE and Mr Campbell asked me if Rodney did something (I was in the 4th grade,) and of course, I told the truth, and Rodney, in front of all of the kids, lifted up my pants leg and said, “Mr. Campbell, what does she know? She’s poor. She doesn’t even have any socks on.”
My whole life I have been sensitive about success. I knew I had to make something of myself. I had to do better. My parents pushed me, and for good reason. I remember thinking – I will never depend on anyone to take care of me. I will take care of me. I think I’ve felt that way since I was a child.
My parents were and are good parents. They struggled like we all do. But that trigger, that repercussion I had to deal with, has stuck with me and financial security, above all else, is extremely important to me.
Triggers and memories. What are yours?