We are all alchemists. Just like Rumpelstiltskin who had the power to turn straw into gold, we have the ability to turn our childhood traumas into blessings.
For children, there is no escape from traumas. A child innocently picks up a piece of candy in the supermarket. His father reacts, jerks him by the arm, takes away the candy and then raises his voice in a harsh whisper only to be overheard by nearby shoppers. That public shaming becomes a trauma that can veil a child’s heart for a lifetime. The child’s innocence is replaced by guilt and self-judgment.
How My Own Shame Ran My Life
I remember when I was 2 years old and my mother gave me a glass of malted milk. She threatened to punish me if I didn’t drink it. I offered it to our housekeeper because I disliked it. She drank it. Then lied that I threw it out the window. My mother believed her and severely punished me. I felt the anguish of blame and betrayal. The injustice of that experience and others made me protect my heart. So I withdrew from my family and turned into myself by staying in my room and constantly crying for most of the day for years. I wanted so much to be comforted and understood.
A Turning Point
Traumas continued to pile up over the years. Well into my adult life, sadness built up to the point where I had no choice but to face the wounds I had hidden away. I no longer wanted them to be a story that blocked my heart. Facing my despair meant to once again bring those childhood feelings back to life, right then, in the present moment. An aspect of myself became a witness to the healing that was about to ensue. I found myself becoming intimate with my emotions on behalf of the little girl I once was. Bringing her in closer and closer, the emotions started to release. By letting go all resistance, emotions flowed effortlessly and dissolved from my heart. There was a new sense of aliveness. Only the memory remained. The emotional charge ended, leaving a more open heart.
My blessing was that of being released from the burden of blaming my mother all those years … the hurts that caged my Divine Heart in exile. Rumi said: “The wound is the place where light enters you.” Allowing the light to enter our heart is the alchemy that turns our childhood trauma into the blessing of forgiveness. Ultimately, forgiveness is a blessing we offer to ourselves. Once released from our own wounds, we begin relating to others from a more open heart, rather than from the constricted wounded heart. Relating heart-to-heart is the alchemy that transforms our close relationships and ultimately supports transformation of the world. The blessing of forgiveness continues to ripple across the ocean of life. “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” said Christ.