I wrote the following poem a few weeks ago. It just came through me without being conjured or called. I felt the urge to grab a pen, and this is what came through. I hope it helps, especially in these times of turmoil when we may not feel heard, respected, appreciated for the journeys we have taken, when no one wants to listen to our story, when we feel alone in the world and our heart is heavy. Perhaps this offering that I received will offer you something. Here is the poem:
Let the sun be your witness, for it has warmed you.
Let the wind be your witness, for it has heard you.
Let the darkness be your witness, for it carries your story.
Let the earth be your witness, for it bears your pain.
Let the dawn be your witness, for it knows your dreams.
Let the birds be your witness, for they sing your song.
Let the water be your witness, for it washes your tears.
Let the whole Universe be your witness, for it knows you better than you do.
Let your Soul be your witness, for it has already gone where you have gone.
Be your own witness, for you know who you truly are.
There are many phases of a recapitulation, especially a recapitulation of childhood, especially a recapitulation of a childhood of sexual or physical abuse with its many layers of psyche and soma.
Each layer needs its own separate recapitulation time. Memories are multifaceted and multidimensional, like the skins of an onion, layer upon layer of thin veils of information that must be addressed one at a time. This is one reason that a recapitulation can take a long time. But we can facilitate a recapitulation by consciously attending to each of those layers with intent and awareness, paying attention to where we need to go next by what comes to guide us.
Recapitulation is guided by spirit, that of our body and that of our high self. Dreams guide us too, and we should pay attention to where they take us; our spirit speaking to us in its own language of symbol, myth, and possibility, tapping into other dimensions of truth and fact that we may be missing during our waking life.
During my own recapitulation, I discovered how the many layers of memory came. First there were visual flashbacks. Then those flashbacks fused together into movie-like scenarios, with sounds, smells, feelings, in both physical body and emotional body. Eventually each of those separate somatic experiences required their own recapitulation, so that in the end my recapitulation became a many-layered experience, as each part of each experience took its own time to show me what it had to show me.
The body holds just as much memory, or possibly more than the mind. This is what I came to discover, that the body holds its own memories, separate and yet connected to the memories that come from the deep recesses of the mind, that which is stored in the memory centers of the brain.
These body memories appeared as stuck in my body, energy caught in various places, causing pain and discomfort, anxiety and tensions, and they often acted out real physical disabilities, such as unexplained limping, numbness, swelling, rashes, etc. Often, just the remembering and reliving of a memory did not fully release it from my physical body. Such memories remained deeply embedded in my muscles and sinews until I did something physical to urge them out of me.
I found running, walking, doing yoga, Magical Passes and breathing, Embodyment Therapy® and energy work by an energy worker helpful in releasing these memories from the sinews of the body. Massage, making love, with a partner or alone (yes, masturbation is an excellent means by which to release stuck energy); physical work, gardening, creative endeavors like painting, dancing, singing, playing music, even taking lots of soothing baths. Don’t force; do what comes naturally to you. Anything that stirs the body is helpful in addressing the deep needs of the body to release what it has stored alongside the mental memories.
If physical activity is limited, pain and incapacitation will continue. Mysterious symptoms that no doctor can explain will continue. Illnesses of no origin will continue. So, I urge all of my readers to get up off the couch, out of the bed, and onto the yoga mat. Do some exercises that appeal to you. Put on some running or walking shoes, ride a bike, do something you enjoy in order to get moving.
If physical movement is difficult, even just lots of deep breathing will begin to open the passageways to release what’s stuck; either the recapitulation breath or any other deep breathing technique will suffice. Or simply breathe consciously, with awareness, paying attention to the gentle and natural in-breath and out-breath that your body makes on its own. Breath is life; breath is healing.
Whatever you choose to do, begin slowly, proceed at a pace that you and your body can handle, but be persistent. Ask your body to show you what it needs; this is often the best way to start the physical release of recapitulation. Your body will respond and show you what it needs.
Both your psyche and your body will thank you for getting in touch at a new and deeper level. Your recapitulation will get unstuck, and you will be better prepared to handle what it reveals to you.
It will make you stronger in mind and body, psyche and soma. And your spirit will be overjoyed.
Wishing you well on your continued journey of recapitulation.
When we are ready to recapitulate traumatic memories, the Usher comes, inviting us to take the journey back into our most profound experiences in life.
I first experienced the Usher back in 2001 when I was baking cookies for my kids’ lunches. I was hit with such an insight that I fell to the kitchen floor gasping for breath, for it felt as if what had flashed before my eyes had simultaneously knocked the breath out of me.
The Usher came many times during my recapitulation, reminding me to stay the course, reminding me that recapitulation is the portal to freedom, and that the only means by which I was going to gain my freedom was to fully recapitulate everything that had happened to me as a child, and everything that had happened subsequent to that time, as I strove to maintain sanity and stability in a world that I had always experienced as all too unstable.
I learned to let the Usher in, to open the door and pay attention to what was being shown to me, knowing that it was the next step on my journey toward wholeness. With nerves of steel, with unbending intent, and with as much sobriety and stability as I could muster, I faced my past, what my abuser had done to me, and what my child self had formulated in order to survive.
I learned, through the recapitulation process, that freedom would never be mine if I did not recall, relive, and release everything from my past. I worked on my recapitulation for three years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At the same time I was raising my two children, working as a freelance artist and writer, running a gallery and faux finish painting business, even teaching painting classes for a time, while also deeply engaged in my local arts community. Somehow I found within me the strength and courage to do all those things while facing some pretty horrific events from my past.
It was the most painful period of my life, but it was what set me free. In doing my recapitulation, I believe I also set my own children free, for I was intent that they would not carry forth into their own lives my depression, my fears, my defenses, or my judgments. It was just as important to free them of the old me as it was for me to free myself of the old me. I wanted freedom for myself, but I also wanted it for them.
At the same time, however, full integration of the old me was part of the healing journey. I had to learn to love every part of myself, fully, and allow every aspect of who I had been come along on my changing journey. In the end, I was only going to be allowed to move forward into new life if I could accomplish the feat of becoming a fully integrated, whole being. It was a most humbling and most stupendous journey.
I am grateful for every step of that three-year-long journey, and for what I learned during that time. My books document that time in my life and all the things I learned about our fuller capabilities as beings of energy. It was during that time that I was taught how to be a channel, how to trust what I was hearing and seeing and experiencing, and how to integrate my spirit into my life along with all the other parts of myself.
When the Usher shows up, I wish that you too may have the strength and courage to take your own recapitulation journey, for it truly is the path to freedom, and your true path of heart. Wishing you all the best!
There comes a point during a recapitulation when there is no turning back, when there is nothing to do but hold steady and proceed on the journey, for it is indeed a journey, a path with heart. At this point, the old world and the old self are no longer viable and yet the new world and the new self are not yet fully formed, but there is nothing to do but plod along, no matter how painful and debilitating.
Eventually, the tensions of the recapitulation will subside, the original intent having been fulfilled. One day you will wake up in that so-longed-for new world, and you will notice that you feel and look different. From that point onward the old world begins to decelerate, to disappear from view, and only what lies ahead is of any importance.
Here is an excerpt from my next book, during a time when I was just on the verge of getting to that most important turning point yet still dealing with walking the abyss between the old and the new:
“The pain stays away during the day, I realize, because I’m focused, quietly painting, staying in the moment, intently aware of what I’m doing, present in the surroundings I find myself in. But being in the moment is a kind of Limbo, a holding place, an unreal world. The real world is being in the turmoil of my inner work, confronting the issues I have to deal with, being innerly attuned and aligned with my inner journey. The real world is my recapitulation and my search for wholeness. Everything else pales in comparison.”
Not long after this entry into my journal the final shift happened and I was free. Remember, that’s the final outcome, freedom. And though there is much pain to encounter and many truths to face, it is the most stupendous journey you will ever take.
Wishing you well as you continue on your own journey into your own very real world.
What is this body that we are so attached to but a mere bag of bones. When the life force leaves a body, what is left is just that, a bag of bones. Yet we spend our lives and our energy totally attached to the bag of bones that we identify as “Me.”
We are, in reality, so much more than that. As Robert Monroe has taught so many explorers of higher consciousness: “You are more than your physical body.”
Our life force, our spirit energy, though it resides inside our bag of bones finds ways to also leave it, to go beyond it and explore. Exploits outside of our bag of bones happen most naturally and most familiarly at night, when we dream. We all dream, even if we can’t remember doing so. Thus, we’ve all had experiences of our selves as spirit energy alone, sans bag of bones.
So many things can hold us back from uninhibitedly experiencing our spirit energy. To fully appreciate such experiences, to be able to engage in them with our full awareness, we need to be freed of our fears, our incessant internal dialogue, our traumas, our sexual abuse, our judgments, and anything else that might hold us back from further exploration of the many and varied spiritual possibilities we all hold within us.
Recapitulation is one means by which to rid ourselves of the things that hold us back from greater enjoyment of life, from spiritual exploration, and from understanding the knowledge and wisdom that our spirit might present us with.
During recapitulation, our spirit helps us to recall and relive past events while simultaneously keeping us grounded in our bodies, that bag of bones that we love so much, or hate so much, or just can’t seem to reconcile with.
As we recapitulate, old beliefs about ourselves are stripped away. Our energy is freed from where it has been stuck; in memories, in all those old beliefs about ourselves, in entanglements with the energy of others, in pains, regrets, resentments, self-pity, judgments, etc.; the list is endless.
In the process we learn to trust our spirit, that part of ourselves that is so eager to explore beyond the physical body, that just can’t wait to show us what we are really made of—energy! Our own spirit then becomes our greatest teacher and guide, and we come into our wholeness.
As we lose our fears and discover that we are really energetic beings, we become fluid and fearless explorers, in-body and out-of-body. But best of all, we become loving beings, fully happy in our bag of bones.
Sending you love,
J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries