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
Recapitulation is the practice of recalling and reliving past personal events. It’s main goal is the redeployment of energy that is stuck in past events, traumas, relationships, attachments, and emotions. Such energy is unavailable to us until retrieved. Recapitulation is a means by which to retrieve our energy and return it to ourselves for our own use.
To recapitulate one’s life is one of the greatest feats of a lifetime, leading to a kind of freedom unimaginable until experienced. Recapitulation frees our energy from events of our current life, as well as energy from previous lives that we have carried over to work on in our current life.
Those of us who have been sexually abused, whether as children or adults, know full well what it is like to not have access to our own energy. We spend so much time defending ourselves from perceived threats, long after they are no longer real, thinking we are in control, when in reality something else has total control over us, the places where our energy is caught: in our past, in our traumas, in our defense mechanisms, in our habitual behaviors, in our fears.
We may not even realize that our energy has been usurped by these mechanisms, for they seem to be protecting us. They even comfort us and keep us safely within certain boundaries that we know and perceive as protective. But such boundaries are limitations to fully living life, keeping our energy tied up, stuck in places that are not really that healthy.
Fear is our biggest enemy. If we can’t go outside of our house or apartment out of fear of being attacked, if we can’t have a relationship with another person out of fear of being hurt, if we can’t stand loud noises or are constantly awaiting certain disaster, we are cut off from real life. With our energy tied up in protective defense mechanisms, we are incapable of fully experiencing the true energetic vitality and loving possibilities that we see others enjoying in life.
However, once we begin to recapitulate what happened to us, whether in sexual abuse, traumatic accident, war trauma, emotional, or psychological trauma, we realize just how much of our energy went into those so called protective mechanisms. As we recapitulate and let down our guards, finding safety and protection within ourselves, we begin to experience ourselves as more than just our trauma, as fluid beings of energy.
As we recapitulate and slowly release our fears, we free our energy from them, bringing it back to ourselves for our own use. As we retrieve our energy it gets redeployed into new centers within us, into centers of power, knowledge, and wisdom. We begin to experience a new kind of safety, a safety based on wisdom gained through all the things we’ve recapitulated. We learn that because of our trauma we had access to the same lessons that yogis and shamans spend a lifetime trying to master. We discover that, as a direct result of our trauma, we know exactly what the energy body is and what it is capable of.
We begin to understand that our trauma was the catalyst to our energy body, to knowledge of ourselves as spirit, to ancient wisdom that many long to achieve yet have access to only through the teachings of others. We discover that we had received direct knowledge, long before we could understand it. As we recapitulate, we let go of what once held us captive and fully embrace our trauma as our path to enlightenment.
In the end, we are no longer victims of our trauma but redeemed by it. Fully released from it, we are fully available to all that life has to offer us, without fear. For fear is no longer interesting to us, only what comes next on our spiritual journey has any interest.
These are the things I wish for all of you as you take your recapitulation journey, as you dare to take that most powerful journey to freedom.
As I recapitulated my childhood of sexual abuse, I would often wonder why I had lived such a life? What was the purpose of it? In the beginning I could find no logical reason, nothing made sense to me. It felt like a painfully useless, wasted childhood.
As I learned more about myself during my three-year-long recapitulation, however, I began to appreciate the child I had been, felt more succinctly her struggles, her pains and fears. I also eagerly embraced the many mystical experiences she had had, and that I too began to have again, in ever increasing numbers, as I understood that her childhood exposure to sexual abuse had afforded her access to such things, things I would never have had the opportunity to experience had I lived a different kind of childhood.
Ponder the following quote, from Edgar Cayce, 20th Century American psychic and medical intuitive. (Cayce, a devoted Christian, unwittingly discovered that he had access to the absolute knowledge of what he called, the Source, while in trance. He provided countless medical readings for afflicted patients that guided doctors to healings.)•
“No soul takes on flesh without a general plan for the experience ahead. The personality expressed through the body is one of many which the individuality might have assumed. Its job is to work on one or several phases of the karma of the individuality. No task is undertaken which is too much for the personality to which it is assigned—or which chooses it. (Some souls choose their own entrances and set their own tasks; others, having made too many mistakes and become dangerously subject to earthly appetites, are sent back by law at a time and under circumstances best suited to them.) The task is seldom perfectly fulfilled, and sometimes is badly neglected.”
Do we really come into this world to be abused, to live a sad and neglected life at the hands of others? Have we lived several lives being abused and neglected? Are we assigned, or do we choose, to live a childhood of sexual abuse because we can handle it and our Soul advances because of it?
As is revealed in the final volume of The Recapitulation Diaries, which I am writing now, I did come to discover that my life as an abused child was not a useless, painful waste of a life but an opportunity to learn and grow. It was through my intense inner work, the work of recapitulating my entire life, that I evolved, and, I believe, fulfilled my Soul’s intent in this life to resolve the issue of abuse and neglect once and for all. During my recapitulation I was also exposed to a bigger picture, to ideas I had previously only briefly wondered about, for it was through the deep work I did on myself that I experienced the possibility of past lives, the idea of karma as a viable work order for a life, channeling, and life after death as a true potential. Such things have now become central to my life.
I was always very sensitive, empathic to the point of feeling other people’s feelings and pain, but rarely my own. During my recapitulation, in the final few months, I finally began to experience my own feelings and emotions, which had been blocked my whole life, up until that point.
I had been born into a family where emotions were not allowed, feelings rarely expressed, and I learned to follow the family rules early in life. Better to withhold emotions than to be ridiculed or shamed for having them. I learned to hide my true self.
The following quote, also from Edgar Cayce, made me realize that the family I was born into, that family that I found so rational, so cold and insensitive, was the perfect setting in which to work toward becoming and owning the truly emotional, feeling, sensitive being I really was at heart.
“Choice of incarnation is usually made at conception, when the channel for expression is opened by the parents. A pattern is made by the mingling of soul patterns of the parents. This sets up certain conditions of karma. A soul whose karma approximates these conditions will be attracted by the opportunity presented. Since the pattern will not be exactly [their] own, [they] must consider taking on some of the karma of the parents—relatively—in order to use the channel. This concerns environment, companionship with the parents, and certain marks of physiognomy.”
From this explanation, I would have to say that I chose my emotionless parents as the perfect pattern in which to finally confront my own karma. Perhaps I had lived previous lives as rationally cold-hearted as my parents, especially my mother, who even today at 95 has yet to crack the emotionless facade that has always encased her. Perhaps I saw them as the right vehicles to force a personal karmic change. Born into a family that dismissed emotional outlets as sentimental chicanery, I was forced to either follow suit or fight to find a way to be who I really was. I chose the latter.
At the same time, my childhood of sexual abuse was well-served by the lack of emotion in my family. I learned early on to keep a stiff upper lip, to be independent, stoic and uncomplaining, to hide what I was really feeling. On the one hand, these personal attributes served my abuser well, for he was assured by my strong quiet demeanor that I would not betray his secrets. But on the other hand, inside myself, I knew I was not that hard being that I pretended to be, though I learned to emulate my mother’s personality to a tee.
I struggled through the first half of my life with how to be. Should I uphold the family values or blaze my own trail? Could I really break ranks with the family patterns, leave them behind, and move on into a new life of my own creation? You bet I could!
It was not until I recapitulated my childhood self that I realized my choice of career, as an artist and writer, gave me the outlet I needed to attend to my emotional self in artistic, poetic expression. My art had always been my outlet, I realized, where I could be the gentle, sensitive person I really was inside. It was in my art that I could caress the neglected child self and empower the blossoming adult self. It was in my art that I learned to let go of old ideas and forge ahead into new territory, new patterns that served me well, as I learned what it meant to individuate, to grow into the being I am today, the being I always was inside, now matured and whole.
And so, rather than feeling neglected by my distant and emotionless parents, I thank them for giving my Soul, and my individual personality in this life, the opportunity to advance. By their strict teachings, I learned how not to be. I learned that I was not them, though I arrived in this life through them, my Soul having taken advantage of the cold environment they afforded me, to once and for all confront the cold and emotionless side of myself, and resolve my personality of its own emotionless karma forever.
Today, I am a happy, well-adjusted emotional, feeling being. I see the people in my life as having their own karmic issues to work through, those who came through me and those whom I am blessed to have in my life. We all have work to do in our lives that goes beyond just learning to live in the world. We have to learn how to live our Soul’s intent. Reincarnation and recapitulation afford us a way to do that; they are both Soul work.
I found this quote to be another helpful reminder of why we may have come into the life we have come into, why we meet and interact with people and then leave them, why we do the things we do. It’s all about what our Soul needs in order to complete something left undone in previous lives, and the opportunity to advance.
“Things other than pattern concern the soul in its selection of a body: coming situations in history, former associations with the parents, the incarnation, at about the same time, of souls it wishes to be with and with whom it has problems to work out. In some cases the parents are the whole cause of a soul’s return—the child will be devoted to them and remain close to them until their death. In other cases the parents are used as a means to an end—the child will leave home early and be about its business.”
Knowing more about the Soul, and karmic reasons for life’s circumstances and the situations we find ourselves in, we see how reincarnation becomes a viable means of personal transformation and growth. Having a perspective on reincarnation, and Soul purpose, and with the ability to accept the life we are living as a vital step in the evolution of our individual Soul personalities, we are afforded the opportunity to view every moment in our lives as part of our karmic journey to completion, to bringing our Soul to fulfillment.
• Excerpts are from There is a River: The Story of Edgar Cayce by Thomas Sugrue, pp. 251, 252
• Brackets […] in the second quote indicate author’s editorial changes
• More about Cayce: Many of Cayce’s original healing recipes are available today, and a hospital that he established in Virginia Beach still functions today as a healing and teaching center: The A.R.E.