The Awakening, Toxic Positivity and Trauma
Updated: Sep 21, 2021
If you have spent any time in a spiritual community, you’ve probably heard the term “woke” or “awakening” being spritzed around like a bottle of your grandmother’s perfume. It seems to fit in with what you’ve come to know as spirituality, yet it knocks you off your feet as you get a strong whiff. This phrase has for so long been a part of my personal vocabulary, but recently I have been coming to different understanding of it. There is a lot of toxic positivity culture and spiritual bypassing taking place within the spiritual communities, and the irony is, is that people within think they are immune.
Now this is not to downplay every spiritual person or the language, because words are important and help us to label and classify things. It is just that there are some people out there who seem to think that awakening is this gold standard and forget to come about it from a trauma-informed lens. It is like a “Do or Die” situation.
The past year has been eye-opening for me. With the loss of a partnership, waking up to the truths of how I ‘be’ in relationship, uncovering some past trauma and reprogramming core beliefs, I have had more than alone time over the past year than I have had in (almost?) my whole life. It has been a dive into the uncomfortable space that is “Awakening”.
Things I’ve learned about Awakening that I hope will give you another perspective.
Awakening is NOT
Rainbows and sunshine: though sometimes it can be a blissful state, mimicking the gentle comedown of a 12-hour acid trip and being held in the arms angels at the same time. Reality check: It is often not this gentle. Usually the awakening process is a constant unlearning and learning of things you thought were truth. It is more closely related to an angel smacking you upside the head with a 2x4 and telling you, “Try again, Love.” Though I am sure the angels are not actually that hard on us. It is more likely because of our personal beliefs and views on life.
Linear: as with all things in life, awakening is a cyclical process. Just like the cycles of natural and physical laws, we too have an inner cycle (even you men!) and it is important we recognize and honor this cycle within, as it helps us to move through the cycles of awakening. I liken this to a wheel that is traveling along the road. Some days we are going up, up, up and away and then other days it seems we are falling back down into old patterns and old emotions. Be gentle with yourself! Acknowledge this wheel and trust that it is going to go back up – we are all moving on this path of what we call Life.
A Candy shop: because everyone loves candy and that is where I would like to live! But honestly, awakening is not about you indulging in only the sweet stuff. It is more like the crappy Kikit convenience store in our neighborhood where they stock only candy that no one ever wants to buy: seriously who wants to eat black licorice twists! Yuck. Not my candy store. So please be mindful of this toxic positivity of “everything is going to be great!” and “you are not doing enough affirmations” because sometimes that sh*t don’t work and it is about going into the depths of your soul…the Bikini Bottom depths that are overall really uncomfortable.
Which leads me to explain what Awakening IS:
The uncovering of trauma and wounds that have been hidden deep inside (unconsciously or consciously) by some people. Trauma impacts everyone! I think most people assume they don’t have trauma, when in actuality they have experienced multiple little traumas/events that have created a big snowball rolling down a hill. Eventually it is going to crush you if you keep running from it because it just gets so big. My experience has been that uncovering this trauma is part of the awakening process and it can be uncomfortable. So take it easy with yourself. Get the help you need from someone you trust. Know that it is possible to work through the traumatic event(s) in the right setting. Also be aware that just because someone is spiritual and carries a bunch of crystals, does not mean that that they are trauma-informed. I have seen many practitioners be completely oblivious to trauma - and heck I know I am still learning and that’s only because of my own trauma that’s been coming up to be seen.
Part of the human journey –Have some compassion for yourself and realize that you are not alone in this. That the whole world right now is awakening to this within themselves and it is going to lead to a lot of division as people are not sure fully how to manage it and everyone’s flight/flight/freeze/fawn approach could be different.
Looking to heal your personal wounds?
I would encourage you to seek out a trauma-informed therapist or wellness practitioner who can support you in this. There are many tools out there that I have found helpful, and that are known to support healing trauma and making the awakening process more manageable. I would encourage you to check out trauma related treatment options. One option is soul retrieval, which I have found healing on my personal journey and I offer to my clients. The earth-based traditions have helped me immensely in my healing. It gave me the wisdom to be compassionate with myself and stand in my power. Remember the work is never done. It just is and there is no right or wrong.