The Other Side of Trauma: Triggers, Time Travel, and Transmutation
There is a place beyond survival. It is already within you.
If you would have told me even one year ago that there is another side to pain, anger, violation, and grief I would have grimaced at you with the exact cruelty I had become adept at inflicting on myself. Forcefully treading through the waves of loss and confusion is one thing, but to realize that there’s no one else holding your head under the water any longer… that is a life-quaking realization to make.
I was assaulted in my early twenties. I was in a band and we were on tour when it happened. It was my own band mate who broke open my body and showed me what it felt like to die while fully conscious. The most vivid memory I can return to is of the morning after. I was silently seated in the van beside him, but truly I was floating up above myself somewhere in the ether. This breaking open of the body through violence, violation, or constant threat of death is where the seed of trauma begins. It is a portal that opens and allows the spirit to leave the body, leaving us vulnerable to destructive energies and forces.
I carried the weight of my grief in silence for a long time. I simply didn’t have words for what had happened. It was in the manipulative apologies of the one who hurt me, the sad stories of his suicidal thoughts, that I understood what I felt inside to be even worse than what my mind alone could process. It took about six years for me to seek therapy and receive the diagnosis: PTSD. Until then, I didn’t know what I was up against or why I couldn’t just “get over it.” I became very familiar with anger. It wound so tightly around me that if anyone tried to touch me, it felt as if I could break open all over again. To seek retribution, to replay the story in my head- that was all I could manage for many years.
I was drawn to books, movements, and figures that cemented this rage and despair. In framing my assault as solely a gendered, political issue I gave away my own power to deal with it honestly and compassionately on a soul level. I escaped the grief and confusion with the certainty of my anger, my ability to blame, and the righteousness I felt in being a victim. I am not saying that the violence of the patriarchy and all other structures upheld within it are not political and do not require a breaking open. They most certainly are and they certainly do. But it is my heartfelt belief that we are much more capable of shifting into sustainable policy and consciousness when we are coming from a place of compassion, equanimity, and true power.
… we are much more capable of shifting into sustainable policy and consciousness when we are coming from a place of compassion, equanimity, and true power.
I want to share my journey in an effort to expand on what is possible for those of us who have been labeled “victims,” “survivors,” or (as I prefer) Alchemists. We are being asked to engage with so much in our current news cycle and political stages. It does not reflect what we are capable of experiencing. There is a place beyond survival. It is already within you.
It was in a class with a Beloved teacher that I first heard the words: “You will not be killed in this lifetime for your gifts and abilities.” To put it bluntly, it triggered me. Having had many experiences with triggers over the years, I was familiar with the feeling. Except this time, it would become one of my greatest gifts. At hearing those words, I shot up in my chair and began to scratch at my chest. I was sobbing uncontrollably. It was a total catharsis. It took this beautiful little trigger to fully reunite my soul with my body for good. From that point on, I began to channel Spirit, people who have crossed over, and other Beings. You do not need the gift of channeling or mediumship to open yourself up to the process I am sharing now. You simply need to witness yourself without judgement and see what you can learn.
One of the many beautiful truths I have come to receive in my role as a channeler, is that nothing we experience here is meant for our punishment. It is meant for our expansion. True to this statement, my trauma helped me to develop a lucid relationship with time. I was misusing and misunderstanding what we refer to in many spiritual circles as “timeline jumping.” I began to see that every time I held myself in victimhood or allowed my triggers to terrify me, I revisited and revitalized the exact timeline I did not want to be in. I realized that my abuser was no longer abusing me. It was me who was recreating our timeline over and over again and infusing my current reality with the thoughts and feelings of the past.
This is the part where many people may simply say, “Well, that’s just what trauma does.” It is a commonly accepted belief that when we endure something like this, we can only hope to manage the symptoms. It is somehow acceptable that our bodies and souls should just simply run in circles of torture with only glimpses of relief somewhere in between.
I am no longer interested in what trauma does. I am interested in what I decide to do with it.
I am no longer interested in what trauma does. I am interested in what I decide to do with it. I do not feel that I should not have had to experience this pain in my life. I do not feel that a life free from pain is what any of us should expect or desire. Pain is what we agree to when we come to the Earth plane. It is our medicine and it opens us to the conditions beyond the ego self. It is suffering that I have parted ways with. Suffering is what we create when we forget who and what we truly are: beings of light and unconditional love.
The relationship between the body and soul is well understood in the oldest and wisest cultures of the world. In many indigenous cultures of Mexico and throughout South America, anytime a person experiences a great fright or loss, a Limpia, or “cleansing” is undertaken. This process will often involve the support of a Curandero or of family, here and on the other side. Sacred materials such as water, crystals, fruit, and eggs are used. It is a way to calibrate the body into safety and oneness with its elemental mother earth, and invite the soul back in for a healthy integration. This closes the portal of terror and toxicity and allows the body to become a support system in processing the trauma so that transmutation can begin to occur.
The process of transmutation is where we use the skills and information that we have had to painfully learn with our trauma, and lovingly create a new reality. One of the best and most heartening ways I have been able to work with this, is through the very agents that used to torture me the most: triggers and time travel.
Suffering is what we create when we forget who and what we truly are: beings of light and unconditional love.
In taking up a practice of unconditional love, I learned something about myself that I didn’t know before. As I began to stay with myself during meditation and prayer, I found a Self emerging that was more beautiful and more powerful than I ever could have imagined. After all of the thoughts, all of the feelings, all of that extreme agitation washed over me… there was someone waiting on the other side. She remained steadfast through the chaos of mind and emotion. She was urging me to embrace, instead of resist. She was ready for me to surrender, instead of hold on. She had absolute faith in me, despite all that she had been through. She, I realized, was Me.
I took up this challenge that She bestowed on me. When a trigger would arise, I became aware of my deep desire to suppress the spiraling, resist the fear. I began making conscious decisions to allow it. I would yell, cry, scratch at my bed sheets, and fix myself a bath. I refused to abandon myself or get angry at myself when I couldn’t sleep (something that always terrorized me). Triggers became a source of beautiful information for me: my body is wise and requires care. My body knows something about the human capacity for violence. My body knows how to heal, to hold and to open itself up to life again. Instead of resisting the information I was being given, I simply began to observe it without judgement. In place of that judgement, something miraculous began to awaken in me: joy. Joy is different than happiness, to me. Joy is the light that gets in where we have been carved and cut open. It is flavored with wisdom and truth. It is our true nature.
Joy is the light that gets in where we have been carved and cut open.
I began to put my time traveling skills to use. I allowed myself to travel back to that moment when everything broke open. I watched her, the She that was me back then. In my mind’s eye, I surrounded her with healing light. I pictured myself picking her up off the floor and covering up her body with warm blankets. I performed a Limpia right there with her. I saw the one that I call my abuser. I did the same for him. I held his body in my arms and in that moment I understood he never truly took from me that which I believed he had stolen. He is a soul having a human experience, just like me. I realized that there is a freedom even greater than forgiveness: true compassion. As he broke my body that night, he smashed himself into a thousand scattered, rotting pieces. I let myself be with the understanding that this was not about him or any other enemy coming to hurt me or violate me. It was always about this new story, this expanded consciousness of love.
I want you to know that your pain, your trauma, and everything bound up in it is valid. But it is not greater than your capacity to not only survive, but to transform every part of your life into joy. This aching is asking you to live into something bigger than you could ever imagine. There is no right or wrong in this journey. Your good days and bad days are equally sacred. Please be kind to yourself and allow others to care for you. This is a noble path you are being initiated into and you will create something from this that only you can bring into the world, even if it is simply a deeper sense of tenderness. Hold a vision of the version of you that already exists on the other side of the pain. They will guide you home.
Hold a vision of the version of you that already exists on the other side of the pain. They will guide you home.
You can learn more about me, my music, and the healing work that I offer at www.katefaust.com
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