Projection: the Unwanted Gift

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Although the holiday season has come to an end, there is one type of gift that will continue to be given all year long. An icky, sticky gift that is given on the energetic level. Wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a shiny ribbon, the gift can sometimes appear authentic. But when we tune into how we feel, we know there is something awry. Like a chewed-up and spat-out wad of gum that lands in our gut, undigested and foreign, it’s obvious that something doesn’t feel right. In our home with our young daughters, I refer to this as the gift of poop.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we often project our unresolved shit onto others. We fling, spray and hurl our crap at others. We project onto our kids, our spouse, our co-workers, our mother and our friends. A desperate attempt to not look at our own stuff. A futile attempt to feel better…even just for a fleeting moment.

Allow me to share an example of projection in a work setting. A friend was participating in a training call with a company that she had recently joined. The business had been experiencing some marketing challenges, which had been brought to the surface by a handful of the company’s distributors. On the training call, the company’s founder painted a rosy picture of himself taking ownership of these issues. But sandwiched between the niceties, was one yucky comment that splattered the phone audience with goo. On an energetic level, the company’s owner had thrown sticky slime at my friend and the other trainees.

Rather than taking ownership, he projected his feeling of inadequacy onto his team, leaving them with the icky feeling that the company’s marketing challenges were their fault. In other words, he was not the problem…they were the problem. And as long as he projected his crap onto others, he wouldn’t be able to genuinely take ownership of the company’s challenges, nor would he be able to heal his buried feeling of inadequacy.

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(Dylan Gillis on Unsplash)

Projecting our stored emotions and fears onto others mucks up our relationships. It keeps us aligned with our ego, our fear-based false self. It keeps us stuck in denial, flailing around in our unresolved emotional swampland. Projecting onto others keeps our hearts closed and our defenses up. And as long as we are in denial with our hearts closed and defenses up, it’s difficult to tap into our own authenticity. As long as we are tossing our crap at others, we cannot heal and grow.

As parents, we often project our stored emotions or fears onto our kids. In a recent meditation, I saw that I had projected some unresolved stuff onto my seven-year old daughter. This energy was squishing her, as if she was clamped between the tight prongs of an oversized rake. With eyes closed, I received an image of myself as a seven-year old, slumped over crying. I felt lonely, scared and sad. I realized that I had projected these stored emotions from my childhood onto my daughter. By energetically taking back my own stuff, I freed my daughter and offered myself the opportunity to heal.

Interestingly, the night before this meditation, my daughter burst out crying. An articulate child who normally easily expresses her emotions, she told me that she felt sad, but also felt some other emotions that she couldn’t describe or make sense of. Projecting my stored childhood emotions onto my daughter had confused and emotionally overwhelmed her.

As parents, we often have good intentions for our children. But sometimes our good intentions are rooted in fear. When we project fear-based energy onto our kids, they can feel this controlling energy wrapped tightly around them. In an attempt to break free of this restrictive energy, our children may act out, talk back or rebel.

As grown adults, we sometimes continue to carry projected energy from childhood with us. One example that comes to mind is a driven 30-year old woman who grew up always being the “good girl”. Although she had determinedly followed her dreams of being an international competing athlete in a sport that was traditionally for males, she had to fight hard for the right to do so due to her cultural background and strict upbringing. When I tuned into her energy, I saw that she was carrying an old, dark cloud of energy that her father had projected onto her. A controlling and unsupportive dark cloud, brimming with beliefs about what his daughter should and should not do.

Not long after this beautiful woman released this outdated dark cloud, an interesting thing happened. She began shedding all the ways she had been playing the role of “good”, including “good wife”, “good daughter” and “good woman” (according to her culture’s dictates). Being good had often meant keeping her mouth shut, being dependable and loyal and silencing her heart’s whispers and wishes. Being good had meant not allowing her true self to fully shine. When she began shedding these old roles like a snake sheds its old skin, this inspiring woman began stepping more and more into her light and connecting with her soul’s true purpose.

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(Danica Tanjutco on Unsplash)

Projection can also occur between other family members. My client, a vibrant and driven 40-something year old woman, complained of low energy and fatigue. When I tuned into her energy, I saw that a dark, snake-like energy was slithering around her system. The energy felt like misery and negativity. When I looked more closely, it became apparent that this energy belonged to her adult siblings. For the past year, my client had been focused on raising her vibration through meditation, yoga and intuitive healing sessions. Her siblings, who are stuck in an old, familiar and heavy feeling of misery and negativity, are not happy for their younger sister’s expansion and growth. Unwilling to look at and heal their own stored emotional stuff, they united in their misery and projected their negative energy onto their sibling. My client was able to release this energy and hand it back to its rightful owners. Her fatigue disappeared and she became her vibrant self again.

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(Meireles Neto on Unsplash)

Like a neglected tree dripping with over-ripe fruit, marriage can be loaded with projection. Allow me to share a story about a couple who have been married for several decades. To the regular eye, the marriage appeared harmonious. But on a subtle energetic level, the marriage dynamic felt very different. The wife had spent her entire adulthood avoiding and hiding from her inner emotional jungle. Because of her fear of facing her emotional baggage, she wound up projecting some of this fear onto her husband. This controlling energy felt like a tight, suffocating rope cinched around his torso. For the well-being and health of all — husband, wife and marriage — it was important for this suffocating energy to be released from the man’s system and handed back to its rightful owner.

When we carry other people’s emotional crap for them, we aren’t able to genuinely support them. Instead, it’s important to hand back other people’s stuff so that they may have the opportunity to heal it. Health and happiness come from facing and healing our stored emotions, debilitating beliefs and fears.

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(Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash)

All of this projection begs the question — is this your shit or my shit? Whose shit is this? To find out, try the meditation below.

I can hear some of you saying: “Ok, I am done with this article; I don’t have time to meditate.” It is natural to want to run or hide. Our egos will try to keep us stuck in denial and rooted in fear. Our egos will tell us that we are great and don’t need this healing mumbo-jumbo. I urge you to stay with me. Break through the resistance.

This meditation is designed to help you clear projected energy that you may be carrying from other people, as well as pull back the energy that you have cast onto others. Let’s face it…none of us are perfect. Admittedly, I too project my shit onto my kids, husband and others in my life. But instead of berating myself or pretending to be above this, I practice energetically taking back that which is mine. My intention is to heal my own stuff and help keep my relationships a little less muddled.

When we see, feel and heal our stored baggage, we create an inner environment that allows us to experience more love, peace and trust. We open the gates to experience life as it is in the present moment. When we honour and heal our own stuff, our relationships become healthier. We ourselves become healthier. And our world becomes healthier.

I suggest reading through the meditation first, then when you have 15-20 minutes available, find a quiet space to close your eyes and give it a try.

Meditation

Alignment
With your eyes closed, begin by observing your breath. Witness your breath as you inhale. Observe your breath as you exhale. Continue to follow your breath for another five deep breaths.

Imagine opening your crown chakra on the top of your head. Open it really wide, as wide as your head…or even wider. Now see or feel a brilliant white light flowing down from above and entering into the top of your head. Welcome this magnificent divine light as it washes over your face and down the back of your skull, filling your neck, throat and shoulders. Feel these warm waves of love and light as they fill your arms, hands and fingers. See this light as it washes over your chest and abdominal area, filling all of your organs. Witness this divine energy as it lights up your back and pelvis, filling your legs, feet and toes. Breathe in this beautiful feeling of being completely filled with light.

Part One
Say this out loud: “Please show me any projected energy that I may be carrying from (name the person). Thank you.”

Notice any sensations in your physical body. Is there an area with tension or a feeling of dense energy? Is there a body part that feels tight and constricted? (Or perhaps rather than a feeling, you receive an image of a body part.) Which part of your body are you drawn to? Allow your awareness to sink into this body part.

Say this out loud: “I am willing and ready to give this energy back to its rightful owner, (name the person). Thank you.”

Continue to breathe and soften your body as you witness this energy lifting off of you. Feel the gratitude in your heart as this energy leaves you. Soften and allow yourself to feel compassion, forgiveness or understanding for the individual who projected this energy onto you. It is likely that he or she did so unconsciously. Trust that by handing this energy back to its rightful owner, you are offering her the opportunity to heal.

Part Two
Now it is time to take back any stored emotions, fears or beliefs that YOU have projected onto this same individual. By owning and honouring our own stuff, we empower ourselves to heal and be free.

Say this out loud: “I am ready and willing to take back any crap that I have projected onto (name the person). Thank you.”

Rest here a moment. Breathe. Forgive yourself for projecting this energy onto her or him. We are all human. We are all here to learn and grow.

See or feel this energy being retracted and returning to you. You may become aware of where this energy now sits within you. Do you feel tension or denseness in any part of your body? Or is there a body part that appears darker than the rest? Which part of your body are you drawn to?

Allow yourself to fully sink into this body part. What do you feel here? What emotion is present? Feel what is present within you. Breathe and stay with the feeling.

Part Three
Say this out loud: “Please show me what I need to see or know to heal. Thank you.”

Continue to breathe and relax your body as you allow an image or an intuitive knowingness to come to you. You might become aware of a memory from childhood. Or you might suddenly understand what this held emotion is all about. If nothing comes to you, accept that that there is nothing you need to know right now.

Say this out loud: “I am ready and willing to release this stored emotion or fear. Thank you.”

Witness this energy moving up, up, up and out of your crown chakra at the top of your head. Observe this old stored energy exiting your system. The energy may move swiftly, like a free-flowing river. Or it may trickle up at a slower pace, taking a few days to fully exit. There is no right or wrong; no good or bad. Feel the gratitude in your heart for this beautiful healing that is transpiring for you.

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(Fernando Brasil on Unsplash)

A Note about Resistance
If it feels like the energy is not moving, you may have some resistance. Ask to be shown why you are resisting letting this energy go or why you are resisting handing it back to its rightful owner. Sometimes we are resistant to give projected energy back to its rightful owner because we care for them and don’t want them to carry an extra burden. When we give projected energy back, we are also helping others by offering them the opportunity to heal.

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To read more about Rachel, please click here.

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Under the Surface of the Unheard Parent

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(Rawpixel on Unsplash)

“It’s time to get ready for bed. Go put on your pyjamas,” I firmly request. My kids begin shouting and hollering in protest. Again, I sternly assert myself: “You have school tomorrow. It’s time now to put on your pyjamas.” As if on cue for a wild party, my girls race from room to room. They jump on the bed. They climb all over their dad.

At this point, I can feel anger bubbling and brewing deep inside of me. My breathing becomes shallow. My body grows tense. I state my request one final time. My seven-year old daughter walks past me as if I were invisible. Now it’s too late. There is no turning back. My anger boils over. Like a deranged monster, I yell at my children to get ready for bed NOW! Every night I promise myself I won’t get mad. Every night it’s the same old story.

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(Anthony Tran on Unsplash)

The unheard parent. Whether we pester our kids to clean up their toys, get ready for bed or do their homework, it all comes down to the same thing. We are demanding to be heard. Demanding to be respected. Demanding that someone (in this situation, our kids) will confirm that our wishes, needs and feelings are valid.

As we all know, parenting isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. And it isn’t meant to be. We are here on this planet to experience the spectrum of human emotions and to learn, grow and heal. Parenting — in all its frustrating and exhausting glory — offers us a wealth of opportunities for healing.

Whether we realize it or not, our children trigger stored emotions that have been camping out inside of us for a long time, often since we ourselves were little kids. These buried emotions, beliefs and fears affect our current well-being, our perception of the world and how we react to life.

This past summer I watched a dad on the beach with his young family. His five-year old daughter was upset and crying loudly. The dad was growing increasingly tense, stiffening like a stone statue. Agitated, he impatiently asked his daughter what was wrong. His tone sounded like a hissing snake, threatening an attack. The little girl sobbed while explaining that sand had gotten into her ice cream. She knew she would have to throw away her half-eaten treat. Her dad responded with an angry “stop crying!” When the little girl continued to cry, he repeated his demand: “stop crying!” The little girl cried more. “Riley, STOP crying!!”

The longer I watched this man, the more he appeared like a little boy, stomping his feet and shouting. A small child who desperately wanted to be heard. A boy who longed for attention and yearned for someone (likely a parent or care giver) to acknowledge that his feelings and wishes were relevant. Inside this man was an upset little boy who was pouring gasoline on the dad’s fiery reaction to his daughter.

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(Kat J on Unsplash)

There are two things happening in life. The first is what is actually happening. The second is how we SEE the situation and how we FEEL about what is happening.

For example, my over-the-top hysterical reaction when my girls don’t listen often has more to do with my own inner emotional landscape, than the actual situation. With this in mind, I took my frustration and anger to my meditation in order to shine some light and take a closer look.

Here is what I discovered.

With my eyes closed, I imagined a recent episode when my eldest daughter didn’t listen to me. I allowed my anger to grow in intensity, igniting a roaring fire within me. After allowing myself to fully feel and honour my anger, I then sank into what was underneath.

Open and curious, I became aware of feeling invisible combined with a clenching sensation of fear. Asking to be shown when in childhood I felt scared and invisible, I saw myself at about four years old standing outside a house. At the end of the driveway, I saw my mom deep in conversation with my dad. When little me tried to get my parents’ attention, they didn’t notice me…or possibly ignored me. I could feel some urgency in getting their attention. Perhaps my little brother needed adult care inside the house. I am not aware of the details. But what is clear is that I had been harbouring a little girl’s feeling of helplessness, as well as a fear-based belief that when I am unnoticed or ignored something unsafe could happen.

In a way, this event is seemingly insignificant. Nothing terrible occurred. Nobody was physically hurt. But how my four-year old self FELT about it left an energetic imprint within me. As a result, feeling helpless and invisible with a splash of fear had been feeding my intense emotional response as an adult when my kids didn’t listen to me.

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(Alex Blajan on Unsplash)

Now you might say — this is ridiculous! Am I seriously suggesting that the emotions we felt and stored within us as small children (like feeling unheard and unseen) can affect how we react and feel when our kids don’t listen to us today? Yes, I believe our unresolved emotional baggage fuels our intense, over-the-top reaction to our children’s behaviour and feeds our ego’s hunger to be heard and respected as a parent.

Like an overflowing storage room that is brimming with dusty boxes and out-dated appliances, we often choose to ignore or deny our accumulated emotions and beliefs. By doing so, we carry our hurt forward from childhood into our adult lives. When we feel unheard or disrespected by our kids (or by our spouse, our co-workers, etc.) it pokes at this stored pain. It triggers all kinds of stored childhood feelings. And it washes up icky old beliefs of not being worthy or that our needs are somehow unimportant and so forth.

Please note that I am not in any way placing fault on our parents, nor is this article about judging ourselves as parents. The intention of this article is to encourage us to take an open-minded, curious look at the emotions and beliefs that are stashed within us. And to see how these stored emotions could affect how we perceive events and trigger our emotional responses to life and our relationships.

Take a moment to reflect on these questions:

Do you often feel disappointed or let down by others?

Do you feel like your kids (or others) disrespect you?

Do you feel helpless and unseen when your kids disregard your requests?

Do you notice yourself reacting to situations in an emotionally over-dramatic way?

For those of us who answered yes to any of the above, you may feel inspired to take a closer look within.

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(Lina Trochez on Unsplash)

The following short meditation helps us see and release stagnant emotions, opening the door for us to feel calmer, clearer, lighter and more centred.

Meditation

Sit in a quiet space with your eyes closed. Enjoy five deep breaths. With each inhale, witness the breath. Pause. With each exhale, witness the breath.

Bring your awareness to the top of your head to your crown chakra. See the top of your head opening wide. See or feel a bright, sparkly white light as it enters into your crown. Continue to breathe as you witness your entire being filled with this radiant, divine light.

Now bring to mind a situation when your child didn’t listen to you. Allow whatever emotion is present to rise up. Feel the anger, frustration or rage. Don’t look away or deny your emotions. Truly, deeply FEEL them.

Now tune into what emotion is underneath. Perhaps it is a feeling of helplessness. Or maybe there is a belief that you are not worthy of being heard. Not worthy of attention, affection or love. Or perhaps there is a fear that when kids don’t listen something bad happens.

Now ask to be shown a time as a child when you experienced these feelings and beliefs. Ask: “When have I felt this feeling of “___” as a child?”

Rest in quiet and allow an image or memory to present itself. Breathe and soften as you allow yourself to feel the emotions that surface. Stay with the emotions that are present.

There may be tears. Or you might want to give little you (your inner child) permission to verbally express your hurt or anger toward the person who upset you. (This is an exchange in your imagination.) Allowing your emotions to have an expression can help to release these stored feelings.

After you have fully and deeply felt these emotions, it’s time to let this energy go. See or feel this stored emotion as an energy moving up, up, up and out through the top of your head, letting it go. Perhaps it appears like a bubbling creek flowing up and out or maybe the energy shoots out of your crown chakra like a powerful geyser. Breathe, soften and let it go.

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(Nine Kopfer on Unsplash)

Emotions are energies that are meant to move. When emotions are held and stored within us, they can muddy our perceptions, opinions and behaviours.

Raising our voices with our kids can be purposeful. It is also expected that we may feel frustrated when our children challenge us by not listening. The idea of a blissed-out parent who never raises her voice is not realistic. (Or at least not realistic in my world.)

Our life is full of opportunities to grow and heal. Our relationships with our kids are prime examples of this. Feeling triggered by our kids is a gift. When unwrapped and looked at with an open mind, this gift offers powerful opportunities to heal and evolve.

Inner peace and happiness require taking an honest, non-judgemental look at our own unresolved stuff, feeling our stored emotions and letting them go.

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To read more about Rachel, click here.