In my younger life I spent a lot of energy raging against the world, a world that didn’t meet my expectations for safety or fairness. Over time, I’ve learned to accept that being exposed to danger and injustice is just part of being human. People make poor choices, and some of those choices will negatively affect me. Even though I understand that, and don’t take things so personally, I’m still dealing with negative habits from my past.

Trauma and isolation in my childhood created negative thought patterns. Those pathways were so well-traveled that they became my default wiring. I’ve done a lot of work on this, with abundant guidance from The Teachers. I’ve recognized that those patterns once protected me, but now I need additional skills. I am actively working to re-wire my brain. When the thoughts come up, I don’t push them away. Instead, I move my attention into more helpful thinking. I see the negative loops objectively, without much emotional attachment. Then I move my attention to a larger picture, which includes my past but expands beyond it. My little problems become small within the context of the Universe. My energy loosens from the grip of Ego.

And then, of course, real life gives me the opportunity to do some more work. Family dynamics are a great way to activate old patterns! I recently experienced this with my sibling. We have a long-standing disagreement about the nature of our upbringing. Due to historical and personality differences, each child has a different relationship with their parent. My sibling is unable to accept this, and is constantly telling me to “get over it”, as if my experience must be the same as his. Obviously, he is uncomfortable acknowledging my pain. I really should know better than to engage with him, but recently did just that. Since then I have been re-trapped in negative thought loops, with emotional attachment. My ego has become locked in a battle of protective defensiveness against perceived danger, looping and looping like a mouse on a wheel.

I find it tiresome to revisit these old patterns. Sifting through the past is only helpful if it sheds light on the present. I was talking about this with a friend, and he offered that my past could also be seen as a gift––it gave me the insight of experience. In my case, this gift is the ability to understand how trauma affects people’s lives and be compassionate to their journey with it. My brother, apparently, has not received this gift, and is therefore unable to see my experience for what it was. I can be thankful that he did not have the experiences that I did, and forgive his behavior.

I can also give up my attachment to the idea that there is hope for loving support and understanding from my family. This is not demoralized rebellion. It is accepting What Is. It is placing my situation in context, and moving my energy into compassion for self. It is stepping out of the limits of Ego and into the timelessness of Spirit. It is recognizing that my greatest support comes from God and the Universe. It is a reminder to consciously connect with that support, and move my attention there.