The Ever Present Past

Many years ago, I invited a close friend to visit for the weekend when she was going through a difficult breakup. I was shocked when I saw her arrive – she was skin and bone. I offered her a Reiki session which she gladly accepted. After 2 hours she came through to the kitchen and began to make tea. “Now I understand what my boys mean,” she said. She worked with young men who had been excluded from mainstream education, all from difficult backgrounds. “They say that they take drugs to ease the pain. And that’s just what that Reiki did for me.” From that day, she began to heal and put weight back on.

We are all the products of our past. My friend had been abandoned to a boarding school at an early age, therefore when her boyfriend rejected and abandoned her, it triggered all the pain from her past. It was almost unbearable. And really very little to do with that particular man, who in hindsight she acknowledged she was better off without.
We are complex creatures, us humans. Our motivations may not always be what we think. We are all operating according to our internal programming. The boyfriend in question had a difficult childhood himself, and as a result had problems maintaining emotional attachments, communicating openly and sustaining emotional intimacy. He actually did love her as much as he could, but sadly his own deep rooted fear of letting himself become too attached, (in case he was rejected again,) meant that he had become emotionally unavailable.
Too much intimacy or beginning to depend on someone would trigger his need to withdraw. His underlying fear of the pain of rejection, still in his bones from childhood, would sabotage any promising relationship.
How many sorrows
Do you try to hide
In a world of illusion
That’s covering your mind?
It wasn’t as simple as a fear of commitment. What he could not risk was the bottomless pit of despair of being rejected, the anguish of being unwanted, all the pain of the little boy was still there, waiting to engulf him again, so he would sabotage his relationships rather than risk ever having to feel that again. The tragic outcome of this emotional unavailability means that often once the relationship has ended and the fear of rejection has subsided, someone in this position can want their partner back again – they have proved to themselves that it is safe – they can withdraw when necessary, therefore they can often be once again attracted to the person. If the parties don’t look at their own motivations, triggers, patterns and deep programming, they can be stuck in a very destructive cycle of an on off relationship that is never going to change until they start working on healing their own issues.
Cruel is the night
That covers up your fears.
Tender is the one
That wipes away your tears.
This is what my friend did. After more Reiki sessions, she realised that it wasn’t that particular man that she was so in love with, rather it was the abandoned little child within her who needed to be seen, to be wanted, to be chosen. She needed a father figure. She was fulfilling her childhood dream of being rescued from her dreadful boarding school. Everything was going to be okay, she had found someone who chose her, who wanted her and who could take her home. Home from the deep wounding pain of banishment and abandonment that her inner child still carried. Once she realised that, she could see that actually they were not very compatible, they didn’t really have much in common and it was never going to work between them. She also had to look at her own emotional unavailability, after all, she had attracted an emotionally unavailable mate.
But I’ll show you something good.
Oh I’ll show you something good.
If you open your heart
You can make a start
When your crumbling world falls apart.
After a couple of years of being on her own she met a lovely quiet, gentle man. This time he didn’t so much come charging into her life on a white horse, as he was just quietly sitting there when she looked round. They have now been married for nearly 7 years and are still very happy together. This is my friends 3rd marriage. In her first two, she was still looking to be rescued, and for personal validation, as she had been with the ex boyfriend. The pain she had felt with that breakup had nearly destroyed her. I can still remember my shock when I saw her aura and how thin she was the day she arrived at my house. But with the help of Reiki and her willingness to work on healing her own issues, to journey into the depths of her own pain, she turned the breakup from a breakdown to a breakthrough and healed her lifelong pattern of choosing mates to rescue her from a school she had left decades before.
When you open your mind
You’ll discover the sign
That there’s something
You’re longing to find
She found the love she had longed for – she finally learned to love and value herself. Only from that place of wholeness was she then open to receive love from others. Love indeed can be miraculous and beautiful – especially when it blossoms anew on previously barren soil. Loving ourselves is also our greatest gift to others, for until we do, we will always be coming from a place of lack and be limited in the love we can both give and receive. Reiki is a truly powerful and transformational tool to give us the insight, self awareness and also the courage necessary to take a deep breath and face our pain and our patterns. And facing them is the only way to heal and move beyond.

The miracle of love
Will take away your pain
When the miracle of love
Comes your way again.

Elizabeth Harley 2017
Illustration by Ben Harley
Lyrics of ‘Miracle of Love’ by Annie Lennox & David Allan Stewart