Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Healing The Triggers of Life

Note: This story may be triggering to read but it does have a happy ending to it. So, if you choose to read it, please know that all of what transpired here led to a deeper healing and a greater awareness which I am thankful for. The following article is what I recorded from the Evolutionary Healing Seminar in Miami, FL. on November 21, 2010.

“I feel so disconnected from everything and like I don’t matter!”

“When will I ever get things figured out in life?”

“No matter what I do, it just seems like I never get anywhere”

“Yes, I know many good things have happened in life but I still struggle – when will this struggle let up – when will it end?”

Those were the words I spoke after leaving the first day of the seminar with Dr. Paul Canali of Evolutionary Healing. Little did I realize that a discussion earlier in the day would have such a profound impact upon me. Little did I realize that the discussion was already impacting my life and triggering me in ways that I was not aware of.

All I felt in those moments going home was sadness, despair and hopelessness. I knew it was wrong for me to feel this way, or that’s what I felt in that moment. I just couldn’t shake it. I just could not walk away from it.

Leaving the seminar, I was fighting the traffic and becoming infuriated at the idiot drivers on the way back to the hotel . How dare they cut me off? How dare they weave in around me? How dare they, I fumed.

After supper, we went on a wild goose chase trying to find a grocery store to no avail. I was feeling in my own world, all alone and as if no one really wanted me or loved me. I don’t care if God himself would have come and sat in the car at that moment, I would not have believed love existed.

As my GPS went off trying to direct me back to the hotel, it was taking me onto unfamiliar roads and I was agitated, scared and anxious. I fumed and cursed its directions, screaming at it to shut up because it did not know where it was going.

My night came to a close as I dropped into bed, exhausted from the day and hoping in some small way, I might be spared another day to live through this misery. I did not voice any of this as deep inside I felt it was my own pain to bear. After all, I felt no one cared or loved me, so why would I expect anyone to show me concern? It didn’t matter that there were people there for me that I really trusted and that I knew loved me. I could not see it in this moment. I could not feel that. Despair and hopelessness were the only love that I knew in that moment.

The next morning came too early and the sadness in life was engulfing me like a fog. I so badly wanted to cry. I so badly wanted everything to end. I so badly just wanted to say *F*U*C*K* It all and go back home. To go and hide felt like the only refuge I had in that single moment. Darkness was all I could see and all I could feel.

Forcing myself to head back to Miami for day two of the seminar, I finally admitted to Jeff in the car that I really just wanted to kill myself. I’m sure that wasn’t a comforting thought for him as a passenger but there was no way I was giving up control of the car. It was the only control I had in that moment. He responded “Oh Don” with a concern of compassion that was reassuring to me. However, I could barely feel it. He asked me if I wanted to talk about it but I said, I can’t. For I knew that if I was to talk about it, I would break down emotionally and not be able to function in the car. Again, I clung to the control of driving the car. It was my saving grace at that minute. The radio played. I hid in my silence and cursed the traffic.

Arriving at the seminar, I knew I needed to talk to Dr. Canali (Paul) but I was so afraid. How do you tell someone that they triggered you without them laughing at you, becoming violent towards you or doing much worse? It was hard to separate out the events even though my mind knew that Paul and the source of the trigger were two different people.

Walking through the door, I paused to see him talking to someone else. Damn it, I thought in my mind. I then saw him walk in the room and someone else cornered him. Damn it! I was becoming furious thinking that I was truly alone and I would never get to talk to him. I didn’t know if I would have the courage to say something as more time passed.

Oh well, I finally surmised, I’ll just sit here and act as if everything is okay. Surely I can do that much right, I thought. The noises going on around me and the conversations seemed so distant. I felt like everyone was avoiding me although I really wanted no one to talk to me. I wanted to sit by myself in my pain without anyone getting close. I felt the intense shame that I thought was the only way I could see this right now. How could I? How dare I? How could he?

How could he talk about that in a room full of people? How could he bring up a subject like this? After all, I care about Paul and I respect him but had this changed everything forever? Had he become someone different to me? I wanted to run out of the room but that would have been noticed. I wanted to hide, but where could I go – there were people everywhere?

I tried to breathe and calm myself but the war of the ocean waves were churning inside of me. I fought back the fears, I felt the pain and I felt the anger. I was so angry at him for what he did. I was so angry at what I went through. I was so angry at what Paul said. It all seemed like it was Paul’s fault and I had no idea just what was playing out in the corners of my mind.

I could take no more of it as the lecture started. I could not look him in the eye. I didn’t want to be there in that room with him or anyone. But I had to hide this. I could not let anyone see this pain I was holding. I could not let anyone know of this shame I was hiding. I could not expose myself in this way.

As the anger surfaced, I knew I had to say something but I was so afraid. How would he react? What would he say? Would he get defensive and tell me to leave? Would he tell me that he never wanted to see me again? God knows, that was the punishment for speaking out. Would he just discount all that I was feeling? I didn’t know what would happen but my only choices were to have an emotional breakdown right there in front of everyone or talk to him. There was no way I was going to break down in front of everyone and be vulnerable. No way, no how!

The moment came and I quickly ran up to Paul and said, I needed to talk to him. What was I doing, I thought. Why are you saying this? Don’t you know what can happen when someone speaks up? How dare I be so stupid? No, I thought – I’ve got to say something. The other option of breaking down isn’t one I want to allow either. The war raged within my mind.

I heard myself get the words out, “What you said triggered me yesterday.” And at that moment, I began to cry. The tears started coming from my eyes. I couldn’t stop them. I didn’t want to seem weak. I told Paul that I really didn’t want to come back and I didn’t want to keep going in life. And then I waited for an eternity for what his reaction might be. Was this the end? Would he hate me? Regardless of all the experiences I’ve been through with Paul, I still could not allow myself to trust anyone. I was in so much pain, that I could not see through reality. I was walking in illusion but the illusion was just as real as the pain I was feeling. There was no separation.

Paul said in a surprised way – really, tell me about it. I was so shocked. What, he wasn’t going to hit me or tell me to leave or ridicule me or tell me how bad I was? He was going to listen? Wait, really? This is possible? No, it can’t be! My mind raced with thoughts.

He had me sit down next to him and asked me to share what had gone on. I struggled to get the words out because each one was like a knife being stabbed into my gut. I really could not even completely remember what all had been said yesterday, but knew it was something about how the autonomic system plays a role in sex, and that was being used as an example of how the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems react with each other. Outside of that, I could not remember much more.

Of course, when I was in junior high, my dad was fixated on the topic of masturbation with me. He constantly wanted to know how much I did this, how often, the way I did this and every detail that one could tell. It was like he would get so excited sexually about this.

Wait, there he goes. Oh no, he’s doing it again. Why did I tell him? Why couldn’t I have just stayed silent? Why didn’t I lie about it and not give him what he wanted? I forced this to start. I caused this to happen. There he goes.. No I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to see.. oh my god, I hate what I’m feeling, what I’m doing. I hate how it feels in my mouth. I want it to stop. I want to run. Why are my pants down? What if someone finds us? I can’t deal with this. Look at the sky. See the birds. Wow, there are some pretty clouds today. The barn sure needs paint. I think I hear the sheep.

My little young mind just couldn’t process what happened. It happened with such a frequency that it felt more normal than breathing. It was hard to understand why I was not smart enough to stop this from happening. If only I would not have said anything. If only I would not have allowed him to get me alone.

Of course, all these details did not come out when I was talking to Paul. They didn’t need to. It was too painful to speak anyway and the main points were enough. I could hardly keep my composure. I really didn’t want everyone to see the pain I was in.

And so as Paul was talking, which I can hardly remember right now because my mind was lost in another world, I began to struggle with the constant tears. How could I sit there and deal with this pain? Then Paul knew I was struggling, and what I had shared with him became a perfect teaching tool for those in the room, and also for me to help me release some of the pain I was feeling and the energy of the pain.

He asked me to share with the room what had transpired. I’m thinking – there’s no way I can do this? After all, this was so hard for me, and sharing it with everyone would only be much more difficult. But I know that Paul and I have talked that the more you let this out, the more you reclaim your life. Why me? Why did I have to endure these things?

As I began to tell the story behind it, I only got a few words out and the tears started to flow like a water fall. I remember Paul just supporting me and holding on to me to let me know that I’m okay and that he cared about me. I remember seeing the faces in shock of what I was saying. In all reality, I thought everyone had felt the words of the day before were a trigger, just like me, but seeing the faces in the crowd, I knew that it was not the same. I’ll never forget the image of those faces being able to see the situation much differently than my mind was living it, and the support coming from each person.

The story doesn’t end here, of course, and it has a happy ending to it. Just like the angel card I pulled that morning which stated, “support – the angels are here with you and supporting you”, I was finding that I truly had the support of not only the angels but those around me.

When we broke for lunch, my stomach was in knots and I could not eat anything, so I just tried to find a sense of peace in the sun, clouds and trees as the wind blew against my skin.

After lunch, I finally got a chance to get on the table with Paul working on me. I wasn’t so sure about all these people around me but I felt safe with Paul. At first, I struggled to allow him to touch me. My body was reacting to the complete fear that I was feeling inside of me. Touch was not real safe, and if it would not have been for Paul asking me permission to touch, I would not have found that safety in that moment that I so badly needed.

At first, I could barely feel much in my body and then as we started pushing through things, my legs felt frozen and numb. They wanted to run but they couldn’t – just like any one of those days a long time ago. My body braced for all it would endure as the pains came up through my back. The muscles in my low back were so tight, just as if they were shielding me from the blows that my body would experience. And my arms had so much vengeance in them, as they wanted to strike out in anger but were never allowed to do.

As we went further into the session on the table, I could feel my body beginning to trust more and letting go more. The reactions seemed smaller than I feared they would be, and when things got too overwhelming, Paul brought me back to the safety of the place between my eyes or the music in the room. At one point, I remember him connecting me to someone else in the room who was crying, which of course connected strongly within me.

My body began to drop down as it dissipated all this energy that was coming up like a volcano from deep within me. I began to feel stronger that I could go into these things and reclaim them. I began to feel more connected to my body and all the energy and senses that I was once again realizing.

It was at that moment that I sensed all those supportive angels hovering around me and protecting me, giving me the strength to go through this. I heard them tell me that I was not alone and they were here for me. Paul had someone come over and be with me. The minute they touched me, I felt this intense sense of warmth coming from their hands. It was a beautiful moment and I felt so loved, so honored and respected.

I did not go to the seminar expecting this to happen, and I was so shocked by the events. I am so grateful for the support of so many and especially Paul for being there. The pure love that he shows to me is something that I was not shown all my life. Love was misused against me and twisted for these people to do sick and perverted acts upon me.

But I also realized that the trigger wasn’t as bad as it seemed to be. I realized that I could use the power of it to transform this part of me and reclaim the power that is a part of me. When I walked in the room that morning, life felt hopeless and I wanted to kill myself. When I left that afternoon, I had indeed killed the part of myself that I no longer needed. In doing this, I gave birth to a freedom and a new energy in my life of love, compassion and healing. I will always remember this day. It was my teacher and it taught me some very valuable truths.

And I know feeling the pains, the hurts, the anger, and all the other stuff I go through is the transforming fire that takes me through the healing and into a greater awareness.

(c) 11/22/10 by Don Shetterly - use by permission only.


  1. Tank you for sharing this Don.

  2. That was really beautiful and I am so glad that you shared your experience of that seminar. I think its really helpful when we all feel alone and like we are the only one, to know that others can reach through and help us and that we are NOT alone. Peace to you my brother. Vivian






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