Transforming Triggering Moments: Look Who’s Talking


By: Alison Teal, M.F.T.

When you find yourself overwhelmed with intrusive emotions or stuck in looping thoughts, it is helpful to remember that the challenges we face in our current lives are frequently infused with unprocessed feelings from the past. This flooding of past energy can make it difficult to see and respond clearly. Our deeper intelligence and intuition is frequently compromised.  The following exercise may be helpful in identifying and transforming the past so that we are more reliably able to show up with the best of ourselves in our current circumstances. (Note: the following exercise may also be used for current situations in which there is no “leakage” from the past. In this case, simply do the exercise in the present tense answering all the inquiries based on your current situation.)

1) What is occurring now? On a scale of zero to ten (zero not at all, ten very) how upset are you?

2) Pose the question, “How old am I in this in this moment?” Go with whatever age comes up and then fill out the picture. Where were you and what was happening?              

                a) What was your predominant emotion?

                b) What was your predominant sensation?

                c) What was the predominant self- limiting belief or idea about yourself?

3) Inquire what your past self needs to feel more resourced and cared for.

4) Who could come or what could happen to make her/him feel better? This could also include your adult self.  Spend a moment visualizing and embodying this resourcing person and/or action and environment. Breathe it into every cell of her/his body and being.  Take as much time as you need.

6) Bring your attention back to your current life situation. Notice what is the same or what is different.  Now, when you think of the current situation:              

                a) What is your predominant emotion?

                b) What is your predominant sensation?

                c) What is your current reality based belief or idea?

7) What can you now understand about this situation that you did not understand before?

8) On a scale of zero to ten, how would you rate your disturbance now? In the event it hasn’t changed, channel your best adult self and ask yourself the question, ‘What would have to happen for this feeling to lift?” Listen to the counsel of your adult self and act accordingly; sometimes how we feel about a situation is not our best guide. 

                                                                                                ©Alison Teal, MA, MFT