Recapitulation describes what happens when an event plays out with
uncannily similar physical postures, behaviors, emotions, and even circumstances
as the original, challenging, imprinting life experience. When
you are confronted with an environment that is similar to the one that first
led to an imprint, it’s as if a “play” button has been pressed on a recording,
and even though the tune seems unfamiliar, somehow you know the steps
of the dance and, to your surprise, perform rather well. Although not an
exact repeat, it is as though an imprint has you perceiving and possibly
even attracting circumstances similar to those of the past. Sometimes
you’re not even aware it’s happening until after it’s finished, although a
clue that it’s happening could be that you feel compelled to do something
that you realize is self-destructive.
What if recapitulation, the replaying of an imprint, is actually
part of the design to heal the imprint? What if, somehow, replaying the
circumstances and themes of the original challenging life circumstance
is life’s funny way of directing you back to your wholeness and back to
your essential nature?
A recapitulation can be an uncomfortable sensation you get when
you feel a certain part of your body. It can be an emotional response you
have to certain news even though no one else can relate to its magnitude.
It can be a an unexplained restlessness, resentment, or fear, that you have
a hunch is unfounded given the present circumstances. It can be embarrassing,
even shaming, often people try to hide recapitulations from others, and
that’s because its sufferer has innocently been hiding the original
wounding that drives it from themselves.
Because recapitulations are so uncomfortable, they can be distracting.
Sometimes it’s hard to have the wherewithal to ask the compassionate
question, “Where is this habit arising from?” It can sometimes take a long
time to recognize that a recapitulation is, in fact, a pattern replaying from
an earlier time and not simply a grievous and random set of circumstances
playing out in the present. Sometimes imprints and recapitulations are
so uncomfortable that you finally must do something about them.
Once you discover there are reasons why these seemingly incurable present-day
habits form, you gain renewed empowerment, and with
compassionate awareness around how your imprints recapitulate,
the imprint can finally be transformed by love. (Excerpt from The Secret Life of Babies)
Tweetable: Let your challenges birth your freedom!
Everyone has a chance to grow in the face of a challenge. When I say it, it sounds like a lot of work, especially if you’re someone with bad luck. Of course for me, there is no such thing as bad luck (feel free to argue with me, I’m open to being educated).
Last week I had surgery. I’d never been under the knife and prefer living in such a way that would mitigate against the need for it. So the thought of cutting through layers of tissue, albeit to do me a huge favour and remove a large (and totally benign-phew) growth, was pretty counter culture to me.
The surgery went swimmingly well (I was told later) but when I awoke in recovery I was in more discomfort than I can ever remember experiencing in my life. Having been an athlete with many injuries and the survivor of many heartbreaks, this is saying a lot.
One loving nurse had apparently been helping me find a comfortable position (I was still too out of it to know this), but when I fully came to, I was begging for relief. Relief for me meant getting my knees bent and having a pillow under them. The loving nurse had to go to her next surgery and when I asked the next recovery room nurse to help me, she said, “I’m sorry, we’ve already been trying to help you for twenty minutes, we can’t spend any more time, we’re too busy.” Well, if that wasn’t enough to wake me right up! Who the hell was this woman and how could she possibly be working as a recovery room nurse?! I was furious and the accompanying adrenaline was a welcome engine starter for my consciousness. I surprised myself in that I had energy to start searching for her name tag.
At that moment, several waves of awareness came through me:
1. Holy shit, Mia, you are witnessing unkind treatment you’ve only heard of happening to those who can’t defend themselves.
2. You want to stand up for yourself, but she could make your life hell.
3. Wow, you’ve only been awake a few minutes and the Universe thinks you’re already prepared for round one of your new abilities. (Background: the growth lay on the right side of my pelvis and abdomen and amongst its many effects, acted as a “block” to some of my masculine energy. Hence the unapologetic desire to tell this woman off.)
In what was still a partial haze and an enormous amount of tension in my body, I continued to ask for help from another nurse. Unfortunately she followed suit and seemed to ignore me as well. I found out both their names knowing I’d not only tell this story again, but write the hospital, letting them know that it’s unacceptable to be spoken to without compassion in such a vulnerable situation. (Go masculine energy!)
By now I realized this woman was off and it had very little to do with me. Chance were she has loads of imprinting herself and I, combined with her day, were shining occasions to trigger them. She sat near me, writing in her files, and generally ignoring me. Having assessed my anger would put me at risk, I thought I would try some appreciation to stimulate her compassion. “Thank you for everything you’re doing” I said. “I can imagine how much work you have to do.” She looked up. I continued, “I could really use some help”. This seemed to inspire her because she walked over to my bedside and showed me a red button. “This is your medication, it’s been prescribed to you, you can push this button anytime and administer it yourself after this.” Just as I became aware she again was passing over the opportunity to “be with” me, she pressed the button. The rising protest against being drugged with narcotics unhinged, along with my chances of my agency and I floated away. And there I was again, in the presence of another long-known, almost signature injustice of the last several thousand years, anesthetize those whose responses and aliveness you’d rather not deal with.
Encountering my consciousness as a scattered expansive grey cloud, out away from my body (some people really like this, not me) took much extra gathering in order to think. The pain and tension continued, I was simply farther from them. I wanted to come back, back to my body. I knew if I someone would touch me I’d have an easier time doing that. “Would you hold my hand?” I asked her. “No, I’m sorry, I’m just too behind,” She said again from behind her desk and files.
I did manage to speak with the anesthesiologist upon his return. He agreed I didn’t need such a high dose and ordered it lowered. The onlooking nurse didn’t make the change. Another nurse stepped in angrily and made sure of it. Clearly a lot was going on in that room, much that shouldn’t be.
Now I had a fourth awareness: The high from the narcotic also seemed to be a replay or recapitulation of my birth. You may find this harsh in a what’s now a fashionable new-agey way, but amidst all my awarenesses I also knew I had created this constellation of events with this neglectful and unkind nurse so to get a chance to do things differently than I ever had. The rest of the day, night, and part of the next day had me repeatedly advocating for my wishes. It was painful, overly taxing at times, but in a way I got to change my life because of it.
I was pretty impressed that even though the next 48 hours were riddled with opportunities to personalize the situation, not once did I feel abused, victimized, or taken advantage of. Nor did I look at anyone as being “bad”. As my partner put it, “it’s mostly a bunch of people trying to be human in an unhumanistic atmosphere.” (I probably don’t need to explain the poverty of support in the health care system and all the “unwanteds” that can ensue because of it.)
I think I may have come out in relatively good shape because I could have the appropriate response, I was angry, I was perfectly willing to put the responsibility on the one who behaved badly rather than on myself, and I was willing to follow up and demand accountability. This was more than I or anyone can have done at birth, as babies, as children, or even any sooner than when we get how our imprints show up in our sequencing and recapitulation.
The whole thing was exceptionally humbling and gave me a renewed sense of awe for those who go through surgery, especially the elderly and mothers having Cesareans. I’m left with much food for thought and cause for more learning.
May we all be afforded a space in which to have our natural reaction to outrageous circumstances, may our world grow the capacity to receive them. May all beings be safe and protected from internal and external harm.
p.s. yes, i did film this episode of The Sahius before going in to the hospital…:)