You may have heard the saying, “A lesson will keep repeating itself until it is learned.” In his book Waking the Tiger, Peter Levine presents this as the self having a desire to learn and another chance to renegotiate trauma.
When we find ourselves in the same unwanted situation over and over, it is not “bad luck,” a coincidence, or solely placing the blame outward. It’s an opportunity to change how we relate to the previous or original problematic experience.
Levine explains this as re-enactment. This most commonly occurs in: recurring problems in relationships, work situations, multiple accidents/mishaps, or finding ourselves in settings that resemble a prior traumatic experience.
At the somatic level, our organism seeks change and expansion in life. It does not want to stay stunted in its growth. At the soul level, there is the same desire to “graduate” from a trauma and not repeat a similar experience.
How do we make peace with our trauma? How do we know where we are at with our healing?
If there is no change to a recurring situation, ask yourself how you may be participating. Sometimes it’s changing something about what you are or aren’t doing, and being clear with a boundary. When we weaken our boundary, we do not create change.
When we get triggered by a situation, the body reflexively activates a charged response. It’s as if a light switches on, letting you know that there’s backlogged energy from a previous unresolved experience. The moment is there to address it, bypass it, or freeze from it. Levine says, “Trauma is an instinctual cycle not allowed to finish.” Every time we suppress a charged state, it accumulates and intensifies. This can turn into decades of bottled up energy that causes pain, illness, anxiety, anger, and depression.
At the same time, unwinding years of bound up and trapped energy can be overwhelming. Sensations may feel too closely associated with a traumatic experience. I used to resist crying during a somatic release. I associated it with feeling embarrassed, powerless, sad, losing my composure, and scared. A bit later, I simply saw it as movement, a cleansing process, and not wanting to withhold it in the same way that I would not want to withhold my bladder. :P (I actually have a theory that prostate issues are caused by holding back tears over the years.) As with any modality, it is important to feel safe, regulate your experience, and treat it with care and courage.
We may see re-enactment happening in the family system— addiction, abuse, financial issues, violence, depression, and illnesses. Like father, like son. Like grandmother, like granddaughter. Unconsciously staying loyal to the family, at the cost of one’s own freedom. Putting family loyalty first, above one’s own health, safety, and needs. A trauma bond.
Dr. Brian Weiss’ research and work in past life regression therapy also reveal similar findings. A client’s fear of water relating back to drowning in a past life. A persistent migraine relating to a significant head injury in another client’s past life. Something that carries over from a previous lifetime to one’s current life. The need for closure or a lesson to be learned.
In Family Constellations and Past Life Regression, we can let go of any burdens and trauma by untangling any energies that are not ours. When this happens, the freedom that the body experiences is palpable.
The next time you find yourself asking, “Why does this keep happening?”, is there a deeper message?