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Trauma and Manifestation

Manifestation as we have come to know it is at odds with trauma healing.

But it is not always the case and as with anything through a trauma lens it is nuanced.

Lets take a look...

Much of manifestation as we see it today is deeply rooted in a culture of shame and blame. For example you often see comments like ‘You haven’t got healthy relationships because you haven’t got the right vibration.’ This comment to someone with a history of relational trauma such as sexual abuse is very toxic and can enhance the feelings of shame that the individual experienced at the point of trauma. Not to mention the idea of being able to think your way into anything totally bypasses privilege.

For something so at odds with healing, why is it so alluring to many?

Sadly the wellness industry is full of 'quick fix' promises and courses that do not really appreciate the nuance of a healing journey. It can be so tempting to keep on filling up the 'spiritual shopping bag' full of concepts that promise to make 'life better'. And who doesn't want that, right? It is such a natural, human way of being to be allured by such promises.

So is it wrong to want better or more for yourself?

Categorically - no! I am all for self improvement and self worth.

And I am not saying people shouldn't manifest if it truly works for them but let's look at what manifesting is in it's best light....

The Cambridge Dictionary describes the word manifest as: 'To show something clearly through signs or actions.'

It says nothing of mindset and has no blame or shame attached. It is simply embodying our values.

To better embody those values and become in alignment an alternative that is often resourcing too is forming healthy goals and a grounded sense of self worth. These healthy goals coupled with working with the nervous system to build capacity around what may be a challenging emotion or set of circumstances is a much more appropriate way of resourcing and empowering.

Working with my clients and often using imagery and the felt sense in a session, individuals can begin to resolve unresolved trauma and build capacity slowly and without overwhelm.

Overwhelm is the enemy.

From here individuals can shift from shame to true self worth. It is self worth that helps us orient our way better around both radical acceptance of what is and at the same time develop a nourishing attitude towards manifestation - lets now call it alignment or goals.

How might you recognise if you are falling into a negative manifesting trap?

Anything that feels like the current relative reality is being bypassed or is coming from a place of low self esteem. It is so important in this instance to take a step back to get curious about these things.

I use the phrase ‘the slow way is the fast way’ with my clients and what I mean by that is we need to develop a felt sense of safety and self compassion before we can turn towards what we feel is blocking us.

Trauma can be described as the coping patterns we develop - avoidance or bypassing being one of them. And there is no shame in this either, these patterns are developed in such a way to help us be with difficult emotions until such a time that we are ready to turn towards them. To try to manifest our way out of them though can be tricky. What I teach other therapists is a way to help create safety and then slowly metabolise the trauma that has been unresolved. This cultivates a healthy relationship over time with difficult emotions and sensations. Avoidance is then lessened and often the need for manifestation disappears with it. Individuals have a much more felt sense of being at peace with what is and from here empowered goals can be formed.

What are some alternative ways to approach this?

An alternative way to approach this is to choose an area of your life to pay some attention to.

e.g. Instead of 'Manifesting a Million Pounds' your focus might be to 'engage with my finances more fully'. Notice how both of those statements feel in your body.

Also creating a support network is important for any goal to help you on your journey whether that be practical, spiritual and emotional. And support that won't allow you to bypass the uncomfortable stuff and instead hold a tender space.

Some final thoughts...

The essence of manifestation can be a resource and resourcing well is all part of trauma healing - the body mind needs to cultivate an environment of empowerment and safety in order to turn towards difficult and suppressed emotions or sensations caused by trauma. Done in this more trauma informed way manifestation can bring a feeling of empowerment that is lost at the point of trauma and we experience the opposite of which is overwhelm. But this is very nuanced and often manifestation is used in a way to take us away from the present moment - this is the exact opposite of what is required in trauma healing. In this instance, which is, in my opinion, the most common form of manifestation seen in westernised spiritual cultures, we add suffering to the healing process by the bypassing of feelings or sensations.

So what is required is a trauma informed take on manifesting that supports the regulation of the nervous system to work with healthy life goals rather than making them from a survival mode that tries to take us away from the present moment and dealing with past traumas.

All of this is done slowly.

And what I see from clients is often a natural shift from manifesting for the purely personal to the personal and inter-relational too. A true alignment with a fuller spectrum of values.

Big thanks to Kira Matthews who asked me to comment on this subject initially. She writes a lot on coaching and manifestation and you can find her piece on first hand experience here.


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