The South: Skin Shedding and Recapitulation

I’m posting this – an excerpt from my old blog – as a reminder of how far I have come. I love my quirky self. I have battled for a long time to get back to sanity and have my feet back on the ground. Post-partum depression, Graves’ Disease, chronic sleep deprivation – these are the shadows of the last ten years of being a new mama. Babies are hard man. Much harder even, when you were already worn out and thrown on the scrap heap before they arrived.

I often call the place I found myself in “the Fortress”. I always envisioned it as a massive tower of ice that I was socked away in, peering out at the world from behind bars.

I really like this post because it’s vulnerable. But also because it’s where I really started to crack open the walls and think about getting out. We are all stuck in there, in our own version of the Fortress – usually from some sort of trauma or blow to the nervous system, be it sudden or chronic and enduring. We all have these thoughts, the hamster wheel incessantly turns in our head, the negative self-talk, the voices, the nagging, the constant fears and anxieties. The first step to peace is to become aware of it all.

When I first posted this I got a lot of sympathy. I was really embarrassed by that. But I’m not anymore. All I see in this post is a Warrior fighting a war against herself – there’s a certain grace in how she is facing her demons head on. I’m proud of her.

And her weapons? Prayer, meditation, dream-work, shamanic practices. And a burning desire always, to evolve.

Here’s my report from ground zero, the Fortress, in the Summer 2014, 5 years ago.


I see it now. I see it all. I see myself from outside of myself. I can see where I am stuck. See where I am living inside the paradigm that I have built and I’m stuck there – inside the sticky walls of it – the fortress.

It’s been awakening – and frustrating. Oh the humiliation! The embarrassment is so real in every moment that I have had to just learn to live with being embarrassed.

The hamster wheel inside my head runs 24 7. The difference is that I can hear it all now. The insecurities, the self-consciousness, self-centeredness, the obsessive and relentless categorizing and defining of everything that I see and everything that happens – in order to make it all safe. I see it. These days I am in a perpetual face-palm. Oh god did I just say that? Think that? Spew that? 

WTF - SpiritMAMA

I have no idea how I got this way – I know it hasn’t always been so. Some doctor recently told me that I had a bit of postpartum OCD… Can one have ‘a bit’ of OCD? Interesting. I recognized that after I had my son (5 years ago), I was obsessive about his safety – to the point of imagining his death around every corner of the world as we moved through it – most of the time with gruesome detail. It was disturbing. I couldn’t turn it off.

I also counted things. My steps, patterns in things. Songs would be on repeat in my head for days.

Anyway this is what led me to writing this blog in the first place – and sent me back to my altar in earnest to pray after not doing it for 10 years.

And it has gotten better – much better actually. Which is impressive when you think about it. I got over rather intense OCD by praying to be relieved of it.

For realz.

But it is like peeling an onion, as they say. My fortress used to be made of ice – this is how I always saw it. Now it feels warm and womb-like – and yet no less fortress-y. I still can’t get out of here. That’s the thing – I now know that I am imprisoned. I just have no map to get out.

Where’s the fucking map?

{I was in a Medicine Wheel at the time – in the South direction} In the South we are faced with Amaru, the serpent who sheds it’s skin. We are faced with the past and challenged to let it all go.

From the Four Winds website: “It is a journey where you can engage your personal histories and release their grip all at once – not scale by scale, but like a serpent shedding its entire skin.  You come to the cellular realization that you are not your story. You are not your history. And the skin comes off.”

From my teacher: “In the south, we learn the ways of Sachamama, or the serpent. We look at our stories and how they influence reality. We learn and look at ways to shed stories that do not serve us. We work with the archetype of Healer, guiding ourselves to be our own greatest healer. We learn energy techniques, tools and practices that enable us to let go and guide us into living in ayni, or right relationship, with ourselves and everything around us.”

I have been interestingly, having dreams that began in this direction, of people from my past who I have unresolved issues with. The dreams are always resolution dreams. They are present-tense and always involve resolution – there is love, respect, good feelings. I have had many of these dreams in the past three months – so many that I go to bed wondering who I will see tonight.

I’ve been documenting my dreams in the mornings when I can – and a message came to me that these dreams are showing me areas in my past that I am stuck to energetically. Literally stuck there – unable to move on emotionally or spiritually – because if the soul lives in non-linear time, obviously it won’t be governed by our physical concept of time moving forward. So – time does not, can not actually heal all wounds.

If we are stuck in places in time, with people or events, this will inform our present. None of my past is happening to me now. And yet I still act in ways in my life as if it were. I am still in survival mode in a lot of ways, even though I’m not surviving anymore. New people in my life resemble the old people and patterns inevitably crop up. I see rejection, betrayal and abandonment in the eyes of people I have just met! How can this be? I categorize people to make them safe – ‘oh she’s this kind of person’ or ‘he’s that kind of person’ so ‘therefor they will act this way’. I run on assumptions based on my fears and my fears are all from the past. None of it is currently happening to me! This is me. living. in. the. past.

Your past is not necessarily what happened to you, but the way it lives within you.” (Four Winds).

You may think it’s easy to just make another choice in those moments; don’t take things personally, stand up for yourself, speak your mind, have compassion and empathy, see everyone as a mirror, be courageous, look for similarities not differences, access your wisdom, learn from mistakes, lead by example, keep your emotions in check, keep talking, keep your big girl panties on… truth is, it’s not. It’s not easy to suddenly be a different person. No matter how badly you may want that. It’s not even that it’s not easy – for me it’s, just like, how?

The past couple of weeks have been telling me to let go everywhere I turn. It’s ‘let go’ on Facebook and ‘let go’ on WordPress and ‘let go’ every time I pull cards. How do we just ‘let go’? I want to let this stuff all go. I don’t want to have it hanging over all of my relationships forever. As I go through my days from moment to moment and situation to situation, I am aware that all of my hyper-criticism, my judgement of others and myself, my feelings of superiority or inferiority, my impatience, my chronic worry – all of it is because I am stuck to the past.

Talking to my closest confidant this week and he also said it is time for me to let go. How do I do this? I asked. How? HOW?

“Recapitulation”, he said.


“Recapitulation – I found it in a book my mom gave to me back in my 20s. It’s a method of resolving the past by actively revisiting it and creating new outcomes to situations that have stuck with you in a negative way. You go back, and change things. Say the things you wished you had said, take the paths you wish you had taken. It heals the minds and allows you to get unstuck from those events.”

“Did you do it?”

“Yup. I completed a round of it – and I was pretty intense back then about this kind of work. But I’d say all in all it took me three months to complete. And it changed everything for me. It is the reason I have been able to move on from all of the abuse in my childhood. It’s the reason I could forgive them all.”

I’ve heard this term before – but I guess it has not jumped out at me until now. After reading about it online a bit, I am amazed at the level of synchronicity  surrounding it for me. Here I am taking about being stuck in a paradigm and not knowing how to get out and the first article that comes up about recapitulation is called, “Change the Paradigm”.

Me: Ok hey Universe, Powers that Be – how the fuck do I get this thing done (commence arm flailing).

Universe: Here.

Just like that. Ask and you shall receive.

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