While tending her garden Martha shares how things that trigger us can be opportunities that are ripe for insight and healing. In our Heart Wisdom Healing Retreats, our leadership team and participants are immersed in the process of active listening, and heart-centred communication. As these retreats bring us to our growing edges, we need reliable ways to repair, reconnect, and let go of what no longer serves us. Below are some guidelines that can support your own inquiry into the hidden treasure of your experiences.
What is a Trigger?
A trigger is when we feel a strong emotional charge. Triggers offer opportunities to explore deeper into the chambers of our own heart , like a spelunker, to discover the treasures within.
At first reaction, it’s natural to take issue with a particular person or circumstance that stirred the trigger within us. Often the people who stirred a trigger don’t know their words or actions have affected us so greatly. Entrained by prior experience, we have an instinct to protect ourselves by putting up a wall, or to confront the other with blame and anger.
In these circumstances, it is essential that we take steps to feel a sense of safety again, and only then are we able to see the possibility of healing that is presented in the moment. This is not always easy! It takes humility, courage, patience, and a desire to repair our relationships, in order to acknowledge that deeper wounds are fanning the flames in the present. How might we look at others as a mirror and be accountable for what we are experiencing, so we may be open to the possibilities of healing the deeper wounds that have been brought to our attention?
I love tending my garden. I begin growing seedlings in early March in our kitchen sometime around the spring equinox, infusing them with prayers and dreams for the new year and beyond. Last autumn a huge load of mushroom compost was delivered and spread on all the gardens and in the grow boxes. Come spring, I was so excited to be able to plant seeds early in the grow boxes and seedlings after the last frost date as the beds had been already prepared.
In the last few years I have noticed certain plants being eaten, mostly green beans. This year, it was not only the green beans that were eaten, but the 24 dahlia bulbs and over 100 sunflower seedlings my daughter and I planted and nurtured. While I am not relying on the garden for our sustenance, I was feeling disappointed and discouraged. My passion dissipated and I was wandering out to the greenhouse garden less and less. Miraculously, there were a few sunflowers that seeded themselves that grew to over 12 ft, and they were also one being pulled down and eaten petal by petal.
The garden looked as though a plow had gone through it and I had had enough. We put up an electric fence to protect the plants and the garden. What we hadn’t realized was that it was a groundhog, or family of groundhogs living under the greenhouse that were feasting on the garden. We created the perfect conditions, penning them in the yard so they could feast even more! Groundhogs live underground and travel through tunnel systems. In mid to late summer they begin eating large amounts of vegetation to prepare for hibernation in the winter. Our little greenhouse has provided the perfect home for them for the last few years.
I noticed my strong reaction was an indication there was more beneath the surface to discover and that the groundhogs had a message for me. After some deeper reflection, I realized the groundhogs were guiding me to unearth some limiting beliefs I carried that were ready to come into the light. In the spring I had some experiences that led me to question myself and my integrity. When I become triggered by what others think or say about me, it is an indication there is something within me that is ripe for transformation and a treasure to be claimed. As soon as I came to this insight and reclaimed my power again, the groundhogs moved on and my garden began blossoming again. Below are some guidelines for how to engage in reflection following a trigger.
This exercise can be done within the sacred space of your own heart to discover the treasure in a trigger.
In a safe place free from any disturbances, invite your mind’s awareness to move into your heart. Engage your senses and imagine what it would be like to connect heart-to-heart with your trigger.
Invite an image of your trigger to reveal itself. Project this image, in front of you so you can have a conversation together. What does your trigger look like? Sound like? Smell and taste like? How is your trigger feeling? How does your trigger move? What does your trigger have to share with you?
Imagine yourself embodying the energy and essence of the trigger. What would this be like? Does your trigger have a sound that would like to be expressed through you? How does your trigger desire to move? Is there a creative way for your trigger to express and release?
Imagine together, with your trigger, walking the tracks of your heart’s path. What can your trigger share with you about the gifts of shadow and light in fulfilling your heart’s desires?
What does your heart need? What does this need look like, feel like, sound like, taste and smell like? What is a next action step you can take to honour this need?
Offer appreciation and gratitude for the treasures of wisdom received from your trigger.
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