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Stepping Off the Ferris Wheel

I've been taking small "time outs" throughout the day recently. Last week I went to a conference and spent the day with Dr. Gabor Maté. I have been following his work for years and find him to be brilliant, compassionate, authentic, and full of depth and complexity. On his website, it says that he "weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them." I completely agree. And highly recommend you check out his work (

One of the big take aways for me (there were many) was really paying attention when I find myself triggered. How do I know I'm triggered? A flood of thoughts and emotions pulse through me.

At the conference, Dr. Maté invited a participant on stage to illustrate how our early woundings create beliefs that we carry with us into the present and act out in our lives. After returning from the conference, I found myself triggered while comparing myself to someone else. Thoughts that came up were: this person is younger than me and has an established practice, she is brave and authentic, she is better than me. And the core woundings (old beliefs from my trauma) that surfaced were: I'm not good enough, I'm less than. Those were the messages running in the background. I made myself sit down as soon as I recognized these thoughts. And I took myself through his compassionate inquiry process. I kindly asked myself, "Are there other possibilities besides not being good enough or being less than this other person?" Yes, I am a unique human being, just like this other person. We each have our own gifts and healing to offer. I had an established career and chose to move and take another path that feels more in alignment with the type of healing I want to offer.

Rather than choosing the latter two possibilities, I went straight to the worst one: I'm not good enough, I'm less than. This is what we do when there is trauma. Go to that old belief that is so ingrained in us. When we hide or suppress or repress our woundings, then they are silently running the show in the background (they are in our subconscious or unconscious and haven't been resolved so we continue to act them out). This belief of not being good enough goes back as far as I can remember.'s NOT true! It was a story I created when I was young as a result of something that happened to me. I don't have to believe it anymore. I can now choose the other possibilities.

During this same trip, I went to Balboa Island, which is a place of fond memories for me. My nanny and poppy would take me there as a kid and we would ride the ferry over to the fun zone. They would give me a handful of dimes and I would play in the arcade. We would get lunch and either ride the carousel or the ferris wheel or maybe both. The image of the ferris wheel became a metaphor for me. When I am triggered, I can consciously choose to step off the ferris wheel in my mind. I can take a seat on the sidelines as the observer, acknowledge the story from my wounding, come up with alternative possibilities, and then choose what thoughts to believe now. Rather than spinning round and round in the same old negative beliefs without questioning them.

Shamanic healing can also help in identifying core woundings and energetically clearing the patterns through Illumination. Journeying to our inner guidance system can give us messages on how to stop creating the same cycles and instead step into our power. Soul retrieval brings back the part/s that left during trauma, along with their gifts and vitality. All of this makes it easier to know when we are triggered and to choose to do something different instead of reacting on autopilot.

The more we heal ourselves, it reverberates out. We help to heal our families, our communities, and eventually the world.

I'll leave you with a quote (author unknown):

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

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