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Is It Possible to Learn from Being Triggered?!

When does a drop become an ocean?

I was contemplating this question as I recalled how I got triggered during the latest Hakomi training.

In one part, we were divided into groups of three. Two of us got into a conversation, without defining any role between client and therapist. It was a casual conversation led by the trust that something significant would emerge and roles will be shaped spontaneously.

In the role of the observer, I shared at the end of their conversation what I’d observed. And soooo quickly I felt like I was running up against a brick wall.

As Denise’s face froze into a half-smile and Beryl shook her head gently from side to side, I knew that what I was saying was so off for them.

From that moment on it was downhill.

I felt frozen inside myself. I felt misunderstood. And the more I tried to explain myself the more entangled I became.

Then came the shame! For saying things that obviously upset my partners, for not getting it…

Silently I retreated into an inner state that was very familiar, but which had not been present in my life for a very long time—the little girl curling up into as tight a little ball as she could, dropping like a heavy stone to the bottom of the ocean where no one would notice how weird, how much of an outsider she felt.

We always say ‘you’ve got everything you need inside you’. We forget to say that it needs to be awakened into life.

Like a treasure in a shipwreck, if what’s inside us lies dormant it cannot enrich our lives

The younger part in me took over and I was miserable.

A miserable drop, hanging in a balance, yearning to be an ocean, but feeling the reality below me as an alienating concrete slab with no cracks for me to seep into.

Back in the main group, I couldn’t resist the urge to share when Donna, the instructor, asked if anyone would like to say something about how it had been.

What do you say when your mind and heart swirl without direction and everything feels like drops of rain slapping your face into a heat of embarrassment?

I decided to say exactly that.

I named my pain. And Donna, with her characteristic magic, named my experience: “you got triggered, didn’t you?”

My habitual response would have been “Noooooo! Who? Me?!?”

But the wiser part in me reawakened as it was witnessed.

“Yes!”, I said and blood started flowing in my body again with the same ease as floating on the surface of the ocean on a warm, sunny day.

I’m not telling you this story to brag about how I triumphed over past experiences.

The truth is, it is not at all comfortable writing about this, not only because I got triggered but because I hurt people I deeply care about.

The experience of being an outsider, a stranger, an odd bird, is familiar to many. And it’s also one of the core experiences of the mother wound.

Over the years you’ve probably developed strategies to fit in and not feel excluded.

We also have strategies to deal with our triggers, the common ones being denial, explosions of anger or blaming.

Trigger strategies push us away from love, contracting us into a separate being that feels like a drop lost in the sea of life

It was Meg’s words, a participant in the training, who shared something after Donna helped me sort through my messy state, that made me realise my strategies have changed:

“Thank you for inviting a repair. For you and all of us.”

To be witnessed like that in a group is such an empowering gift.

I honestly wasn’t that aware that my instinct has changed from denial to reaching out for love.

Her words encapsulate all the healing I have done so far in life, all the times I have dared to show up as I am and all the pain I have experienced in childhood, bringing all that experience together into a calm blue ocean.

There are as many systemic reasons to explain why and how our society suffers as there are plastic bottles lying on the floor of the ocean.

The important thing to remember is that none of us can change this alone

To be witnessed in a group that offers a safe space for your wishes, your vulnerabilities and your flourishing parts is a life-changing experience.

I could see over the years that individual work and group work are inseparable and necessary, just as the ocean needs the shore and the shore needs the ocean.

This is my inspiration for setting up this kind of container for women who wish to heal the mother wound—on a personal and collective level— and may have had a healthy dose of self-growth support already but want to deepen their healing t be able to show up more fully.

AND. I’m adding another treat. For those of you who feel called to join sooner rather than later (there are only 7 spots left now), I’ll be offering a bonus workshop on how to work through triggers.



Ongoing Healing the Mother Wound Coaching Group

  • Starting September 5th

  • An intimate group of eight women

  • Meeting twice a month, Mondays 18.00-19.30 CET / 17.00 BST / 12.00 EST

  • Two special workshops with guests in each six-month cycle

  • Attractive launch-rates

  • A commitment of six months of participation is required

  • Early-bird sign up by August 5th - Free bonus workshop on working through triggers


Imagine what it would be like to be able to stand up in your fulness in a group even with your messiness.

Imagine having the courage to speak up in spite of the tenderness.

Imagine being in the world feeling deeply safe.

When the movement to reach out for love is integrated within you, you let go like a drop Knowing that you are an ocean


inner power

Shelly’s helping women on a healing journey of the mother wound who are struggling with the ways it affected their sense of self, relationships or the success of their calling and want to reach deeper levels of healing and step into their wholeness

Learn more about Life Alignment


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