Projection: the Unwanted Gift
Although the holiday season has come to an end, there is one type of gift that will continue to be given all year long. An icky, sticky gift that is given on the energetic level. Wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a shiny ribbon, the gift can sometimes appear authentic. But when we tune into how we feel, we know there is something awry. Like a chewed-up and spat-out wad of gum that lands in our gut, undigested and foreign, it’s obvious that something doesn’t feel right. In our home with our young daughters, I refer to this as the gift of poop.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we often project our unresolved shit onto others. We fling, spray and hurl our crap at others. We project onto our kids, our spouse, our co-workers, our mother and our friends. A desperate attempt to not look at our own stuff. A futile attempt to feel better…even just for a fleeting moment.
Allow me to share an example of projection in a work setting. A friend was participating in a training call with a company that she had recently joined. The business had been experiencing some marketing challenges, which had been brought to the surface by a handful of the company’s distributors. On the training call, the company’s founder painted a rosy picture of himself taking ownership of these issues. But sandwiched between the niceties, was one yucky comment that splattered the phone audience with goo. On an energetic level, the company’s owner had thrown sticky slime at my friend and the other trainees.
Rather than taking ownership, he projected his feeling of inadequacy onto his team, leaving them with the icky feeling that the company’s marketing challenges were their fault. In other words, he was not the problem…they were the problem. And as long as he projected his crap onto others, he wouldn’t be able to genuinely take ownership of the company’s challenges, nor would he be able to heal his buried feeling of inadequacy.
Projecting our stored emotions and fears onto others mucks up our relationships. It keeps us aligned with our ego, our fear-based false self. It keeps us stuck in denial, flailing around in our unresolved emotional swampland. Projecting onto others keeps our hearts closed and our defenses up. And as long as we are in denial with our hearts closed and defenses up, it’s difficult to tap into our own authenticity. As long as we are tossing our crap at others, we cannot heal and grow.
As parents, we often project our stored emotions or fears onto our kids. In a recent meditation, I saw that I had projected some unresolved stuff onto my seven-year old daughter. This energy was squishing her, as if she was clamped between the tight prongs of an oversized rake. With eyes closed, I received an image of myself as a seven-year old, slumped over crying. I felt lonely, scared and sad. I realized that I had projected these stored emotions from my childhood onto my daughter. By energetically taking back my own stuff, I freed my daughter and offered myself the opportunity to heal.
Interestingly, the night before this meditation, my daughter burst out crying. An articulate child who normally easily expresses her emotions, she told me that she felt sad, but also felt some other emotions that she couldn’t describe or make sense of. Projecting my stored childhood emotions onto my daughter had confused and emotionally overwhelmed her.
As parents, we often have good intentions for our children. But sometimes our good intentions are rooted in fear. When we project fear-based energy onto our kids, they can feel this controlling energy wrapped tightly around them. In an attempt to break free of this restrictive energy, our children may act out, talk back or rebel.
As grown adults, we sometimes continue to carry projected energy from childhood with us. One example that comes to mind is a driven 30-year old woman who grew up always being the “good girl”. Although she had determinedly followed her dreams of being an international competing athlete in a sport that was traditionally for males, she had to fight hard for the right to do so due to her cultural background and strict upbringing. When I tuned into her energy, I saw that she was carrying an old, dark cloud of energy that her father had projected onto her. A controlling and unsupportive dark cloud, brimming with beliefs about what his daughter should and should not do.
Not long after this beautiful woman released this outdated dark cloud, an interesting thing happened. She began shedding all the ways she had been playing the role of “good”, including “good wife”, “good daughter” and “good woman” (according to her culture’s dictates). Being good had often meant keeping her mouth shut, being dependable and loyal and silencing her heart’s whispers and wishes. Being good had meant not allowing her true self to fully shine. When she began shedding these old roles like a snake sheds its old skin, this inspiring woman began stepping more and more into her light and connecting with her soul’s true purpose.
Projection can also occur between other family members. My client, a vibrant and driven 40-something year old woman, complained of low energy and fatigue. When I tuned into her energy, I saw that a dark, snake-like energy was slithering around her system. The energy felt like misery and negativity. When I looked more closely, it became apparent that this energy belonged to her adult siblings. For the past year, my client had been focused on raising her vibration through meditation, yoga and intuitive healing sessions. Her siblings, who are stuck in an old, familiar and heavy feeling of misery and negativity, are not happy for their younger sister’s expansion and growth. Unwilling to look at and heal their own stored emotional stuff, they united in their misery and projected their negative energy onto their sibling. My client was able to release this energy and hand it back to its rightful owners. Her fatigue disappeared and she became her vibrant self again.
Like a neglected tree dripping with over-ripe fruit, marriage can be loaded with projection. Allow me to share a story about a couple who have been married for several decades. To the regular eye, the marriage appeared harmonious. But on a subtle energetic level, the marriage dynamic felt very different. The wife had spent her entire adulthood avoiding and hiding from her inner emotional jungle. Because of her fear of facing her emotional baggage, she wound up projecting some of this fear onto her husband. This controlling energy felt like a tight, suffocating rope cinched around his torso. For the well-being and health of all — husband, wife and marriage — it was important for this suffocating energy to be released from the man’s system and handed back to its rightful owner.
When we carry other people’s emotional crap for them, we aren’t able to genuinely support them. Instead, it’s important to hand back other people’s stuff so that they may have the opportunity to heal it. Health and happiness come from facing and healing our stored emotions, debilitating beliefs and fears.
All of this projection begs the question — is this your shit or my shit? Whose shit is this? To find out, try the meditation below.
I can hear some of you saying: “Ok, I am done with this article; I don’t have time to meditate.” It is natural to want to run or hide. Our egos will try to keep us stuck in denial and rooted in fear. Our egos will tell us that we are great and don’t need this healing mumbo-jumbo. I urge you to stay with me. Break through the resistance.
This meditation is designed to help you clear projected energy that you may be carrying from other people, as well as pull back the energy that you have cast onto others. Let’s face it…none of us are perfect. Admittedly, I too project my shit onto my kids, husband and others in my life. But instead of berating myself or pretending to be above this, I practice energetically taking back that which is mine. My intention is to heal my own stuff and help keep my relationships a little less muddled.
When we see, feel and heal our stored baggage, we create an inner environment that allows us to experience more love, peace and trust. We open the gates to experience life as it is in the present moment. When we honour and heal our own stuff, our relationships become healthier. We ourselves become healthier. And our world becomes healthier.
I suggest reading through the meditation first, then when you have 15-20 minutes available, find a quiet space to close your eyes and give it a try.
With your eyes closed, begin by observing your breath. Witness your breath as you inhale. Observe your breath as you exhale. Continue to follow your breath for another five deep breaths.
Imagine opening your crown chakra on the top of your head. Open it really wide, as wide as your head…or even wider. Now see or feel a brilliant white light flowing down from above and entering into the top of your head. Welcome this magnificent divine light as it washes over your face and down the back of your skull, filling your neck, throat and shoulders. Feel these warm waves of love and light as they fill your arms, hands and fingers. See this light as it washes over your chest and abdominal area, filling all of your organs. Witness this divine energy as it lights up your back and pelvis, filling your legs, feet and toes. Breathe in this beautiful feeling of being completely filled with light.
Say this out loud:
Notice any sensations in your physical body. Is there an area with tension or a feeling of dense energy? Is there a body part that feels tight and constricted? (Or perhaps rather than a feeling, you receive an image of a body part.) Which part of your body are you drawn to? Allow your awareness to sink into this body part.
Say this out loud:
Continue to breathe and soften your body as you witness this energy lifting off of you. Feel the gratitude in your heart as this energy leaves you. Soften and allow yourself to feel compassion, forgiveness or understanding for the individual who projected this energy onto you. It is likely that he or she did so unconsciously. Trust that by handing this energy back to its rightful owner, you are offering her the opportunity to heal.
Now it is time to take back any stored emotions, fears or beliefs that YOU have projected onto this same individual. By owning and honouring our own stuff, we empower ourselves to heal and be free.
Say this out loud:
Rest here a moment. Breathe. Forgive yourself for projecting this energy onto her or him. We are all human. We are all here to learn and grow.
See or feel this energy being retracted and returning to you. You may become aware of where this energy now sits within you. Do you feel tension or denseness in any part of your body? Or is there a body part that appears darker than the rest? Which part of your body are you drawn to?
Allow yourself to fully sink into this body part. What do you feel here? What emotion is present? Feel what is present within you. Breathe and stay with the feeling.
Say this out loud:
Continue to breathe and relax your body as you allow an image or an intuitive knowingness to come to you. You might become aware of a memory from childhood. Or you might suddenly understand what this held emotion is all about. If nothing comes to you, accept that that there is nothing you need to know right now.
Say this out loud:
Witness this energy moving up, up, up and out of your crown chakra at the top of your head. Observe this old stored energy exiting your system. The energy may move swiftly, like a free-flowing river. Or it may trickle up at a slower pace, taking a few days to fully exit. There is no right or wrong; no good or bad. Feel the gratitude in your heart for this beautiful healing that is transpiring for you.
A Note about Resistance
If it feels like the energy is not moving, you may have some resistance. Ask to be shown why you are resisting letting this energy go or why you are resisting handing it back to its rightful owner. Sometimes we are resistant to give projected energy back to its rightful owner because we care for them and don’t want them to carry an extra burden. When we give projected energy back, we are also helping others by offering them the opportunity to heal.
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