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Trauma and the Higher Self

Updated: Jul 3

How my healing and self-love journey brought me closer to my Higher Self

Originally published December 28, 2021

Trigger warning: Physical, sexual, and emotional assault and abuse


Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am not a licensed mental health therapist. I am not an expert on trauma.

I am, however, an expert on my trauma.

I am also a shaman and an etheric translator or divine channel, which basically means that I interpret and communicate messages from the non-physical or spiritual realm. I make sense of the unseen. I have a deep connection and an open line of communication to my higher power (which I refer to as Source or the Universe), ancestors, spirit guides, ascended masters, and archangels.

I feel incredibly grateful every day for my connection to this unseen world, and yet it is also a connection that I have only been able to actively nurture and explore for the past couple of years, pretty much since COVID began.

I can’t tell you exactly why this connection became stronger when COVID began, but the spiritual guidance that I have received is that this time that we are currently navigating, with all of its difficulties, heartaches, and triumphs, is a time of awakening for our human collective.

We are being called forward to remember who we are on a soul level.

Many of us are answering that call with a resounding “Hell yes!” Those of us who are choosing to step forward into who we are meant to be and what we are meant to do here are doing what is needed to dive deeper into ourselves: healing our trauma, breaking generational cycles, and repairing ancestral lineages. It’s really tough work, and we are struggling through it. I like to think that we see the bigger picture: that if we as a people are able to move through our healing effectively and collectively, that we will bring our world forward in a way that we so desperately need. We are seeing toxic systems that have been in place for centuries begin to crumble around us. And while the destruction can be frightening at times, it is also beautiful and needed. It’s somehow both all at once.

It feels important to note that there are also many others who are determined to maintain the status quo. They are willing to fight for it, to exalt public figures and vigilante “heroes” who prioritize these systems that cause so much harm to others, especially those who are traditionally marginalized, minoritized, and/or unconsidered. In this sense, it may feel like a fight against good and evil. And yet good and evil are simply a matter of perspective. I posit that there is more than this binary thinking, and that we as humans are much more expansive than holding simply one of two extremes as possible and true.

I believe that we can see and hold it all. And I believe that being able to hold space for it all is the way forward, toward a future that is better than this. More than we are currently experiencing.

Now, back to my original statement: I am an expert on my trauma. The reason I am highlighting my trauma is because without first acknowledging the spaces that require healing, healing is impossible.

Both in my childhood and my adult life, I have survived emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and assault. I spent the better part of my twenties actively suppressing or ignoring the ways that my trauma showed up in my daily interactions, especially as it pertained to my intimate relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. Like many people who experience similar atrocities, I numbed my pain and trauma away. My drugs of choice were sex, “love” (mostly toxic and codependent), and alcohol. I blacked out with frequency to forget the pain that I experienced day in and day out from all that I carried emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually as a survivor. And it was needed. This time in my life was about hitting rock bottom and seeing all of the ways that I wasn’t valuing myself because of what I had been through. I poured myself out to everyone around me until there was nothing left for me. I made compromise after compromise in relationship, allowing abuse from partners who would talk down to me, call me horrible names, and take advantage of my tender and empathic heart.

Even in these moments, what I consider the lowest points in my life, I still had access to my intuition. I have a vivid memory of a dream that I had when I was dating a man who was emotionally abusive. My baby brother, Lawrence, had passed away about a year prior, and he visited me in a dream. I knew intuitively that it was truly him. I picked him up, sobbing, hugging him tightly, and savoring the seemingly stolen moment. He put his hand on my cheek, looked me square in the eyes, and said: “What are you doing, Ate? You’re stronger than this… You know you deserve better than how he is treating you. It’s time to leave…” And I left that abusive boyfriend the next day.

Years passed and I eventually decided it was time to begin seeing a therapist. That is one of the best decisions I made in my entire life. Getting professional support in navigating the intense trauma that I had experienced was critical and needed. Medication for my depression and anxiety saved my life, literally. It was the first time in my life that I took an active role in my healing, that I had said “Hell yes!” to myself and the life that I knew deep down that I deserved. I continued going to therapy for about eight years, and I slowly began to remember who I was before I allowed my trauma and trauma responses to define me. This was the beginning of my spiritual healing journey.

So what does trauma have to do with accessing our higher self? First, let’s define the term ‘higher self.’ According to Wikipedia:


Higher self is a term associated with multiple belief systems, but its basic premise describes an eternal, omnipotent, conscious, and intelligent being, who is one's real self.


Put simply: our higher self is the divinity that resides within each of us. Some refer to it as our soul or our intuition. At the end of the day, it’s who we are if we strip away our humanness completely. If we remove all of our human “imperfections,” our higher self is what’s left. Our perfect self.

The channeled wisdom that I have received about higher self is that we enter this world as close to our higher self that we will likely ever attain again in our human lifetime. Then, through no fault of our own, we encounter this world, whether circumstances or people in our lives, and we move further and further away from our higher self. Enter: trauma.

When I think about the trauma I’ve encountered in my life, I think about how quickly and fully it pushed me away from accessing my higher self. Trauma taught me that I cannot trust others, and I cannot trust myself. I generated trauma responses to highly harmful situations that I carried over into every interaction, every moment, every circumstance until my waking existence was basically a collection of trauma responses interspersed with moments of joy, hope, and love.

It feels a bit catastrophic when I frame it that way but think about it for a moment. We are feeling, sentient beings and know that sometimes we react in ways that do not fit the moment we are in. When I was a child, I rightfully responded to physical abuse with making myself small and not speaking my needs. It kept me safe. As an adult and a successful corporate leader, every time I thought I was “in trouble” with a boss or superior, I shrunk down. Made myself small. All of my trauma responses kicked right in and suddenly, I was a little girl again, afraid to make the wrong move that would make everything unsafe.


Through my trauma, I learned to prioritize safety and security over my own feelings, instincts, and needs. Trauma effectively rips us away from trusting our inner knowing, our intuition, and ultimately our higher self and into a space where we must do whatever it takes to survive.


When the pandemic began, I started down a healing path that included questioning the ways in which I was choosing to stay small in my life. I was in a marriage of utility and grew increasingly resentful and restless every day. I spent long days in a corporate job that implicitly yet constantly demanded that I stay in my place, stay small. I made a conscious choice to begin to trust my intuition more deeply and find increased alignment in all aspects of my life. I wrote a book called “Paradox of the Water Bearer” that is a detailed account of this awakening. I left my job, divorced my husband, and started to seek out what it meant to truly love myself, which was a completely foreign concept to me. I had support by way of an incredible community of healers, and yet the only truly consistent guidance I received was from—you guessed it—myself. My intuition and my spiritual, unseen team of supporters.

I distinctly remember sitting on the floor in the middle of the living room of my new apartment one evening after having dropped off our 3-year-old son with my ex. I looked around me, the evidence of this new life that I had created by listening to myself and trusting myself, and I began sobbing into my hands. Why did I still feel so lost? It didn’t make any sense to me. I felt much more whole than I ever had but I still didn’t understand what it meant to truly love myself. I had been doing all of the things: fierce and consistent self-care, moving my body, eating well… and yet I hadn’t cracked the code. I still felt as though I was separate from myself. In reality, I was still separate from my higher self. Granted, I was getting closer with each choice I was making to prioritize myself and my healing, and yet, I still felt separate.

The truth is that I was trusting my higher power, Source, to guide me on my path but I wasn’t truly trusting myself, which I now know can only be achieved by listening to and embodying my higher self.

I will never forget the moment my dear friend Josette LeBlanc sent me a voice message about her taboo persona. This is a concept that she learned in a workshop that describes in detail and essentially fleshes out the part of ourselves that we are afraid to bring forward for fear of social rejection. It’s the part of ourselves that we don’t accept, consciously or unconsciously. So, naturally, I was curious but also terrified to explore this part of myself. I did it anyway.

Through this process, I was able to truly understand this taboo part of myself and let her lead for several days. She guided my interactions and my movements. She’s sensual and bold, so I was able to tap into a part of myself that I typically kept hidden away or, at the very least, kept incredibly managed and measured. It was liberating to allow her to take the wheel, and I was finally able to release fears that my trauma had suppressed for most of my life. I wasn’t afraid to express myself and what I needed in my relationships. I was bolder in social interactions, feeling completely empowered and fearless. I didn’t give a crap about rejection. I knew my worth.

This year has been one of embracing all of the parts of myself that I have learned to hate as a result of my trauma. I have grown and changed into a different person so many times in my life. I imagine these old versions of myself as skeletons that have begun to decompose. I learned to keep them locked away, deep in the dark corners of my mind and my body, hoping that no one remembers who I used to be. This self-medicating, toxic love addict who would sacrifice herself until her resentment grew so large that the only option was to blow everything up and move on.

The irony of it all is that I was only able to fully embody my higher self when I stopped judging and began loving and accepting all of the versions of myself that I had been.

These skeletons are not meant to be kept hidden away; they are meant to be seen, loved, and appreciated. Through this process, we invite these parts of ourselves to transform into beautiful lessons that reside in our being. They are stories that we can share with one another as examples of hope and self-love. And for me, this has been the process by which I have completely embodied my higher self and begun trusting myself fully.

Self-love is a tricky thing. We have been fooled into thinking self-love can only be achieved through daily affirmations and physical self-care. What I have learned is that while those are absolutely components of loving myself, it is not all there is. It’s about setting boundaries and being explicit about my needs. It’s being unafraid to invite all of the parts of myself forward, including my taboo persona.

And the best part about learning to love and accept all of myself has been the unexpected benefit of something I’ve been trying to achieve all along: fully embodying and trusting my higher self. What this looks like for me is trusting myself to carry out the work that I’m meant to do here, my divine purpose. Before I embodied my higher self, I questioned my worthiness to carry out this incredibly important work. That self-doubt manifested physically as blocking the abundance that was already flowing my way.

Embodying my higher self has also meant that what I call my “resting state,” or how I feel when I am not actively doing or thinking about anything, is now a place of peace and stillness, whereas before it was anxiety and overthinking. There is magic that happens when we begin to embody our higher self, and it starts with addressing our healing in a way that is intentional, loving, and gentle.


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