Last week I talked about various signs that you are stuck in the past. This week I’m sharing what happens when you hold onto the past and how holding onto the past affects your physical and energetic bodies.
Since the first step to letting go of the past is acceptance it can also be helpful to know how being stuck in the past affects you. After all, there would be no reason to let go of the past if it wasn’t causing you pain or suffering. Knowing where we’re holding onto the past in our bodies can also bring more awareness to what needs to shift so that your energy can operate optimally.
When your energy is operating optimally you feel more energized, your immune system improves, and you experience positive emotions like joy and peace. When your energy is depleted or there are blockages in your energy it can manifest as all kinds of physical issues and emotional suffering.
When I work with my client in Intuitive Healing sessions, I am able to read their energy and see how it is moving throughout their physical and energetic systems to know where these blockages and depletions are.
Knowing where you’re holding onto the past in your body and energy is helpful for understanding how to release it. Letting go of something contained in the heart is much different than letting go of something held in the gut.
Holding onto the past can show up almost anywhere in the body. The most common areas are the joints, the digestive system, and the shoulders.
Almost all chronic diseases and conditions are related to holding onto the past. For example, Arthritis is often related to holding onto resentment. Resentment is an emotion that is generated from storing up anger and hurt from your past, it is stored in the sacral chakra.
For a reference on health issues and their probable causes check out Louise Hay’s book Heal Your Body.
Let’s talk about the most common areas of the body where we hold onto the past. For each area, I’ll share the most common symptoms we experience, how that’s reflected in our energy systems, and a simple practice you can use to release the things you’re holding onto.
The joints are the parts of the body that allow movement. The joints are extremely intricate and comprised of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that attach to the bones that keep the joints together and the body mobile. The most common joint problems are arthritis, tendinitis, pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. When these symptoms show up on an energetic level the energy is getting clogged up in the joints and is not able to flow properly through the meridians of the body. (The meridians are energy channels that run throughout the entire body.)
Since the joints represent movement and flow when issues show up in the joints we can ask the question, “What is blocking movement and flow in my life?” It is here that we find the answers related to being stuck in the past.
Often, the answer is related to being stuck or holding onto the past in some way. When the lower body is affected this can signal resistance to physically moving forward in life and taking action. When you’re not moving forward, you can never be in the present moment, so you’re stuck to something in the past that is holding back your momentum. When the arms and hands are affected this signifies gripping onto something too tightly, usually a past hurt.
To move energy in the joints it is important to physically move your body in whatever way feels good. If things have been stuck in the joints for too long, the joints can freeze up and become immobile. Think about it like ice that’s built up in the body, the easiest way to remove the obstacle is to gently thaw the ice and allow things to flow smoothly. Opening things up too quickly can be like releasing a damn which floods and causes other problems.
If you’re storing up and holding onto the past in your joints, imagine the blockage in your joints. Then imagine thawing out that blockage so that the energy can flow freely through your body and out your hands and feet.
The digestive system is the center of our emotional guidance system. It is comprised of your liver, stomach, and intestines. Physically these organs control our digestion and our ability to process life. It is affected both by what we take in and what we eliminate, this information comes not just from food but also from our environment and our experiences. Common digestive issues include acid reflux, IBS, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, cramping, and eating disorders. Energetically, the digestive system is related to the root, sacral, spleen, and solar plexus chakras.
Processing things like fixations on food or material things, fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, anger, and frustration are all signs that you might be holding onto your past. If you are fixated on something, it is most likely because you were lacking it or withheld from it in the past and now you are trying to make up for that lack. Fear and anxiety exist because view the world from the lens of the past, things that once made us feel unsafe we now look out for around every corner.
Guilt and shame are emotions that we hold onto for things that we or someone else did wrong in the past. Yes, you can hold onto guilt and shame for others and this is never your responsibility. Anger and frustration arise from being unable to control something, something that happened to us in our past.
Energetically these things muck up our energetic systems. Within your chakras, there could be not enough energy or too much energy. You might not be taking in the energy that you need or releasing energy that needs to be released.
To move the energy in your lower chakra and your digestive system work to digest and assimilate all new experiences peacefully and joyously. Practice taking new things in, letting them process through your system, and then let them go! The whole process is needed for your energy to work smoothly, if anything gets clogged up in that process or a step is skipped over it can throw off your entire system.
The shoulders represent how we carry out life. Do we live life joyously and lovingly or does heaviness weigh on us so greatly that it is impossible to experience joy and love? The shoulders are technically another joint in the body but I wanted to address them separately because what we carry in the shoulders is very specific.
Shoulder and upper back pain are endemic. Part of this is due to technology but a great part of this is due to how burdened we are as a society. By the way, working long hours on a computer or phone is a burden that many of us are forced to face. So it makes sense that this is such a prevalent issue that people face.
Energetically, the shoulders are directly related to the heart chakra and can also be affected by the throat. Feeling burdened and grief is like putting a backpack on and filling up with bricks from the past. It’s okay to feel this way sometimes but at some point, the backpack gets so heavy that we have to let some of the bricks go.
Ideally, instead of filling our backpacks up with bricks, we wouldn’t even carry the things that burden us and the things we grieve everywhere we go. Perhaps, in the present moment, we may need to shoulder a burden but once it has passed we have to choose to let it go and allow ourselves to experience joy once again. Similarly, when we grieve, we have to allow ourselves to experience the loss and make room in our hearts so that love can continue to grow.
As deeply as you are burdened and as deeply as you grieve, you have the same capacity to feel love and joy. Breathing is one of the best ways to allow this process of experiencing and releasing. As we breathe deeply we make space in our hearts for energy and love to flow in. If you are struggling to let go of burdens or grief, take up a breathing practice, sit with deep breaths for 5 minutes at a time, and allow whatever arises to be released through the breath. Then imagine breathing in new energy and allowing it to fill your heart space.