This week I had the chance to travel to see my parents and siblings at my childhood home for the first time since January. Before traveling, I recognized that there was going to be a lot of emotional things that could come up—a mix of my gender identity being accepted at home, a less progressive and mindful household, but more than that, just something about visiting my od home seemed to trigger a sort of emotional regression in me. I wondered why, especially since this isn’t an experience only I have—many of us feel this.
We all have different pasts with our families, and sometimes the individuals that we are related to are a major source of any pain we feel when visiting our childhood home, but—more often than not—it’s even more complex than this. The people we grew up with may be extremely influential and impactful when we go home, but even if we’re treated with great respect, there is sometimes still emotion that arises. In this case, it can seem more mysterious until we examine the energy and memory of the places we grew up in.
Childhood itself is filled with emotional development, from school bullies, to parental guidance, to media exposure, and hometown culture. All of the feelings we had as children were what shaped us today and we instantly respond to these triggers with similar emotions to the first instance that caused such feelings. This might be remembering walking to our elementary school and reimagining the time we were bullied and the shame that came with it, or it might mean experiencing a more elusive feeling without a direct memory.
We are all very receptive individuals, both to the energy of our environments and to the subliminal memories. The energy itself can often trigger emotional responses within us. When I stepped off the plane and felt the air near my hometown, I instantly recognized a different feeling than Baltimore. It wasn’t just less noise, lower crime, and cooler weather—it was a totally different energy (something that I feel is a little more stuffy that Baltimore, despite the logistical difference in infrastructure that would say otherwise). The energy brought up feelings and emotions I had associated with this energy in the past.
As children, we’re even more receptive to the energy of our environments and we start learning about our energetic senses—whether we are consciously aware of it or not—at this point in our life. Just like walking into a familiar childhood place, energy itself can be a trigger for past feelings.
It’s rarely just the people we visit that cause a rise in emotion, nostalgia, or even anxiety in us. It’s because, with both physical and energetic stimuli reminding us of our past, we feel partially transported to that time period in our life. Depending on how pleasant or unpleasant it was, we may re-experience those emotions again too.
Although this resurgence of feelings can be intense, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully, if we make the choice to visit home, we have a stable enough familial environment that there is no actual threat of harm or even overwhelm. I know I was definitely excited to see my family! This, though, doesn’t eliminate the rise of feelings within us, even if we are greatly loved by those around us. And this is totally okay.
Just like all feelings (especially heavy ones) when they arise, we can examine their roots. We can examine what lays beneath the emotion and is causing our current experience. When we feel shame walking down that one block near our old school, we can look deeper into that feeling and perhaps uncovering the bullying that we still hold onto even decades later.
When visiting home, we have the chance to ask ourselves “what am I still holding onto from my childhood?” Then, with the current emotional experiences to fuel this self-discovery, we can unearth the answers to this question.
Once we dwell on this for a bit, observing how we feel in our childhood environment, it can be easier to pinpoint the parts in our life that still need some nurturing attention. From here, we can heal and experience more emotional freedom and peace in our lives, through all of the other mindfulness and recovery techniques we regularly employ in our life.
If healing from the impact of your childhood is something that really interests you, you may also want to read my article on an Inner Child healing mediation here!