The Hometown Trigger – A Friend Not Foe

AnnieBurnside3 2Recently, I attended my 25th high school reunion. I hadn’t been back to my hometown in this capacity without a spouse or children for fifteen years. My parents divorced and moved from the area while I was in college.

Let me start by saying that a huge impetus for attending the reunion was to spend time with two of my closest friends – one of whom has remained in the area and the other who now lives on the opposite coast. And in this capacity, the weekend delivered.

These gals are what I call lifelong, deathbed friends. Our connection remains impenetrable – a deep well of shared experience, familiarity, and love. Throughout the whole weekend, spending time walking, talking, coffee klatching, eating and dancing was the highlight, as I knew it would be – an experience few and far between that I always treasure.

I got to see some extended family whom I was very close to while growing up. Those rare gatherings are never taken for granted as I age.

I also ran into several friends and acquaintances who were an absolute joy to see, some of whom I actually feel that I know better now through Facebook exchanges than I knew at the time. Interesting, these times we live in, indeed.

But the “unexpected” aspect of the trip started to become apparent about a day into my stay. I want to be clear that what I share below is not in any way about other people, but rather about my personal experience and what it showed me about ME.

I’ve always understood on some level the saying, “You can never go home again.” However, for the first time, I really felt the truth of this statement deep in my bones.

While there is often a familiarity and a warmth to the experience of going home after extended time away, for many of us, the possibility for the triggering of some unhealed psychic debris from our childhood looms large.

Many choose to go home and don’t feel anything past the outer layers of the experience. Others return home, feel the edges of the shadows, and then lodge them back down into the darkness as quickly as possible where they hope the “unseen” will stay forever. Still others choose to return only rarely to their roots due to either a conscious or subconscious understanding that being triggered is possible, and they simply never want to “go there.”

But for me, now, none of the above three is really an option. This was coming, and it was called forth by my soul as the perfect opportunity for greater self-awareness, personal growth and release. Yippee!

As excited as I was about my trip, as the time drew near to leave my “new” home of nearly twenty-three years, I also felt an uneasiness. I remember actually thinking, I know that something needing to be cleared is going to surface. I knew I was IN, but at the same time, I kinda didn’t wanna be.

For today, if I feel a trigger, I have a difficult time functioning in full physically and emotionally until it has been acknowledged, owned and eventually embraced as part of the whole of who I am. This is usually uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and definitely, from a human perspective, not fun.

Opening old unhealed or partially unhealed corners of our psyche that lurk just underneath the surface of our awareness, but that actually have a tremendous effect on our beliefs, thoughts, choices and actions is never the “go to” activity for a good time.

And yet, from a soul perspective, most assuredly, the trek through the stuffed down, embedded and darker inner areas is purposeful, worthwhile and even joyous.

So, without offering the specifics, essentially an energy pattern of my childhood was pulled up and out from deep inside of me and reflected back to me several times during the course of the weekend. Only this time, I was no longer a child picking up on some of it through my own eyes and ears, and much of it energetically to be embedded unprocessed deep within.

This energy pattern now seen and felt as a conscious adult whose life is devoted to self-awareness and the care of the soul felt detrimental to the spirit. It felt painful. And it felt heavy.

While I finished the weekend with many wonderful moments with my dear friends, when I sat on the plane with the nearly setting sun shining down upon the fingers of shimmering water intermingled with an area that has always been close to my heart, I felt that I might burst into tears.

I felt an almost overwhelming grief.

And I knew I was in for a long week ahead.

So last week, I was very quiet. I looked closely the energy pattern from my childhood that had been triggered. I looked closely at both the light aspects and the dark aspects of it. I cried. I spent time in total solitude. I acknowledged it with both sadness and appreciation for being part of who I am today. I worked a lot with little Annie at different stages of her development. I offered her unconditional love, support and deep understanding. I spoke with others both physically and energetically.

I allowed myself the opportunity to get up close and intimate with an aspect of my past that I had never fully owned.

This processing and integration became my top priority until all had been moved through. I felt the biggest release a couple of days upon my return and then felt some smaller residual energies pass through in the next few days. The intensity lasted only 48 hours.

So much was gained from my trip back home. Beyond what most people consider the fruit of an experience, there are always the long-forgotten seeds. Those seeds are too often completely ignored, and yet, hold within their hard covering our true freedom.

I feel lighter as this experience comes to a close. I feel more love for myself and others. I feel less judgment.

The capacity to write on and share an aspect of my life always lets me know that my inner work on a particular experience is complete. It feels good. I know myself just a little bit wider and deeper than I did before.

My soul smiles…

Warmth and LOVE,



A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book Soul to Soul Parenting won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award. Connect with Annie on Facebook and engage with her on Twitter @annieburnside

  • Erika

    Thank you for sharing this, Annie. It’s really a how to for handling the pain that often resurfaces. And I’m sure many of us can relate, especially at this time of the year!

    • Annie Burnside

      Erika, thank you, and I do hope it helps people to know that they are not alone with their triggers at this time of year and always. Much LOVE! Annie

  • Wow. I love this post, and I can completely relate. There can be tons of triggers related to parents and your childhood. This post really resonated with me, because I am also dedicated to self-awareness and have been working on healing life-long triggers. I live near my parents, so I experience childhood triggers a lot, and I’ve been working really hard to realize I don’t need to take things so personally, and to see them as people with their own path and issues. I have the power to see things differently. It really is painful but rewarding, as you expressed here. Fantastic. I’m right there with you. Keep up the good work!

    Much love,

    • Annie Burnside

      Nina, what a beautiful share! Thank you, and your work is beautiful, too… Happy Holidays and Much LOVE, Annie