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  • Writer's pictureCarol Bridges

Do you have ghosts?

Really? Ghosts? No, not wandering dead people (though more on that later, it's almost Halloween), but stuff you have been keeping locked away in the back room of your house...or your mind...or your history?

"Ghosts" is not such a scary word since we grew up with cartoon images of funny ghosts as well as the Frankenstein variety. "Entities" is a bit scarier word because it conjures images of something horrible out to get us. So, let's just say that there are energies that are locked up in "stuff."

This "stuff" can be old memories of yourself that are brought to mind every time you come across a photo or memento of a time that will never come again. The old wedding photos, divorce decree, graduation snapshots, the great vacation, the long-lost friend, toys from childhood, you name it. Whether the thing provokes happy or painful memories, they can each become part of your "victim body," your very own ghost.

Your ghost story is the story you tell yourself and, usually others, about how life cheated you out of something, thus you became its victim. This ghost is a disembodied self, the part of you that no longer exists in the physical realm, yet, it won't go away. It just keeps haunting you.

These troublesome entities really do do us harm when we keep feeding them by repeating stories of our bad luck. Yet, they can become as harmless as cartoon ghosts when we realize that they are just trying to remind us of something that wants to be alive again. They remind us that something is missing from our present life, and it needs attention.

If you have a recurring life-draining theme, you have such a ghostly "attachment." We often think of attachments as being to things and people we love. More often, our real attachments are to our hardship stories. We just can't seem to give them up because they excuse some behaviors we are not necessarily proud of.

Our ghosts are trying to tell us of unfulfilled desires or goals we once had, but have put aside for awhile or completely abandoned. The ghost, therefore, has no body with which to achieve that lost dream, and it is not happy about it. In its unhappiness, it might suggest that you punish your body with the temporary thrill of an addictive substance.

That will ease the pain for a short period of time. Your grief will subside as you self-medicate to take the edge off. Or, maybe you will just store the grief or other unwanted feeling in some excess body weight or buy something new and sparkly like you wish you still were. You can see that any of these "solutions" just brings you down deeper into the murky waters of your consciousness.

Look around right now. Your ghosts are probably showing up in your room. Are there piles of things you have not looked through in years? I'm not talking about a creative mess that eventually results in a finished project. Those should happen often. It's that mess with the spider webs and inch-thick dust over there under the boxes in which you can't remember what is in them. Grief, shame, low self-esteem, unrealistic body image or success expectations may all be part of this excess baggage full of ghosts.

Unpack. Right now, pause and contemplate this thought: "I am ready, willing and able to shed the pounds of grief, shame and anger I have embedded in my body/mind/spirit, home/basement/closet and anywhere else I find them. Right now, I breathe in my ghosts, those lost and betrayed parts of myself. I breathe out my ghosts, giving them the life they deserve and desire. I breathe in thanks for my ghosts helping me (even scaring me) to awaken to my deep needs. I breathe out thanks for my ghosts and I coming together as one, whole, alive entity I call "myself."

It's almost Halloween. This is a great time to make some costume, piece of art or have a party that celebrates the hidden parts of ourselves, the broken dreamers, the happily dead and gone old goals, and all the people who played their perfect part in our spooky drama. It's a good time to give away just about anything. Bury the dead. Celebrate that life continues. Dance again with all the relevant parts of yourself intact. No more "Boo hoo" stories, just wake up calls.

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