I'd like to make a suggestion for you to sit with. I want to offer you a possible narrative of why life is difficult. This is not intended as a band-aid response to everything you've struggled with---I hate that. I wouldn't insult you by suggesting that all the bad in the world happens for a reason, or some higher purpose. Sometimes pain and loss happen, and there is no high or beneficial purpose. We can make the most of our turmoil, but we don't need to justify it, to ourselves or to anyone.
But I've been thinking a lot about this cartoon, where the healer suffers in silence far more than the people she heals. I've been contemplating why that is. Is this a commentary on our society's tendency to exploit the downtrodden and the willing? Or could there be some undercurrent of spiritual strength to this person that other people don't possess?
Let's explore the latter. Let's imagine that the healers of the world carry and possess power inaccessible to others. Let's consider why that might be. What is most interesting to me is that our ability and power to heal is directly proportionate to our strength.
I want to use a fictional example. Let's call her Margaret. Let's say Margaret has endured twelve lifetimes before this one. In her first lifetime, she lost all her children in a fire. In her second lifetime, she suffered slavery and persecution. In her third lifetime, she was born without limbs. And so on and so forth, each life building upon the next with a different shade of suffering and loss, until she reaches her twelfth lifetime. In Margaret's twelfth life (modern times) she is born into a family of abuse and alcoholism. She is bullied as a child. As an adult, her husband beats her. She loses everything in a divorce. People don't respect her, and she's the target of constant criticism and abuse. Each day is a struggle. Yet all the lessons learned in her previous lifetimes have given her tremendous strength. She has an inherent ability to recognize people's needs. She's sensitive to others. And that magnificent strength she has groomed through all her lifetimes takes on an energy all its own. Her spirit magnifies from her being. Other people sense it. They are drawn to it like a moth to flame. They lean on her. They need her and her strength.
Now did Margaret need to suffer all of those things? Was there purpose in it? Not necessarily. Nevertheless, her strength was of tremendous aid to others. She is surrounded by younger souls who haven't learned how to be strong. She cures wounds as well as sets an example. Although her suffering was not necessary or mandated, the world finds that it needs a Margaret, who can show us that we too can find tremendous strength within ourselves if we reach for it.
So here's a radical suggestion: You know the people who seem to have it so much easier? The ones who haven't had to endure nearly as much and don't seem to fight nearly as hard as you have had to do? Perhaps they aren''t strong enough yet. Maybe you're on phase 8 and they are on phase 2. Maybe the truly rugged souls decide to take on the most difficult lives. The people who attempt to climb Mt. Everest are the people who have done the training and acquired the stamina. Maybe you're on your Mt. Everest life.
For this blog post, I would like to both validate your feelings and experience with the twin flame phenomenon while also helping you get your bearings about why we latch onto this idea, even when deep down we feel it isn't literally true.
If you haven't heard about the concept of twin flames yet, the idea goes something like this: One soul was split in two, one embodying the female and one embodying the male, and so when the two meet, they are seeing/connecting with their other half. At first glance this seems heavy-handedly heteronormative, but often gay couples identify with this concept as well (with the caveat that one partner is more masculine and one more feminine, which is often but not always the case).
First, before you feel that your twin flame experience isn't resonating here and I lose you completely, I want to validate your experience with this expression, and then I would like to address some points that make this concept more complicated than it originally appears. Do I believe that I myself have a twin flame? Yes, and no. When someone mentions their twin flame, I know precisely to what they are referring, what they likely experienced, and how they probably feel in the wake of such a relationship. I immediately think of the person that I would label my "twin flame" even if I don't buy that concept completely. I get it because I also experienced it. So I don't want to make it sound like I'm tossing this concept out. I left it in my
Art History for Past Lives deck because it reflects a very real and powerful human experience, one that many people identify with, and it should never be scoffed at or entirely discarded.
Your intense feelings are valid. In fact, there is very little about you that is more real or valid than your own intense emotional interiority. You are not lame or stupid for these intense emotions. These emotions are stitched into the fabric of your soul, and that is why when someone says "twin flame" you identify with that term. You felt and loved so intensely. Part of you was lost with that other person as they exited your life. That reality is as true as you standing there. There is nothing truer than the love you felt for that other person. You can label is soul mate or twin flame, and doing that gives that relationship more weight and gravity to your narrative than it otherwise would. This term helps you express something that was previously impossible to express. And that's ok. I think we can still use this term the way it was intended while still acknowledging the practical function of this idea within our mind and soul.
Now, with that validation, I want to point out some observations for you to sit with.
1- Twin Flames are rarely together. Would you really be able to walk away from the other half of yourself? You would feel incomplete without that person. You would always come back around to them. But usually, these relationships are empty theaters of sadness with little hope for reconciliation. That doesn't mean this wasn't a karmic relationship or a powerful soul connection. But the other half of your soul? I don't see that. If someone really was walking around with half of your soul, you would have no choice but to love that person. And choice is so critical to our human experience. It's the entire reason we are here. I think a connection in which you look at each other without speaking and know completely what the other is thinking and feeling is a hallmark sign of several previous lifetimes shared together. The more times together, the stronger the connection. Enough shared lifetimes, and this connection will snowball into twin flame-esque energy. But that connection is a reflection of your history, not the missing pieces of yourself. He (cough, cough) er, I mean they, will still have to make a choice. And yes, it's going to suck for them to walk away, even if they never admit it, because deep in the recesses of the subconscious, they remember it too.
2- It's typically the woman who is in pain l know there are exceptions to this, and I don't mean to minimize the feelings of heterosexual men who are writhing in pain over losing their twin flame, but the objective reality is that it is mostly women (and gay men) learning about, processing, and discussing their twin flame. The more I have sat with this issue, the more I've come to realize that this isn't so much because women are more gullible or even more emotional. It's because this experience is often rooted in oppression. The relationship's ending is usually due to some kind of superficial thinking: women are all the same, women weigh men down, relationships are not valuable, I need to focus on my career, what I want is more critical etc. etc. It almost always comes down to discarding women as less important. And that's what sends us into that spiritual tailspin.
One piece of truth I can hand you that will really help you out of that dark hole is this: this painful relationship and ending didn't happen because you weren't good enough for some reason. It was because women (and often men who behave more like women) aren't good enough in general in the eyes of the world. Being weaker and more vulnerable, with less opportunity for resources is, at the end of the day, a liability. Deep down, we understand that it is the world and our culture that has sold us out, and that as primarily spiritual (and not physical) beings, we are dependent upon love from others to navigate this physical world most successfully. That is the spiritual battle and the deep pain we are unpacking within ourselves. It is a hereditary wound that spans generations. Your mother was ignored and discarded, and so was her mother, and her mother, and her mother, even by, (and in many cases, especially by) the men who stood by their side throughout their lives. It is the weight of the world's oppression that gives birth to the twin flame within us.
One monumental challenge in learning to read for yourself, whether with tools like tarot, or exercises such as regression and meditation, is the looming burden of doubt as our imaginations scour the possibilities and land tentatively upon conclusions. And before you can grow in this process, there's one reality you must grasp:
Divining personal truth is a radical act.
Society will tell you what you should believe and how you should believe it. Deviations from established cultural "truth" is an act of fanaticism. We don't come to terms with this reality, and for that reason, doubt remains a burden we can't push past on our spiritual journey. What I'm trying to say is this: you must own your rebellion if you are going to establish personal truth for yourself. Understand fully your act of deviation and get comfortable. We are journeying into the wild unknown. We will trip and land on our face. But we will also stumble upon knowledge we didn't have before, and our human experience will be heightened and enriched. Embrace your difference with courage!
You have to divorce yourself from everyone else. You must stop looking for validation in others, in their faces, in their personal narratives, in their actions and words, and in their sanctions of your behavior. We often believe we need others to condone us and journey with us, but personal truth is found alone. This psychological dependency upon others and the subsequent loss of self creates the greatest blockage to spiritual insight. First, you must determine:
Who are You?
That's a simple question, and almost impossible to answer, right? Have you spent some time connecting to your essence? Could you deduce your energy to a few key words? What would those words be? You must spend some time here, dwelling with the self, in order to divine your truths with confidence. You need faith and peace to build a dependable identity. You find faith by sorting out what you believe. You find peace by identifying what you fear.
What Do You Believe?
I would say nearly every faith is beautiful and offers us connection to something better than this world. Connection to the divine is critical to our strength and confidence. What you believe isn't nearly as important as your act of believing it. And the more your beliefs align with love, peace, harmony and growth, the more confident you will become in your own discernment. Not everything you believe will be literally true, but that isn't actually what's important. What's important is that you know yourself, and that you build your identity through narratives. As we develop and grow, these narratives might change, even dramatically. But they always had value because they granted us the orientation to see ourselves through our spiritual eyes.
What Do You Fear?
Finding peace is dependent on finding clarity. Being able to accurate identify our fears is the first step to clearing our mind and soul of the clutter that blocks our intuition. What are you truly afraid of? What gives you anxiety? What prevents you from living the life you want? These are valuable questions that lead toward a path of peace so that our inner selves can communicate clearly and effectively with Spirit.
So you've pulled a card or two, and you've checked the definition in that vague book, and you just feel lost. A sense of trust is missing in this process. It's okay. We've all been there; even the most gifted readers have these moments. Stop and connect once again: Who are you? What do you believe? What do you fear? Take a breath and look again. The connection to truth is there. It was always there. Seek it with trust.
Terrified of water? Excessively nervous about heights? Obsessively scared of something bad happening to your kid? There could be a past life connection.
From my experience with past life readings, there are six ways to look for clues to your past lives:
Out of all the events that give clues to a past life, deja vu is probably the most abstract and least helpful. It often involves a particular moment in time: sitting somewhere specific, hearing someone say something or saying something aloud yourself, and then you have that uncanny feeling you've been here before. There is the rare case where you visit a foreign country and recognize your homeland, but more often than not, deja vu typically doesn't give us clues about who we were, where we lived, or what we experienced. Deja vu is often caused by remotely viewing your life before it happened, either in your reincarnated state, or in dreams, and is more relevant to this life, but there are times when deja vu can be clueing you into the past.
Dreams are probably the most helpful, as we are most likely to gain specifics here: what we looked like, where we were, and which events still impact our psyche. I would classify meditations and past life regressions under this category as well. Dreams where you are actually asleep are more trustworthy than meditations because the connection between the subconscious and conscious is more direct with less risk of outside suggestion or influence.
Phobias or Excessive Fears
Phobias and fears come up regularly in the past life readings I've done. If you drowned, you are afraid of water. If your son died young or without warning, you are likely to be overprotective. The information that arises is typically very helpful for this life: if you understand that you suddenly died in a past life, you might have more compassion and patience for your mother who is constantly fearful and downright paranoid about your whereabouts and safety. If you understand that you once drowned, it's easier to get your bearings when that seemingly irrational fear begins to take over on that family boat trip. You can talk yourself down because you are reoriented with the truth.
I have a birthmark over my stomach. It's about 1.5 inches long. I believe I was stabbed here in a past life. I've never recovered that memory, and I don't have any fears of being stabbed, but I carry a mystical connection to this birthmark. If I focus on the mark, I sense a vague connection to another time and an instinctive knowing arises about why it's there. Lost limbs and violent deaths are often memorialized in birthmarks.
If my clients suffer from depression or debilitating anxiety, I urge them to keep a journal. You need 2-3 years worth of notes, but you might notice these bouts of depression/anxiety happen the same time of year. A significant loss in a past life can manifest as depression on the anniversary of that event.
Of course, if you find yourself particularly attracted to a country or culture, chances are good you have a past life there, particularly if you have no reason for the attraction. The more random and unexplainable the fixation, the higher the chance there is a past life cause. Sometimes we need to work through something that happened in a past life in order to heal completely. But sometimes, we simply don't want to let go of the past. We want to retreat back to a life that was happier for us than this one. Attractions and obsessions with objects and/or people apply here just as well as cultures.
I always urge my clients to take the information they've gathered from a past life and find a way to apply it to the life they have now. If there isn't a way to do that, then that information isn't truly in our highest interest. There's a reason we don't clearly remember our past lives. We wanted a fresh start to work on the life we have now. The pain and tragedy we've experienced in our past lives ultimately hinders us. We wipe the slate clean for the sake of having a better chance of success. If that pain/tragedy is finding its way into the present, then it needs to be addressed through past life exploration. But although emerging our imagination and consciousness into a past life may offer a wonderful escapist quality that aids in coping with the realities of this life, we can get stuck there psychologically, and this escapism can get in the way of our own progress and the lofty goals we set for ourselves when we chose to incarnate in this life. Focus on how you can improve: which relationships need mending? Or which relationships should you let go of because this isn't your fault? In what ways did you fail others? How can you conquer this fear? By applying past life knowledge in this way, past life exploration serves you and your ultimate happiness.
Life is most often defined by pain. Most of us have at least one person in our past who hurt us deeply. Our journeys are often framed by avoiding pain and/or learning how to not hurt others. Our adolescence was marked by dominating or suppressing others, our identities forged with the pain we caused. If we were on the receiving end of that domination, we spend years unpacking the self loathing.
Our pain is not separate from God. But we are taught that it is. The evil of what was done to us is often confused with the receiver. We are validated by being told we are a victim, and in the next moment, we are shamed for being a victim. We are told forgiveness is our yoke to God. We are never allowed to merge our pain with our understanding of God, but I believe this emergence is where true healing occurs. Not in forgiveness, which is a social construct that requires a witness for validity. Can you truly "forgive" someone in the recesses of a dark night, among your thoughts? Is forgiveness a Jedi mind trick? No. You must tell people you forgive them, or you must tell other people that you've forgiven someone who is not sorry. You have to post that meme. Forgiveness does not exist if it is not spoken aloud. Yet your pain exists without acknowledgement, without any attempt to create it. Perhaps God is already there, nestled within the bare truth.
If you must forgive to be worthy of God, you must earn God's love. And if you have to earn God's love, you will not heal.
We are born into a world that tells us we are not worthy. We must earn respect, and sometimes we are denied respect for truths we have no control over. We are told from the pulpit that we are sinners, regardless of who we are or what we have done. And in this social setting, the challenge to prove who we are (to others) begins, with those around us, (not God) as the judge. Our truths are buried under piles of guilt. We work to show others we are recipients of God's love. That includes "forgiveness" which is a concept so often misunderstood and so often misused in conversation.
And it is under this pressure to prove ourselves that (ironically) we lose touch with God. The world almost never acknowledges or accepts us in our present state. It encourages us to find our weaknesses and seek improvement. The idea that God is within us, around us, and unequivocally loves us without our effort is so foreign, so contrary to the messages we've received our whole lives, that we can't accept this reality of God. And at our most rudimentary level, we cannot love ourselves. This world will not give us permission to. How sad that it is the world we listen to, and not our deepest selves, where the divine is found.
About your pain. God dwells there. There is a yoke of suffering between you and the divine. God meets us completely and knows our pain. The validation you never received exists within your truth, if you dig for it. Touch on that coldsore of a memory and connect to this sacred knowing that no piece of you has been lost, that your divinity remains whole regardless of others' blindness and foolishness. Your healing is found not in the forgiveness you owe to someone else or to God, but in your own sacred knowing.
Melanny Henson Osborn considers herself a Mystic Christian, a seeker of truth, a student of religion, and a spiritual healer. She has two degrees in Creative Writing, including an MFA from Iowa State. She has worked as a professional intuitive reader since 2013. Her gifts are discernment of spirits and prophecy. An astute student of Tarot, she is the author of Art History Tarot for Past Lives.