A magnet is an object that has a magnetic field. This field will draw certain material to the magnet by the strong attraction of the magnetic field that it possesses. I remember as a child playing with magnets and iron filings in school and making a game of using the iron filings to make images with the magnets.
If you were to equate iron filings with unresolved emotions that we accumulate in our “bucket” of things we need to address and dump, and an activating personal event as a magnet – this would help to visualize how over-reactions occur around normal life experiences. Lets say for example that somewhere in your past you experienced difficult situations with people who should have loved you, but hurt you instead, which left you with unresolved issues around self worth, self respect and being loved. In your bucket of iron filings you may have stored the emotions that you didn’t know what to do with at the time the original hurtful events occurred. Now in the present moment a personal interaction from someone you care about occurs that reminds you that you still have painful feelings around self worth worth, respect and being loved. Suddenly the reaction to the present moment event becomes larger than needed as it has acted as a magnet which draws old emotions to the surface.
This kind of over reaction will not feel particularly pleasant as the old emotions come up – and the poor person in the present moment that triggered them arising may have that “deer in the headlights” look about what just happened. In the long run it is always a healing moment when old emotions can surface, be experienced, felt and then allowed to dissipate. Each time we actively work through our stored emotions we are held less hostage to them, we are able to lighten our emotional load and become closer to our core being. It is essential to work through our old “stuff” until our bucket is completely empty and we have healed all the old wounds. When this work is complete we will no longer have the emotional iron filings that can be triggered by a “magnetic” event and we will be free of our past and its emotional burdens.
This process of healing the old, long held painful emotions and stored judgements takes time and attention. We can think that the work in this area is complete if we have done a lot of healing work and there are no longer people or events that trigger and bring up what may be left in our bucket. Just when we think we are done – something may come into our life experience that allows us the opportunity to bring up what may be the last dregs left at the bottom of our bucket.
The “work” of processing through these old emotions will surely pull you off balance for a time. It is important to give yourself the time, permission and safety to to this work thoroughly and allow it to be felt, learned from and dissipated. While the person or experience that triggered the old emotions may have been hurtful, it is important to realize that we do not need to make them responsible for more than their actions in the present moment. That we have older issues is our business and we should not empty our bucket of old iron filings on them. Part of our healing journey is to take responsibility for ourselves and not lay blame on those in the present who may have had nothing to do with our past.
The goal is to arrive at the point where there are no iron filings left in our bucket around any issues. We then will be free of the magnetic pull in the present that brings up the past. It then can be said that we truly are free of our past and can live more comfortably, peacefully in the present.