Understanding karmic storylines

Karma isn’t just a sequence of unfortunate events or punishment for bad behavior. It is a long trail backwards of cause and effect, and it happens for a variety of reasons, not necessarily because you “deserve” it despite what you may have heard. Instead, it’s a reflection of Newton’s third law: everything affects everything else and will have an impact down the road, whether we anticipate it or not. And it will happen to you no matter your religious or spiritual beliefs because it is basic physics. 

I was sitting in a salon yesterday for a haircut and while I waited, I listened to a hairdresser (rather loudly) tell another client her lengthy family history and drama without abandon: her mother grew up as the mother figure when she was only a child; this woman’s mother acted more like a teenager rather than caregiver, and when they all tried to move in together this week (despite the painful past), the grandmother (who happened to be dying of cancer) realized after one day and one too many fights it wasn’t going to work out so she secretly packed up her bags and headed back home from Texas to Michigan. And no one wanted to talk about it. Whew. 

As I always say, we all have problems. Every person and every family or circle of friends/community has deep-rooted underlying issues, despite many working hard to pretend there are no issues. I enjoy the people who are brave enough to admit to the problems — and respect those who actually want to work through them. 

In a situation like the above you may think, well, those are some family issues that are unfortunate and may never be resolved. But when I hear these kinds of things I think back to what led these people to this place in life and what would be required to make it better (and therefore change the karma).

There are really simple ways to understand karma and I want to challenge you to begin using these tools so you can see how karmic storylines are playing out in your life and therefore, how to improve them — which is everyone’s responsibility while alive here.

First, dig really deep to identify the core wound associated in the situation. In this example, the core wounds would be abandonment (getting triggered in the mother, based on her childhood) and lack of help, and a grandmother who is always avoidant, shuts off, and runs when things gets hard or leaves others to pick up the pieces. Realistically, the daughter wants her mother to be the adult, do the responsible thing, admit to what she lacked as a parent, and show unconditional love despite her daughter’s resentment. You see, the roles were reversed and it caused everyone great pain. The daughter wants a mother (instead of having to be her own mother) and the grandmother likely had a childhood in which she was expected to be responsible far too young and she rebelled which could overwhelm her, or perhaps because she was now sick she also needed care and unconditional love. Do you see how the cycle keeps repeating?

Once you understand the core wound, you can see why this situation is transpiring to begin with. It’s not for no reason — it’s because the people involved are triggering each other’s core wounds; if so, they will just repeat in situation after situation, lifetime after lifetime no matter which sex or role you are born into. When you address the situation head on and find compassion, empathy, and compromise, you can resolve your core wounds so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. So you can grow instead of retreat and repeat.

In the above example, changing the karma would require a hard conversation. It would require all parties see beyond the circumstantial triggers (arguments about silly things that never get to the root of the issues/core wounds) and talk about the depth of their wound in order for the other to truly understand. It would also require genuine listening and the desire from others to resolve the issue no matter what, ie: weakening their own ego for the sake of someone else.

Secondly, look back to all famous works of literature, or even popular shows and books. What is embedded into the collective unconscious is no mistake. The stories we keep telling and sharing with the world at large are as old as time itself. Yes the characters and intricacies of the plot change, but the overarching themes are the same. In nearly every story you read or watch, a common denominator is that the characters are presented with a choice: do I repeat the past or do I venture into the brave unknown? Do I forgo what everyone else wants or expects of me or do I choose my own path? Are we all going to keep doing what is easy or will anyone choose the difficult thing? Who will prevent the truth or good from rising and who will fight to expose it? Who will come up with solutions and who will allow the problems to persist? If I choose my own path, what is the punishment I will face? Does the fear of that outweigh the truth of what is in my soul?

Karmic storyline character roles:

  • The twin flames: fight constantly, passive aggressive if only for comedic effect or can also be overtly aggressive, very high masculine and high feminine, or one is integrated and one not; abusive relationship. One may actively try to make things better (grow), but not always.
  • Distractor: comes in to “swipe” the scene clean and create a transition to a new topic, or so everyone forgets what just happened – sometimes for comic relief, to control the conversation or groupthink, sex appeal, etc.
  • Narcissist: the fearless, egoful leader who gets everyone into trouble and out of trouble, manipulates the entire situation to get his way or make sure no one lets onto what he is doing, earns the favor of others especially those in authority, abuses others then justifies or blames it on victim. He may try to do the right thing every now and then to save face but will always go back to control or abuse.
  • The lackeys: carrying out sinister deeds on behalf of the narcissist leader(s) so they stay in the good graces and receive benefits from the leader. They assume they will be protected, but the leader may eventually turn against them too. 
  • Empath: the sweet, sensitive, king or queen type energy who tries to bring everyone to their senses and do the right thing but is not heard or purposefully quieted. The narcissistic leader/abuser generally targets them to “astroturf” their reality. The narc may eventually fess up and say they will never do it again and there may be a forgive and forget mentality, or the victim may remain hurt.
  • Soul mates: any two people on the same wavelength and always work together when problems arise. 
  • The wise one/mentor: warns the characters about the dangers, but the characters often do not listen then feel bad afterwards and realize he/she were right; helps others learn the lesson.
  • The groupthink background actors/the “mob”: mindlessly supporting the narcissists in order to not be targeted themselves or in order to fit in. May remain silent or may perpetuate groupthink gossip. Refuse to think for themselves.

Use this information to your advantage to identify the storylines you are in, your role and the role of others, and how to escape them or turn them on their heads.

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