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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

A Recapitulation Story

Jan 01, 2022 06:00AM ● By Rosemary Kimble
As a teenager, my journal was my best friend. I could trust it and tell it anything, knowing my secrets would never be shared. I used my journal to work through my life problems. I found consolation in it when I was sad or just happy to share something. I have been journaling ever since; it is perhaps the greatest tool that I use as an adult today.

When I was 30, I read Tensegrity by Carlos Castaneda, which introduced me to the shamanic practice of recapitulation, an exercise in remembering and healing from the past. The naguals of Mexico consider recapitulation to be a very healing process, as it allows them to retrieve energy they’ve left behind in an experience as well as return any energy that they had taken from it. Before a nagual apprentice can become a shaman, they have to complete the exercise and recall every detail of their life in the process. It can take several years.

I’d wanted to write a memoir for a long time. Many years of journaling showed me that I had a story to tell. I knew that a recapitulation process would help me to write my memoir because I would have to remember everything that had ever happened to me. I realized it would help me to work through painful events from my past and give me the courage to be able to share them later. I believed my stories could be an inspiration to others on their spiritual path. 

It took years before I found the will and the courage to start, and I promised myself I wouldn’t write my memoir until after I’d written my story for myself. I discovered the recapitulation process was nothing like journaling. It took me to a much deeper place of reliving my life than I ever could have imagined. It was a very difficult process. Remembering the painful times was intense, but it was also joyful and inspiring to remember the beautiful times. It took me ten years to recapitulate most of my life story. 

Writing my memoir turned out to be just as difficult to do because I relived every experience once again in the editing. Then I relived it again and again, since writing a book often requires numerous rounds of edits. Some memories were wonderful to relive, such as witnessing supernatural phenomena and visiting exotic places. But the hard ones, including almost drowning and being in love with an addict, were difficult for me to feel once more. Still, writing and editing my story was a profoundly healing process. 

It was also a deeply spiritual experience. Through the recapitulation process, I was able to see that my past does not define me. I was able to let go of the shame I felt for some of my previous actions. I understood that we are constantly reinventing ourselves. I realized that all of my life experiences had helped me to grow, no matter how hard they were. It allowed me to have no regrets for my past.

Through my recapitulation, I realized what the naguals of Mexico understood—that to re-examine my life and to look at my traumas without fear gave me an essential healing from my past. Plus, reliving the many lovely moments showed me just how special my life has been. I understood that every experience I’ve had has led me to be who I am now, and every challenge has helped me to be a better person. I can have gratitude for everything that has ever happened to me.

And now, as before, journaling continues to help me process emotions and reevaluate my life circumstances. It is a powerful tool for transformation and self-expression. Knowing my journal is a safe place for me to say anything gives me the courage to examine my life thoroughly. It also helps me to be grateful for all of the beauty and challenges my life brings. ❧

Rosemary Kimble was born an artist with a penchant for the metaphysical and healing arts. She is an animal communicator, medium, intuitive healer, ceremonialist and co-director of Adventures in Empowerment Retreats. Visit or email [email protected]

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