I am not sure about you, but I have experienced lots of ‘healing’. Therapy, reiki, yoga, mindfulness, shamanism, women circles, crania-sacral therapy, tai-chi, hypnotherapy, detox retreats, fasting with only water on juices for a week, you name it. These are just some of the holistic ‘healing’ practices that I have engaged with. Every time I started a new type, I thought maybe I will feel a little bit more comfortable with my life, with others, and within myself. Maybe I will wake up one day and I won’t feel pain anymore. But the more I worked on trying to ‘heal’, the more emerged for me to ‘fix’.
Here is the problem: there is so much to heal if your focus solely goes to healing. Not only issues from your life, there will be things to heal coming from your family, your ancestors or from prenatal phase and other past lives – if that sits within your beliefs. The danger here is that by focussing so solidly on ‘healing’, you miss out on the present moment and all it has to offer you.
Of all the forms of ‘healing’ that I’ve tried, Vipassana (a form of meditation which facilitates self-transformation through self-observation) was the most grueling practice I have ever encountered.
I had to stay with ‘what is’ – observe (without reacting) my breath, any sensations, any thoughts or emotions or even physical pain – for ten days from 4am to 9pm, If that won’t break you, I don’t know what will. I could see all the stories that my mind had created in order to survive, to defend me, to keep me safe, and most of all to keep me from seeing the reality as it is. That hit hard and depression creeped in, because I had to give up my beautiful, self-created fairy tales and face all the feelings I had banished to the ‘dark dungeon’ of my soul – as far away as possible from my awareness. This is something we all do: we exclude people, emotions, behaviours, and situations in favour of a more idealistic vision of ourselves.
Staying with ‘what is’ made it impossible to avoid that ‘dungeon’, and facing it gave me the opportunity to look at all its contents. Slowly, very slowly, I came to recognise that it is not about letting go but about inclusion – to give these banished parts of me space to be. By reconciling these difficult and uncomfortable emotions within myself, I was able to become more authentic and whole – rather than a fairy tale version of myself.
Have you considered that maybe you don’t just need ‘healing’, but also to create a safe inner space to encounter your feelings – to confront and understand your wounded parts, experiences or old beliefs and emotions? In doing so, we can achieve a version of healing that is quite different and doesn’t occur when you actively pursue it.
If this resonates with you, and you feel that you may have a dark dungeon of your own, here are three ways in which you can start to connect with those banished parts:
- The therapy room can offer a safe space in which you confront all the parts of self that you forgot or pushed away; to feel what you avoided for so long, and to accept that Self Integration is paramount for you to live a fulfilling life.
- Grow your Inner Authority (what I like to call the strongest part of self): when the emotions and feelings emerge and you feel overwhelmed, remember to breath and to create the space for everything to be expressed. Tell your fear, grief, anger, etc.: “I hold you! Don’t worry I’ve got you!! I am here and I am not going to shut you down or run away anymore!’
- Pay more attention to the simple things in your life. Enjoy a nice meal, a conversation with your dear ones, and maybe invite more gentleness and calm.
Giving yourself space to feel your difficult emotions it may reveal that you are just the ‘container’ of your feelings and not at all your emotions; that these are coming and going along with your thoughts, and not permanent. Your thoughts determine how you feel. Choosing your thoughts (more empowering ones) is an ability you hold and can wield, if trained consistently. Observe, allow, choose!
Maybe you will feel overwhelmed by the power you hold and the responsibility that comes with this awareness. Maybe next time when you would like to pursue your dream and the voices of your fears will be loud, you will choose courageously to take the first step anyway.
Maybe courage is not when you don’t feel fear but when you put your jeans on and do what you want to do.