Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When You Think You Can't Forgive Yourself or Others

The women in the circle were doing some very deep work, honestly telling their darkest stories of shame and emotional pain. Each woman spoke from the depths of her being, bringing up into the light old wounds needing to be understood–needing to be loved.

Although the telling and the listening was intense work, each woman could feel pounds of oppression lifting off her body as she discovered compassion for the life she had lived.

When it was my turn to speak, I found myself sobbing for a little girl who had been robbed of her innocence. As I told my story, I realized how my whole adult life had been affected by the trauma of my childhood. My own heart opened to her and as it opened to the frightened little girl living inside me, it concurrently opened to the wounded adult who was still afraid of life.

Finally, I could honestly forgive myself for the ways I had hurt others, the successes I had never accomplished, and the limits I had always placed on myself. Today I understood that pain, unhealed, creates more pain. Now, that I could feel compassion for myself I knew I didn't have to keep repeating the pattern that created the pain. I could create happiness out of the depths of my former despair.

What I wondered was whether I could forgive my parents for the difficult life they had exposed me to. With this thought on my mind, I joined some of the women of the circle outside while we took a break.

Two of the women were smoking cigarettes together. Their faces were drawn and haggard. They shared information with each other about the physical illnesses they were experiencing, which were numerous and overwhelming from my perspective.

Earlier during the day, in circle, these two women had courageously admitted to abusing their children. They spoke about their deep guilt and shame, and the tremendous anguish they felt knowing how badly they had treated their children.

As I observed these women during our break, my heart opened up to them. I looked at their physical bodies, considered their horrific illnesses and realized subconsciously they must be beating themselves up in shame. They were, perhaps, inflicting upon themselves greater punishment than anyone outside of them might sentenced them with.

They were as wounded as I was. Very likely someone had hurt them and in their pain they hurt their children. Just like I was seeing my part in the cycle, so were they. The abuser and the abused–all the same person. I offered a little prayer for their comfort and remembered my parents. They too had probably been abused, abused me, and now I could stop the cycle because I understood. In my compassion for myself, these women, and my parents, forgiveness wasn't even necessary. All that was needed was what I felt–love for us all.

Next: Feeling the Healing; Becoming the New You

Monday, February 26, 2007

How Blame Limits Our Healing Ability

Someone once posed a couple of intriguing questions to me that got me to look at my entire life in a whole new way. The question was, "What if you had some say, before you got to earth, about who your family would be? How would that influence your view about your childhood and your life?"

My first thought was, "No way. I didn't choose this dysfunctional family." But those are the kind of questions that haunt you until you at least try them on for size. Otherwise, given my beliefs at the time, I was going to have to assume God was either cruel or crazy, or I had to assume God believed I could transform a stressful childhood into a great adulthood for some greater good I couldn't quite imagine yet.

If I did choose this life, I must have had a good reason and I wondered what the heck that might be. Otherwise, I figured my soul was hanging out in some far-out bar and I had just smoked some very wild stuff, when a recruiter came around asking for volunteers for tough earth assignments. I might as well see if I could understand a good reason for the difficult childhood I experienced.

So, I imagined my soul was existing in some comfortable setting and I was writing my case argument for my life on earth. I explained why I was choosing these parents, at this time period, in this city. I argued for parents of their political persuasion, religious views, income level, social perspectives, personal challenges and personal strengths.

I explained how I would use the adversities and gifts of this childhood to learn, develop compassion and eventually develop myself into a better human being.

When I finished, I was in shock! I no longer had a single reason for blaming my parents for any of their inadequacies as humans or as parents. I didn't have a reason to blame God or myself. All I had left was the naked realization of my ability to take a difficult, painful beginning and use it to turn myself into a realized human being.

Next: When You Think You Can't Forgive Yourself or Others

When the Wounded Places Inside You Need Love

Judith Duerk, a very powerful facilitator of women's circles once described our wounded selves like sieves. She suggested that over time the vessel we are becomes punched full of holes, a metaphor for wounds. Then, as we receive love, we are too wounded, too full of holes to be able to hold that love. In order to hold love, we first need to seal the holes–heal the wounds.

Whenever I am wanting more love, but not feeling it, I now know it is time to check on the holes in my sieve to see if I'm not able to feel and hold the love because of some wound in me that is leaking love away.

It takes courage to look at a wound. And it takes compassion to heal it. The greater the compassion, the greater the healing. Often, my own wound has scared me so much, I was only willing to take a cursory look at it or I opted to avoid dealing with it at all.

Once I sat down and stayed with the wound long enough to understand it–to really, deeply understand it at its core, I found it really wasn't as frightening an experience as I had imagined it would be. I also discovered as soon as I understood, my compassion rose up in me immediately and the process of healing at my core began.

With persistence, my sieve became a solid vessel once again, and only now and then do I find a new hole that needs my compassion.

Next: How Blame Limits Our Healing Ability

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Getting to Core Beliefs Can Accelerate Your Healing

Some years ago my hormones were so far out of balance I was producing as much testosterone as a boy in puberty. Intuitively, I knew I needed to understand and heal the reason my female body was becoming male, seemingly on its own and without my conscious permission.

I began listening to urgings from my silent meditations to embrace yet more stillness and less activity in my life. In a process of getting quiet and listening with compassion to my thoughts and feelings, I uncovered and healed the abuse that caused me to break-faith with being feminine.

Along with talk therapy, good hormone therapy, some deep emotional processing, and the support of skilled healers from several disciplines, I finally brought my body into balance.

The same has been true for my clients. Those who address the emotional content behind the physical illness tend to heal more rapidly and with lasting results.

When someone tells me no physical treatment they have tried is making any long-term
difference, I recommend they consult their emotions. Buried feelings of emotional pain are often blocking even the most aggressive healing treatments.

Next: When the Wounded Places Inside You Need Love

Monday, February 12, 2007

What Does It Mean to Take Control of Your Healing?

For a long time, I thought taking control of my healing meant going to the doctor. Certainly, that can be a significant step in taking control; however, there is a deeper layer of responsibility in healing that your doctor can't get to. Only you can get to it.

More than once someone has come to me looking for a miracle cure. They are tired of being sick and want to get on with fulfilling their life purpose, or at least more meaningful work. This is certainly understandable.

There have been many times, in my own journey, I just wished someone would take out a magic wand and cure me. I had so many goals I would be accomplishing if I just felt better. It is very difficult to even think about creating prosperity, engaging in a new career, or attracting the love of your life when you don’t feel well. I’m not at all surprised when someone comes looking to me for a fast answer.

Yet, whenever someone thinks someone else needs to fix them and they are not active participants in their own healing, I know we won’t get very far because creating lasting healing happens from the inside out.

The true healing happens between the person choosing to be healed and his or her own relationship with the Divine power that dwells within them. The healing journey is each person’s opportunity to discover the life-giving, creative force of the Divine living within their own consciousness and apply that creative force to their wellness.

Healing is a practice of dedication and self-love, because getting to the root cause–the source (which is often an emotional issue and belief) of the condition is necessary for full and complete recovery. New belief systems and patterns of behavior need to be deeply anchored in both your subconscious and conscious mind if healing transformation is going to last.

In many cases, healing is not just about making the physical body feel better. Most often, taking real control lies in the willingness to get to the belief that allowed or caused the illness to begin with.

Next: Getting to core beliefs to accelerate healing

Friday, February 09, 2007

How Can Creativity Help Us Heal? – Part II

Healing often consumes us. Learning how to get well and eliminate the pain can feel like and often is a full-time job. While we might not feel up to creating immense financial abundance, taking on big projects or stepping fully into our life purpose, exercising our creativity can provide us with inspiration to continue healing.

Some years ago, a friend of mine was suffering from a condition that created chronic pain for her. Each day, she put significant energy into healing and feeling good. However, pain has a way of constantly tapping you on the shoulder like an unforgiving friend.

She needed a way to get her mind off the pain–a place where she could become so absorbed she could forget about her challenges for a while. Knowing her talents I suggested something she could create with her hands. In no time, her hands were moving, her mind was occupied, and for moments she was enjoying life without pain.

As she began to feel better, my friend actually began selling the crafts she made at house parties and on-line. Her home-based business provided her with something to take her mind off the pain, be of service to others, and supplement her income.

Creativity inspired her healing process in multiple ways.

Next: The Powerful Effects of Taking Responsibility

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How Can Creativity Help Us Heal? – Part I

There I was sitting on my couch with a sketch pad and a box of crayons. I drew something that seemed really stupid so I ripped it out and threw it away. I had no idea what to draw after that so I didn't draw anything.

I was tense and agitated, so I got up and started cleaning my apartment. In the depths of my depression, I found cleaning the house, without being anal about it, was good therapy for me. As I cleaned thoughts and feeling drifted in and out of me. I had learned to let them drift. But every now and then, one of them lingered–usually some painful feeling about the past. That day, one of those feelings grabbed my attention.

Deep sorrow was welling up seemingly out of no where. As tears filled my eyes, I walked over to the pad and crayons. I coached myself not to think. "Just draw whatever comes without judgment," I told myself.

Amidst the tears, I drew child-like images, most without any readily apparent meaning. When finished, I felt relieved. After taking a couple of deep breaths, I put on my coat and went out for a walk. Walks helped me clear my mind and emotions.

When I returned home I took a good look at the images. I knew they were basically representations of feelings–feelings I believed I had known well all my life. I wrote words next to the images and noted how my emotions had shifted from anxious to peaceful in my process of drawing.

There was no anxiety in my stomach now. There was no tension in my shoulders. My agitated feelings were gone, replaced by serenity. Whatever needed to be felt, had been felt and had passed through me, leaving my body relaxed, feeling healthy and energetic. Imagine all that from a sketch pad and crayons.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Can Spending Time With Mother Earth Help Us Heal – Part II?

When I was in my deepest despair, my heaviest state of depression, I would frequently find a quiet park or forest and walk and walk and walk. Periodically, I sobbed, pounded my fist on the ground, laughed, talked to myself, and breathed in the scent of the trees until my heart found some relief from its pain.

Then I would sit or stand still while I contemplated a stream or admired the clouds passing by me. I would lift up the head of a flower and drink in its sweet scent. Sometimes, I pulled off my shoes and waded in the water or wandered about on soft grass. I loved to watch the squirrels, imitate bird sounds, crunch up dead leaves in my hands or just feel the wind on my face. Standing in the sun was like getting my battery recharged.

After releasing the burdens of my heart, I found solace in Mother Earth. In her my appreciation for and vigor in life was renewed. And I could go on again for another day. It is my understanding the Cherokee call this The Natural Way. The Natural, it seems, is when we are in harmony with all living things.

By giving myself permission to release and then to rest in harmony with Mother Earth I restored my equilibrium in life. In the Natural Way I found peace. That peace was such a relief to me, I spent more and more time outdoors with Mother Earth. The more time I spent, the more I healed my aching heart until eventually it no longer ached at all.

Next: How does creativity help us heal?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Can Spending Time With Mother Earth Help Us Heal?

Black Elk, a powerful Sioux medicine man is known to have given a mattress to someone seeking healing, then telling them to begin their healing process by spending several days resting and sleeping under a tree.

More than once, I have had a client come to me for sound healing, and I have asked them, "How often do you get out on the Mother Earth?"

Most often the answer is, "Rarely."

It is a common misunderstanding that earth is a thing we live on to be used to serve our needs. Earth is as alive as we are and we are living in symbiotic relationship with her. When we lose touch with that awareness, we begin living on top of her instead of with her.

When this happens we lose touch with our natural rhythms. Symptoms of being out of sync with natural, circadian cycles (our natural needs for periodic pauses, breaks, and adequate rest) include stress, physical tension, emotional frustration, depression.....and all of these contribute to ongoing illness.

I remember being so tense at one point in my life, that I would get angry with anyone who suggested I needed a break. I was getting more and more tense and increasingly ill, but I was addicted to feeling needed and kept on pushing. I was avoiding my feelings and fears by over-working, all the while spending less time in a natural, normal, peaceful rhythm, while becoming increasingly depressed and physically sick.

Next: Ways to connect with Mother Earth for greater healing.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Why Don't We Heal–Part II? Intuitive Listening

More than once I have received insight about healing my body through my dreams and meditations. Some time ago I learned to ask my body what was going on with it and what it needed for healing. Then I got still, listened and watched.

The key to getting the response is in not forcing it or trying to listen, but rather in allowing the awareness to come on its own in its own time.

For example, I was going through a period of time when my intestines were bothering me, so in my morning meditation I asked my body what was going on. That night a had a dream about a large worm. The next morning, I called a holistic doctor and got started on some detoxing to expel worms from my body.

When my hormones were so far out of balance (as much testosterone as a boy in puberty), I began listening to urgings from my silent meditations to embrace yet more stillness and less activity in my life. In a process of getting quiet and listening deeply to my thoughts and feelings, I uncovered and healed the abuse that caused me to break-faith with being feminine. Along with talk therapy and good hormone therapy I finally brought my body into balance.

By truly listening, I have discovered, we can uncover the true core of our illnesses so that we can treat both the physical and emotional root cause.

Next: How can spending time with Mother Earth can promote healing?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Why Don't We Heal–Part II? Listening

Having lunch with a friend and wife of a physican, I shared with her the story about how deeply I was touched by the doctor who really listened to me. As she smiled, she said, "My husband has told me that patients give clear pictures about what is really going on with them. He realized a long time ago all he had to do was listen to them carefully."

I have discovered, the same holds true for you and me when it comes to healing ourselves. Have you ever had that inner sense something was wrong with your body and just ignored it? Have you ever found yourself so busy you didn't even slow down enough to really pay attention to how you are feeling? Have you ever waited until you were sick in bed to get help? I have–too many times.

How often do we just stop to pay attention to the symptoms we have been experiencing? How often do we pause to listen to the inner voice telling us to take our vitamins, get more sleep, or put in a few less hours at work? Do we schedule appointments with preventative health professionals like massage therapists or accupuncturists? It took me years to figure out I needed to stop and pay attention the minute my body started talking to me.

And what about the words we use? He is a pain in the neck. My job gives me a headache. My body isn't keeping up with me. That thought makes me sick to my stomach. This is flu season, I always end up in bed for a week this time of the year. How often are we describing an illness or even creating the potential for one through our thoughts?

Getting still and quiet enough to notice, caring enough to seriously consider those intuitive notions, and even listening to our own words, can help us recognize what is going on with our bodies so that we can respond effectively.

Next: The art of intuitive listening and health