Tag Archives: healing

Feeling our feelings

Clare Goodwin's Egg Diagram
Clare Goodwin’s Egg Diagram

A big benefit of counselling is increasing our emotional landscape. In psychosynthesis, Assagioli’s ‘egg diagram’ is a handy visual for showing our capacity for sorrow and joy as well as different levels of consciousness and our connection with Self.

I often well up (or sob) at something that hits me either because it’s so beautiful or sad.

Happy tear catalysts include a video of people dancing in celebration after succeeding in protecting the earth, drinking water and sacred ground from the Dakota Access Pipeline, a stunning piece of art, a moonscape and many, many other things (especially involving acts of kindness and compassion).

Similarly, I regularly cry at the news or horrors which I won’t repeat.

Often, the kinds of emotions that were ‘allowed’ when we were growing up are used to suppress feelings that were deemed intolerable. For many of us, feelings like sadness, fear and anger were discouraged. For some of us, even ‘positive’ feelings like joy (for example, if a parent was depressed and needed quiet) might have been discouraged.

Often, in an effort to numb ourselves from pain, shame, fear and trauma, we similarly cut of our capacity for joy. By healing what’s repressed – both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, we can live life more fully.

I regularly recommend Elaine Aron’s work around the Highly Sensitive Person to clients as, so often, sensitivity is seen as a bad thing. Obviously, we don’t want to be so raw that we’re incapacitated (although, looking back, I see that when this was the case for me, it turned out to be a good thing as it made me make some big changes in my life) but sensitivity and empathy are strengths.

This time of year can make us feel more raw in lots of ways – bursting with love for people and also cranky and irritable.

When we accept all of our emotions as fleeting and equally valid, it can be easier to handle no matter the intensity.

When you think of the weeks ahead, does anything spring to mind as a time when you may feel emotionally overwhelmed?

What might you do in such moments to support yourself through it?

How might you better honour (or hone) your sensitivity to a range of feelings and emotions rather than numbing yourself?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

 

 

 

 

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What to dooooooo? Working with our shadows

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What can we do to avoid historian’s predictions of Holocaust-like-history repeating itself? As individuals? How can we tap into the loving, expansive, inclusive, generous parts of ourselves and humanity instead of giving into fear and loathing?

Yes, there are petitions and demonstrations.

But what about the rest of our lives? The gazillions of thoughts and beliefs we rarely even notice but which contribute to our experience and the way we relate to others?

Apart from sending Metta to places we feel helpless around, we can take a look at our own shadow stuff.

I read an interesting piece by Deepak Chopra today on Donald Trump being a manifestation of America’s shadow.

We all have our shadow aspects and they’re not easy to recognise when we’re caught up in them.

Just as we all have the potential to do amazing things with our one, precious life, we could find ourselves in unimaginable circumstances and be capable of the worst, least imaginable acts.

When we notice them, we can integrate them by owning what we’ve been repressing in ourselves and projecting onto the other.

Something we can all do is pause before posting or speaking or lashing out in any way.

Notice where our shadow might be in that moment.

Who are we most angry with right now?

What does he or she represent to us?

What hidden aspects of ourselves resonates with what they’re doing?

How does it feel to own that feeling? To acknowledge that at some point, we’ve all felt homicidal?

Again, I’m not at all advocating acting on such feelings. Oddly, making this more conscious means we’re less likely to act out aggressively. 

It can be scary.

I’m a pacifist by nature. I wish we could all just get along. We’re all the same. Where we were born had nothing to do with us. Hippie, peace, love, blah…

Years ago, I learned that trying to send peace and love to people who were annoying me was, frankly, beyond me. I think Metta’s wonderful but even that varies day to day. This was years ago and I eventually realised that owning the fury, the rage, the anger and the despair was freeing.

Obviously, I’m not talking about acting on any of this. But recognising however we’re feeling and letting that be OK actually enables the feelings to move through us more quickly than when we try to deny them.

So writing this, thinking about certain politicians and their seemingly bullyish ways, I can either judge them and pretend it’s all about them or be open to acknowledging that bully part of myself.

The part that I don’t want to acknowledge I have yet that I realise of course I do, otherwise it wouldn’t upset me so much to see it in others.

Once I’ve done this, I can better see how I am connected to, for example, a politician. Or someone who votes differently to me. Or a terrorist. Or a serial killer. Or someone who puts his or her feet on the seats on public transport. Or child or animal abuser. Or any number of people I don’t want to think I have anything in common with.

As with everything, it’s a practice. But the more I do this, the less likely I am to add fuel to the emotional fires of the world right now with mean, small minded, unpleasant posts (I’m deleting A Lot).

Embracing our shadows not only helps us integrate and be more whole ourselves but we’re better able to reach out to others with compassion and kindness.

And this depends on us embracing our shadows (rather than beating ourselves up for not being saints, having said shadows).

Who are you most angry with right now? Who do you hate?

How does it feel to own that hatred and fury in yourself? (If a lot is coming up, you might want to work with a therapist – use all available support.)

Personally speaking, just through drafting this post, I’m feeling something closer to empathy for certain politicians than I’ve previously been able to feel.

How about you?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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What changes are you ready to make for the sake of your health (or even life)?

‘… healing yourself is not for the faint of heart. I had to grab myself by the ovaries and make some scary-ass choices,’ remembers integrative medicine pioneer in her best-selling book, Mind Over Medicine, Dr Lissa Rankin.

Much as I’m loving the whole book, this sentence took me back to my 20s when I had to make some scary decisions myself.

Quitting alcohol to alleviate some of the pain of a chronic pain condition meant that I had to start dealing with the underlying causes of my having been drinking too much from too early an age.

And finding out I had a healthy heart, before an operation, meant I gave myself a month to quit my heavy smoking habit.

This bout of ill-health changed my whole life (not just lifestyle but career path, ultimately leading to Feel Better Every Day) and when I look back, I’m grateful for it.

But it was pretty horrific at the time.

Still, I love supporting clients in listening to their own body’s (and mind’s, heart’s and soul’s) whispers before they start screaming for attention.

If you’re ready to make some big changes and would like some support, get in touch to find out how I can help.

Good luck and Metta,

Eve
x

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The calm after the storm and lessons from the Universe

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After last night’s drama, I had an amazingly good night’s sleep.

And in the fresh light of day, was able to move beyond just the need for more self-empathy and to recognise how last night triggered older stuff that hasn’t yet been fully healed.

It often makes me laugh when I realise that so many of the lessons my soul appears to need to keep relearning are around the same theme. When I see patterns, it’s like, ‘Of course!’ But in the actual moment, it’s not easy to be so reflective.

So, while happy to have more clarity around the issue/s now, I’m also aware that the next time the Universe offers me an opportunity to do more healing around it, I may temporarily forget all over again.

And that’s OK, I’m human. I can see that I dealt with last night better than I had dealt with similar things in the past.

Fortunately, it’s become second nature to seek the lesson in everything, if only so I can learn it As Quickly As Possible and say, ‘OK, Universe, got it – you can stop torturing me now.’ (I mean, ‘Thank you, Universe, for shining a light on this area that still needs healing by sending me the perfect trigger to ensure it gets my full attention.’)

While never easy (and a part of me wishes I had no more shadow stuff to heal), it gets easier.

So whatever wounds/stuff/patterns come up in your own life for further healing, be as kind to yourself as is possible and congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come – even when there’s still a long way to go.

And remember the oak tree – every storm strengthens its roots.

Metta xx

Image courtesy of creativedoxfoto/freedigitalphotos.net

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Stronger in the broken places – Feeling like garbage? You don’t need to try to fix everything yourself

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‘We’re not meant to be perfect. We’re meant to be whole’ Jane Fonda

When I heard Jane Fonda on Oprah (catching up yesterday), I was able to see how much more whole I’ve become since I heard her speak at a VDay conference in New York when I first went self-employed in 2004. She, Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem and Sally Field were at the first press conference I attended as a freelance journalist.

Since then, all my work (my journalism, coaching, complementary therapies and now counselling and yoga therapy for mental health) has been about healing and wellbeing. Even so, there’ve been many times when I thought wholeness was for other people and not for me.

When I began my psychosynthesis counselling training in 2008, I’d been coaching, NLPing and EFTing myself (as well as clients) for years, helping myself override an inherent sense of unworthiness and self-loathing. But when I wasn’t actively getting myself into a resourceful state, I felt pretty broken.

An early meditation during the psychosynthesis training brought to mind an image symbolising this sense of brokenness. I was literally buried, in a skip, under piles of rubbish bags. Although I’d known I’d have to delve into past traumas (you can read about my apprehension at the time about starting personal therapy in the Telegraph here) in this meditation, I felt powerless, like broken, discarded, unlovable garbage. Then I felt the bags of garbage being lifted off me.

Psychosynthesis is a holistic form of counselling, embracing the transpersonal. So as well as looking at people’s wounding, it looks at potential. During this meditation, I realised that, while I would have to work at it myself, surrendering and letting go of some of the ‘garbage’ that was burying me was also essential.

I sketched the image on a Post-It note and when life (apart from juggling work and life with study and revisiting painful parts of my past) felt particularly tough, I’d remember to surrender* what I couldn’t fix myself. (This didn’t come naturally to me and I even got a small tattoo as a reminder to myself that life is more peaceful and better when I remember to ask for guidance and let go of the things I can’t control).

All these years later, I am so much happier (even when I’m not consciously working at it) than I believed possible. I love that psychosynthesis includes (in addition to its roots in psychoanalytic psychotherapy) room for people’s spirit and guidance.

When I work with clients now and can see the pain they’re in and their fear that it will never end, I’m almost grateful for my own because I know from experience that, no matter how bad things seem, there’s a part of us that wants to heal and be better. By nurturing that part, we can flourish.

Click here if you’re interested in psychosynthesis counselling in Essex (or by telephone or Skype).

Metta xx

* surrender as (as Oprah said to Caroline Myss), ‘Doing all that you can do and when you’ve done everything that you can do, you surrender it and let it go to the power and energy that’s greater than yourself.’

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