Having been traumatized by chronic abuse, my healing required countless and various types of therapeutic treatments in order to achieve the level of health, for which I now both enjoy and feel profoundly grateful. There are many paths through and out of the dark “forest”, what I call the emotionally challenging times in life. My path is what worked for me. It is not the ONLY path. I share what worked for me, in hopes of inspiring you to choose a path…any path… of your own, and try it! If a certain path doesn’t work, try another. But keep moving forward toward “your” healing out of the dark “forest”!
One of the therapeutic treatments I participated in was a 7 day, “live-in” process that focused intensely on healing the relationships with the guest/me and their parents or surrogate parents. It was like equivalent of 5 years of really good weekly therapy sessions in one week. This process was intense and highly effective…for me and thousands of others. Knowing that Joan Borysenko and John Bradshaw, healing gurus, were also advocates of this treatment process, I decided to try it out and went…
Lately there seems to be a plethora of “survivalist” cable shows: Naked and Afraid, Hippie and Solider, Two Men Tethered for 10 Days, Alaska Frontier, I am amused by what tools some of these participants choose to bring on their adventure. Even the “Naked & Afraid” folks get to bring a single tool of their choice and or making. From a man-made machete, to a store bought magnifying glass, each person brought what he/she thought would be the best item for their survival adventure.
At the live-in treatment center that I’ll call “The House of Healing”, they start the week of healing by helping us find, within ourselves, our own tool for survival. Not one that can be worn down and made dull, nor broken into pieces or shattered like glass, this tool was found through a long guided meditation journey deep into our own inner being. Deeper, deeper we went, down imaginary stair cases and elevators, deeper still…until we arrived to the deepest part of ourselves, and there, we were told to look for our own personal guide.
Wiki: A guide is a person who leads travelers or tourists through unknown or unfamiliar locations. The term can also be applied to a person who leads others to more abstract goals such as knowledge or wisdom.
And so I went, deeper and deeper, and at the end, I did as I was told…I asked the seeming void… “What is your name?” To which I heard an answer (perhaps just my imagination), but I heard: “The Wind.”
We were a large group, in all, but every day we broke off into a handful of small groups, staying with the same people in our group and leader each time. The creators of this process, as well as the creators of the 12 step group and many other processes, knew, all too well, that having a strong spiritual mooring, will save many a boat from the intense storms of life. And so they began the week-long process by helping us find/create/latch onto a mooring of sorts. Barbara was our leader. After we slowly started to come out of our deep meditation, she quietly came around to each of us in our small group, and whispered to each one of us: “What was the name of your guide?” I replied, “The Wind.” Hoping I didn’t get it wrong because there certainly wasn’t any “aha” or profound ‘shift’ in this exercise for me. Barbara whispered back, “Honey, your issues with intimacy are so painful that you can’t even connect with a guide! Please go back into mediation and try again. Try to actually get a name.” Yep. Back down I go…into myself…and ask, with maybe a bit of sarcasm, “You heard her. What’s your name, please?”
Then I heard, with a very heavy accent, “MIK‘HAIL”, with a clearing your throat’ kind of sound.
(Now I have tons of stories about my week there, but I, specifically, want to stay focused on this part.)
So Barbara never came round again. The week passed, and I went back home. The following Sunday, I was at church, as usual, and was hanging out at their amazing book/gift store before the service. It was in that book store, that I saw a big book on Angels. Someone once told me that they saw a giant Angel behind me, so I thought I’d look up Raphael. Paging through the Angel book, I saw a chapter called (Archangel) Michael. The book gave biblical references and also gave a list of names he is called… one of them…THE WIND! I started jumping up and down, goose bumps all over me, saying, “I wasn’t having issues with intimacy!!” L.O.L. That was such a wicked-cool moment, one of many Spiritual moments that caused me to choose to believe in the unseen, to have, Faith. Faith. Faith is my chosen tool to take with me on every journey, and we know, certainly, that every day is a new journey, and sometimes, just like the cable show, I’m naked and afraid. L.O.L! The older I get, the more actually being naked makes me afraid. Sorry. I digress.
Faith is belief that is not based on proof. It can also be defined as confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, view, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion, as well as confidence based on some degree of warrant. The word faith is often used as a synonym for hope, trust, or belief.
Faith is my sword, my shotgun, my suit of armor. When I lift weights, particularly squats on the cybex machine, there is a stopper (a hard rubber thing that stops the weighted bar from falling on me). If my human strength fails, Faith is my stopper. When I sink with worry, depression, oppression, attacked by my own thoughts, I turn to my faith. It is the knot I make and hold onto – believing, having faith that somehow (although I couldn’t imagine how), I KNEW… I KNOW…that somehow everything will be fine in time, no matter what. Now, part of this confidence comes from experience, a gift of getting older. I have learned to trust my faith, without knowing the details. I rest assured, believing that I chose the right tool for me.
There are as many religions as there are belly buttons! And opinions too! I’m not for or against anyone’s religion. What I am talking about, is something far deeper and more personal. I remember one young man in A.A. who was raised in a very religious home and wanted nothing to do with religion in his sobriety. He really came to a “stuck place” when the idea of a “higher power” came into his work with his sponsor, while making his way through the 12 steps. So, he came to his own solution and declared that HIS God chased women and smoked lucky strike cigarettes! Sometimes, a mooring or tool can be just out of reach. Some “blocks” can be internal debates on the reality of God, religion, or science. No disrespect is intended for anyone’s spiritual practice, but I’d like to suggest “making up” a God, a higher power, or an imaginary friend! I have used fabulous drag-queens (girrrrrl you bettah WORK!), characters from star trek (love Counselor Troy), Cat Woman, Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame, Pippi Longstocking, to name a few. It’s important to create or lean on your guide/tool that is loving, kind, compassionate, wise, and brave. The idea is to have something greater than yourself to hang on to, to lift you up, to give you strength and courage, to inspire you to be your best “self”, especially when you don’t want to.
I believe in you!