I used to believe that an effective healing process had to be painful and difficult. In my original massage therapy training, I had many experiences that illustrated the contrary, but I also felt great benefit from the more painful and intense approaches to bodywork. I spent many years engaged in an inner debate about which approach was best and many years devoted to the painful, intense practices, not only in massage therapy but also in my yoga practice, both the asana practices (body postures) and the jnana practices (wisdom yoga, applying spiritual principles to everyday life).
I thought I was benefiting greatly from having teachers and mentors that confronted me with my blind spots, often harshly. And I wasn’t satisfied with a massage or asana practice that didn’t dive deeply into one pain bundle or another.
Reflecting today on where I picked up this affinity to harsh and painful learning and healing processes, I can make some connections to several experiences in my early childhood, like being left to “Cry it out” during my infancy in the 4 hour period my mother was told to leave me by myself between feedings and being told “Don’t cry or I will give you something to cry about” when I was 2 years old. My mother was doing the best she could with what she had, and these moments were quite heartbreaking for her as well, but for an infant and a 2 year old, these messages can be translated into fundamental understandings about how life is and how it should be that can persist long into adulthood.
So when I was searching for methods to heal from these early wounds, it was quite natural for me to feel most comfortable with intense and painful approaches that not only promised to be the most expedient, but were also deeply familiar, as this was the soup I had been swimming in from the beginning.
These practices did indeed produce a great deal of change and growth for me. But at a certain point I started to notice how they had begun to perpetuate the pain. Deep intense stretching no longer relieved the pain in my back, in fact, the more I did it, the tighter my back seemed to get. And intense deep pressure no longer alleviated the pain points in my body but made them worse instead.
And the harsh approach of those mentors and teachers became unbearable to me. I remember realizing that something that one teacher was harping on me about was a pattern that I only noticed with him. It didn’t exist anywhere else in my life. But he was blaming it on me and claiming it was another blind spot I needed to look at. In that moment I began to see clearly that the blind spot was actually his and that I needed a different approach.
Since then I have been exploring the power of beauty, comfort, and pleasure to allow my nervous system to feel so safe that hidden hurts could come to the surface. They had burrowed deep into hiding in those healing environments based on pain and intense confrontation. I needed to step out of the soup of harsh reality in order for this deeper healing to become possible.
I have also been exploring the power of a more homeopathic approach to my healing process, diluting the medicine down by allowing much space and time between practices, quite different than the daily practice model, in order to allow for and witness the gradual yet potent integration of new ways of being into my daily life and activities. This approach releases the constant pressure to succeed at the endeavor of healing that is so common in this world of survival of the fittest and commercialized spirituality.
Central to this new approach to my healing process has been the process of re-mothering. Through self inquiry, somatic visionary meditation, and a variety of gentle bodywork modalities, I have repeatedly revisited those pivotal moments in my early development when I got the message that life was harsh and I would not be cared for, like the two examples shared above. I bring my awareness now of the healing power of comfort, beauty, and pleasure to the memory of those moments that are held in my cells. I become my own guardian angel, my own wise caretaker from the future, and give my young self whatever she needed at the time but did not receive from her caretakers back then. I often also share this healing balm with my mother and other caretakers back then as their shortcomings stemmed from not being adequately cared for themselves.
This re-mothering process has produced a ripple effect of healing throughout my life, influencing all of my inner experiences and relationships beneficially. I am able to find my way out of the familiar soup of harshness and back into the lap of unconditionally loving Divine Mother again and again, the pathway there becoming more worn and familiar than the one that goes back to that soup pot of harshness as the years go by. Granted, when there are big collective circumstances that feel harsh, as there are plenty of these days, I sometimes still find myself in that soup pot. But as soon as I realize where I am, I jump right out and find my way home.
I would love to help you to orient to greater comfort, beauty, and pleasure by inviting you to join me for a free online live Re-Mothering Intro Ceremony. You can sign up here: