"Doing the work" and what that looks like for me
I've been a little quiet on the blog. I recognise part of myself that would go all self-critical about not getting blog entries through + / keeping up to date. I remember very well the pressure of deadlines, expectations and self-imposed demands, which was one of the very reasons I made the shift out. The shift out of productivity and achievement-based worthiness and found myself doing the work of finding more meaning, more truth, in my life.
Inner work has brought greater self compassion and a more realistic view of my-self and my contributions, which has helped me to gain a realistic perspective and a more balanced, less critical view of myself. I still notice the "not-good-enough" story, but I stay witness to it, without getting all caught up in it. I choose not to go down that dead-end road.
Since writing my last post, I delved deeper into grief, allowing the emotions and heavy feelings of losing my father to surface. I didn't attempt to direct the process, I stepped aside and gave space for the unfolding. Instead of keeping busy, I stayed present. And I found, that like the ocean, grief comes in waves, it ebbs and flows, comes and goes. By learning to stay with it, finding synchronicity in the comings and goings, we find our way through it.
It's been almost 18 months since my dad's passing, and I miss him now even more than I did then, but I find the emotions less consuming, less intense. I am grateful for the part in me who allowed myself time and the space to grieve. For dropping the expectations to keep up with life and all it's demands, to sink into the vulnerability of my reality, and to simply experience the magnitude of the loss.
Temporarily living in my childhood home during this period has been both a blessing and a curse. To be an ally to mum, and to feel everything so deeply, both a benefit and a burden. If your past is meant to come back to you, it will come knocking. Inner-child work got real during this time. Navigating through sensitive territory, I found many interlocking pieces to connect the puzzle of my life till now. If you asked me 6 months ago, sticky and messy are the words that would describe my experience. If you ask me now, I feel found, like I'm exactly where I need to be.
I am growing. I believe I will always be. I don't have an end-date. My life goal is to show up, authentically as me, in wholeness, owning all the parts of me, relating in relationships without fear and living a life of purpose and meaning.
Working with my mother to heal the mother-wound is where I have landed. Not realising the extent of dysfunction whilst living independently for the last 15 years, moving back in brought shit to the surface, so to speak. Answers to many questions I had about my childhood came to me, in dreams, in mediations and without the need for any direct questioning. A blessing in disguise, revelations that were not mind-generated.
I am doing the work. And on the journey, I have found many unexpected sweet spots. I feel now. Really deeply. I experience real highs and real lows, feelings that I no longer run from. Looking back, I realise I have spent many of my younger years, not feeling. Deflecting, numbing, escaping, over-working, controlling. I have needed to face my guilt over chasing things that don't matter. Losing valuable moments, shifting away from what's real and true. Grieving the loss of time, of precious moments / months / years that you can't bring back. This continues to be a focal point of my healing.
The majority of the dm's / emails that come through to me mainly consist of questions around healing / inner work: what I do to find healing. Is it simply the candles, aromatherapy and salt baths, or is there more to it. So I thought it was time for an update.
Doing the work for me has been a multi-layered process which includes many small efforts that come together to provide a solid framework for growth. There is so much I can put here! I wanted to keep it suffice and straight forward so here is what I have found to be incredible helpful and beneficial for me.
[To answer the query above, my candles, mists and oils and part of my daily tool kit. I will not live without them. They provide a sensory hit that instantly elevates, connecting me to the present whilst stimulating healing and overall wellness. Just like healthy eating connects me to my inner vitality, aromatherapy triggers spiritual, physical and emotional peace that I have become obsessed with, and truly love.]
Body Movement has been an anchor for me - yoga, non-invasive chiro, and non linear movement are my staples for moving stuck emotions and to find mind / body connection.
Bibliotherapy - reading helps improve our emotional health. I read a lot of psychological material primarily because I love it, but also because it gives me context and a framework for understanding the psyche.
Revisiting the Past - I have gaining a deeper insight into my past, understanding my childhood attachments and my coping mechanisms. I am currently looking into past trauma and how generational inheritance has effected the way that I behave and relate in my world, which has been incredibly fascinating and heart opening.
Inner child work - Inner child work involves the discovery of our child state emotions and memories that we have repressed. The inner-child is the part of your psyche that is still childlike, innocent, and full of wonder. A powerful way to connect with our hurt younger self, inner child work has helped me to heal long held beliefs that were frozen in time and no longer serving me (I have a post that discusses what this work involves, from the blog archives - Love Myself Mindset).
Voice Dialogue Therapy - Exploring the parts in our personality, Voice Dialogue is a talking therapy that wishes to make contact with and to understand the origins and behaviours of the many selves that make up each of us. A powerful therapy that has allowed for my vulnerable self to show up more, revealing the gap between my true self and my many parts. Bottom line: the understanding that our 'personality' is seperate from our true self.
Mindfulness / Meditation - Mindfulness, quiet meditation / observing the mind state and bodily awareness. This has been, for me, the most powerful tool in bringing about awareness and healing.
Water Therapy - I am either soaking in a hot salt bath, having super cold showers or immersing myself in ocean water. Salt bath soaks encourage detoxification, relaxing me physically whilst allowing a connection with my body and silencing of my mind. I switch it up by having cold showers, 'cause I love the tingling effects and the post-high. Cold water activates temperature receptors under the skin that release hormones such as endorphins, adrenalin and cortisol- a quick and free mood-lifter. Also great for strengthening the immune system.
Gratitude - Cliche, I know but so important in moving away form negative mind-stories and thought processes, to bring us into the reality of our life, and into appreciating what we experience, now. I have been actively practicing gratitude with focus on relationships, naming what I love and appreciate about the people closest to me. Shifting away from old stories about the people I love, replacing judgment with compassion, and finding the light in all, has had a profound effect on how I make contact with my husband, my children, family and friends which in turn has dramatically increased my satisfaction within my relationships.
All the above has helped me put into context where I have landed, in my life. It's not for everyone. I know many who aren't keen on going back to the past. There are some that are more focussed on the future, preferring to bring new and profound experiences into their lives, manifesting their dreams and looking forward. I too dabble here, but I have found that manifesting is best harnessed when we have cleared our blockages, and in my experience, going back to the past, to heal our wounds, is the ideal starting place.
If you're already on this path you may be doing similar work. If you are just starting or feel lost on your way, if there was one piece of wisdom I could impart on you, it would be simply to focus on your mindfulness practice.
I have found that observing of self, the thoughts in our mind, and being a witness to automatic responses to be one of the simplest and most significant routes in self discovery. That a lot of the work we do to awaken comes back to the simple concept of observing and allowing, of prioritising mediation and quiet into our daily life as the foundation for all other healing modalities. Much of the greatest healing happens when you are present and witnessing. Even when you do the deeper work of bringing light to the past and sitting with uncomfortable emotions, the key is to stay present. To embody the process. To remain in your body. Gently, breathing through it.
I always have so much more to say, so I will leave it more for another entry.
Wishing you peace + love