Now very close to the end of 2021, we can admit that the last few years presented unimaginable challenges. While 2020 was an endless dystopian movie, today we are still trying to stabilize our lives. Under this context, the idea of “conscious healing” takes on more strength and relevance than ever. We tell you what it is about and how to put it into practice Matses Tribe.
Before moving forward, it is cautious to include the “caution” sign: there are different levels of pain and trauma. In this note you will find a guide with some of the many tools there are. We leave it to your discretion and care to read them and even try the proposed exercises, as long as you feel that you can tackle them alone. Many times we need some type of company in our healing or closure processes, from a hug from a friend to sessions with professionals.
First step: recognize and inhabit
When something that happened hurts us, in general, our first reaction is to cover it up, minimize it, or avoid it altogether . Many times because we believe that we will not be able to “handle” it, other times because it would be complaining, ungrateful or not very evolved. In all cases, we judge ourselves and our mind seeks to control the emotion. As you have already seen in your life, these methods are useless and only prolong and accentuate the pain. I’ll tell you what I learned: when it hurts, it’s because we care. If we are sad or angry, it is because something we value is lost or at stake.
The first step, then, would be to be able to recognize and inhabit what happens to us. Let it be with acceptance. And accepting is being able to say “this is, it exists”, it is not approving or agreeing. This step is essential because it would be impossible to heal something that we deny. Nothing more right now. We are starting.
Second step: name the wound
When we can name what we feel, we inhabit the pain without overidentifying with it or the situation . And here language plays a key role, because it builds our own stories. So when you are upset, hurt, or overwhelmed by something that is happening, use certain sentence starters to describe what is happening: “Right now I feel…” or “I am having the thought…”. Being able to change the principle of our statements makes a difference: we are the ones who can observe and describe, and thus we make a space between the story and our identity. Look at the difference between saying these two phrases out loud: “I’m useless” vs. “I’m having the thought that I’m useless . ” It’s not you, it’s your story configured and reinforced in certain circumstances.
Being able to change the principle of our statements makes a difference: we are the ones who can observe and describe, and thus we make a space between the story and our identity.
Third step: expand perceptions and possibilities
The time has come to avoid creating an attitude of victimhood or helplessness around the situation. But it is essential to take the first steps to feel that we are contained and that we can approach what comes next with some curiosity .
Byron Katie (teacher of many teachers) proposes to investigate our story with questions like “is this really true?”, “thinking this way, how does it make me feel and react?” or “Who would I be without this thought?” This is a simple process to question our narrative, which in moments of pain loses perspective and takes us completely.
A pandemic example: “We both work, but I am the one who follows all the tasks at home and if I don’t do it, no one does, and on top of that they don’t value it.” More recent, open wound that continues to ooze. In these cases, it is advisable to subdivide the story into short sentences, turn them upside down and question them (be careful, questioning is not denying). In this case, you can ask yourself: “Is it true that I am the only one who follows ALL the pending items?”, “How can I be sure that it is not valued?”, “What opportunities appear if I stop doing it?”
Step four: the gift of experience
This is where we take the famous “Make it worth it” literally.
Every life experience brings us learning, if we choose to see it. Pain teaches us about what matters to us and who we essentially are, what we want to take care of and what we prefer to let go.
We are already on our way and in the previous step the questions and answers gave us clues and a greater understanding of the process. It is essential to take the first steps as the tone in which we ask questions and let the answers appear. We insist: inhabit, accept, give place without judging. This step, then, is where we take advantage of the moment to grow.
One of my favorite quotes from the poet Rumi is: “Your task is not to search for love, but simply to search and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” This phrase is not limited to romantic contexts, it applies to our plot with life in all its variables (yes, work too). In moments of vulnerability, there is nothing better than to fill ourselves with courage and take advantage of the peeling of the soul to rehearse tenderness and compassion. Every time a wound happens in our life, let us not stop feeling that we understand more people because of it.
Fifth step: give ourselves permission to reset
In coaching, we see that people who have gone through painful moments, duels, breakups or stress, manage to carry out an enormous process of improvement, but sometimes they get stuck in the last stretch, the last meters. What is missing is a final push to say: “It’s over, let’s move forward now.”
Without rushing, with patience, we will seek to live the process, but without getting stagnant. Here there is no magic formula or a time table based on the type of pain or grief. Perhaps the alternative is to try the following exercise from time to time until you feel comfortable completing it.
Maybe the first few times we get hurt or decide to remove the band-aids and look at our wounds, it takes us a while and energy to regroup, but as we practice and try, the process becomes more familiar and personal. The idea is not to miss out on fully living all the invitations that life gives us and to trust in our strength and curiosity to be able to continue looking forward. Healthy and whole.