Last weekend I met with one of my two monthly circles of women. This one consists of two other women who I’ve known since I was a child and who love me as deeply as anyone can be loved. And by this I mean that all parts of me are accepted. I can share my places of struggle and shame and they’re received with so much compassion that no words are needed: I can see in their eyes, which often fill with tears as I’m sharing, that the struggles are held within a vast vessel of compassion, and that it’s the pouring of our pain into this vessel that facilitates healing.
As I was sitting and sharing and listening, these words came to me:
We heal within a vessel of love.
This is why working with a loving therapist leads to healing.
This is why being fully accepted by a loving partner leads to healing.
This is how loving friendship can heal.
We all have things about ourselves that we would like to change:
- We’d like to feel less anxious and more at peace.
- We’d like to grow more self-trust so that we’re less mired in self-doubt.
- We’d like to find clarity around career choices, and have an easier time in general with big decisions.
- We’d like our inner perfectionist/critic to quiet down so that we can live more consistently from a place of self-compassion.
- We’d like to know how to work effectively with intrusive thoughts so that we spend less time in our heads and more time in the present moment.
- We’d like to know how to set loving boundaries with our loved ones so that we can reclaim more of our separate selfhood.
- We’d like to be more fluid with our emotions and learn how to feel our grief and other pain with more compassion so that it doesn’t logjam in the inner channels of psyche and morph into intrusive thoughts.
- We’d like know how to work with the hijacker of resistance so that we can implement the skills and tools that lead to more well-being.
And this list goes on. But change doesn’t happen if we start with a mindset that says, “I have so many broken places and I need to fix them so that I can find more well-being and be a better person.” This is coming from the perfectionist/critic, and when we buy into this mindset we entrench ourselves more deeply into the very places we’re trying to find more freedom from.
This task-master, critical voice likely stemmed from the messages you heard overtly or ingested through the invisible airways growing up, which were:
- “You’re too much.”
- “What’s wrong with you?” (you’re broken)
- “You’re too sensitive.”
- “You’re not enough.” (not smart enough, not beautiful enough, not funny enough, not social enough, not relaxed enough)
If we start here, we’re working at cross-purposes to healing. Which is why there is only one fruitful place to start – from the mindset that says:
“You don’t need to be fixed. You’re good exactly as you are. All parts of you are accepted. All parts of you are valuable. You are worthy. You are whole. And you are loved.”
This is the starting point for healing. It’s the starting point for all of my work, both personal and professional, from how I raise my boys to how I meet my friends to my sessions with clients and all of my courses, including my upcoming 9-month course, Break Free From Anxiety.
The 9-month course is a wide and vast womb of love that, because it extends over nine months, offers an opportunity to birth a new aspect of yourself. We start with this mindset of compassion and curiosity – the two keys for healing that I discuss in The Wisdom of Anxiety – and we continually weave these keys like beautiful satin ribbons throughout the nine months, and hopefully into the rest of our lives. From this foundation, we address each of the bullet points above, from working with intrusive thoughts to skillfully harnessing the power of the resistance that inevitably shows up when you sign up for a course like this, and much more in between.
Being held in a womb of love. What does that mean? It’s like when I sit at the creek at summer’s end and I let myself be embraced by the sound of a thousand insects whirring their wings, punctuated by Blue Jay’s raucous call and the more subtle sound of bees buzzing. The symphony of summer is informed by love, and when I sit still and listen with my whole being, I’m enfolded back into this womb of love and I know, regardless of whatever challenge may be forefront in my life, that all is well. This is what we create in the course.
You don’t take a course like to be fixed because you’re not broken. You take it to experience firsthand what it means to held within this vat of compassion, and from there to grow your own inner loving parent who can implement the principles you should have learned long ago. In this sense, the course is less about learning and more about un-learning, less about striving and more about remembering, less about changing and more about growing.
Are you ready to be held within this vessel of love, not only my love for you but also the love of the community, which is palpable throughout the course?
Are your ready to learn how to transform the burden of being a lightning rod of high sensitivity into the gift of serving as a lighthouse?
This is what the world needs from you, and it’s the ultimate gift that comes from doing a deep-dive into inner work: we heal not only for ourselves but for the world around us. If you can’t do it for you, do it for your children. If you don’t have children, do it for your clients or customers or whoever is waiting to receive healing from the gifts that express themselves only through you. We heal not only for ourselves but for the generations that come after us AND the ones that came before us. The intergenerational relay baton of pain and wounding changes course when just one person finds the courage to step onto this roadmap for healing.
Yes, that person is you, the highly sensitive one on the family tree and yes, there is a roadmap for healing.
There is a way to break free from anxiety, which doesn’t mean getting rid of anxiety, for anxiety is an important messenger. Rather, breaking free means learning how to work effectively with anxiety instead of anxiety working on you. This is what you will learn over the course of nine months: To decode anxiety’s messages and break free from its stronghold so that you’re not caught endlessly on the hamster wheel of intrusive thoughts. You will gain highly effective tools for working with resistance so that you can commit to the daily tools, which are essential for well-being. And when you get stuck, we’ll be there to catch you. We heal best in community. You don’t have to heal alone.
The third round of this course will begin on Sunday, September 19, 2021. You can learn more and sign up here (spots are filling fast). Many of your questions will be answered in the Frequently Asked Questions section on this page, but if you have additional questions please ask them either below or on the main course page. I very much look forward to meeting you there.