I often sit in awe as I listen to my clients. For even as they’re telling me about the painful abuses that they’ve suffered, there is a light in their eyes and a brilliance in their smiles that transcends their pain. I sit in awe of the human spirit that not only survives but continues to shine a light that cannot be squelched, continues to live from a heart of compassion that cannot be dampened.
We know that healing isn’t about bypassing pain; we have to go through the storms in order to heal. But we also know that a true healing path encourages us not to identify with the pain, for when we do this we believe we are the pain and form the belief, “I am broken.”
You are not broken. Your heart has broken many times from grief, powerlessness, hurt, loss, but you as a being are not broken. You are whole.
You are not your personal pain and you are not your ancestral trauma. Those traumas live in you, and healing requires that you name it, feel the depth of it, tell your stories, release it. Sometimes this requires working with a therapist trained in trauma release modalities. Sometimes you can work through aspects on your own through the healthy rituals and practices that your soul has landed upon.
But an element of healing depends on knowing that there is a place inside of you that is untouched by these traumas, like a column of light that shines as pure as daybreak, a clear waterfall that shimmers so clean and pure that you could drink from your own springs and be nourished. This is the you of you who is untouched by your father’s unhealed pain or your mother’s transgressions of boundaries; from your grandmother’s habits of worry and control and your grandfather’s depression.
Again, their pain lives inside you but it is not you. It may rise up in a moment when your partner comes close or withdraws and the old scripts that say LOVE = DANGER are unleashed. We have to know our stories and scripts so that we can name them and differentiate the past threats from the present safety.
What we can name we can give back and say, “Mother, I give back to you this tainted milk which was never mine to drink. Father, I give back your boundarylessness that invaded my sacred space and body. Older brother, I give back your insecurity that caused you to invalidate my emotional life. Grandmother, I give back your worry and the belief that the world isn’t safe. Abusers, I give back your violations; they are not me and they have never touched the waterfall of light that shimmers at my core, all goodness.”
The light that kisses the fields gold as day drifts into night… this light is you.
The beauty of a red rose laced with diamond rain, each drop reflecting grief and joy in equal measure… this beauty is you.
The soaring freedom of a hawk catching thermals and the wild hoot of an owl… this wild freedom is you.
Your shame will tell you a different story. Your intrusive thoughts, especially those that center around harm anxiety, will tell you a different story. But these are not true stories. Even as you read these words your inner protector and your inner critic may argue with my assertion that you are good, worthy, strong, safe, and loved. But I know these statements to be true. I know that there is a light in you untouched by your pain, your stories, your thoughts, your bullies. I see it every day.
Sometimes, in moments of grace, we touch into our place of goodness. These are gift-moments when we’re presented with clear awareness of who we are. But mostly we have to invest some effort to recover a somatic knowing of our goodness – not just in theory but in wisdom. And, like all aspects of healing, we toggle frequently between knowing and forgetting. Sometimes we land in the river of light for days or week only to be triggered into forgetting. Sometimes we land in the place of truth for an hour only to fall asleep and wake up back in the dark forest.
And so we take action as best we can to remember as best we can.
What helps to remember your place of goodness?
Meditation helps: When you can quiet the mind enough to touch into your heart of goodness, you remember who are really are.
Being in/with nature helps: When you drop into awe and allow the beauty that surrounds you to enter you, remembering that the beauty you see outside are reflections of the beauty that dwells within, you remember your essential nature.
Working with a highly skilled and compassionate therapist helps, one who focuses more on your wholeness than your wounds and reflects back your goodness and gifts in every session.
Listening to music helps, especially songs that speak directly to this untouched place of light, like this one:
What helps you remember your place of goodness and light, the place untouched by pain and shame? Share with us in the comments below.