“In order to stand fully in our power we have to become comfortable with confrontation. We have to give ourselves permission to rock the boat and make some waves. We must trust that it is more important that we stick up for ourselves than that we gain the approval of others.” Debbie Ford
I invite you to sit with me as I share with you a story about pain and how it is possible to let go.
Since 7 years of age, I had hard-wired into my system, a story of survival and effort. I also bought into the belief that life was hard and that I was going to have to fight for what I needed. It didn’t ever really occur to me that there was another way when my basic needs were barely being met.
At 21, after the birth of my first son, I developed a very discomforting immunological condition called cold induced urticaria. Whenever the environment was cooler than my internal temperature, that being the weather, holding a cold piece of fruit in my hand, leaning against a porcelain sink, etc., the area that was touched would become inflamed, producing red welts and a burning that was so fierce and discomforting that I would at times wish to filet my skin off. I was so distraught after being told there was nothing that could be done, and that I had to learn to live with it.
In my early 30’s I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, adrenal exhaustion and a compromised immune system because of the long standing state of chronic inflammation (stress) my body had endured. At this time in my life I saw that I was being forced to learn to listen to the powerful messages and signs that my body had been trying to send to me for many, many years, recognizing that I was no longer going to be able to ignore or suppress the emotional and mental pain-stories that were causing my body to betray me. After all, I was a healthy, vibrant, strong yoga teacher, nutritionist and life coach. How was it possible that I was aligned with all of these healthy practices and still falling apart at 33? As I considered the compromised quality of my physical body, my long standing relationship with depression, the emotional armor I had created in order to survive, and the overwhelming grief around not having what felt like a chance of knowing life without pain, I felt a surge of tremendous fear run through me. I felt so alone, abandoned, and full of doubt and insecurity. I knew I had to make significant changes to my life, even though I didn’t know where to start, or, if I even had the energy to “do the work”. This journey to wellness felt so daunting and overwhelming, yet the alternative option was that my system was going to continue to shut down as my health spiraled downwards. And so I prayed.
I prayed for guidance, direction and support. I began to understand that my “survival drive” was not supporting my health, and that I had to learn how to be caring, nurturing, patient and kind to myself, as well as learn how to forgive myself and those that I believed had hurt me. This was such an enormous endeavor, as I hadn’t been taught kindness or self-love. And so how does one open in such a vulnerable way when they only know how to be guarded, protected and closed down? How does the emotional armor fall away so that healing may occur?
My personal journey with releasing emotional armor is that it melts away slowly, requiring tremendous patience, care and the trust that small baby steps are required in order to lay a healthy foundation. There were also times when I was able to open and expand more easily. When I learned not be personally attached to “how quickly the healing was happening” a sense of grace and ease began, enabling me to feel even more supported and guided. It became apparent to me that I always had a choice to make, and right now do I desire to learn how to practice opening my heart to a flow of life, love and healing energy moving through me, or, many more experiences of fiercely shutting down, retreating, wanting to give up and feeling deep despair? By learning the practice of allowing Life to flow through me while I opened to connect with a Higher Source, I found myself feeling comforted, patient and trusting of the healing journey I was on.
I began to review the people in my life that were somehow toxic to me, in the ways they spoke, acted or projected. I took ownership of where I was no longer wishing to align with them and made efforts to release them from my life in a very kind way. And interestingly enough, when I could see who were not serving my highest good or supporting my health and wellness, many of those relationships organically fell away without my needing to do anything. I reviewed my dietary practices and looked at the potential foods I was eating that caused my inflammation to continuously flare up and made changes to eating a more alkaline diet, more often. I also needed to honestly look at the ways I was expressing myself in the world thru my vocation. Was I fully aligned and in enjoyment of this work, or did I feel obligated to show up and do something that didn’t inspired me just because I knew how to do it well, or should do it?
Ultimately, my greatest relief from the pain in my body has come from learning to understand that my body has a wisdom that I had to learn to listen to and be guided by. Once I began to open up to possibility, I could more clearly understand that my body had a language and a means of communicating with me; ways of getting my attention so that I could support myself back to health and wholeness. With this trust and new awareness, I was able to harness the courage and vulnerability to review the emotional pain-stories that I had stored in my tissues and cells which were creating stagnation, impeding life-force flow and energy from moving through me.
What I learned is that each experience we have is stored within our body. When an experience causes us pain, or is traumatic in any way, we tend to deny them and encapsulate them, wishing that they go away and be forgotten. However, the body does not forget. We are energy and the nature of energy is to expand and flow. All expressions of energy (pleasure or pain) experienced by the body will eventually come to the surface to be felt.
Meeting and even confronting these denied emotions requires a courage that comes from vulnerability, humility, trust and faith. It requires an inner knowing that whatever reveals itself to be felt will also be what ultimately frees the body of its pain-stories, liberating us from our own fear and state of un-health.
One of my ways into this healing journey is to practice showing up for my scared little inner-child, meeting her in a gentle way that helps her to feel safe, heard, supported and loved, inviting her to speak with me, sharing with me her fears so that I might be able to show up and care for her in a way that only I can; and as she heals, I also heal. I invite you to practice getting acquainted with your little inner child, and listen to the wisdom they have to share about your present health.
Find somewhere in your home or out in nature where you can dedicate some time to sitting with yourself in a quiet way – no music, no writing, no reading, and open up to creating a dialogue and profound listening with your inner-child. Make this time about what your child has to say, what he/she is afraid of, and ask where you are storing this as pain in your body. Once you sit, begin to breathe deeply, and then ask for Divine Guidance. Pause. Listen. Wait. Your inner child will guide you and support your gaining more clarity about the messages your body has for you, as well as the ways that might support you in healing. Once you hear a message, commit to bringing about changes that will eventually heal the discord in that part of your body. And please, do recognize that this is a life journey that requires patience, kindness and care; it is not a quick fix.
Some of these actions may require working with specialists or healers for the body, mind and emotions. Maybe it is to bring more quiet time and ritual into your life so that you can actually hear your wisdom speaking through you. It might look like changing your dietary practices and finding more time to rest, play and renew. You may need to explore ways in which to learn authentic communication and asking for what you really want, while also creating healthy boundaries. Whatever is required, consider the benefits of feeling supported, guided and encouraged by a certified Life Coach. There is something powerful about having someone to be accountable to as you discover how to live life with more fluidity, clarity, kindness and connection – to yourself, those around you, and a Higher Source.
My calling in life is to help others find their own graceful path. If personal guidance and mentorship is speaking to you, visit my website and explore the many services that are available through Radiance Lifestyle Coaching. You may also find the various packages I offer a simpler place to start.
Thank you for your time, and please be in touch if I might answer any questions you have.