I’ve had a few dreams lately of messy houses. I believe they represent all the ‘messy’ emotions that are cluttering up my soul. Emotions can pile up over time like dirty laundry. Although ideally it’s best not to let the pile get too high, it is never too late to start cleaning. Healing really is like tidying up your own house, cleansing your soul. Now, it is time for me to do some tidying and cleaning. It is time for healing to begin. I think everyone will have some healing to do on their path, in their own time. What it takes for this process to occur is enormous courage and compassion.
It’s certainly been quite a long an challenging journey for me. It has brought out courage and strength I didn’t even know I had. I needed courage to listen to my inner voice and my dreams, courage to dig deep and unearth wounds of the past, courage to open up and voice my feelings and courage and to let go and trust in the process. The other necessary element, compassion, is one which I have been recently learning about and working on. In accepting that I am not perfect, I am beginning to accept others as they are. Having compassion for ourselves and for others is absolutely necessary in order to be able to forgive and move on.
The part that has taken the most courage for me has been the unearthing of emotions. I never realized how powerful and real emotions could be. I never thought of myself as someone who was burdened with anger, grief, guilt or shame. I never knew I needed to be healed. Sure, I had had my share of hard times like anyone else but I had never experienced any huge trauma. And besides, the past was the the past, right? What did I have to feel angry or guilty or sad about?
I never considered that I had held on to emotions like a worn out security blanket; carrying them with me wherever I went. I was in total denial that they even existed. Emotions can be shoved down, ignored and denied for years like a dormant volcano just waiting to erupt. I suppose some of these feelings were too frightening for me to face. I was a positive, happy, nice girl–no way could I believe that deep inside I had emotions that were ‘negative’; feelings that seemed so ugly. My inner voice told me that this was a part of the journey I could not do alone; I needed help; so I started seeing a counsellor.
Compassion was a term I hadn’t given much thought. In one of my first sessions, we had talked about it. Why wasn’t I easier on myself? It had never occurred to me that I needed to have compassion for myself. Now I think of compassion as softening of the heart. As I am beginning to soften my heart and forgive myself, I am beginning to forgive others for their mistakes and imperfections, too.
We are all just human; with our own fears, flaws and coping strategies. There is no one to blame. Events happen in our lives and we interpret these events. And then we either choose consciously how we will act or we react instinctively based on our knowledge and previous experience. Our most basic instinct is to protect and preserve ourselves so it is no surprise that we often react in fear. Unfortunately, when we react in unconscious ways, these reactions can become unhealthy patterns that weave their way through our lives.
Looking back, it certainly is easier to see it all clearly; to see how my actions and reactions have shaped who I am today. It has also became clear that I can only have as much compassion for others as I have compassion for myself. Now, with many of my defences down, I feel rather naked. I am starting to be more gentle with myself (and hopefully sometimes with others) and starting to see what a life filled with compassion could be like. I have cried a lot of tears and I know there are more to come but I feel some peace and look forward to where my path might go. With each tear, another piece of my heart is healed.
Healing, as a medical term, is defined as the restoration of integrity to the injured tissue. This, to me, is also a great definition for spiritual healing–literally, it is like mending the broken pieces of your heart, the pieces that are torn with anger and sadness, and making your heart whole again. And with a whole heart, we are free to love completely without fear.