It is at the darkest point
that we can begin to sense the light...
It is at this time when the darkest and longest night is upon us that I had chosen to pause for a moment and feel into the deeply symbolic meaning of the Winter Solstice and share my insight with all of you...but, alas, although I pine to be more aware of the wisdom intrinsic to the lunar and solar calendars, I often find that 'life' encroaches into the mindful awareness required to tune into oneself and the world around us...this is why I ended up doing the thinking (rather than the feeling) in the car on my way to picking up one of the children from whichever sporting activity they were doing; so much for mindful awareness!!! To my defence I should add that often it is during those activities that do not require my brain to engage that I come up with some powerful insights.
As I was driving I suddenly realised the similarity between descending into the darkest part of the year and the healing journey so many of us are bravely undertaking. It is often at the darkest part of the journey, when we are met by our demons, that we can sense a turning point and begin to hope for the light to come back. At this stage and for a while thereafter there appear to be no real change in the actual amount of light that reaches us, but one cannot help but noticing that perhaps it is easier to stay with the discomfort of a strong negative emotion, or that instead of paralysis and hopelessness a deep sadness has appeared, or that it is easier not to believe the voices which have kept repeating inside our heads that we are not good enough and that we will never amount to much.
Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), in which he discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero shared by world mythologies, points out that there is only one hero and one adventure (what he called the "monomyth") no matter in how many guises he or she may appear across cultures and time. The hero is the human being who dares descend into the darkest depth of the unconscious -to the very source of all creative power- and there confronts the monsters thrown up by the fright-stricken infant psyche. As the hero pursues the journey, the phantoms and dragons all vanish or lose power and at times even become allies (this reminds me of "Where the Wild Things are"). Along the way the hero requires immense courage; but the reward, the treasure the hero has been seeking at the journey's end is connection to his/her own essential human nature, healed and full of vitality, strength and joy: the same joy that circumstances took away from us.
My Winter Solstice wishes for you all is this:
May you live your myth till the light shines bright through the depth of darkness to show you the direction home to the healed Self.
Each carries within himself the all,
therefore it may be sought and discovered within.
Slowly but surely we are sliding into Autumn with its longer nights and shorter days. As the light draws in so do our feelings and thoughts. I can clearly notice in myself a natural tendency towards moving inward, wanting to make sense of where I have arrived and learn from past experiences. This year especially I realise that I cannot carry everything forth with me, that I need to let go of what I do not need (putting the garden to sleep is a great teacher) so that I can sow the seeds which will bear new growth in the Spring...a good wish for vitality.
Lately, looking at relationship and behavioural patterns in my life I have realised something quite striking, and yet very simple that I had not been able to see before. When your experience of love has been that of conditionality upon a certain behaviour or achievement, it is very likely that the love you are able to give is equally tied to a system of values external to the subject of your love, rather than to his/her inherent lovability. As such the manifestations of this conditional love can easily be retracted if he/she does not comply with the lover's expectations and internal set of values (usually inherited from childhood along with a sense of not being worthy of love). This applies to romantic love, motherly/fatherly love, friendship, any kind of love. When you have had to 'fight' to feel loved, the very moment Love flows free of burden or condition, the disbelief is such that you even doubt the truthfulness of it. This, I have come to understand, is the true tragedy of not having known unconditional Love: the fact that no matter how hard you try, you will never feel good enough, worthy enough or lovable enough to be - and feel - truly loved...there is always a 'what if' lurking in the background of your head.
Once I understood this of myself I began looking at relationships and patterns within them which reflect just how difficult it is to come out of this kind system of limiting beliefs. The ramifications are multiple, from experiencing Love as a trap, because you have to live up to a certain standard to deserve Love (read constant performance anxiety); to feeling in an instant the inner contraction which prevents you from outwardly manifesting love once you feel the subject of your love is letting you down (whatever this means). Old patterns are always difficult to bypass. I still find I have to work at feeling worthy of Love and being able to love unconditionally, but through mindful observation of my own thoughts and most of all of my internal sensations, I have become aware of when I am about to go back to my default. It is only through constant watchfulness that you can begin to release old behavioural patterns, each time catching yourself a little earlier, until a new way is found; for this is the only way to break the patterns of conditional love.
I have found that using Sagebrush essential oil has helped me to cut through the narrative I used to hide behind (a good crystal for this part of the process would be sheen obsidian), while thanks to oils like Sandalwood, Frankincense and up to a point Myrrh and Spikenard (all of them grounding and able to free the mind of obsessive worry) I could sit with the uncomfortable sensation of being about to discover potentially painful and unpleasant things about myself and recognise that I did not have to be defined by those. Once you can see clearly you can choose what to let go and what is worth to sow as an intention for a new behaviour to surface in the Spring and carry forward after the long sleep.
Wishing you all a peaceful Equinox and as many walks in nature as possible in the next few weeks to take in the changing light and the colours of Autumn. Be mindful and compassionate with yourselves.
A while back it occurred to me that when we reach a crisis, either health related, psychological or emotional, the time has come to look elsewhere for answers.
Often what doctors can tell us about how we feel does not quite seem to take into consideration all the aspects of our being unwell. The medications or treatments we receive seem more like a plaster to cover up the current situation, without taking care of the scar which is left behind. Also, questions about how do we feel in relation to an illness or dis-ease never seem to be asked.
We also shy away from discussing how we truly feel with "friends" because either we do not want to burden others or because we do not know ourselves how to look beyond what we are made to see.
It is at these times of crisis, when we feel that the answers we get are not enough, that we seek something more meaningful, something that honours the complexity of our psycho-physio-emotional reality and that we feel an urge to turn inwards looking for authenticity.
Healing can help us re-instate that authentic dialogue with ourself, offering the language that we have forgotten a long time ago. If we truly commit to this kind of journey there is no coming back, the hidden corners of our psyche and of our heart will be turn inside out seeking those answers no-one else can provide.
I always felt that Reiki and healing offer much more than a chance to spend time on a massage table under a blanket (although some of my clients will tell you that the feeling of containment the blanket offers, even in the middle of this scorching summer, is priceless). As a matter of fact I have never wanted to market what I offer as a "1 hour relaxing experience" and as a consequence I may have lost clients because of that...but in the same way as we all seek an authentic relationship with ourselves and others, I also felt that I had to be true to the miracles I have seen happen each and every time healing takes place.
So to go back to my insight of today, I realised that true healing is like choosing the red pill instead of the blue pill. There will be no turning back, but like Neo one needs to be ready to face one's own Shadow before the Light can be seen.
My personal journey began when I was made redundant by my company while the sole bread-winner out in Malaysia with my family. The shock was incredible but somehow after just a couple of days I realised this was a "blessing in disguise"; and it truly turned out to be as, soon after, I was able to attend a Reiki I course which changed my life by allowing me to see who I truly am. I am now a Reiki Master since 2011 and for the first time I feel ready to begin teaching Reiki. I am planning to run a Reiki I (Shoden) course at the end of November, exactly on the 7th anniversary of my Master Degree. I will confirm dates as soon as I have finalised details, but I would be grateful at this stage if any of you who are interested could let me know.
For this, which is the first blog entry, I have decided to focus my attention onto a couples and difficult emotion, one which most people experience at some point in their life: ANXIETY. A dear friend has recently written the following about it:
It’s easy for anxiety to become an acceptable way of life .....
There was so much truth in these words that I started to think more in depth about them. There is almost always an emotional difficulty, something that is unbearable, behind the symptoms that motivate people to seek therapy, and anxiety is undoubtedly one of the main reasons for people to seek help and support. Palpitations, panic attacks, shortness of breath, brain fog, tight shoulders and neck, short temper, perceived unjustified fears and seeking comfort in addictive compulsive behaviours are only some of the most common symptoms of anxiety. Nowadays many people are not only feeling anxiety linked to their personal stories, but also the collective anxiety linked to the current situation all around us (Cathy Skipper). Often anxiety does not even seem to have an identifiable single source, it just engulfs us, as if coming from nowhere, and its origin is almost always lost in the mist of our past experiences.
It is very likely that at some point in our past, if unpredictability was the norm, anxiety became an adaptation strategy, keeping us on "our toes" as we tried to predict the next difficulty. This state of hyper-vigilance and overwhelm can easily go into overdrive meaning that we are left with a nervous system incapable of switching back towards self regulation and calm. The most common behaviour when feeling anxiety is to ignore it, pretend it is not there as we progressively seek to distract ourselves from the often very uncomfortable sensations which surge like a tide within us. Although this may well work in the short term it is certainly not a long-term healthy solution because "what we resist, persists" (a sentence I heard for the first time during the 'Aromatherapy for trauma and addiction' workshop with Cathy Skipper and Florian Birkmayer of AromaGnosis). This is the reason why recently I have started asking clients to stay with their feelings of anxiety, however uncomfortable they may be, in order to bring awareness into them. Given that where awareness goes, energy flows!! this is the premise for change.
Provided you are in a safe place (i.e.: not driving your car or walking down a busy street) try this exercise when you next sense anxiety arising inside you. Bring your focus on how you experience anxiety. How does it feel in your body, in your emotions, in your spirit and your thoughts? Allow anxiety to exist in its own right, without judging it. You may even ask it silently when was it the first time you felt this way? You may gain a glimpse of the reason why it is there in the first place, and with this new awareness you may even recognise that it no longer serves any purpose. You may thank it for keeping you "alive" when it mattered and look at it with a sense of gratitude and feel compassion for your vulnerable self.
The fundamental thing in this practice is to dis-identify from the sensations, recognising that you are only experiencing anxiety, a feeling that will pass, rather than being anxiety itself. When you do this exercise regularly, you will find that it will become progressively easier to stay with anxiety and that it will begin to lose its hold on you. I find that when I try this exercise with clients it helps to have an oil that can tone down the often extreme feelings, creating a sense of safety and calm. Among the oils that I would recommend are Lavender, well known for its calming action, or Sweet Marjoram, for its very strong effect on the heart. One of my current favourites is Vetiver, which to me feels like a hug with a soft blanket and immediately takes me to a place of wellbeing in my body, or Helichrysum (also known as Immortelle) for its ability of working in depth and getting things moving. Its aroma feels like being under a hot sun which cleanses all.
Like with crystals, I believe it is best to find an oil that works for you, the one that instantly grounds you into a place of comfort and well-being, and the rest will follow. Until next....
I am a healer and through this blog I want to share with my clients and the wider public some of the ideas and techniques that I find to be powerful tools for personal healing.
© Soul Integration, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Soul Integration and Ottavia with appropriate and specific direction to the original content