My friends, here is a process of true healing and lasting change in life as I have come to know it. I have seen this process work miracles in my own life and the lives of my friends and clients. It's a life long process and I learn more about it every day. There are steps in here that are often overlooked in the fast pace of modern spiritual practice. If you can be patient and really consider all these steps, there is the possibility of some profound change and shift in life.
The 7 Steps of Healing
Before we can heal, we must be aware that there is a need for healing. The parts of us needing healing are always present in our psyches. But often they are so deeply integrated with our habits that we don’t notice them. It’s like if we always have the news on in the background we don’t really pay attention, but then when the commercials kick in and it gets louder we suddenly jolt up. By turning up the volume, life lets us know there’s something within us that needs attention and love. Life is helping us to become aware. While we may not know what we need to heal at this stage, awareness helps us realize that something in us is yearning for change.
2. Knowing We Are Safe and Asking for Help
We must know in some way that we are held, loved, and safe before making big change. When we shift into the dark caves of our psyches to heal it can be a very scary experience. We must create some basis of knowing that we are on stable ground before heading into the caves. We need to tell ourselves we are safe on a daily basis, we need teachers and therapists to help us, we need our books and rituals, we need all the help we can get. We cannot undertake this journey without guides to shine light on the path for us and to console us when the dark sets in. Ask for and get help. And tell yourself on a daily basis, “I am always safe, loved, and held.”
3. Willingness to See Clearly
Out of awareness we know we need to change. Out of safety and help from teachers we find the resources to change. Now we must be willing to see clearly what we need to change. It can be a jarring experience to see our habits. It can give us an icky feeling to see our patterns up close. But clear, honest, compassionate insight gives us a true starting point. We may not like what we see, but we’re now willing to see it. And when that happens, we can chart an accurate course home.
4. Willingness to Do It Differently
Once we see clearly we either block our eyes or we can change the channel and try something new. Sometimes we are not quite ready to fully move into what we see and that’s ok. Part of healing is knowing when to take a break. When we’re ready, however, we can be willing to do things differently. Much of the salvation discussed in mystical traditions is not metaphysical. It is simply a changing habits of thought, perception, and behavior. While I am firmly convinced there is a divine grace that guides us, that grace never deprives us of the opportunity to have ownership over our lives and the choices we make.
5. Not Ever Giving Up
True healing is not a linear process. It is a winding road, it arcs and curves and doubles back on itself, it goes through tunnels and back into the sunlight, around corners, through dark woods, across calm seas, to the depths of the ocean, in and out of happiness, and through the dark spaces of our psyches to the light of our awareness. And in this winding journey it can be tempting to give up half way, or a quarter of the way, or even 99.9999% of the way because there's always a feeling of futility in the process just before the sun breaks through. Just before we reach the healing, the shift, the ease, the joy, the place where we find freedom there's always a sense of wanting to give up. The most important thing is to just keep moving forward even if we need to solely use faith as the oxygen mask that gets us over that last bridge. Forces beyond our understanding are guiding a journey we'll only recognize in hindsight. Just keep going forward.
6. Somatic Release
Here is the step that we often miss. We are aware, we are safe, we have help, we see clearly, we are willing to do it differently, we keep on keeping on, and then we get to the body. This is where healing often loops back into relapse of the pattern. You know why? Because it is not the mind alone that needs to heal, the body must purge the “toxic” effect of the pattern to complete the cycle and allow us through the tunnel into relief and joy. This is the secret my friends. The body will always, and I mean always, win. You can have all the mental strength and awareness you want, but the sensations in the body will override you every single time. And until the body processes the sensations, you may be able to furrow your brow and mentally push yourself to stay in the different place, but there will be no ease. Once the body does process, then there is ease and it’s often hard to remember what the problem was. This is a marker of true healing
7. Accepting Healing and Moving On
Once healing happens, the epilogue is to accept our healing and move on with our lives. We need some time to acclimate to this new energetic environment. We also need some time to discover who we are in this new space. But it is time to move forward. In the words of Carolyn Myss “we are not meant to stay wounded.” We get on with life. We take our lessons, our process, and our healing and bring it to the world in all our shining glory.
This is healing my friends. There are no shortcuts. There are no simple answers. Don’t be taken in by flowery new-age marketing schemes that promise instant healing, happiness, six million dollars, and a pat on the head. This journey is how we heal. Now why bother with all this? Because you’re f&*#ing worth it that’s why. Because healing is about your life, your happiness, your health, and your enjoyment of this magnificent world. Healing radiates back and forth in time, radiates spherically out to all those we love and cherish, and healing shakes the very fabric of love that binds the universe together. It is truly the divine at work on Earth.