Saturday, September 29, 2018

A small light of hope

Underneath so many forms of suffering we find a chronic sense of shame, a deeply rooted belief that I’m not okay as I am, that when all is said and done there is just something wrong with me.

It’s such a painful way to organize our experience, leaking out into just about every area of our lives but especially into our relationships, affecting perception and causing us to do whatever we can to compensate for that core feeling of unworthiness.

This primordial sense of defectiveness seems to have its origins in early environments lacking in mirroring and empathic attunement, where there was not enough contact and space for a little heart and nervous system to unfold, explore, and rest in unstructured states of being. Not knowing any other way, we blame ourselves, concluding that there must be something fundamentally wrong with us.

It’s so heartbreaking, really.

While it can feel so overwhelming at times, this narrative can be re-authored. New pathways can be unearthed in the body and psyche and new grooves can be laid down in a tender, sensitive, and flexible nervous system. A more integrated story can be told. A new dream can be dreamed. New cloth can be woven.

It is possible. I have been honored to witness this reorganization in the lives of many courageous women and men over the years. It is not easy and asks everything of us.

It is an act of mercy, kindness, and compassion to remind one another of this revolutionary possibility, especially during times of struggle, that there is hope. Even in the core of the most profound hopelessness, a small light of hope is buried there, the flame is still alive.

This is not some overly romantic, positivistic fantasy, but one grounded in the capacity of the brain and nervous system to reorganize. Of course, none of us know if everyone can heal and find a way out of profound trauma and pain. All we can really do is share our own experience which, for me, is of the outrageous intelligence and bravery of the broken human heart and its ability to return home, a force truly greater than exploding stars.

Photo by James Kirk

My latest book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Unraveling the Core Trauma of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster - details to come