Yoohoo! It’s the holiday season! Anyone eating too much delicious food because you deserve happiness? Or having old feelings you’d rather not feel again come to the surface? Anyone visiting family and discovering their angsty inner-11 year old self is still alive and well? Or going through Costco size bottles of bourbon?
This season is ripe with potential for emotional healing.
The flavor of my own emotional healing lately is 80% dark chocolate- the kind you almost want to spit out because it’s so intense, but once you get used to it, realize that Hershey’s tastes like wax. With the fair trade stuff I’ve been eating daily, I can taste the earth the cacao beans are grown in. It’s deep and delicious and potent.
In therapy terms, my dark chocolate looks like EMDR therapy. I’ve been doing EMDR therapy weekly for around 3 months now. From the EMDR Institute website:
“(EMDR) enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.”
It is bonkers how deeply ingrained some of those rusty old beliefs can be…you know the ones that tend to send you far off-course from the things you’d like to accomplish in your life or the things you’d like to think about yourself? Your true north may have you thrilled with your life and relationships, feeling fantastic about aging and who cares about what’s happening to your thighs, but those dang past traumas and beliefs pull you just far enough off the trail that you’re stuck on “Can’t Look in the Mirror Loop” or “Furious at the World Trail.” EMDR seems very much like a shortcut to getting back to your true north.
It’s not for the faint of heart. To heal some of the old stuff, you need to revisit the disturbing and painful feelings so they can lead you out of the brambles. But it’s not a long, extended visit. It’s a sit-down, a hello. It’s tolerable. But suddenly you see yourself in a different light and the world around you looks different too.
In all this emotional healing over the past few months, I’m realizing that on the flip side of feeling deprived or stuck in the idea of lacking this or lacking that….are old wounds, blocks or stubborn patterns of not knowing how to let love in.
Have you ever had the feeling like you’re being loved, but you just can’t feel it? Or you don’t trust it? Maybe you don’t believe a compliment or don’t accept a gift. Or feel you have to repay a favor?
If we really did come here to this planet to remember who we truly are- that we all have within us the unlimited love of the source of creation, that we are all individualized versions of that same source….then this whole process of noticing ways we don’t feel loved is just like noticing specks of dirt on your windshield. It’s getting the windex out so we can see more clearly just how much love we’re swimming in. Because love is fucking everywhere. And if we can’t feel it, there’s some unawake part of us hiding under the porch, asking for attention.
My wish for all of us this year is that love flows freely to all the deepest parts of us. To the parts that need it the most, the ones that have been asking for years in ways we couldn’t understand. I wish for us the nourishment of knowing that oneness and loving connection are birthrights, and not things to be earned by somehow being better.
I wish for all the tiny stones in our shoes that have made our walk feel painful…to be turned out onto the earth and spread onto our common path, just a little more gravel on the trail. The sound of our footsteps walking together is so sweet. I wish for us all to open to the sweetness and know that we matter, we are loved, and it’s ok to feel it.