While I have called this post “When Sadness Comes,” I might well have substituted the word Rage for Sadness. In my experience, all feelings of anger and grief are inseparable although, depending upon care giver expectations, we may be unable to experience one or the other of these profoundly humanizing emotions. Some of us are born into families who permit the expression of anger but deny any grief that may lie below this emotion. And many are born into families where it is “safe” to express sadness, but absolutely forbidden to express any form of anger. And some, of course, must pretend a kind of cheerful neutrality regardless of what emotional landmines are detonating throughout the days and nights of family life.
Our journeys to wholeness require that we acknowledge and experience the feelings our early care givers insisted we deny, and this requirement is often very challenging. The reclamation of our forbidden feelings is a process similar to muscle building. We go through an initial period of painful resistance that requires we choose to persevere. Once we make this choice to reclaim our denied emotions, our new emotional breadth increases our emotional intelligence one hundred fold. This reclamation process takes the time and patience any worthwhile undertaking requires. Happily, energy tools, and specifically EFT, can be very helpful partners in improving our emotional literacy on the journey to wholeness.
Continue reading Building Bridges Through Loss: Four/When Sadness Comes
One of the most effective pathways to habit transformation is visualization. In the late seventies, Carl and Stephanie Simonton wrote Getting Well Again, a pioneering work on the connection between the mind and the body in cancer patients. This connection was demonstrated through a series of visualization activities that supported cancer patients in their desires to recover. My family was particularly interested in this work because in 1977 our beloved Aunt Peg had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was in recovery from a mastectomy; in fact, it was Peg who told us about the book as a way of introducing her rather unconventional – at least for the time – choice to include hypnotherapy sessions in her recovery process. As we listened to her thoughts about her “cancer visitor” and read the Simontons’ seminal work, we discovered how incredibly rich and powerful daily visualization sessions could be.
Continue reading New Year New Habits – Part Three: Seeing Ourselves Anew
In tree life, once a seedling makes it past the vulnerable newborn stage, it is called a sapling. In human life, we call this period of time childhood and adolescence. Our new habits enter a similar period, often marked by the adolescent cockiness that suggests we can eat some fudge if we’re transforming an eating habit, or smoke a cigarette if we’re transforming into non-smokers, without consequence. It’s a dicey period because it comes with very heady energies. In actual adolescence, we often believe we can do just about anything, never mind the battle scars our friends and family members often point to as they advise us to be cautious. As adolescents, we don’t take advice readily, perhaps because we feel so empowered by the physical evidence of growing strength. So it is with our habits.
Continue reading New Year New Habits – Part Two: Saplings
One spring when I was digging in my garden, a wise Silver Maple Tree offered an eloquent and entirely visual response to my curiosity about growing through one stage of life into another. Dripping with maple keys, this wise old Tree Being planted Herself over and over again in every corner of my garden. As I removed last year’s dead-leaf mulch and gently turned the soil to transplant a sprig of lily of the valley, I inadvertently dislodged one of these keys from its Earth home. Swollen, purple, and marked by fissures in its outer skin, it told me everything I needed to know about growth. Looking at that bursting seed I understood: in its initial stages, growth requires a period of darkness and mystery.
Continue reading New Year New Habits – Part One: Seedlings