“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
A Summer Full of Somber Stories
Never did I expect the summer to unfold as it did.
After completing my Certification as a Practitioner of Aroma Freedom Technique (Late May), I launched into the deep waters of adding this healing modality to my private practice.
One by one, women and men, and even children, came to “recover” what that monster under the bed, Trauma, had stolen from them. Some “little t,” some “big T,” but trauma nonetheless.
As they shared their stories, I couldn’t help but weep with them. My training tells me to lean back. Show no affect. Maintain professional boundaries. Yet, sometimes, my heart overrides any and all propriety. It feels deeply and that is okay.
I feel so privileged to sit with them and even more honored to hold space for them.
During the clearing sessions, there were defining moments where they felt they couldn’t keep going.
I held more sacred space.
Little by little, as trust grew from emotional concrete, I watched them press through the thorns of their painful past until at last, a new bud of hope appeared in their present.
Personally, I’ve never experienced anything quite like holding this sacred space for someone. Helping them find the freedom I found on my own healing journey was both life-giving and deeply satisfying. As someone who typically works “more publicly,” and even perhaps has enjoyed the applause of others a little too much, this summer showed me the power of a “more private” purpose and passion.
That is the power of life experience. Each and every day unfolds an expansion of capacity and potential. We serve a God who promises to help us transform any and all sad stories into new stories, filled with hope and healing.
A Summer Full of Family Stories
This summer also surprised me with visits from all three of my children. With each living far away, any time I can have with them is sacred space. We’ve found out, the hard way, that often we try to jam-pack absolutely everything into our short visits.
Over the course of a couple of years, each child has come to us and shared how they “just want to be” when they come home. We’ve had to learn…WAIT, I’ve had to learn...that coming home is primarily about being together: having fun, eating meals and enjoying sobremesa, playing Mario Kart (with my son and daughter-in-law), and if possible, visiting our family happy place, the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
This summer, though, I learned the hardest lesson of all: don’t jam-pack this sacred space with deep and emotional talks. Surprise, surprise, right? Because I am me, a Two on the Enneagram, I tend to always go deep and emotional, even as I’ve learned, when it isn’t appropriate or necessary. I also tend to speak of the past instead of just living in the present.
Some of these behaviors are very big blindspots in my life and because we’ve made a decision, as a family, to be emotionally healthy, my children have permission to hold me accountable (see podcast episode, S2E22).
With love. Always with love.
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”Brene Brown
I learned that what my children both want and need most is for me to live my new narrative. To exhibit the fruit of my emotional healing journey, without all the details and drama. And, quite honestly, it is what I want and need most, too.
Even though the conversations were a little hard to hear at the time, I picked up the shiny new tools in my emotional health toolbox and practiced what I preach.
A Summer Full of Rest and Recovery
Summer ended this week (at least in my home) with my husband’s long-awaited shoulder surgery. On Tuesday, we closed our backyard pool. I was depressed all day. With his surgery looming on the next day, we had to reduce any and all “outside projects,” (his domain) in order to make life a bit more simple.
Surgery went really well. As we were preparing to leave the hospital, the Recovery Room Nurse read through our post-surgery instructions. One stood out from the others:
“Take your pain meds. Get ahead of the pain. We want you to be comfortable. BUT, we also want you to uncomfortable. The discomfort will make you rest. Now I’m not talking about white-knuckle pain, but enough discomfort to make you be still. This is the most critical part of your recovery process.”
Those words: Get ahead of the pain. We want enough pain to make you uncomfortable enough to rest.
Her words echoed to those private, sacred spaces with my clients.
Her words echoed to those private, sacred spaces with my adult children.
Pain is a vital component of all healing: emotional, physical, and spiritual.
It presses us to be still.
Can slow our pace.
Allows time for deep, inner work.
In the stillness, we find God. We find the healing we’ve been too scared, too busy, too confused, or too stubborn to receive.
And, finally, we need to get ahead of the pain.
A Summer of Getting Ahead of the Pain
By practicing the three-fold cord of mental and emotional fitness: a healthy sense of self, healthy behavior patterns, and healthy communication skills, we get ahead of the “pain” of unhealthy, oft-trauma-based behaviors, belief systems, and relational bickering and bantering.
That is why “I” do what “I” do. To help you rewrite any and all sad stories.
That is why “we” do what “we” do. To support each other in the rewriting process.
Remember our commitment: Me + You = We.
We are always better together. Always.