A list, in no particular order, of things I share with clients often, that I wish everybody knew:
1. Almost every client I have shares that they didn’t know they were not rare, that they are surprised the thoughts and struggles that they’re having are actually very common. If people could hear how often others say that, I think they would immediately feel less alone and more understood.
2. We all have our own story that gets formed when we are young that becomes the lens through which we see the world. For most people this is some variation of, “there is something wrong with me,” “I am unlovable,” “the world is not safe,” etc. You’ll probably have echoes of this forever, but you can dramatically lessen this over time until it is only this thought you used to have, instead of the one currently running your life.
3. It is totally common to be in your head during sex, to have trouble orgasming with a partner, to have short orgasms that you push for, to not have your body “work” the way you want, to only be able to come in a certain way, to have never touched your own breasts in a loving way, to be insecure about your body. This is most people’s experience of sex, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. And, all of these things can shift if you want them to.
4. It is normal and a good thing to cry during sex. Sexual energy is healing, and this moving through the body, when we are in our bodies, allows us to stir up emotion that was stuck there. This might be fresh or past energy, or both, doesn’t matter. It’s not silly, it’s not weird or strange, it is wonderful.
5. Sometimes it is the most beautiful fun thing in the entire world to be awake, to be aware of yourself. Sometimes it is really hard. But if you’re drowning in it all the time, feeling like you’re always moving through something huge, that is probably a sign that something needs to be re-evaluated. The work you’re doing to heal should ultimately be helping you feel better.
6. Very few things can overcome a stressful physical environment. If you are not sleeping, not eating, working all day everyday, in a relationship where you often argue, you don’t really like your friends, you live in a stressful place – it is going to be nearly impossible to heal. Our bodies need safety to heal in any significant way. Stress is the opposite of safety. We can do this temporarily, but not long-term.
7. Our world is not set up for us to thrive. You could of course see this as a depressing statement – or you could also take it as evidence that there is nothing inherently wrong with you. As Krishnamurti once said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” So instead of making everything about how terrible you are at doing everything, recognize that our society has normalized a way of living that is not normal or healthy for humans. You can absolutely make change within this, and find immense beauty within this, and really that is the best thing we can do.
8. Leaving your body and disassociating from your feelings is a very common thing that happens in response to trauma. This trauma can be severe or it can be things that don’t seem to you like big deals but that you still experienced as a big deal. Being habitually out of your body doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, it means that you learned an effective way to deal with your feelings. And now you can learn a healthier way to do that, if you choose.
9. Your body holds more than you could have ever imagined it possibly could. There are so many emotions, so many stories, wanting to come to the surface. I have learned over time that every time a client sits down for one of our sessions and says “there is nothing here! I just feel great today!” that is a great sign that there is actually something big ready to open.
10. On that note, and partially because of this, I don’t really believe that we are ever in one emotional state at a time. We often think we feel one way, but our bodies are telling a different story. I think it’s more that everything is always available to us, and we just think we are in one while the others are swirling beneath. We can feel really, genuinely joyful, and also have an ache in our hearts. We can feel in despair and also feel lit up about our work. I think we are at the very beginning of learning about how our bodies, minds, emotions, spirits – these things we speak of as all separate – envelope one another as one.
11. When we are in opposition to what we feel, it keeps us stuck there. If you have a feeling but you don’t like that you have that feeling, or you think it means something bad about you, or you think you have to shove it away, that feeling will stay right where it is (and often gets stronger). This does not mean that everything we feel is something to act on or that it’s all wonderful, but just that it deserves to be heard and welcomed in and understood by you. It’s there for a reason, and often once we can meet the deeper need, this feeling will go away. But it doesn’t work if you are like “fine I’ll pretend to like you so that you’ll leave.” Parts of us need to be loved in order to integrate them.
12. There is no magic pill for anything. Everything requires effort and willingness to feel what is there beneath the surface. This takes time. It actually will go on for the rest of your life, because your life keeps happening and you keep having experiences. When you are doing inner work you are slowly rewiring your brain. Your brain was formed over the rest of your life of having a different experience. You are teaching it new things. It is not an instant process. There are certainly significant things that can and will happen very quickly that feel like wins, and, for deeper, long-lasting change, it will take many months/years. There is a lot of beauty in slowness.
13. What you are signaling to the universe matters. I don’t know why, I don’t pretend to know how exactly it all works, I just know that it does. When people stay in a relationship or career that is not all the way what they want, they are communicating, “this is ok with me.” Life rewards us when we follow what we desire. That doesn’t mean it will always be perfect then in every way, or that it somehow protects us from loss, but it does mean that we start to experience lives that are more aligned with who we really are. That is when we experience the fun synchronicities and the things that feel magical and deeply fulfilling: when we are following what we know is true for us.
While I don’t think we ever get to a complete state of “healed,” it is still true that healing along the way is very possible.
There is so much more that is possible outside of the walls of our medical system, our academic system, our societal parameters than most people would believe. I see it in people every day.
I believe we can all trust that deeper thing in us that we feel, the inner knowing that there is something more than we can see.