We’re all living with emotional pain — often deep pain — and whether or not we do it consciously, many of us bury much of it inside….
Where it feeds freely on our potential for happiness. Where it keeps us from opening up to the breadth of our truth. Where it prevents us from living within the beauty of our freedom. Buried but present. Always present. Keeping us from becoming our genuine or real selves.
Maybe it’s time to dig some of it up?
We all have our reasons for burying our pain, but at the core it comes down to fear. Fear of facing the truth of what we’ve done or endured, the truth of just how dark our darkness is, and the fear that we can’t survive it, or our loved ones will reject us. That it will destroy us. But it won’t. Whatever it is, we can survive it; we’ve already survived it.
But what if now is the time to do more than simply survive?
What if now is the time to live in a more conscious, deliberate way? What if now is the time to let the healing begin, for real?
Healing isn’t possible within denial and fear.
It’s only possible within openness and honesty, within our willingness to look at the truth of our reality, past and present, and to accept it for what it is without letting it define who we are right now. We are not our struggles, or our heartbreak, or what happened to us. We are not the actions we’ve taken, or the assaults we’ve endured. Yes, our experiences influence how we grew and who we grew into. But ultimately, who we are is who we decide to be, because of and despite everything we’ve been through. And understanding in our hearts God’s loving plan for us as well… which is to be “free to be.”
What does that work look like?
It looks like whatever it takes to get us to feel, reflect on, and accept whatever we’ve seen, done, or experienced, as well as the reality of our lives in the present. For some, therapy, support groups, or a combination of several things, and so much more. It comes down to figuring out what works for us and giving our intention and energy to it.
We Utilize Archeological Journaling
The act of spilling our thoughts and feelings onto a page, whether or not that page is to be seen by others, offers us a powerful and important outlet for our darkness. Excavational journaling is a key element to being healed. In the Bible we are told to “confess to one another to be healed.” This does not mean directly to the offender or offended… each other…community. In our work, we have the counselee go over the journaling with us to reveal the root systems, which are continuing to infect their current relationships.
We also recommend books, listening to podcasts, and watching talks that inspire us to open up a little more, to dig a little deeper.
We engage in difficult conversations with our partners and family and friends, to work through issues and to grow both personally and interpersonally.
Beyond everything else, growth requires dedication, and belief in the process. Healing demands commitment. No number of books or podcasts or workshops will make a difference if we’re not committed to healing ourselves. And when we open ourselves to look at our pain for real, our pain will present itself. And it’s usually not a very pretty picture.
We continue to learn things about ourselves that we wish weren’t true. We see new depths to our anger, envy, and sadness. New proof all the time that we can be much less kind and generous than we desire and a much bigger mess than we’d ever want to be. The work of awareness and consciousness is a process, and a journey, that really goes on throughout our lives. Developing disciplines that become a part of everyday life is crucial to this process. Taking our thoughts captive, forgiving quickly, releasing judgements, developing a commitment to genuineness and honesty, and moment by moment surrender to God are all a part of this “transformation of the mind and heart.”
One of the many beautiful benefits of facing your pain is: whether or not you intend to, you’re likely to inspire others to look at their own pain more openly and courageously. Along with digging yourself into a more fully realized life, you end up passing out shovels to others, too.
“I’ve been digging for a while now, and I’ll continue to dig, because I want to invite any opportunity for deeper healing.” – Anonymous
We want to face the full expression of ourselves, past to present, with acceptance and love. Always more love. We need only to look at how far we’ve come to know it’s possible. We need only to consider our lives right now to understand the transformational power of God through this kind of work. We should continue to explore all the possibilities of our growth, and to live as truthfully and genuinely as possible. Because we want, more than anything, to be free…Free to be and free to become all we are created to be.
Excerpted and adapted from the book Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart. Copyright ©2017 by Scott Stabile. / Bill Hoffman