Everybody wants to be happy.
I truly believe that. How many people do you know walking around who are actually saying, “I wish I could experience more suffering.”
Okay – perhaps there is a few which is a whole different topic, and perhaps it would be more correct to say that everybody wants homeostasis ~ literally, our bodies and our cells are designed for equilibrium and ultimately our DNA is programmed so that we move towards aliveness, life, vitality & a state of well-being in life.
So why is it then that there is still so much suffering in the world?
Have you ever noticed this pattern in yourself?
You know something is good for you.
Whether it’s a fresh veggie juice or a workshop you KNOW would change your life, or maybe even a man (or woman) who is obviously a great person but you just don’t feel attracted to…
And instead you choose the triple shot of espresso (lol), the weekend partying with your long time friends, or the guy who is like, a complete asshole but somehow really sexy…
So what is it that keeps us stuck in these self-sabotaging choices?
Well, I believe it’s a few things ~ one of them being that old habits die hard (as they say) because literally the neural pathways in our brain are just so nicely worn in and comfortable and change can feel weird and uncomfortable.
But what about when change feels terrifying. When we commit to going to that weekend workshop and our anxiety levels go through the roof.
When we think of engaging in a path of healing and part of us wants to get the hell out of there as fast as possible.
When we approach deep healing – the kind of healing that is required in order to rewire/repattern our nervous system to the joy, vitality & well-being that we all inherently long for, there are three “parts” of us that we must welcome to the table.
If we neglect any of these three parts, it is likely that either we will never actually engage in doing the deeper healing work.
So what are these three parts?
I like to give them the archetypal labels of Wounded One (often Wounded Child but not always), Protector and Natural Healer.
The Natural Healer is the one who is drawn towards all of the healing tools and support that she can get her hands on. I believe that we are actually ALL healers and we ALL have this one inside of us who knows the way and is totally capable of healing her/himself with the right support.
The Wounded One is the one who originally experienced some kind of pain, shock or lack of safety such that her nervous system got overwhelmed and needed to shut down/freeze so that she could be protected from feeling so much. This is literally this AMAZING “leave or die” survival mechanism that helps us cope with pain/shock/lack of safety that would otherwise be so unbearable that our nervous system would literally short-circuit and we would die.
This part of ourselves is also often dissociated so when we try to contact her she just pops right out of her body into a place where it feels safer ~ sometimes the Thinking Mind or an imaginal fantasy realm with Unicorns & Butterflies. That safe but dissociated place is actually a great place to have when we’re in that “leave or die”survival zone and it is important to be grateful for it rather than judging ourselves for going there. It’s also a place we want to gradually work our way out of (not all at once – g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y – so that we can be fully present in the moment we are living right now rather than stuck in the past…).
The Protector is so important, and so often not seen and recognized for his/her value. The protector’s agenda is one thing only – to protect and keep you & your nervous system safe. Safety is number one ~ at all costs. The protector must be recognized, honored and communicated/negotiated with if we are going to take part in any kind of deeper healing work.
Usually the Protector has been working very hard to keep old wounded parts of ourself safe for a very LONG time – sometimes lifetimes.
Negotiation with this part has two key pieces.
We need to help the Protector to see that the WAYS in which she has been protecting us (usually keeping us from fully feeling something that happened in the past and may manifest as numbness, chronic tension or pain, insomnia, etc) are no longer actually fully serving us in our current life and may actually be harming us.
We need to find out what the Protector needs in order to feel safe. Since safety is his/her primary concern, we must help her see that it is now safe for us to feel our feelings more fully and thus allow our old stuck patterns of protection to release.
By the way – I’m not talking about what is known in the world of psychiatry as multiple personality disorder, but I do believe MPD is actually rooted in a severe fracturing/non-acknowledgement of our different parts.
When we get our parts all talking to each other around what I see as our “Inner Campfire” then we get to experience an integrated Self living fully in the Present, which is, of course, the ultimate gift.
These three parts need to go through what my teacher Elizabeth Claire Burr calls RAAT if we are ever going to make any real progress on the path of healing.
And they actually need to go through this process regularly and repeatedly because they can and will come up as we heal through deeper and deeper layers.
Next Saturday I’m going to share with you a bit more about RAAT ~ until then ~
Love & light,
Josea Tamira Crossley
PS If you’d like to download a copy of my new 5 Keys to Stop Self Sabotage & Reclaim Your Life Checklist, you can get it here.