Last time we explored how Do What Works (for you) applies to self-care.
Today, I want to take this subject deeper and look at how listening to your own internal guidance (or, doing what works for you) applies to the healing journey.
Here, there are more challenges to doing what works regardless of what it is that you seek to heal.
When it comes to self-care for anxiety, for example, there are a lot of generally acceptable solutions. For me, spending time in nature works the best. For you, perhaps running is the answer. Or, spending time with friends. Or, using medication as needed.
Things become more murky when there is more at stake or when what works for you evokes fear or challenges the belief systems of those around you, especially family members.
A simple example is a person with a life threatening illness deciding to pursue alternative methods of healing.
Depending on the worldview of those around him, this choice could result with him being subjected to the judgement, fear and anxiety of those he loves on top of a lack of support and understanding.
The same could be true for the opposite scenario – deciding to go the western medical route when the majority of your family and friends feel alternative methods are the best.
With this example, we take ‘do what works’ to a new level.
It isn’t just a matter of our personal practices anymore. Here, our decisions affect those around us on a much deeper level.
Now, ‘do what works for you’ has the potential to bring about the unintended consequence of external conflict – which leads to the need for even more self-reflection and even greater self-knowing and self-love to be able to keep affirming and doing what works… with as much grace and compassion for the journeys of others as possible.
Sometimes nothing works completely.
When it comes to healing, especially when working with unresolved trauma or chronic pain or anxiety, there is likely no single magic remedy.
Instead, as we continue to listen to ourselves and our bodies, new layers of unresolved pain will become available for healing.
Let’s use my pattern of chronic headaches and migraines as an example.
For years the only thing that worked was time. Lots of time, hopefully in bed with the lights out, just waiting for the pain to subside and for me to be able to return to the land of the living.
As I continued on my healing path, new things that (sometimes) worked began to surface.
My ability to notice (versus immediately repress/deny) the approach of a migraine increased and I could occasionally sit down, go into Owl Eyes, sink out of my head and into my body and the migraine would break.
As I became more in touch with my emotions (versus, again, repressing them), there were times when allowing myself to fully feel the overwhelming emotions behind the headache worked.
Basically, as we continue to stay engaged in our healing journey, what works will change.
The point is to stay engaged in the process and to continue deepening into our connections with our bodies and with Spirit.
In this way, as the next layer of pain becomes available for healing, we will discover that new and more aligned perspectives, modalities, healers, and practices will show up. The journey will continue.
For myself, as I continue on my healing path, my ability to be with and work with my headaches continues to increase. Currently, my headaches are both less frequent and less intense than at any other time in my life. Yay!
The importance of being open to new healing approaches – especially those that stretch you in some way.
Often, we don’t know what works for us unless we are willing to try something new, possibly even something that stretches us in some way.
There is incentive here to be stretched!
When we have been in pain long enough, whether our pain is physical or emotional or mental, there comes a point when we become willing to try things we might not have even considered previously.
What that is will vary greatly from person to person.
Perhaps for you it is taking a leap and giving acupuncture a try when previously you either gritted through your pain or used medication.
Perhaps for another person, it involves packing up and moving to an ashram in India for nine months.
For myself, headaches and migraines have lead me onto stranger and more amazing paths of healing than I could have imagined growing up in the cornfields of SW Kansas.
Ortho-Bionomy – provided the key to gaining awareness of my internal world and to track and be present with challenging emotions and sensations. Ortho also provided a framework for working with patterns of deep trauma – my own and others.
Jon Young’s work with nature awareness skills – where I learned Owl Eyes and refined my own approach to using it to meet difficult sensations and experiences and discovered the truly healing and restorative power of nature.
Malidoma Some’s teachings of working with the ancestors, the spirits of nature and the elements through ritual for healing and guidance. Likely the strangest to western minds of my paths – also the most powerfully healing for myself and those I work with.
In summary, when we dive deeper into Do What Works, we discover various challenges and gifts.
1) We might face the challenge of our loved ones not supporting our chosen path and have the opportunity to sink deeper into ourselves and our own truth.
2) It can be frustrating when the new thing we try doesn’t completely heal us or take away all of our pain. It takes commitment and faith to continue the search for what works knowing that when working with patterns of chronic pain, anxiety or trauma there is likely not one magic remedy.
3) Our view of reality might shift and change as we stretch to discover the next thing that works for us. While challenging and perhaps even scary in the moment, being willing to be stretched most often leads to discovering deeper healing and better alignment with our own authenticity, truth, and purpose.
Being as gentle and patient as possible with ourselves (and others) is the key to both knowing and doing what works for you.
If you could use some help knowing what works for you, check out my Sacred Self-Care guidebook. It will help you discover, know, and do what truly works. For you.