I’ve been rereading Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. I love the simplicity and clarity of this book and I’ve also been frustrated with the simplicity too. After his recommended step of opening one’s heart chakra no matter the circumstance, he then writes about “letting stuff go”. I have struggled with this recommendation for years. God, wouldn’t you just love to let shit go? Set your intention to “let go” and voila! When I hear this phrase I think of someone coming over and just turning a switch off on me. “Here Juanita, You’ll never have to feel that emotional about that situation again, I found the let go switch!”. Well, wouldn’t that be nice? It’s never been that easy for me and I’m guessing it hasn’t for you either. Through conversations with others I found that “letting go” actually means being fully present with whatever emotions are present and even embracing them. When I’m fully present with uncomfortable emotions, the intensity of them lessens and then I get closer to that feeling of letting something go. For some triggers in my life, I find it impossible to fully let it go, because these reactions were learned early in childhood. And just when I think I have let it go, a situation arises and I realize that there’s another layer of emotion that needs my presence. In the meditation world, this presence is often given to oneself by cultivating the witness/observer part of your Self as you feel an emotion and want to react to it. Meditation can teach us to watch ourselves instead of react. Sometimes we can see an emotion rise and fall if we sit with it long enough and our minds don’t take over. In the counselling world, there are many psychotherapeutic techniques that can help a person cultivate the wise self watching all the emotions and other parts of themselves engage with the world. But perhaps the most helpful things psychotherapy can offer is the act of presence with another as they feel their uncomfortable emotions. It can be very powerful to have another person anchoring & present as feel the depths of our pains & struggles. I’ve often found that the only way I can be present with certain uncomfortable emotions is with my own therapist. I’ve paid that person to be with me for an hour and while I could end the session early, I won’t because I’ve paid and that often helps me commit to the act of fully being present with my emotions and even embracing them. This process is closest one I’ve found to actually letting shit go. With energy healing, presence is also a valuable gift to give to others and to ourselves - fully being present as a chakra opens or shifts. Energy healing also offers techniques to help clear the blockages in our chakras which lessens the emotional intensity. Often an integrated session of both psychotherapy & energy healing can help you integrate and process things with more ease. What things have you found to be helpful or unhelpful as you try and let go of things?
Sometimes the best quotes are from people you know.
Today’s photo comes from my Dad, taken last week somewhere in Dundas. Here is the dialogue between my Dad and one of my sisters about it, and I thought it was a great metaphor for many things in our lives that we hold judgment about.
Embrace those weeds!
|It is always bittersweet to change locations. I have enjoyed my time at 16McMurray street in Dundas, and I will especially miss the fish tank and the Dundas locale. That being said, I am excited to share my new location as of June 17 at 430 York Blvd in Hamilton at the Hamilton Centre for Personal Development. It is a beautiful space that I’m looking forward to sharing with you. |
I will be keeping my Thursday Burlington location for now.
The new space is located at the corner of Locke street and York Blvd in Hamilton. The parking entrance is off of Locke Street, and there is free street parking too. It has easy access to the 403, being just minutes away.
The building is shared with De La Sol Yoga Studio, Studio Zee Pilates, and so much more. My entrance is located on the York Blvd side. Just go up the one set of stairs and I’m there. If you need wheelchair accessibility, please let me know and I will share the details.
I will continue to be available Mondays and Wednesdays. See the link for hours and details.
Hamilton Centre for Personal Development Open House
|If you want to see the new space or anything else that is offered in the building, there will be an open house on June 14 from 6-9pm called the Night of Light.|
From Michael A. Singer’s The Untethered Soul
I recently watched the movie Kumaré, about American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi who transformed himself into Sri Kumaré, an enlightened guru from a fictional village in India. He adopted a fake Indian accent, grew out his beard and hair, and came up with his own message and yoga moves to teach his future disciples. Vikram struggled as he went further into this charade about the moral implications of this experiment. One way he tries to keep some morality is by keeping his main message to people that they don’t need a guru and that they can “find the guru within themselves”.
This message is one of the same messages given in energy healing. It is not the healer that heals the patient, but the healer that helps the patient heal himself. In her book Hands of Light (1987), Barbara Brennan states that,
“No matter how miraculous the result, the healer really induces the patient to heal himself through natural processes, even though they are beyond what is considered to be natural for those who are not familiar with healing” (p.147).
In the same chapter, Barbara Brennan describes 3 things that an energy healer has to offer people with physical illness that they often will not get by seeking someone in the medical profession:
- A broader perspective and understanding of the causes and cures of disease
- Access to information in the energy field about a physical illness that may not be available through the traditional medical methodology
- Helping the patient to enhance his own healing abilities
Here is an overview of each benefit.
A) Broader Understanding of the Causes and Cures of Disease
When someone gets a serious illness, there are different responses. Illness can be understood through a physical, emotional, or spiritual lens. Energy Healing will encompass the spiritual approach, and may recommend a physical and emotionally-focussed approach as well.
Physical Causes and Cures (Body)
From this perspective, something caused you to get sick and now you need to find a way to become healthy again if possible. For some things, we don’t look any deeper than this. We seek a doctor, take recommended treatments, and go from there.
Some people will wonder about what caused their illness. They may seek reasons in their physical environment by exploring their relationship with their physical body – diet, exercise, sleep, medications, environment and more. Changing patterns in relationship with your physical body can bring healing to an illness.
Emotional Causes and Cures (Mind)
Some people will look deeper at their emotional relationships to see how these may have impacted or exacerbated their illness. Gabor Maté is a Canadian medical doctor who has shifted his understanding of illness from a purely biological one to an emotional-related one. He has written multiple books exploring the relationship of the mind-body link of both mental health issues, physical illness, and addiction. He demonstrates their connection with scientific research, case histories, and his own experience. For illnesses that stick around, shifting emotional patterns and family dynamics can offer healing to illness that the medical options on their own won’t have the capacity to heal.
One example is ADHD. The common medical perspective is that it is an illness and needs to be treated with medication for a lifetime. Yet people can heal from ADHD by exploring their emotional patterns and family dynamics. Gabor Maté writes in his book Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder (2012):
“People often ask if one can “grow out” of attention deficit disorder – a good question, for healing is a matter of growth. And the answer is yes. It is not curing that ADD children need: they need to be helped to grow. What is required is not a change in parenting techniques but a change in parenting attitudes, based on a deeper understanding of the child. The adult with attention deficit disorder needs also to gain a deeper understanding of herself, to undertake the task we will later describe as self-parenting” (p. 141-142)
Spiritual Causes and Cures (Spirit)
Next are people who will want to use a spiritual lens to get a broader sense of their illness. They look at illness as a teacher in their lives. They can look at what an illness is giving them in their lives that they aren’t receiving elsewhere. Illnesses can bring suffering and pain and at the same time wisdom and insight. Spiritual insight can initiate change in foundational patterns people have in their lives and bring healing to illness.
Some people will look at their life with the perspective that they chose this life, this illness, and even their family before they were born. Once you start reading books by spiritual leaders you will realize that many of them have this perspective including some of my favorites – Ram Dass and Paramahansa Yogananda. From this broader perspective a person can realize that illness is neither good nor bad but a tool to help them with something on their spiritual journey. Ram Dass talks about the role of karma in regard to illness. From the karmic perspective, sometimes illness is related to past-lives.
How To Combine Mind-Body-Spirit Approaches
My perspective is that a combination of each perspective is needed on a journey towards healing an illness. Certainly, exploring one avenue may bring you the desired results, but when you broaden your perspective you open yourself to more avenues to healing.
If the spiritual lens doesn’t fit with your world-view, then start with the physical and emotional lens. If the medical lens doesn’t fit with you, consider exploring your reasons why. They may be well-founded, but you may be making your life overly complicated.
Sometimes the Medical Path is All That is Needed
I remember when one of my sons was younger and he was having frequent bloody noses along with his cold and occasional fevers. Early on I went to my doctor who was curious whether it was allergy related and referred him to an allergist. While waiting months for this appointment, his symptoms were getting worse. I took him to a naturopath. She determined that it was a sinus infection and referred me back to my doctor to get antibiotics. The naturopath also recommended probiotics. The antibiotics and probiotics were what my son needed, and he got better. We didn’t need to explore an emotional or spiritual lens in this scenario.
My Experience with a Mind-Body-Spirit Approach
When I had a depression many years ago when I lived in Vancouver, I started with a physical approach by making sure I got outside every day even though I rarely wanted to. I always felt a little better after I went for a bike ride. I also explored it an emotional level with a therapist and decided to make some big changes in my life – quitting my job and moving back to Ontario. Next, I started to explore it at a spiritual level and that’s when I found a deeper healing. Depression was a teacher in my life whether I wanted it to be or not.
B) Energy Healers Have Access to Information in the Energy Field
A second benefit of an energy healer is that they have access to information in your energy field. An energy healer uses their sixth sense to attune to a person’s biofield and chakras. When a person presents with physical illness, an energy healer can sometimes look at a person’s energy field and receive information or offer healing in a way that attending to the body or mind cannot. I’ve written a general overview of this process in the Anatomy of an Energy Healing .
Both of my sons have had eye surgeries and have had reactions after receiving anesthesia. They would become wild as they awoke after surgery and it was scary for both parents and kids. When my youngest was going to receive his final eye surgery, I had an energy healer do a healing on him. She was able to give me tips on how to support him during and after surgery. She received these insights by tuning into his energy field. We used warm blankets on his feet to help him ground. I was by his side as they gave him anesthesia. She gave a healing to help his eye heal more quickly as well. All these things contributed to a better experience for all of us. The energy healer was able to access information that was beyond the scope of a medical provider and personalized towards my son.
C) Energy Healing Helps People Enhance Their Own Healing Abilities
The best healings come when a healer helps you enhance your own healing abilities. When I do an energy healing I tell them that I do an energy healing that aligns with their intention. We all have the capacity to heal, and my experience is that energy healing will often amplify the healing of both mental health problems and physical illness. When an energy healer works on your biofield, the positive impact on your biofield can help your physical body do what it needs to heal. In addition, if you’re doing things already in your life to help improve your health, energy healing is like a boost to your other efforts.
Additionally, I find that psychotherapy is a way to deepen one’s healing abilities in combination with energy healing. Many of us want a quick answer – tell me what the cause of my illness is and what I need to do. You may think you want to know these things, but once you start examining the layers of illness in relation to mind, body, and spirit, you will realize that this journey takes courage. You will have to make changes in your life that you may strongly resist. You may have to look at different parts of yourself that you don’t want to. You may find yourself saying, “I’ll do anything but that”. Be gentle with yourself if you find these pieces in yourself. The reasons for our resistance served us at a time in our life even though they’re not helping us in the same way anymore.
Shifting Unhealthy Patterns to Healthy Ones
In a deeper exploration of the roots of my depression I was able to see deeply held patterns in my life that had served me in a positive way growing up. Over time these patterns didn’t serve me anymore and I became depressed. Now I’ve gotten to the point where often I can recognize that I’m in an old unhelpful pattern and I’ll shift how I react to a situation. No one else is encouraging me to change my thoughts or behaviors, I’m able to recognize situations that I need to make a change. My own healing ability has been amplified.
If you spend decades embroiled in an unhelpful pattern, it takes time, willingness, and compassion to change that pattern. Fortunately, this journey is available to us all and there are people willing to guide and be with us along this path.
When Illness Persists
Sometimes an illness will not be cured in this lifetime. An illness may appear and a person will not recover and may die from it. A spiritual lens can help a person make sense of it when it doesn’t make any sense as to why it appeared and you aren’t seeing the changes you want no matter what you do.
When an illness persists there are many thoughts and emotions to sift through – Fear, Anger, feeling like a victim and more. An illness’ appearance may not have any rational understanding. Miracles certainly can happen in the most dire of circumstances, yet many times this is not the case. Like any healing modality, energy healing doesn’t bring a guarantee of a return to health. Yet unlike other modalities, the spiritual lens in energy healing can sometimes bring peace in a difficult situation.
Want to learn more?
Books to Explore Illness from an Emotional Lens by Gabor Maté
- Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder
- When the Body Says No: The Hidden Cost of Stress
- In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addictions
Books to Explore Illness from a Spiritual Lens
- Be Love Now by Ram Dass: Chapter Seven – The Way of Grace
- Hands of Light by Barbara Brennan: Chapter 15 – From Energy Block to Physical Disease
- Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
 Brennan, Barbara (1987). Hands of Light. New York: Bantam Books.
 Maté, Gabor (2012). Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder. Toronto: Vintage Canada.
I’ll admit when I wrote this title I cringed. I apologize in advance for getting the song from Frozen, “Let It Go” into your head. Sometimes I will attempt to sing parts of this song to my kids to annoy them. It works well in annoying my kids and doesn’t ever help them let something go.
Let It Go
When this phrase is spoken, the opposite is often felt. Try it out with these phrases:
“He broke your heart, now let him go and move on”
“Yes, that text really angered you, just let it go, that person is a moron and doesn’t know what he’s talking about”
“Your <insert love one’s name> has been gone a long time now. It’s time to let that sadness go and move on”
You can probably add many more examples, and my guess is that each of these statements do not help anyone let anything go. All these phrases could have used the word “I” instead of the word “You” as well. Often there is no one else but us who is telling us to let something go.
The Mythical Switch
We all have things in our life that we want to let go. We’d love to find that switch in ourselves that allowed us to do so, that mythical switch where when we turned it off, and then the feelings we don’t want to feel would change in an instant. Or that behavior switch that would help us change a behavior we wanted to make. Or the thought switch that would help us change our thoughts. I have prayed for this switch and often wish that it was this easy. It’s not.
Intentions are a 2-Sided Coin
Letting something go is an intention that you make either aloud or silently. I have often felt frustrated with the oversimplification of setting intentions in books & articles. I have read too many things where the solution to reducing pain is opening your heart to feel the pain or setting an intention to let something go. An intention will work if it is pure, but when it comes to letting go of something, I would guess that 99% of the time an intention is a “should” in disguise.
A pure intention is when something is true to you in your mind, body, & spirit.
“My intention is to go to France for one year” could be understood as “I want to go to France for a year and I’m going to find a way to do it”. If that’s true, it’s likely to happen. If it’s a, “I should or maybe want to”, it’s much less likely that I will go to France for one year.
Notice that I didn’t put a “let it go” phrase into this example, because that’s much harder to find.
The Silent Should
Usually when I set an intention to let something go, it is a “should” and not a true desire. There is a silent “should” said underneath it.
“My intention is to stop being angry at Veronica” is actually “I should stop being angry at Veronica even though I’m still angry at her”.
How to Sing Let It Go and Really Mean It
- Acknowledge what you want to let go (e.g. anger towards a person)
- Reflect on whether it’s a should or a true desire to change or do something
- If it’s a true desire – it will manifest quickly (sometimes effortlessly and sometimes still needing a lot of effort)
- If it’s a should, then you need to explore what is blocking your desire to let it go
Explore where you’re judging yourself and not being compassionate to what you’re feeling. Start by exploring the reasons why you:
A) Want to let something go
B) Don’t want to let something go
We all have reasons why we want to let something go and at the same time we have reasons why we don’t want to let something go. It may not be rational, but that’s okay. It is essential that we have compassion for both parts of ourselves. There is wisdom and pain in both parts. If we tell the part of ourselves that wants to be angry to be less angry, it’s unlikely to work. If we deeply explore BOTH of those pieces of ourselves, then we are more likely to make a shift and let something go.
Sometimes I can do this process on my own in a journal. Other times I find it helpful to do this with someone in my life who can act as a guide. This person needs to be someone:
- I trust
- Loves me unconditionally or can be non-judgmental with me
- Wants to and has the capacity to really listen to me
Most of the time, I find this easiest done with a therapist because they’re less biased and will spend an hour of devoted time to really sink into an issue. While loved ones may have the capacity to do this with us, I don’t generally recommend it because there are too many wild cards that get in the way (e.g. Kids, relationship issues, positive or negative biases and many more possibilities).
Also, if you explore it further, you will learn that these blocks all started from somewhere in your childhood. A therapist can help you explore these sources and help you shift on your current journey of trying to let something go or changing a behavior.
You may feel overwhelmed reading that the process of letting something go is not so simple, or you may feel relief that it’s possible to let something go without disregarding a piece of yourself. I often feel both overwhelm and relief. Those feelings are a good clue that there’s something to explore. Remember, it’s not a switch, letting go takes time. Sometimes time on it’s own will work miracles and sometimes the passing of time doesn’t help at all. I guarantee if you go through this process that it will be easier to let go of the current situation or will help you when you find yourself in future situations that are similar.
What are you trying to let go?