Our inner wounds awaken us, and hold the potential of a fuller experience of life. Rather than a burden to be endured, they become life giving when we fully surrender to the wisdom they contain. When we explore the parts of ourselves that we are most frightened by, we have the opportunity to develop tenderness and compassion towards ourselves. In doing so our world expands as this compassion extends towards others that might have experienced similar wounds. If we choose not to walk down these dark spaces within ourselves, our relationships will always present opportunities where our inner wounds are brought to the surface. Inner healing involves removing ourselves from the everyday and stepping into a metaphorical cave where we encounter ourselves, the parts that we know and the unknown wounded and most vulnerable self. A healing process that allows us to accept all parts of ourselves fully, allows a fluidity of movement to occur between polarities of experience, as we become less stuck in one way of being.
When we can accept ourselves as being who we are rather than trying to be something we are not, we become less fixed. A sense of grace emerges within us when we accept our own emotional responses as being valid. We feel and respond to the world as guided by our inner felt experience, articulating what we need in the here and now. When we allow ourselves to fully accept parts of ourselves that have been kept hidden from the world, we have more of an opportunity bring ourselves more fully into the world. When I began to accept my inner world as valid, I found the ground by which I could begin to understand and articulate my inner experience. I found by articulating a compassionate language of understanding helps to bring loved ones closer particularly in times of conflict, and anger. In some healing and spiritual practices there can be a focus on negating strong emotions. To negate them is like shutting part of our inner world down, we become removed and disengaged from the world. Emotions are part of the experience of being fully human and alive, they are genuine responses of inner world, and beyond rationalised understanding.
Like embarking on a voyage across an ocean the process of going inwards to heal ourselves is much easier, and safer if we are with an experienced guide. One who can navigate, but allows you to captain your own ship. A therapist is like a navigator, in that they value your wisdom and insight into what is the right course for you to take. Like embarking on an ocean voyage I found the therapy space was like departing a familiar harbour and sailing into the open ocean. Therapy spaces are liminal, sacred and creative, where creative possibilities abound for exploring and trying out new ways of being. The therapist can offer an encounter where we can explore what was missing for us, but more importantly allows us to create and develop new worlds through the language of relationship. Where, in the here and now we can articulate our immediate experience in relationship with another. The right therapeutic support enables a change in relationship to experiences that left us feeling incomplete. This type of support allows us to experience what we were unable to do outside in our lives. We can explore how it feels to be angry when it wasn’t safe to do so, allow our grief to soften us, we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable to the unknown, and to say no when something doesn’t feel OK for us.
The therapy space becomes a womb a place where we can grow, where our wounds become our guide. It becomes a spiritual path where we encounter negotiate, and seek to understand fierce emotions in a safe place. Rather than retreating by shutting down we become more unburdened, spontaneous, and present as we learn to accept our emotions as valid reflections of our inner world. When we are able to traverse between the duality of experience, we allow a fluidity of emotions rather than feeling stuck. We have the potential to become fully realised human beings, where we can dance and flow with the joy and sorrow of life with grace and tenderness. Our inner wounds are signposts to us from our inner world, which are about opening us up to the fullness of life.
Richard Prince is a Sydney based Gestalt Psychotherapist in private practice. He works with clients that are interested in developing their inner wisdom, to create a life of meaning, purpose, and fulfilling relationships. He has trained in the United States and in Australia, completing a degree in Architecture, and holds Masters Degrees in Social Ecology and Gestalt Psychotherapy. He balances his therapy practice with life in the professional business world as a creative practitioner, as a father, a husband, and as a full time human being.