Healing is an iterative process -
a progressive probing hex
The first step is agony,
followed by a rest
Successive steps improve by the Delta -
Agony minus x
I began healing from sexual abuse when my repressed memories surfaced in 2004. For over two years I was in an iterative process of healing.
The iterations consisted of recovering deeper and deeper memories, processing the memories, and grieving for the child I was.
In the poem I call this process a progressive probing hex ,
The first step of allowing myself to experience the memory was the most painful, which is why I say The first step is agony.
After this first step, I was able to emotionally come up for air briefly, which is what I mean by followed by a rest.
Then, the next iteration would begin. Each iteration yielded a small degree of healing and reduction in pain.
Successive steps improve by the Delta -
To explain this stanza, I will teach you some math.
In mathematical terms, Delta, symbolized by Δ, means a change in a quantity. The quantity in the poem is the agony of the healing process - the progressive probing hex. With each iteration, the amount of agony decreases, which I consider an improvement.
Let's look at the last line:
Agony minus x
An amount that varies is represented by a letter, most often the letter x. The "x" in the poem represents the amount of the improvement, which varies depending on how much healing has occurred in an iteration.
In 2009 I published The Way of Reckoning, a poetry book about the experience of remembering and healing from the abuse.
At the end of the introduction to this book I wrote, "If you have not experienced sexual abuse, I offer this book as insight into the mind and soul of someone who has walked that path and come out on the other side."
I laugh at this now because since then, I have repeated the cycle I experienced in 2004 several times. Each time I was less debilitated than before and recovered more quickly, but I was not completely through the healing process. I am still in that process.
I want to draw your attention to the value of my commitment to hold space for my agony throughout this extended repetitive process. I've talked about holding space before in the Feeling is Healing Inspiration.
When my clients hold space for their feelings, we can then explore possible connections between unhealed wounds and limiting beliefs blocking progress in the present. With this new awareness, the door opens to breaking through the blocks.
Are you facing blocks in your life?
Would you like to explore the possibility these blocks are connected to unhealed wounds?
Are you willing to hold space to feel these wounds?
Reach out to me!
I'm going to do a little something different in this inspiration. Normally, you would see a poem at the beginning and I would weave it into an inspirational message.
However this time, there are three poems I wish to share and much to say about them, so I will show you one at a time and discuss each in turn.
"The One" expresses a life-long longing stemming from my childhood.
"Deaf Until I Listen,"is also related to my childhood, although surprisingly I wrote it prior to my memories of incest surfacing.
"In," is a powerful poem of self-discovery.
I see your face at the end of wait
The one day of someday
The liquid of longing gone past
It is to me the fulfillment of dreams,
the soothing of wounds,
the rising of joy at last
All this would be so,
I know, I know
if your lot with mine
What or who comes to mind for you when you think of The One?
When I wrote this poem and for a long time after, "the one" was the perfect romantic partner with whom to share my life. This person would heal the wounds of my past by filling the gaping whole in my soul with love, affirmation, and affection.
I was certain beyond any doubt that happiness, joy and fulfillment were to be found only in an intimate relationship with such a person. I was also certain that only one person in the world could be my life mate, hence my belief in The One.
In my coach training I learned that
The answers to all questions lie within.
This principle means that when we look inward to ourselves, we find what we are looking for, whatever we are looking for - self-esteem, confidence, the solution to a problem, or the pathway to fulfill a dream to name a few.
This is not to say that relationship with others is not important, but the contribution of those relationships to our life depends entirely on the relationship with self.
The first principle leads to two more:
Each one of us is a perfect unique energy force.
Each of us is greater and wiser than we appear to be.
We come here as complete perfect beings with a seed of self- knowing and self-loving at our center.
That seed grows into consciousness when we look for it where it's always been - inside.
Deaf Until I Listen
I try to make her see it -
this wounded child of mine
Nothing is as it was
There's no reason for the pain
But she is deaf until I listen,
rigid until I yield
all-consuming until I surrender,
lame until I bridge the gap
and walk it back again.
This wounded child of mine refers to my inner child - the part of me that was carrying old pain I hadn't dealt with. She was all-consuming, calling constantly and loudly for my attention. I chose not to listen because I did not want to feel pain.
I tried rationalizing that there was no reason for me to be in pain now because I was out of the situation that caused the pain. Nothing is as it was. There's no reason for the pain. This argument did not hold water with my inner child - she was deaf to me.
I still did not listen. I wanted to feel happy, so I dedicated my attention to finding The One.
I thought I had found The One 10 times. Each time, I tried to inspire love by handing over an emotional blank check, believing I would receive happiness in return.
Each relationship ended in devastation from being rejected. I believed that what I had to offer was not enough to inspire the love I longed for, so I did not deserve it.
I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that I was often in the grips of a depression, which grew deeper with each failed attempt to find The One.
I eventually came to the conclusion that The One does not exist.
This new belief opened my mind to looking elsewhere for happiness.
I began to pay attention to inner child, who had never stopped calling me inward. I finally yielded. I surrendered my abject determination to avoid pain I bridged the gap between us. I listened to her story and felt her pain - my pain.
The pain was all-consuming as I feared it would be, but feeling it, holding space for it, showed me I could heal my hurt myself.
I never thought to live in my house,
To renovate the rooms
I only sought to get out -
To live in something new
Ten times I left, Ten times I built
That house again the same
From breakfast nook to ceiling fan
From brick to window pane
In my rage I tore it down -
Stripped in to the frame
And in the end found myself out
Through a door that opened in
My house in this poem represents me. Renovate the rooms means to work on myself.
Wanting to live in something new represents my desire to leave the self I don't like behind, and find the person I want to be in an outside experience.
The ten times I left that house and built it again the same are the ten unsuccessful attempts to find happiness in a relationship with The One.
I had a custom house built in my twenties. Shortly after moving in I realized that I had designed the house to be exactly like my childhood home - from breakfast nook to ceiling fan, from brick to window pane.
In my rage, I tore it down, stripped it to the frame. Rage at being unable to find what I wanted through The One, led me to abandon the belief that The oneexisted. I let go of the idea that I needed someone else to heal my wounds.
And in the end found myself out through a door that opened in represents the result of working on my relationship with myself by looking inward.
I found out that I am the source of my happiness, I have the ability to heal my wounds and fulfill my dreams.
I am The One.
You are The One in your life too.
Having trouble believing this?
If you are willing to do the hard work of healing, I can help you through coaching.
Reach out to me!
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Joyce Collins is a life coach who specializes in helping women who were sexually abused as a child to transform themselves into confident women who love themselves and lead fulfilling lives.