I recall being somewhat shocked when one of my mentors in trauma healing work, Lisa Schwarz, made a bold statement.
She said that someone could have the most profound trauma healing or spiritual experience, yet if they didn't hold the intention to allow this healing to really change their life then it was basically a waste of time. They may have had the most incredible release of stuck trauma imprints and feel complete relief and transformation in that moment, yet without the intention to integrate this work into daily life, this work would quickly lose its power.
These words were etched into my subconscious, and I can see how they are leading to a shift in how I go about my work with others, and also my own inner personal work.
What, then, makes an intention powerful?
First of all we need to be authentic. We need to dive in and reflect upon what is really important to us, what we really value most and what qualities or gifts we are called to nurture and cultivate. If we only had a month to live and we imagined someone speaking about us at our funeral, what would we wish to be remembered for? If we get stuck with this, perusing a list of universal signature strengths can sometimes help. When we really know ourselves authentically, our intention can then be in alignment with our deepest soul purpose - our true calling. Spirituality can also be a powerful ally here; for example, we may be called to bring the love of Christ into the world, or to aspire to liberate all living beings - as in the beautiful bodhisattva vow in the Buddhist tradition.
Next there needs to be willingness. Are we willing and fearless enough to work through the obstacles and resistance to following our true calling? To feel the fear and just do it anyway? Or is fear blocking us? Fear can have many faces, including:
- fear of change,
- fear of going inside and stepping into pain,
- fear of stepping into our greatness,
- fear of being in our body,
- fear of losing control,
- fear of being an adult,
- fear of trusting oneself or others,
- fear of expressing oneself and being vulnerable,
- fear of being disloyal to someone; or
- fear of making decisive free-will based choices.
Being aware of these fears can be a big step in itself. We can then meet this fear from a place of love, which is also grounded, solid, stable and present. This gives us a precious opportunity to feel and witness where it comes from, take in any insights or messages it may have for us and allow it to release its hold on us as we reassure it that our Adult Self is strong enough to handle it.
For as long as I can remember I held subtle yet ever-present fear of being in my body, which led to me to choose a life which was all about being clever and intellectual yet also gave birth to a lack of physical vitality. After some soul searching I realized I was called to live a different life in which I was more than just an egg head. To move forward in this new direction I had to process and move through this fear of embodiment, which I now know first took root when I entered my mother's womb.
Finally there needs to be committed, embodied action. In other words, our intention should be felt in every cell of our body, every beat of our heart, every breath and every step that we take. There is something really special about taking time out each day - even if is only for five or ten minutes - to remind ourselves of our intention, our deepest purpose and our resolve to work skilfully with any fears or obstacles that arise. We can then give it form, and it can permeate our way of being and acting in the world.
Occasionally, however, we are authentic, willing and truly committed to change, yet we still struggle to get somewhere. This is where we may need to seek help in healing trauma or getting our body to a state of balance where we do feel strong and capable enough to move forward with our own inner work. This is about trusting the inner wisdom of our body - do I need a detox or diet change, acupuncture, medication or perhaps some restorative herbs?
In the context of healing trauma, one of the most powerful allies I have found in people who are really 'stuck' is targeted nutrient therapy. We now know that trauma can actually change how our DNA is expressed (known as epigenetics), which actually magnifies the impact this trauma has on our day to day lives. High doses of certain nutrients can then play a decisive role in bringing our genes back into balance, so making our trauma healing journey much, much easier.
If we have a personality that has always been driven, strong willed and competitive, then a daily dose of samE will often be a godsend. Yet if we tend to be creative, restless, paranoid and unable to stop thinking no matter how much we try to relax, then big doses of folic acid can be a saviour; though it may take over two months before we start feeling its magic. Then if we are super sensitive and prone to uncontrollable outbursts - which often goes together with feeling sick in the morning, skipping breakfast and never remembering dreams - high dose zinc and B6 can be an incredible chill pill. More on this, perhaps, in another blog or video.
In closing, I am hoping that these words inspire you to reconnect with the power of intention - which I truly believe is the centre point in our path to heal trauma and transform our lives for the better. Sometimes it can be a blessing to be part of a group with a shared intention, and if you feel called then I invite you to join our Meditation Monday Zoom Group or Movement Meditation Workshops, where we share our lives in a safe space and meditate together.