4 Paths to Heal Old Wounds This Holiday Season
Try these four powerful ways to support self-healing.
We want to experience the holidays as a joyful reminder of all the blessings we have in our lives. However, as much as we strive toward joy, the holidays can be tough for many of us. Old wounds, small and large, often arise during this time of year.
During this season, it becomes even more essential that we:
- Love ourselves,
- Provide ourselves with what we need to enjoy the holidays, and
- Support others to love themselves and to meet their own needs.
If old wounds seem to get in the way of these goals, ask yourself: “For me to accomplish 1, 2, and 3 above, is healing this old wound necessary, right now?”
If your answer is “no,” then consider waiting until the emotionally charged hustle and bustle of the holidays have passed, so that you’ll have more energy, grace, and emotional space to engage fully in your self-healing.
If your answer is “yes,” then I invite you to use the indigenous gift of the Power of Healing to begin the process of dealing with old wounds right now.
Please understand that indigenous healing is not something done to us. It recognizes that we heal ourselves by accessing our internal gift, our own power to heal—and that healing is a process, rather than a one-time event. Indigenous healing focuses on treating the whole person, bringing the physical, emotional, mental, and spirit being into alignment and empowering us to be a life-giving connection to ourselves and to others.
Our sacred gift, the Power of Healing, is meant to be used over and over in our daily lives.
There are many indigenous methods to heal the wounds, hurts, and mistreatment that we’ve experienced. They include talking circles, chanting, dancing, individual and community prayer, being in nature, sweat lodges, and many more healing ceremonies. Each is a form of healing. Through them all, I have found that there are four key elements available to support our healing:
1. Listening. This is necessary for creating and sustaining positive relationships with others and yourself. We listen with the softest part of our ears and with an expanding heart, not with our mouths. Silence is a very real space to acknowledge the wisdom that lies within you and others. We honor our wisdom when we put down our phone, computer, and other gadgets and get still. In that quiet space of listening, we are often able to identify what will be of service to ourselves and to others around us. Listen, listen, and listen some more.
2. Supportive Relationships. From the foundation of listening comes our capacity to build honest, life-giving relationships. These supportive bonds give us the strength to heal what we need to heal in ourselves and to accept support from other beings—people, nature, and spirit. All human beings need community—the continuing presence of a few or many people who see us as a sacred human being, worthy of dignity.
When we carry old wounds and feel unable to release their hold on us, it is our family, friends, coworkers, and others who can provide the undistorted mirror to show us that we are worthy of healing and of experiencing joy. However, if your wound, hurt, or mistreatment has caused you to mistrust others or yourself, then go into nature to help you remember your part in the hoop of life. As we become present to nature, we are able to remember that we have many supportive relationships, and that a primary one is with the earth itself.
3. Unconditional Love. This is our greatest treasure. Each of us is worthy of unconditional love by virtue of being alive. We must find and protect a seed of it inside ourselves. When we are wounded, we may forget that the seed of self-love is always present within us, capable of moving us through hardship to a harvest of learning, growth, and greater compassion for ourselves and others.
Unconditional love nourishes us to grow stronger as we heal without judgment, blame, shame, or separateness. We can give ourselves unconditional love by initiating and deepening our own self-care—eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, and giving ourselves plenty of sleep and dream time.
One further consideration: When we show unconditional love to others, that love also surrounds us and lifts us up. It is a golden road to joy, healing us and creating space for others to heal at every level, too.
4. Committing to Positive Action. Dedicating ourselves to creative, positive action is one way to create and tell our story in a way that focuses on choices we can make. It’s how we can apply unconditional love to ourselves, by always returning intentionally to self-acceptance, happiness, and joy. If you can do the hard work of healing, then ultimately that process leads naturally to peace and joy. Sometimes, we forget that making a positive change requires that we take positive action.
Just like the GPS in your car does not give you directions until you start moving, releasing old wounds does not happen without you being in action. Sometimes, the positive action is directly related to exploring, healing, and releasing the wound. At other times, being in service to others, volunteering your time and resources, and listing daily those blessings you are grateful for, can ultimately create the awareness, energy, and courage to heal old wounds at holiday time or anytime.
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