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‘Only a wounded physician can hope to heal’

‘Only a wounded physician can hope to heal’

Only a wounded physician can hope to heal.

— Carl Jung.

The seed was sown in Utah April 2019, and now perhaps, I can see that seed growing into a sprout. When it comes to feeling and reflecting on pain, it cracks like a seed, and suddenly it is out of seed jacket. But once it is cracked, you don’t have any control, you just have to watch and see where it takes/guides you. Losing control is the best drug prescribed by the spiritual and self-help community. So follow its guidance and you won’t go astray

In April 2019, I attended the Completion Process Certified Practitioners training and after that life has never been the same. I have this intuitive feeling that something happened to me and it turned me (up) open to feeling feelings, especially pain and grief, that I was suppressing deep in my brain’s uncharted dungeon, don’t know since how long. But my gut says that I used to intelligently cope with numbing out pain and grief throughout my youth and adult life. Giving myself the message that there is no pain and hence not feeling it is the best possible way to bypass it.

But my conscious mind wasn’t aware that the emotional bypass is about to crumble. The intelligent strategy serving me for decades will no longer be able to hold its root within me.

It all started when all the participants were having a photo session with Teal. It was a lovely afternoon, the cool breeze and warmth of sunshine on skin was utterly soothing. Everyone was excited and bubbling with energy, however, I could sense the hint of melancholy and nostalgia was creeping in from the backdoor as the moment to departure was not that far.

Group photo of CPCPs with Teal Swan

Teal was writing personalized messages through energetic readings of us on the copies of books presented to her. The best moment for me was when I was finally able to hug her and feel her presence for the first time. She wrote on my copy of Completion Process book: ‘help the people you know you are meant to help’. She underlined the word meant.

Message by Teal
Best part, the hug

My heart was bursting with positive energy and was filled with mixed emotions after reading this message. I was finding it difficult to hold space for such an outburst of energy and emotions. I could not believe I was capable enough. I had no background in healing or trauma recovery. But internally, I felt that the universe has chosen me for an important work on this planet, which is healing people’s wounds, I found my life purpose. As I reflect today writing this piece, Teal’s hug and the message was a seed sown within me by the universe – the seed of feeling feelings and helping others to do the same.

But as gold has to go through a rough and wearisome process of sortation, purification, refinement and polish, a healer has to go through the same process. Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, once said before his death that only a wounded physician can hope to heal. 

Carl Jung’s pencil sketch

While everybody was busy getting their messages, pictures and hugs with Teal, I heard from a friend that Sky (another friend of mine) has been offered to work with Teal. She had a face to face conversation with him since he is intuitively an excellent facilitator of Completion Process. A part of me was happy for Sky since not only he an excellent facilitator but also a down earth human being. He has this ability to pull your buried emotions out and bring them onto your hands so that you can nurse and validate them.

Me & Sky (left), Alegra & Megan (right) at Park City, Utah

But at the same time, this news triggered me like hell. I felt a huge inner lack of something, I was feeling being cringed around my solar plexus/pit of my stomach, I wasn’t sure at first place what is happening to me. Now as I reflect back on the situation, I realize I was envious. The inner child within me was yelling ‘why not me, why him’ or/and ‘I want to be loved like this, and nobody else’. My friend Erik nailed this feeling in a video chat while I was explaining what was happening to me.

The wound of lack of love and not being cared for was wide open in front of me and I was reluctant to go into it, see it and feel it. I was curling in pain because of internal resistance. I began to cry like a child. It was deep, I could feel it in my belly. I felt that I was a three-year-old again emotionally. The observer aspect of me was watching all this from above like a light. Another aspect of me was commenting: ‘this is so unlikely. I am seeing this person after a long time’. While the internal evaluator was cringing and covering all what was happening inside: ‘nobody should see me losing my sanity’. 

I went into the house and I sat on the sofa. I called Fatima, my wife, and narrated what was going on with me. She validated my emotions. But I could not stop crying. That aspect of me was so inconsolable. There were many people sitting around me. The internal evaluator tried again to alter me: ‘look people are sitting you have to be control’. But this time, I asked him to stay with me and let it happen because it is healing and there is nothing to worry about. They all are going through similar situation. As we say in Urdu, my local language, ‘everyone is naked in the bath’.

Fatima

What happened next was totally surprising. But at the same time the aspect of me which was heartbroken knew it would happen. I don’t know whether you can discern this situation that I am describing.

While I was about to finish my call with Fatima, I sensed Teal was having a conversation with my friend Erik. He was sitting on a chair couple of feets away from the sofa where I was sitting.

Me & Erik

When I hung up the phone, Teal approached me and sat on her knees in front me and said ‘what is happening with you’. She held my hand and rolled her fingers around my wrist. It felt like checking my pulse. Initially, I wobbled and couldn’t hold my breath. I was barely able to recognize for a while what was happening. I quickly offered her to sit by my side but she said it was ok and she continued asking me the question.

In our cultural tradition (Indian and Pakistan), I have seen only Hakims (traditional healers) holding wrist like this and offering diagnosis. In some cases, since women were not allowed to be touched by Hakims because of cultural norms, I have heard that they used to tie a thin thread around wrist of women. The thread then was used by the Hakims to check their pulses. Hakims are not that popular nowadays in the modern day Pakistan. But still a considerable section of population relies on traditional medicine even today.

I was so tensed and said to her that I was missing something, a lack of something. I was so shy that I did not tell the entire story. She asked about my relationships, especially, with women. I described how I always craved for my mother and did not get the love and affection I needed from her. In addition, my ex-girlfriend dumped me over a fight and never came back. But my wife is supportive and caring.

She asked me whether I remember any related memory. I said I don’t. Then she asked me to consider an example which may help me to trace back the feeling signature. She proposed me to think of a grocery store where I walked in as a child, encountered a woman, and suddenly she walked away. This ‘going way’ may have a lasting effect on me. After giving this example, she proposed that I should only receive a CP session today. She personally paired me up with Sky and he facilitated a wonderful CP session for me.

The entire interaction was so healing and special for me that I will not able to forget it.

My love and affection for Teal incrementally increased over time, not because of her extrasensory abilities. But for who she really is as a person. The pain and suffering she went through at a young age and then breaking out of years of abuse is a constant inspiration for me. 

As I am reflecting back, I can only emphasize how important it is to hold space for our own shadows and emotions as healers in making as we embark upon the healing of others.

Becoming CPCP is not a license to heal others. But it is a commitment towards diving deep into our own shadows and emotions so as to understand and feel others; and to mirror back their truth as is, without being politically correct. The road to healing begins with healing our own wounds side by side as we help others heal. Taking advantage of the universal law of mirroring/attraction, when we integrate, we cannot live without helping others integrate.

The healing moon, Herriman, Utah

Embracing the Whore within us!

The whore is an important symbol of a human consciousness archetype. It represents the lover energy; the relentless passion and creative force among human beings whether you are a man or a woman. It is not a sexist and masochist symbol for dehumanizing women and their sexuality.

The whore has been consciously dehumanized and stereotyped. The well celebrated authors from Indian subcontinent – Saadat Hasan Manto and Ismat Chughtai- perhaps are the most influential literati from twentieth century, who made effort in this way by penning real life stories in Urdu language. They tried to show that when the whore is not integrated it can bring on malaises on sociopolitical cultural and economic levels. The entire social structure is influenced. For instance, imagine the year 1942, the provocative short story ‘Lihaaf’ (“The Quilt”) by Ismat Chughtai surfaces for the first in the literary circles. The story weaves narrative of an underground bisexual relationship of a young married girl and her husband. They are attracted towards same gender but the context is strictly heterosexual and denounces any hint of bisexual tendencies. Both suffocated and powerless in the hands of their sexual orientations, ends up having painful transient sexual relationships.

The drum circle

I thought of this today, when I attended a conference on scholarship of teaching and learning in my university. I attended a very stimulating session on how to teach large classes in the morning. The tea break was fantastic. I was able to meet many old and new colleagues. I was patting myself from inside as my ability to connect with people flourished. Before the keynote address, there was an interesting session titled ‘drum circles’. Drum circles are all about listening and playing different rhythmic patterns using a drum. The facilitator was serving as a guide. He invited different people on stage to do it. I volunteered which is not my normal behavior. Generally, I avoid such things and stay on my own, despite the fact that a part of me always wants to join in. But today, I broke this barrier and jumped into it. It was totally healthy. I just committed to it.

Picture courtesy – Azra Naseem

While I was on stage and playing drums with other people, I was looking at the faces in the auditorium. All the different individuals were clapping as we were playing. I saw strange dichotomy in their experiences. As if a part of them wanted to enjoy, and another part was not allowing them to fully immerse in the experience. They were drudgingly smiling and clapping. This dichotomy was especially true for the people in leadership positions and higher ups. The younger audience was in flow and enjoying every moment. I myself could also feel resistance to performing, but I was taking this resistance with me during the performance. When I saw those people in the audience clapping and smiling and apparently enjoying the performance, it felt at the same time as a part of them was humiliating them for doing so; as if it was unwanted but since they were there, they had to deal with it. A sense of rigidity was displaying on their faces. I guess we all carry an internal evaluator that dominates our behavior. It’s the perfectionist Madonna side of us that corrects us and establishes mannerism in us in public settings.

The Madonna–Whore complex

The interaction I observed today reminds me of the Madonna–Whore complex in psychoanalytic literature, which is pretty well established and to me it is applicable in our day to day lives. The Madonna is very disciplined, pure, well-mannered and a cultured being. She is always on time; a go getter; achieves goals; carry herself properly in public; have public emotional balance; well articulate etc. We all carry this Madonna in us; every one of us whether we are men or women. This is the aspect of our personalities which is highly celebrated and sought after in our cultures. The Madonna helps us carry out our daily chores effectively and makes us functional.

The other side of this polarity – the Whore – is too distant; and a side we are all afraid of and judgmental about. We think: this side shouldn’t be my public face otherwise; it would be too bad. The Whore-side is seductive and messy; it doesn’t comply to norms; rather it enjoys breaking it. But guess what, it cannot be avoided. We all carry this Whore inside us as well. The healthy confrontation you see; the art piece you encounter; the music you enjoy; the scientific discovery you rejoice in the newspaper; the hearty connection you see between friends; and the untiring commitment of social workers to serve communities. The Whore is everywhere if you see. But we seldom recognize it both externally and internally. The Madonna functions for others; but the Whore operates for the self. Symbolically, if the Madonna is the mind then the Whore is the heart. 

When the whore is denounced malaises will appear

The way we are cultured, we are told to shame this Whore aspect and adore the Madonna. Push the darker side away and embrace the brighter one. Perhaps that’s what I experienced. Everyone in the audience, including me, were perhaps shaming their Whores inside who wanted to enjoy and have fun at least once in a while; but the Madonna was resisting: ‘you are not supposed to enjoy in public, you are a teacher, a manager, or a dean of a school or department. Enjoying oneself is a taboo. Enjoying oneself is allowed to students because of their age and context. But doesn’t look nice on teachers. The respect is at stake if we do it publically’.

But you know, the Whore-side cannot be suppressed. It naturally flows towards where it wants to move through our bodies; it doesn’t care what social norms are and what religions think about it. It has got strength and potency of the will. It comes from back doors if we don’t give space to it consciously; it remains insatiate and can manifest itself in some ugly ways. This is where the problem begins as the famous eighteen century poet Mirza Ghalib from Indian subcontinent once said:

paate nahīñ jab raah to chaah jaate haiñ naale

When it doesn’t find a proper outfall, the stream overflows and inundates the fields

Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869)

A healthy expression of the Whore energy looks like this: emotionally safe and secure communes and neighborhoods; inventions, social and technological innovations, discoveries, artistic and scientific expressions that improves material and emotional life on earth; allows its expression in its entirety while embracing all its lighter and darker shades of life with compassion. When you play with your dog that moment is an expression of the whore energy. When you feel seen and heard by your friends or family members the whore energy gets satiated. When you have fun with your loved ones and go out for a long walk, the whore feels good too inside you. A stranger smile at you and greets you on street that’s where the Whore comes into play. She comes alive when you dance and play. It’s that simple. The Whore’s consciousness is consciousness of following one’s joy and one’s personal truth rather than what we learn from socializing.

By this definition the disintegrated Whore energy creates havoc in the world. It arises in sexual objectification of women and men when sensuality and erotic love is not given its due place in practicing healthy sexuality and is condemned for being in our bodies. When this happens, we tend to deny its existence and self-loath it to the core as if it doesn’t belong to our instinctual legacy. Marginalization of sexual minorities is another example that stems from this self-loathing energy. The expressions of this suppressed energy are not just limited to sexuality and sex, it pervades across all life situations. For example, a choice deprived child typically learns to fulfill its needs through manipulating other people’s actions and behaviors. He/she turns out to be an unhealthy codependent adult leaning towards addiction, crime, blaming or rejecting others in relationships as most codependents do. Because, he/she was not allowed to develop his/her sense of self initially. Sense of self from human consciousness perspective is energy. If you don’t allow energy to move. It takes its own course either good or bad, depending on what channels are available for it to flow.

In fact, many of sociopolitical crisis, man-made and natural disasters of our times are also culmination of this disintegrated energy. As the individual and relationships are affected by this disintegrated energy so does the collective. Because the disintegrated Whore is also our collective unconscious expressed in shadow ways. Imagine a society where isolation and loneliness is a major issue. Rate of suicides, depression and anxiety among people are high (though it is not that hypothetical a case and we all know these kinds of societies do exist on this planet earth). These societies are mostly competitive and deep human connections and intimacy are not a priority both at individual and collective level. In this psychological context it is probable that the energy of the people goes into defining how separate and distinct they are from other individuals, societies and civilizations; especially in a boasting way. And this can also be true for many developing countries of the world not all to quote as an example. Because having a separate sense of nation or civilization allows you to wage war and do atomic detonations on other who are not like you and in fact are ‘inferior’; the ‘culprits’ and the ‘problem-makers’. Then the cruel inhuman scientific experimentations are also justified in the name of human and scientific progress; knowledge development for the health and well-being of humanity. The entire history of colonization of the world (by any nation) is perhaps also the history of collective unconscious expressed through shadow side of the Whore. There is an African proverb posted by the BBC News Africa on twitter by Thomas Ayeni, from Calgary, Canada that says:

top-quote.com

The ancient societies were and are aware of the nuances of human consciousness and its energetic expressions. The possible act of burning by a disconnected child from its village is the disintegrated energy of Whore. The recent American psychological thriller film Joker (2019) is an apt representation of shadow side of the Whore energy. But the point is what is causing the Whore to disintegrate?

The underlying problem at hand is that the counterpart of the Whore – the Madonna – is in resistance to the Whore. She hates the Whore; she wants to cut her off because the Whore brings her shame in the external world. She wants to get rid of her because the Whore brings disgrace. But the Madonna doesn’t know that the Whore is her indispensable part in the first place. It is inevitable for her. The existence of Madonna is reliant on healthy existence of the Whore and vice versa. She cannot cut her off; both are indivisible; in fact, they are one. Negative socialization has made Madonna her enemy and hence the battle; the resistance within us. Do we all feel it? Do we? Can you feel it now? Yes, we do. When we are born, it is not like that. They are part and parcel of each other’s existence. It is co-creative dance which we all enjoy. But as we grow older the ugliness creeps in.

For us to gain sanity, it is important to integrate the Whore in ourselves. Without the Whore, the Madonna is incomplete and shallow; and vice versa is also true. The Whore is creative and energetic force in us that must be integrated in our social lives. The Whore is a must, otherwise every social interaction is a mundane job; a task on the checklist; a ritual to be performed. The Whore brings passion and excitement in mundane activities. It brings vigor and enticement. It brings love energy if combined with Madonna. We need both dancing together as they were initially in our childhoods.

https://images.app.goo.gl/SbyjhgZXRHtxjJUT6

Humanizing the whore

The idea of resisting the Whore is not new, it is an ancient mythohistoical theme if one goes back to the Hindu legend of the Shiva (the great god and protector from darker and evil spirits) and his lingam – the phallus. The legend has it that Shiva was wandering through his sanctuary while displaying his phallus publicly. The sages around the sanctuary were so frantic that they bound Shiva and castrated him completely. Shiva’s penis as the legend describes turned into a blistering missile and warned to destroy all the three worlds (haven, hell, and earth). Gauging the situation, the sages quickly wanted to strike rapport with Shiva but they were failed to do so and approached Brahma (the creator god) to intervene. Brahma sharply rebuked the act of sages and said now there is no use of reconnecting the penis with Shiva’s body; unless it is put to rest somewhere it is bound to destroy the entire universe. The sage asked for forgiveness and invoked the energy of Shakti (the divine goddess). Finally, as a resolve, the goddess offered her womb to engulf Shiva’s lingam and eventually to rest. The power of all-encompassing womb was such that the lignum’s energy got counterbalanced. It is said that the mystical union between Shiva and Shakti saved the universe from destruction.

Shiva lingam
https://images.app.goo.gl/NCoL1sNC6yPM7EmU9

Metaphorically speaking, this legend tells us that the whore-consciousness (attempt of the sages to emasculate the penis) has deliberately been obliterated and consciously whipped out from universal consciousness. This is common in other examples as well. Sometimes through Adam’s mistake of eating the forbidden fruit (the Bible and the Quran) and sometimes out casting the poet from the affairs of the state (Plato’s the Republic). The lesson to learn from the end is to reclaim the essence of the whore in our conscious awareness. The way to save the earth from destruction is the divine union of Madonna and Whore; and not just sublimation of one over the other.

The energy of Whore is universal not just limited to human world. It is also present in the consciousness of plant and fungi kingdom. A recent paper published by an ecologist in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences mentioned that “for a plant to thrive, it needs the help of a friendly fungus – preferably the one that will dig its way deep into the cells of the plant’s roots.” To common human perception, fungus is a living organism considered harmful and causes infection. But for plants a colony of fungi is an important link between plant, soil and nutrients uptake. The network of fungi transmutes helpful nutrients from soil for plant consumption. Although they do not belong to the plant species but plant’s vitality, strength, color of its leaves, and health of the fruit etc. depends on how well these living organisms are organized around its roots. The point to ponder in this example is that the plant doesn’t rejects fungi as separate living being but it embraces and capitalizes on its strength.

Some fungi trade
https://images.app.goo.gl/L2UuutbxVuMnc1DT7

The whore – being an energy outside of awareness – has done devastations and brought destruction on earth. It doesn’t do us any good coming through the back doors. It hasn’t served us in a good way that society has once thought it would do. The social logic of society has run through us many dangers than protecting us from dangers.

We are told that the whore is bad; it is evil and it is an epitome of vulgarity and moral debasement. By doing so, it has turned to be counter-productive. Disintegrating and mocking the whore has brought us at a stage where morality and values are just institutions of social prostitutions. You spend some bucks and here you go. Books will give evidences of your piety and chastity. This is vulgar and nude for me.

The whore is the primary vibration that the current state of human consciousness need to balance itself and it is the sole marker of expansion and growth of the same (as I am typing whore on cell phone, the auto-type turns it into white, this is the degree of separation and disintegration it has in our conscious awareness). We are avoiding this quintessence so much that we have tuned against it within and outside. We condemn it whenever it emerges in its true form.

We negate the whore when we focus outcome only and forget the process; we hate the whore when we embrace the physical form of the ritual and negate the essence of it; we turn against it when we reduce a public health intervention into a mere research trial; we go against it when we pull out humanity from anything. We push away the whore when the manager separates emotions from the task to be done; we push away the whore when we demarcate God from Satan.

The lesson we are to learn from this is that we must embrace the darkness to come into light! Love is a natural manifestation when both Madonna and Whore dance together in our internal and external realities.


Emotions intuitive and consciousness worker

I was born to a typical South Asian family and as one could have imagined was super enmeshed. I was deeply wounded from narcissistic abuse especially by my father, grand mother and uncles living together in the same household. I soon lost my sense of boundaries and self. I was highly emotionally neglected and always felt unloved and abandoned, with zero sense of belonging in the family. I went through extreme loneliness and depression in my youth. A broken love affair pushed me towards spirituality and figuring out ‘what is wrong with me’.

Since 2018, when I was first stumbled upon Teal Swan and saw these patterns governing my life, my entire adulthood has become a struggle to recover from emotional neglect, codependency, loneliness and enmeshed boundaries. But at the same time, I feel compelled to share what I am learning and have learned while being in the recovery process with people who really want to end the apparently never ending toxicity in relationships.

I want to share that we all have the power to re/create our own realities and life is not deterministic as it appears to us. Our deepest trauma in the hindsight can be our deepest strength to shape our worlds.

I am a Completion Process Certified Practitioner; Certified Humanistic Counselor accredited by the CPCAB, United Kingdom; and pursing PhD in Sociology, which is really helping me to understand how trauma is a socially constructed phenomenon from cross cultural and comparative perspective.

Healing for me is a partnership between the healer and the healee, the conventional therapist-client relationship does not apply, as both take ownership of the healing process and strive for fulfillment and resolution.

Writing blogs about my personal journey and my interactions with clients helps me reflect and further strengthened my practice as a personal coach. Through my writings I want to connect with like minded people; share what my excellence is; and help people those who need it the most.

I can be contacted on integration.process@gmail.com

Reconnect. Integrate. Thrive

Unraveling the story of my internal resistance to powerlessness

Disclaimer: this narrative contains use of explicit language and description of sensitive aspects of author’s life. Therefore, parental advice and other cautionary restrictions are advisable. The purpose of writing this piece is not injure, hurt or disrepute identity of any individual, group, community or institution mentioned. The intent is purely therapeutic, personal growth and development. The author will not take responsibility of any unforeseen harm that may be caused by it. It is advisable to consult a trained practitioner in the field before attempting any practice mentioned in the narrative.    

The trigger

It’s Friday evening. I am back home from work; relaxing on my bed and watching my favourite thing: Teal Swan’s Synchronization Workshop. I don’t remember exactly when it gripped me. I was in its spell without me knowing it. I was suddenly surrounded with clouds of numbness and found

myself sinking into a void. ‘I am so familiar with this sensation; I know it since I don’t know how long now’ I later realized. ‘Not again’ I said to myself when it took me over and I was really triggered.

How the hell was I triggered in the first place? As I set about to rewind, it suddenly occurred to me that my father was vehemently yelling at a person on his phone a couple of minutes before. He was swearing like a slum fella, constantly threatening the other guy with his powers, prowess, and his networks to make an impression about what he could do to him.

The coping strategy

Even sensing the trigger and gaining some awareness, the void feeling didn’t diminish and I was reluctant to focus my conscious awareness on it. I was constantly avoiding going deep into it which is so familiar and yet strange. I was continuously distracting myself the whole evening and the next day until I was so frustrated that I finally decided to move into it.

I closed my eyes and focused my consciousness on my bodily sensations. But soon I got entangled with my thoughts. I was totally confused and lost. Tension and tightness began to build up. I was engulfed by the flood of anxiety. It felt like blood was gushing in my head. I had no clue to what was happening to me. But my body alerted me something was going wrong. I immediately stopped doing Emotional Vipassana[1] and came back to conscious perspective. I was feeling so helpless and powerless; to release this unwanted feeling.

I distracted myself with reading, watching porn, masturbating, watching crappy stuff on YouTube; and commenting and helping people on Teal Tribe and the Completion Process Community on Facebook. This pattern of mine runs more or less like an addiction. Now I can really appreciate, feel and see what most addicts might go through on a daily basis to avoid pain which is actually a result of this internal resistance which not many psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists are able to recognize and deal with. Some people may find it strange to believe how helping people and reading can be addictive. But it is true. Addiction is not just about alcoholism; it can be about anything that keep your conscious mind away from the original pain.  

Resisting the resistance

On Saturday evening, I was in an absolute state of restlessness. The pain was never ending. Fatima (my wife) and I decided to go out for dinner. I hoped that going out, sitting in an open space would help me to ease out a bit so that my muddled mind could have a needed respite and change. I ordered ginger milk tea, checked my smartphone and randomly came across a post by Teal Swan on the global CPCP group. It was a response to a CPCP. She said:

“You’re missing something… you don’t need to do CP in this moment on money or relationships… It needs to be on the feeling that no matter what you do, nothing will ever change! That is the pattern that is stuck and unresolved and therefore keeping your vibrations the same.”

This comment just struck me. What sort of patterns am I stuck in and that are unresolved, no matter what I do? Taking these questions back to my life when I look around I find that whenever I make an effort to do something, I go a little forward, then something happens to me and I am back to square one. This is a repetitive pattern and a loophole that I feel I am stuck in. From this perspective, life for me is hell hard; and everything has to be earned and deserved before I get it. There is no easy way out for me.

During these reflections a guy that was channeled by Teal in her Portland Synchronization Workshop 2019 expectedly waved through my mind. The channeled part reacted as if in his life he had experienced a very traumatic accident, and a part of him was in utter shock, stuck right there and seized in time. And from then onwards this shocked self was still there; watching that site in an apathetically awed way; and was never able to join him in the present. While I was thinking about that guy and his shocked self at the dinner table, I was already into this feeling.

A Dutch Dogger Carrying Away her Sprit | Stanfield, William Clarkson R.A

When I checked into my sense of stuckness, I found it very close to that shocked self. But I wasn’t sure ‘why the hell am I resisting to feel this feeling?’ I gathered that the answer to my question was in my very question: I was gifted with this thought/revelation that I already knew but haven’t organically experienced it through my being: I WAS ACTUALLY RESISTING MY RESISTANCE 😀

That thought just opened up a mysterious dungeon in me, but I had no access to it. But now, I felt like a new stream of energy was injected within me. The pressure in the pressure cooker was suddenly off. I said to myself, it was so simple and ‘out there’ but my vision was blurred by the fog of resistance and I was recurrently failing to see it. Within this new awareness, I quickly posted my situation on ‘Julia’s inner child playground and healing community’ and asked for help and validations. I was so exhausted and drained by the time that I didn’t want to bear it alone anymore. I also scheduled a Skype call with Claire Morisseau, a CPCP to help me unpack my resistance. I wasn’t able to sleep the entire night and was constantly shifting sides.

The realization

On Sunday night, Claire, my friend, channeled[2] into her guide to help me understand this subconscious side of mine. Her guide said that an aspect of me is frozen in time somewhere. It is immensely stressed out and it needs to be calmed down. This aspect needs to be treated as if it is a separate individual within me; I need to understand this part, comfort it, be gentle on it; share my unconditional presence with it; and take measures to provide a feeling of safety to it. The guide also proposed ways that I can use to provide comfort and safety.

Initially, I wasn’t able to relate to the guide’s messages. But when I started to examine my life and asked where and in what ways I seek comfort and safety, things began to reveal itself. And finally, to my surprise, I could see how in round-about-ways I seek comfort and safety in my relationships, in my work, and in places I go for leisure. It dawned upon me that there is a big split within myself. My vulnerable-self really feels powerless and hopeless about worldly situations and is in dire need of comfort and safety. But my shame-self, shaped by my family and peer socialization, doesn’t believe that one should feel this way because ‘real men never cry’ and they are ‘brave like a lions’. I vividly remember my childhood memories when I used to be ridiculed and labelled as a ‘phusan’ (literally, an arrant coward) by my father, uncles and other cousins when I used to cry.

In contrast, my protector-self wants to achieve financial independence and experience abundance. Feeling powerlessness is an absolute crap, it is a deviation from his standpoint from the pragmatic agenda. In fact, it hates feeling powerlessness because it is a ridiculous thing to feel. And it does not want to be that arrant coward. A major task of this aspect is to constantly bully shame-selves to be ‘on track’ and don’t go into feeling such shit.[3]  With this new awareness, the whole internal dynamics of mine was getting clearer and clearer to me.

For the sake of adding fun to this story and for those who are from South Asian background, I want to give these splits a desi (literally ‘local’) touch. Here I would like to introduce three famous characters of a grand Indian epic movie from the 1960s called ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ (The Great Mughal Emperor). These characters precisely represent that ongoing internal tug of war.

Salim is the one and only son of the emperor and represents vulnerable-self. He is looking for unconditional loving presence and care but cannot find it in his immediate familial realities. But he finds his love of life in shape of a court dancer called Anarkali, symbolizing my shame-self. Anarkali also loves Salim but feels powerless in the hands of social norm and cultural ideologies because a court dancer cannot be a prince’s bride. She carries these seeds of doubts but also cares for Salim’s feelings. Salim’s father, on the other hand, the great grand emperor Akbar, is duty bound to his dynasty and his rules, and acts like my protector-self. He despises the lover affair to his core and considers it an ancestral breakdown. Knowing that his son (my vulnerable aspect) is going to ruin everything, he plots an ugly scheme. He drugs Salim in the middle of night (numbing out any feelings) and summons his soldiers to brick Anarkali up in between four walls so that she peacefully succumbs to death on her own. While Salim was given the impression that Anarkali has betrayed him and has gone forever. 

New awareness and release

This internal tug of war had not been visible to me in my entire life. I became curious to search for answers to these questions: why am I unconsciously seeking comfort and safety? What happened to me in my childhood that made me lose my sense of security? Which emotional wounds are causing me to seek comfort in women, pleasure, and helping others? What are the positive intentions behind distracting myself into certain additions (reading, helping, knowing one’s self, seeking pleasure in watching porn etc.)?

As I recollected, powerlessness, hopelessness and despair appeared to be perennial emotional themes in my life, especially around feelings of hurt and resentment. I am deeply, deeply hurt by not having gotten my need for comfort, safety, and unconditional loving care met from my mother. I have always craved for this and still crave it like an infant. The narcissistic abuse from my father robbed every single drop of self-concept that I had in my childhood. Love for me, was and is for certain aspects of mine, a transaction. When I tried to fulfil my emotional, social and physical needs, I had to enslave myself, and therefore I was never able to fulfil them. Perhaps a part of me still needs and wants his approval. I became hyper alert about what people thought and felt about me instead of what felt good to me. My entire adult life is nothing but a retelling of my childhood story, which I now begin to make sense of. But the sad part to me is not these feelings and emotions but the coping mechanism I learned to adapt into in order to resist those feelings and emotions. That’s the deadly mechanism that is hard to detect and heal. I gather that emotions such as powerlessness are neither good nor bad. They are just emotions. It is the pressure on man to be masculine and to perceive vulnerability as weak that causes most of the pain and creates resistance.  

In the beginning, I wasn’t aware of this internal tug of war and was constantly trying to push it away or bulldoze it. Even the intention of doing CP was a huge trap. Subconsciously, I wanted to fix this aspect of mine; because I so much hated it; I resented it for not letting me do what I wanted to do in life; I really wanted to settle the records with this part once and forever; I was done with years of fighting and battling. I was complaining to my vulnerable self that it doesn’t listen to the kind of struggle I have to go through on a daily basis – the pretend game, just to keep surviving on this harsh planet. Why can’t he just end this fucking piece of loose shit. If he is to stuck here we won’t be able to leave this shitty place of my father and that crappy job that I so fucking hate.

Once I was able to access the internal dialogue between my vulnerable and protector self, the ice began to melt on the iceberg.

Melting of the ice

On Monday morning, I received an unexpected guest in the office, a senior student of mine. He shared his frustration with me about the university system and how powerless he feels in his life after his mother’s demise. His daughter is also ill and he has been advised by a close friend to see a psychiatrist for a personal issue. He said he used Prozac for few days but immediately stopped taking it because of effects it was making on his mind and body. He is a sensitive being and couldn’t stop crying when I tried to validate his feelings. He hugged me when he departed.

Same day in the evening, I was wrapping up my stuff to leave from office. A female student came and shared her apprehension around conducting research. She was nervous and thought that she won’t be able to make it. Tears were bursting into her eyes. I helped her in fine tuning her research questions and her proposal began to take shape. She was quite guilty of ‘taking so much of my time’ and was afraid of my expectations towards her thesis. Shame was the primary emotion I sensed that she was struggling with. She was helpless in changing this pattern of social relationships when I further probed into her.

When I reached home, I began reflecting on these two incidents. Why did I attract these two people today who cried in front me and with more or less same issue? They were quite vulnerable about their feelings in front me. It has never happened in my whole life in this department. I was wondering, have I integrated something? Is that why I can see in others what I am going through? My heart hesitantly said YES, they were the messengers telling me that I have attempted to embrace my vulnerability, and by doing so also endeavoured to own my protector self.

From then onwards I felt that a subtle shift had taken place in me. I couldn’t stop crying when this realisation of what happened to me since my childhood soaked in. I could see wounds on both the aspects of myself. ‘I should treat myself in a gentler way’ was the immediate thought went across my head. At that point of time, I felt an out pour of new energy within, of taking care of these aspects, whether they will heal or not. I must take their responsibility. A wave of natural compassion towards these parts is heading up. The more I see them, the more I am drawn towards connecting with them.

Postword

The medical and human sciences field have failed to eliminate human suffering to date. The reason being their inability to engage with the reality of internal fragmentation and resistance between different aspects of selves. As public health professional, I have seen many mega and multibillion research and development projects having zero or limited impact on people’s health and wellbeing at the grassroots level. Normally, once the funding gets over, their so called ‘impact’ that is shown on papers and reports start to crumble. It is not just me telling you what happens, it is well documented and established phenomenon with evidence base. And once they fail to make any difference, the blame game begins instead: the poor is blamed for being in the poverty; women are being blamed for being in their victimhood mentality; and mentally ill people are blamed for being lazy and self-sabotaging.

Very few people, programs and places are really interested in unravelling what is happening inside a human being on an emotional, energetic and vibrational level; and really appreciate why people are who they really are at the first place; and why they reject behavioural change strategies that we so enthusiastically apply; and why exorbitant projects and interventions won’t work even for generation if people’s internal realities and collective consciousness are not shaped and focused.


[1] Emotional Vipassana is the second step of the Completion Process, a method of trauma recovery discovered by Teal Swan. In this step, we explore the bodily sensation and identify the underlying emotion, and are present with it. We give this message to ourselves that we are ‘completely here with them no matter what’. 

[2] Channeling, in this context, is a process of taking on or embodying somebody’s unconscious/subconscious mind to reveal information and insights that are not available to the conscious mind.   

[3] For an elaborated understanding of these splits, from where I first came to learn about them, is found in ‘The Anatomy of Loneliness: How to Find Your Way Back to Connection”, authored by Teal Swan. The book is available for purchase on amazon.com.

The Power of Shadow Work

ARE YOU AFRAID OF SAYING ‘NO’? THIS IS FOR YOU!!!

Saying ‘No’ to somebody is a daunting task for some people. Especially, if that person is a senior colleague at workplace, an elderly in the family, or a dear friend. Those who really struggle with saying ‘no’, like I do, can easily feel the cringe within. When you really struggle with saying no, it is important to ask: what you say ‘yes’ to when you really listen to yourself and say ‘no’. And when you say ‘yes’ (but you really mean ‘no’), what you say ‘no’ to. How does sticking to your personal truth benefits you and others in social relationship? What does it reflect about you and your connections? How does being in-authentic (saying yes when you mean no) is serving you or working as a detriment, and tells you and others about your relationships and connections?

Last night, I was facilitating Shadow work session for a friend. An aspect of her was really resistant towards saying ‘no’ to a course facilitator. I tried to validate that aspect and shared my presence. I probed why would it be bad and good for her to say ‘no’. Finally, we arrived at the shadow reason: saying ‘no’ is a threat to her self-concept of being good every time. Once that aspect became aware of itself, rest of the task was easy. She could figure out why saying ‘no’ is good for her relationship with that person and what will be its impact on her (gaining self-trust which means no self-abandonment) and the person (it will clarify if the person really cares about you or playing a zero sum game).

Holding to your personal truth is the single most indicator of quality of connections you are experiencing around you.

As Teal Swan said once ‘action is the dance of manifestation.’ Below is a note my friend wrote to the course facilitator after having my session. I want you to pay close attention to the language, the way sentences are phrased. Saying ‘no’ it is not a comprise with one’s self, but it is articulation of one’s personal truth without being apologetic. This is the power of shadow work. When parts of your selves are in harmony of saying ‘no’. Most of the time we tend to bulldoze ourselves when we say ‘no’ since the shadow side is not taken on-board. This is an example of how to say ‘no’ without bulldozing the aspect/s of yourself that are not on-board.

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