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March 2, 2021

The Healing Power of Doing “Inner Work” as we Age.

The process of life has a way of changing how we see ourselves.

Women, in order to survive this journey called life, have to constantly adjust ourselves, and often in doing so, lose sight of who we really are.

Most of us don’t come to this realization until later in life, usually due to a life-alternating circumstance that leaves us bewildered and battered. It is at this time when we feel so victimized that an onslaught of doubt in both the universe and ourselves set in. Coming to terms that we are actually in control of very little, including other people and what happens to us, is a bitter pill to swallow. We suddenly feel venerable to life’s cruel twists of fate and realize that no one gets through unscathed.

When all hope is lost, there is only one option left, and that is to finally peek inside of ourselves to get the answers that elude us everywhere else.

For some of us, this is simply terrifying. What will we discover about ourselves? We have worked so hard for years to avoid this through denial, self-sabotage, drinking, shopping, and many other forms of escapism. The numbing effects of these are not working like they used to. Questions and emotions are bubbling up through the cracks, and therefore, shaking the steady ground we thought we stood on.

Most women spend the majority of their lives perfecting the art of escapism. Some do this to keep their family intact, some to outrun their feeling of emptiness, others do it to bury the past, and many, due to fear of change. Why or how we do this is not important because, eventually, we all run out of rope.

The universe will give us, at first, subtle signs that it is time to stop, listen, and go within. Most of us ignore these signs because we have made an art form out of what we call self-protection. So that leaves the universe with no other choice but to circle back and give us a stronger nudge. Nudges come in the forms of loss, disappointment, heartbreak, and other unpleasant, soul-rattling experiences.

When we finally accept that what we’re doing isn’t working and we have had enough, the process of healing and self-love can begin. This is not an easy process and often uncovers childhood pain or trauma, painful emotions, or exposes the darkest parts of us.

I would like to tell you that this doesn’t take long and makes you feel better each and every day. But what I can tell you is that it is the only way to process old emotions, heal your inner child, forgive the past, accept what is, and finally, and most importantly, discover self-love.

Many of us women have an inner voice of negative self-talk. This quite often stems from early childhood. The negative self-talk might have started where a parent left off. Meaning we internalized the negative things said to us.

Children are in almost a subconscious state until seven years of age. We absorb everything that is said and mirrored back to us. So if we have a verbally critical or abusive parent, what they say is embedded into our subconscious. We as children feel responsible for everything that happens around us. Without proper mirroring from our parents, we are unable to really form a sense of self. We simply cannot do it on our own. This creates negative self-talk, a sense of abandonment, and not feeling loveable or good enough.

By quieting the mind and going inside ourselves we can push out the negative self-talk in tiny bursts. It might only last two seconds and come back, but we have won! We pushed it away and in its place, we made room for positivity, self-love, and forgiveness. We will gradually see that the negative self-talk during the day is less frequent and at least we are aware that it’s happening. Now, we are able to push it away or stop and replace it with a positive thought. The good thoughts will outweigh and crush the negative ones. Good always conquers bad.

Coming to terms with our childhood is not an easy task. I try to believe that every parent attempts to love and support their children to the best of their ability. That being said, many of us did not feel loved or get our needs met. Some of us were blessed by having our own children and the opportunity to do a much better job. We were determined to be loving or patient, and perhaps, weren’t even aware of where that need came from. It could be that raising our own children brought to the surface what we were not given.

By going within and quieting the mind, feelings from your childhood may arise. Just feel them; you do not need to relive anything or see what is causing the feeling. The important thing is that you feel it. Just visualizing your inner child while meditating and perhaps giving her a hug or sitting on a park bench together can be healing. Just acknowledging her presence can be so beneficial to both of you.

When you start to get better at going within, you can start to feel your body while meditating. You might be drawn to your lower back for example and may even have lower back issues. Just concentrate or put yourself in that part of your body and see what happens. Stay with it; you do not have to relive anything or force yourself to remember something. Stay there, and if feelings come up, acknowledge them and they will float away.

We all have light and dark within ourselves. Of course, we want to focus on the light side but real change comes from exploring and accepting the dark side of ourselves, too. This is difficult and best suited for women who are advanced in doing inner work.

I believe that, as women, part of our rite of passage later in life is to discover our inner beauty. Rather than emphasizing outer beauty, we turn inward instead.

Whatever the reason, the journey of going inward is always a loving gift to give ourselves. Women like us who have lived, loved, and lost gain wisdom, peace, and self-love.

We can’t have one without the other. It’s the light versus dark concept again. But by going within we can transmute the dark and make much more room for the light.

Don’t we want to live the rest of our lives in peace, acceptance, and love? What a beautiful way to end this journey called life.

~

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