How do we clean the house of our soul?
Sometimes a thorough sweeping and then vacuuming will do just fine. You return from time to time to sweep and vacuum again, content that there is progress. Regular maintenance does the trick.
But then you discover that under the carpets is dust galore. And worse still under another matt, the backing has come off and is sticking, stubborn, to the floor. You scrub to no avail. So, you try a different tack, pour warm water and Dawn onto the horrible mess, cover it with towels and, let it sit. You hope this will soften the goop so you can get that awful stuff off of your floors.
Then you rummage through your kitchen drawer and find the scraper meant for your stove-top. That ought to work! But it is a tedious task. Not quick at all! With time and perseverance you work the stuff off of the floor. It’s an exhausting business and takes far longer than you ever expected. Scrape inch by inch, complete the job.
And so it is, with the soul. The work of growth ofttimes goes well, I see progress, and I am relieved. But, often, there is dust under the carpet of my soul hidden there and it chokes my breathing. We lift the carpet, see what is there. I have had the gift of a wise and caring therapist and we work together. What is this? What hurt and wounding lies there? Exposing the dirt is painful, and often gruelling. Yet, the process brings more freedom.
Once in a while when we lift a carpet we discover the backing has come off. It sticks to the floor like glue. This realization is sobering. If I had imagined the process before as gruelling, this is a whole different matter! The work painstaking and laborious. Unrelenting.
It is, in fact, labour. The birthing of life. A life less cluttered by bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.
Our bodies store memories of trauma; holds pain, boxes it in. We unpack that trauma, release the toxins that are destroying us, dismantling our peace of mind.
Sharon Garlough Brown, in her book Barefoot: A Story of Surrendering to God (Sensible Shoes, “3), points out that our loving Heavenly Father reveals these issues not to be mean, but to bring healing. And I love this. The unveiling brings wholeness.
I so often bemoan that I don’t make progress fast enough! What is wrong with me, I demand of myself?
What I am learning now is that time is a gift. A gift! It’s about progress not perfection.
I shush Critic, the internal judge who holds up perfectionism as if it is the answer. I think of the kind voice of my therapist who encourages me, “Baby steps,” she says, “baby steps, be gentle with yourself.” And she also affirms the progress I am making, which offers healing of its own kind.
This quote by Jennifer Williamson rings true: “You have to be both willing and ready for what healing has to offer because once you start showing up for what’s showing up for you, like anger and grief, more healing is going to be presented to you. The courage to continue is what opens you to… growth—like a gemstone in a rock, or a flower in a crack of a sidewalk.” She says, “How can we heal if we don’t listen to our wounds?”
So, dear readers; we move forward, find courage, carry on, grow and change.
And as Victor Hugo said:
“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.”