I’ve been a fairly spiritual person my whole life, so I assumed reconnecting with my body and heart wouldn’t be too hard. I’ve had a devoted practice of prayer and journaling for many years. Yet, my mind’s activity was on overdrive. I couldn’t get quiet enough to listen past the incessant thoughts of worry, failure, and disappointment. I knew I would have to do something different to shake me out of the doom loop I was in.
And let me assure you, the doom loop was active for the better part of 2019. Yes, I had a lot going in my favor, but the dream of being a full-time stylist and finding a different path for myself felt unreachable. In my worst moments, I felt the pang of disappointment almost daily. I wouldn’t get what I really want. Oof. That’s a tough thought to overcome.
Lindsay and I spoke regularly about what I was going through. She was sympathetic to my feelings, but also taught me the responsibility I have for my own thoughts. She had been working with a spiritual coach, whom she met previously on a retreat in Sedona, and she talked often about the difference this coach was making in turning her own thoughts around. I listened for weeks (maybe months?) about the various practices and tools Lindsay had been utilizing, and I could tell it was making a significant difference in her life. Naturally, I wanted to learn more.
Lindsay learned a process that taught her how to feel her feelings (not think them) and ultimately connect with God/Spirit/Universe/Creator for insight on how to heal the dominance of her thoughts and bring the heart/body back online. It involved reconnecting with the Inner Child to understand how the ego/mind steps in (in my case, with the incessant doom loop) to protect the Inner Child from the core wound(s) that we carry around with us since childhood (or possibly later into adolescence). We all have core wounds- feelings of abandonment, not being good enough, not being worthy enough, not being lovable enough, to name a few- that often show up in childhood and play out into adulthood.
I learned the key to this process was to reconnect with my Inner Child to understand what my core wounds are and ultimately, reparent her to feel safe and secure again.
Maybe this all sounds like mumbo-jumbo woo-woo stuff to you. But to me, with an extensive background in psychology and spirituality, I intuitively knew this process was connecting some dots. Feeling my feelings meant that I had to name emotions in my body, not in my mind. The body is the container for where emotions are stored, and without appropriate processing, those emotions get stuck, often leading to physical manifestations of illness and pain. And my body had been carrying loads of emotions for decades, often showing up in my belly.
Learning the language of the body meant I had to tap into my Inner Child and understand the specific emotions she was holding onto. So I meditated on who she is. I call her Little Ria (my childhood nickname is Ria). Little Ria is about 6 or 7. She’s a wildly lighthearted spirit, full of imagination and spunk. And she is smart- wicked smaht- with a keen emotional intelligence. And she’s a perfectionist. She likes to get things exactly right. And that’s when it all clicked for me: my perfectionist tendencies were in MAJOR overdrive, perpetuating a narrative of failure.
And any perfectionist knows how often we can feel not good enough.
So this is where the work began. An utter devotion to feeling my feelings around perfectionism (and disappointment- a by-product of overfunctioning perfectionists) and reparenting Little Ria. Validating my previous experiences and feelings over and over. In this reparenting process, I tapped into God’s wisdom for me: that I am perfectly imperfect. That I don’t always have to get it right. That I deserve to have everything I’ve ever wanted, even if it doesn’t arrive in my own perceived perfect timing.
This process allows me to meet Little Ria where she is, understand her wisdom, and invite God/Spirit to heal the beliefs I have been holding onto long enough. Needless to say, this was just the beginning.