Are You a Wounded Healer?

women in curtain

There is a kindness in acknowledging the wounded healer energy when it is within us. And grace in stepping away from the teaching mat, and spending time with yourself, to reorient and heal. To let the transmission of wounded healer fall away from those in your orbit and heal the inflammation.

But here’s the rub, how willing are you to tell yourself that truth? A truth that encapsulates inner life and lessons learnt, including those that hurt and brought you to your knees. How truthful are you then?

In my experience, there have been times when I told the truth about my life; it was twisted and turned back on me in a way that deepened my wounding. I learnt quickly who could hold my healing without agenda.

There is a perception that being a yoga guide means we are resilient, have the tools for all life situations and can show up day after day. Even when our heart is broken, our lives are in disarray, or we are traumatised/injured or grieving or simply have had enough of everything.

The distortion of perceptions makes fools out of us, even more so when a faint memory is triggered and our shadow aspect winds its way to the surface, and a story begins. We quickly learn the ground that we stand on is unstable. We founder on the crashing doubts, our imperative fragmented and no longer trustworthy enough to guide us forward.

We find ourselves unable to speak when in it for fear that what cascades out of our mouth will singe and taint those around us, including ourselves. So we let the acid of our imperfection erode our given right to be ourselves. Because somewhere, the lies we were told about ourselves took hold & we lose faith in who we are & why we are here.

I have been that person, and that guide. However, I make no apology for being in either seat simply because learning is about the polarity of experience and being able to settle into a compassionate understanding of both sides of the narrative.

To be yourself is a gift; it’s taking your talent and putting it in service to other people. However, as a teacher guide, there can be, at times, an unwanted vulnerability in being seen in an emotionally dishevelled state. This state can, at times, break down the relationship between guide & student.

A fragile relationship arises between the one that’s giving and the one receiving that is tenuous at best. Why? Because If a wound is touched, exposed, and the raw feelings come, we are cultured to turn away and blame. That’s when the bullshit begins. It’s all her fault; she did this to me, I wasn’t responsible, so it goes.

Are you a Wounded healer

Feelings and emotions are the body’s way of speaking, letting you know, take a look, something deeper is going on here, listen to me. The courage is to sit with this, see what is on the other side, and ask what is it you want me to know about this story I’m in right now? It’s not for the other to inform you; it’s your work to lean in compassionately and tend to yourself. The truth is, we are all alone in our bodies. It’s just us.

As a yoga guide, there are times when you bring out into the world your own internal narrative. That, up until now, are vague whisperings. Rumours of past trauma’s hurts or emotional shutdowns. When we are present in our own practice, we encourage our body to release its grip on whatever we have metabolised within.

This is shadow work, the work of the wounded healer. You can describe this however many ways there are modalities in the world. But the raw truth is, we hurt, we are wounded, we cry, and sometimes we are silenced. We are silenced by the aphorisms of new age “spiritual” thinking/spiritual gaslighting. Whose effect is to shut down the free-thinking, feeling part of ourselves. You might be familiar with some of them.

“It’s meant to be” – really? How do you know? “You must have needed to slow down” (how many times did I hear this when I broke my ankle!)

Would you still believe these aphorisms if you sat down and worked through this situation/event/feeling?

I have a philosophy that goes something like this

It’s happened
I can’t change it
What I do next makes a difference

Beginning with some kind of gaslighting aphorism sometimes gives us the grace to absorb the situation. But when it carries on, and your denial is the undercurrent of guiding a class, who are you serving then? You or your students? You cannot be surprised then that a class may mirror the very place you find yourself at.

It is our work to heal the wounded aspects of ourselves.

It is a privilege to guide anothers practice, not a right. Being a clear vessel for how you heal the wounded aspect allows your students to feel that transmission through their practice. Holding space, guiding a student, and being the best version of yourself at that moment is about tending to your shadow work. Allowing ourselves to show our vulnerability is how we make human connections, if we hide our flaws, vulnerabilities, and our true selves, how will we ever be known? However, letting it spill out in a class is not the place.

Many people tell us what it is we need to resolve the hurt, wounded aspect of ourselves. But to acknowledge you are a wounded healer opens that door.

A Simple Practice

What might happen if you began with the words, I AM … then describe in one word what you are in that moment? It’s not a permanent label but a way of orienting yourself to where you are in a wounded time and place.
Name it, colour it, sit with it, where in your body does this wound take up residence? Take care not to inflame yourself with the fire of self-destruction, instead pouring a gentle stream of kindness over the flames.

Then begin to Inhale a breath of fire, rising it up the spine accompanied by the mantra of I AM {wounded} followed by an exhale flow of healing down the front body accompanied by I AM {healing}

Continue until your body asks you to stop. Trust your body wisdom

In love, carol