This is part two of the healing within connectedness & love blog, in this blog we will look briefly at the importance of aligning mind, body & heart, along with connectedness in healing, especially living from the heart, connected to our true selves/true nature, other people, love and nature. You can find part one of the blog here: https://unityphysio.co.uk/healing-within-connectedness-love-part-one/
Aligning mind, body & heart
Terms like aligning mind, body and heart can seem a bit abstract so I’m going to define this in the way I see it before we explore connectedness more. To me aligning mind, body and heart means living in a loving and embodied way aligned with our purpose and what’s meaningful, living from a place of love, compassion & connectedness. By living in a loving and embodied way I mean noticing how, for example, our thoughts and feelings, are showing up in the body in a compassionate and non-judgemental way. Part of healing is awakening our senses and being able to fully be in the present moment in an embodied and loving way. We can’t do this if we are stuck in hyperarousal or hypoarousal, where we are stuck in our heads or rushing around all the time, disconnected from ourselves and the world around us, and not feeling safe/settled and secure. Aligning body, mind and heart helps us regulate our nervous system, awaken to a deeper way of being and reconnect to the connectedness of everything.
Living in an embodied and open hearted way can also help us see that the obstacles and challenges that appear as part of life can help us awaken and grow. We can ask questions that support with this like how can this help me grow? How can this help me serve myself and others? How might this help serve my heartfelt intentions or aspirations? Sometimes things are overwhelming, these times we won’t know the answers to these questions and we will struggle to connect to our bodies, these times we may need to find a suitable therapist to support us.
Love & connectedness in healing
One of the things that is really important in healing is that our suffering is witnessed and acknowledged in a compassionate and non-judgemental way. Suffering that is not witnessed and acknowledged, or done so in a critical way, often causes more trauma. Love, compassion & connection are needed here because when we aren’t fully present and connected we can’t truly notice our suffering, or that of another, and without love and compassion there is judgement and criticism.
Acceptance is important in healing, it isn’t a one off thing, instead it’s ongoing and it can be said to be a moment by moment process. Acceptance isn’t passive, it doesn’t mean putting up with something, or that things won’t change (things are always changing right down to each moment). A great strength or courage is needed to be able to let go and trust in our inner wisdom and the process. With curiosity, openness, courage and a compassionate loving presence (a heartfelt presence) we can notice and allow what’s present in the moment to be exactly as it is, even if it’s not how we would ideally choose it to be. Being present with love & compassion helps us accept and allow what’s present to be without, for example, self-blame or self-criticism, and when these do appear they can be met with compassion and love too. Allowing what’s present to be needs a sense of safety, or feeling safe enough in the present moment. This means that we need the nervous system to be balanced or close to balance (where we are within our window of tolerance/ventral vagal system).
From a place of noticing what’s present in the body we can increase our understanding, connect to our inner wisdom and discern what’s supportive for us. Any action comes from our inner wisdom rather than from a threat based reaction, for example a pushing away, trying to get rid of something, or avoiding. It’s important for us to stop over controlling and resisting, this is part of being in a regulated nervous system (resistance & over control are part of our threat system and protection mechanisms), as it calms our nervous system and allows new possibilities to begin to surface. Allowing what’s present to be with an acceptance or openness is a place where fear softens and we can start to see what’s resting underneath. Holding whatever is present, in love compassion isn’t always easy and this is part of the practice and the healing. Things can reappear that we thought we had dealt with once, that we had healed, new layers surface for healing, here again we practice acceptance and compassion.
We need trust to allow the healing process to unfold in its own time without wanting it to be a certain way or create a certain outcome, without pushing or resisting, easier said than done I know (that’s part of the practice too). We naturally push away or resist what causes suffering and grasp what creates joy and the things we want more of. Part of suffering is in the pushing away and grasping, we can learn to allow things to flow through (an ever ongoing practice). We can, for example, notice that pain is present and allow it to be in the background as best we can, rather than trying to get rid of it and getting frustrated, angry or self-critical when nothing works. This doesn’t mean we don’t take action to try and alleviate the suffering, instead it comes from a different place and we take wise action. This may be no action sometimes, or something simple like after noticing what’s present and allowing it to be, offering ourselves some soothing words or soothing touch (this could be part of Tara Brach’s R.A.I.N practice or Kritsin Neff’s self-compassion break, for example). We also need to learn to hold the outcome lightly, we cannot control this as there are many variable (some we don’t see) we can influence the outcome and control how we relate to it.
Often when we are suffering we lose trust in ourselves, I have seen this time and time again working with people with persistent pain, other long-term conditions and felt it myself. The decreased trust, or the loss of trust, brings an opportunity to connect more deeply to it and develop more of a kind of unshakeable trust. Part of trust is trusting that we have the skills, knowledge, resources/practices to manage, or if we don’t then believing that with support we can develop them. Learning to trust the healing process is important and it means we need to trust in uncertainty too. Trusting in uncertainty isn’t easy, it’s important because so much is uncertain in life, this means we need to let go of over control. Being safely grounded in compassion and love links with trust in holding us steady enough within the uncertainty, within what feels like a vulnerable place.
Reconnecting to our inner wisdom is so important in healing, it supports and guides us. Terms like inner wisdom and our true nature or essence, can seem a bit abstract, they aren’t tangible things we can see. Our inner wisdom and true nature both hold love & compassion and connecting to them is important in healing. Connecting to our inner wisdom through our body guides us in many ways, for example it can guide us when to explore something to deepen understanding and when to allow something to be in the background for the time being. Sometimes we need help to access our inner wisdom especially if there is unprocessed trauma, the light of compassion and love can be hidden under layers.
Feeling the connectedness to love, nature and the wider whole is also important in healing and our overall wellbeing. Research is showing us that it is not necessarily the amount of time that we spend in nature that is significant for our wellbeing, except in terms of physical wellbeing, there needs to be a sense of connectedness too (physical wellbeing needs this too, so again it’s not just the time in nature that’s important). Sometimes we have disconnected from the interconnectedness of nature, reconnecting to this is part of our healing and it’s needed for natures healing. Nature’s wisdom combines with our inner wisdom and can guide us when we listen. If we haven’t lost the connection to the connectedness with nature then the sense of connectedness with this tends to deepen as part of healing. Nature is part of us and we are part of nature, our wellbeing and natures wellbeing are inextricably interlinked, connecting to this helps our healing and also the healing that nature is desperately calling out for.
The interconnectedness with nature and something bigger than us may resonate with you or it may not, either way is ok. If these things are of interest one of the books that I would recommend is called ‘Reconnection: Fixing Our Broken Relationship With Nature’ by Miles Richardson.
Common Humanity & Healing
As human beings we all experience joys and sorrows, love and loss, easier times and tough times, suffering and healing. This is the common humanity we all share, we share many things as part of being human and connecting to this is important in healing. Connection to others is important in healing, we are social animals. We self-regulate and we co-regulate, our nervous system talks to other nervous systems.
Adapting to and processing many losses is part of being human and is often part of healing too This can be for many reason, for example, from the multiple losses related to living with a chronic health condition, from life being different from the way you wished it to be, and/or from the loss of a loved one. There isn’t a right or wrong way to grieve. I wrote a grief and loss in persistent pain & other long term health conditions blog which you can find this here:
It is the tough times that we learn the most from and these times that we need a toolbox of practices to draw on, these can also be referred to as strategies or resources. The tough times strengthen our heart and allow our heart to open more fully, to be present with love, compassion and courage, connect to the depth of our strength and to connect more deeply to the connectedness of everything with a sense of spaciousness. We cannot heal until we learn what supports our nervous system regulation and have some resources/practices to support this and healing, we create more resources along our healing journey too.
What supports healing?
There are many things that can support us each day, that can become part of a way of being and part of healing, including: embodied self-awareness practices (awareness in the body), meditation, mindfulness, breath practices, self-compassion, yoga, exercise and movement, walking, time in nature, journaling, distraction (sometimes this is needed, for example when things are over whelming) and many more things.
When I had a really tough couple of years due to some health conditions I leaned deeply into my yoga and compassion practices and drew on many other resources that I had, my gratitude for these deepened and I developed many more resources through this time too. I also reached out for additional support, remember we can’t heal on our own.
What practices and resources/strategies do you use to support you day to day?
To heal we need many things including: to restore balance and retrain our nervous system, a sense of safety and trust, an embodied loving awareness, acceptance, a variety of resources/practices along with a daily commitment to practice, belongingness, support of others, connection and connectedness, and of course compassion and love. Healing takes time and a toolbox of strategies and practices, it’s not one thing that helps us heal it’s many things. We can’t heal on our own, we need the co-regulation and support of others which can take many forms. Sometimes support needs to be in the form of a therapist, other times it could be a coach or mentor, friends, or a wider community group that we are part of.
As we heal the confusion that we had in our suffering evolves into clarity and we awaken a little more to our true selves and the interconnectedness in everything too. There are times that we think we have healed and everything is going smoothly and then something happens that opens up new layers that are ready to be healed. Healing is something I have come to see as being ongoing, maybe you can relate to this too. I don’t think there is a destination unless it is to return to our true selves and wholeness, to the alignment of mind body and heart and live from this place, and return again and again. Each time there is a challenge or an obstacle it gives us an opportunity to grow and connect to our true selves, our inner wisdom, and more deeply to the connectedness within and around us.
We all already have what’s needed for healing within us, to access and nurture this we need to be able to safely connect to our bodies and we often need to change how we are relating to ourselves, from being critical, for example, to being more compassionate. Sometimes we need help from a psychologist, or another psychological clinician to do this, for example when there is unresolved or unprocessed trauma. We all have within us a core essence of compassion and love, this light never goes out, sometimes it’s under layers and we need help to be able to start to see it, and the more we connect to this place the more brightly it shines.
Healing has many aspects and perhaps we could see it as being rooted in connectedness and love, and aligning mind, body and heart. I have come to understand that our healing rests within the love that is within and around us all and the connection to the interconnectedness of everything. Healing is a place where enougness, okness, compassion, love, trust and freedom all rest. Connecting to the wisdom of our body, heart, inner trust, compassion and love over and over again helps us to heal & develop an unshakeable inner core, or at least a less shakeable one. The inner wisdom that is within us all, our core of love and compassion, is a place that we can come to know more deeply with time and once we have an embodied knowing (a felt sense in our body) we can return again and again to our true selves and a balanced state (our ventral vagal system/window of tolerance) that supports healing. As we heal we can live more fully in an open hearted presence, developing a new way to be, relating to ourselves in a more loving and compassionate way and extending this love and compassion to others and the world around us.
To finish this blog I’m sharing a poem that I wrote called ‘Healing Within’:
Many things were unknown
Couldn’t be seen
In the darkness there was always some light
Leading the way
Slowly, step by step
Pauses scattered through
Compassionate awareness enveloping
Body wisdom guiding to explore
What’s resting inside, to be seen, accepted and loved
Slowly, never to be rushed
Each footstep exploring
A loving presence guiding
Exploring and listening
Natures wisdom shining
Deepening a knowing
Learning a new way to be
Compassion, love and trust united
Deeply embedded within
Holding the steadiness
Resting in aliveness
Connected to the unity
Being & healing
You may also like to check out the poem I wrote called The Body Remembers The Trust
I would love to hear your thoughts on healing and this blog, do drop me an email if you would like to (email@example.com) or share some thoughts in the comments on social media where I’ve shared this blog.