A client remarks the other day “I’m not sure I can trust my inner guidance. Its led me into so much trouble!”
This is a really worthy topic to pull apart. So settle in, and feel into this as we go along.
How many of you have felt a “yes!” about something, got totally excited, and found yourself in a mess later, maybe a big falling out, the wrong relationship, or otherwise in hot water, or just not in the right direction, wondering “how did I get here?”
This is when the work of learning to hear your deeper self pays off. Its a much quieter, deeper “yes”, a subtle tingle of permission and openness. Its NOT an adrenaline rush. Its also not the “I thought it through…” answer in which many people find themselves talking themselves out of the “yes” they felt on a deep level. Our brains and our souls are not the same and do not come up with the same answers. This is about feeling space, and the different kinds of feeling space that produce two different answers, one from a smaller you, and one from a much more wise and expansive you.
Before we’ve done the work of deep self discovery, unveiling what makes us tick underneath the layers of conditioning and unconscious beliefs, and creating a strong pathway to access our deep soul self, we feel a pull, a “yes”, we get a rush of excitement, an elation, a high at making certain decisions. These are very much all connected in to our human self. Our human experience. The personality that has developed in this lifetime, with the upbringing we had, the things we learned, the experiences which shaped our reality. This is part of us, this human personality and nature, however, its not all of us, and it cannot see the really big picture. Its the part enjoying (or not) being alive here on earth and making decisions from a physical reality based experience.
Another term for this would be living from our projected reality – things can happen like magic, when we are projecting. They do, and guide us into the very messes our deep self is wanting to find healing with.
There is another part to us. A very deep, very sacred, wise, connected and knowing part of us. This wise part is sort of asleep, until we wake up to it. We get it in pieces, sometimes a hunch of gut-felt guidance in a critical moment, which saves our lives by seconds, or turns us in the right direction at the right moment for a powerful synchronicity to take place that shapes our lives – have you had a couple of those moments in your life? Where in a single instance, some clear guidance came through that wasn’t your usual nature at all? (I’d love to hear your share in the comments!)
The majority of people are not aware of the part of them that lays asleep deep inside. Trusting in only what they know, or sense, or learn, they may remain more or less asleep to their soul nature. Some attribute mystical experiences to religion, when it might be their soul waking up, wanting to be known, to be heard. Our souls are timeless, enormous, and full of wisdom. If only we cultivate a pathway of opening our body to being inhabited by our soul – the part that knows its connected to the Divine, to God, to All Things. The part that knows it is love, is loved, and loves all. The part that is infinite, untouchable. Rumi references it many times:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.
mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century
Its a place free of judgement, criticism, of weighing, of getting anything. The latter is in reference to one of the primary motivations behind much of our choices. We want something. We have an inner “yes” and inner excitement, because _____(fill in the blank) will give me…. love. Or, it will get me seen. Appreciated. Wanted.
Yes, you read that right. I’m going to do this, _____, and do a great job, and unconsciously, the child self within thinks: I’ll get some love and admiration, something I’ve always wanted from Mom or Dad. Mind you, its totally unconscious. But if the child growing up in your body didn’t feel loved, cherished, completely adored, as the soul self knows its Divine nature to be, the child will unconsciously always be seeking that love, in every single action and decision.
When I say unconscious, that means, of course, you didn’t notice it. It wasn’t in a single one of your aware thoughts. But its in your subconscious programming. Because if you were raised in a family where your needs weren’t completely met, this desire will be in there, as children have only recently come from that Divine place of belonging, so they know what they want – to have all that love. They’ll do anything to get it even though it makes no sense. (for me it was pouting and hiding in my room. duh. not an effective strategy for more love.) Our child self makes up all kinds of strategies to try to get what it wants – even if they don’t work. (Pouting must have worked once or twice but to be honest it was a crap maneuver, by the time I was a pre-teen it turned to angry outbursts and provocation in an unstable household – I went right for the danger, because I was angry not to be loved. Not consciously, mind you – I had no idea why I was raging, only that I was angry, in an alcoholic family that entirely neglected me. With the inner healing journey the discovery in my unconscious was of my inner child self who was still trying to be seen.)
There are many different ways that we are fueled and guided by our child self and our childhood wounds. There are many common core wounds, such as “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t matter”, “I don’t belong”, “I’m wrong”, “I’m bad”, “I’m not worthy”, I hear them every day from countless clients. Most of them come back to not being loved in a way they felt completely safe to be themselves as their own unique expression in this world.
And if you are someone who was raised in the perfect family who saw you, adored you, loved you, maybe this isn’t the article for you and that’s ok. You are one of the lucky ones, and have to find a different path in to your soul. The gift in the wounding is the healing journey, which guides us into the depths of our being. I do not regret the pain and hardship of my past, as without it, I would not have have contemplated the big questions I had for being here, and why things were not working out for me, which led me on the journey to meet my soul self.
And its through healing the child we can discover our bigger, deeper, wiser self. Its above and beyond our adult self. We cannot find this place inside if our child self is still hurting, still reacting. The soul self taps into something… infinite. Encompasses all of who we are as we weave through our lifetimes and the places between lives. In my domain, I use Awake! Breathwork to access this space of deep inner knowing, using the breath as a way of releasing blocks to divine inner nature, and gently opening up to our authentic self. In Soul Painting this space is also cultivated as we hone in on listening to our intuition, brushstroke by brushstroke, allowing our deep wisdom and connection to our divine creativity to come through. I love putting them together for that reason – one opens the way the other cultivates it with physical practice and both create body memory.
So lest I diverge to much, coming back from the how to the what, my encouragement to you is to notice within yourself if you sometimes feel a deep inner knowing, that is underneath any elated excitement or fear. Those two emotions are dead giveaways they’re not intuition, but a response. When we react to something inside with a “yes!” this is our child self. When we have a deep, soft, subtle opening inside – a flow, a “yes” that just feels open – this is the deeper self. The child’s reaction might still be guiding us – to help show us some shadow piece we weren’t aware of for instance. When we get excited and dive into something – a project, a relationship, a job, a school, whatever it might be – that ultimately doesn’t seem to fit, its sometimes our wounded nature looking for wholeness. And its guiding us right into the place where we have an opportunity to meet that shadow part. We might find ourself triggered, activated, annoyed, disappointed – all these are indications of an expectation instead of a deeply guided opening. And, the gift is still there, in acquiring wholeness, should we choose to become fully aware of the piece we were drawn there to learn.
For instance, I have found myself in recent years saying “yes” to things that seem beneficial, but end up triggering me around not feeling seen. Because, you guessed it, there was another layer of healing coming about around letting myself be fully seen. I had already done SO MUCH work around this years ago and yet after all this time, I had some more to do! The stakes were higher, the players were bigger. And when the shadow piece comes up like that, and the triggers are hit, its a big huge invitation for me to SEE MYSELF and close the loop into wholeness. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing, and part of what has allowed me to launch not only my training program teaching others how to do the work I do but to also follow my artist’s heart and dreams. Without first closing the gap on this piece within myself, I would not have recognized where I was short-changing myself in order to attempt to be seen. Now I still have moments of excitement at opportunities that arise – especially with potential teachers I project might “have it all figured out” – and I have to check in with myself – is this my child self wanting to be seen by this teacher? To be validated?
If the answer is yes, I drop the decision for the time being, go back to my studio, create a lot of art, open to my creative flow and divine source, and after a few days can re-visit the question. When I am open, connected, seeing myself, my urgency of needs may have completely shifted. If I hear a yes from a place that doesn’t need that seeing energy – then I listen.
For instance, I was amused that I signed up for an in-depth online course to help me with my business that doesn’t involve any personal interaction with the founder and teacher. That blows my mind. My child self wanted to completely reject the program on the grounds there was no personal interaction. Of course. How would she feel seen? When I worked through her hesitancy and looked deep within, I got a complete “yes”. This is an example how in the past I would have short-circuited benefitting my own business based on my child’s unconscious desires to be seen – to have the teacher know and love me (I was a teacher’s pet too, as a kid, by the way, hmmm…) If I wasn’t aware of this pattern – this yearning to be loved within me, and meet that place myself with love – I wouldn’t even be able to hear that this is where I needed to be, from an objective big picture place, out beyond my child self’s needs.
Here’s a video of me when I was a performing artist over eleven years ago, enjoying myself and illustrating the unconscious desire to be seen at the soul level, through my creativity, but not quite being truly deeply seen. Helloooo? Can you see me now that I’m on fire? Holding this awareness of unconscious patterns reframes many choices we might have made, and illuminates the driving forces in our culture. Many artists, for instance, resist wanting to heal the deep wounds out of fear they will lose their creative inspiration. Who am I if I heal? Who is my muse? What will fuel me without all this deep emotion (sadness, anger, fury, bliss…) Some of this have this fear of being Buddhist Monks, you see. I’m here to tell you there’s more creative inspiration on the other side of healing deep wounds!!
I use my own life as examples for the in-depth share of my internal process in the interest of teaching, but I see this every day with my clients. I see the struggle with finding clarity. We can’t even see sometimes what would truly benefit us if our child self is running the show in our adult life, looking for his or her needs to be met!
And, until this piece can really be met and healed, what we may need is for this part to play out in order to understand it fully. It can only be healed when we are ready. We work with the teachers and healers that can see this wound and can mirror to us the wholeness we seek. We are all in this together. We’re all here at the same time to support each other – don’t ever think you have to do it alone. Some people do, and it may take decades to get as far as you can get in 6 months with good support! Or even less! I’ve had people say to me after a single breathwork session they just got further inside themselves than two years of therapy.
I share my story to illustrate but in no way indicate I am no longer needing teachers – of course I do – I am here to learn!! I am learning discernment of finding the right teachers that will feed my soul in a deep way and truly help me flourish. In my past, there were a few teachers I worked very closely with for years who carried my gold for me. They saw me, I didn’t see me. I needed them to keep holding that reflection for me, for years, because that beauty, that faith, that love, is what I needed to find my way to loving myself… and in a later relationship with another healer-mentor, it was stepping into my power as a leader offering my own unique teachings. I could not have done either of those crucial junctures on my journey alone and without years of support from my healer-mentors holding that space for me.
And the desire to be seen was only my story, your story might be something else. It might be to feel accepted. To feel valued. To be loved. To be safe to trust. Those are grounds I cover every day with my clients and know intimately from my own journey. (What better teaching, than to have walked the wounded healers path?)
And, even if you’ve “already worked on that” in the past or with a therapist, there may be an embodiment that wants to happen yet, and for this I recommend the two practices suggested, Awake! Breathwork and Soul Painting. For all the many years of healing support I’ve received I find the human psyche and soul to be… complex. And different layers present at different times to be integrated, always moving towards wholeness. I shared my own story to illustrate this – years of dedication to awareness and walking a conscious path does not mean there isn’t more. This was a more refined layer for me, around teachers in particular. After 18 years of receiving teachings, and during all this time cultivating my own inner wisdom teacher and relationships with my guides directly, it was now time to integrate that piece, to fully see myself as leader and teacher. Not as reflected in another’s eyes, but to see myself fully for all the gifts I have to bring forward to share in the world. To stand alone with them, and to open to the unique path that is mine. And just for the record, I still receive support, and I intend to always receive support – there is nothing more nurturing for our souls, and more healthy than kind reflection, increased awareness, and expansion on our perspectives!! What else are you here to do, but to grow? (you can answer that in the comments if you like 😉 )
That is why practices that open us to clarity are so critical. The two I mentioned I also teach to others – and they’ve worked profound wonders for me and my clients for over a decade. And there are also other paths in. The important part is for you to cultivate your relationship with your deep soul self by whatever method that speaks to you. And by all means, explore around, but then settle for what works for you so that you can go deeper, past the obstacles and hurdles that come up on ANY pathway. Find a guide you can trust.
I hope this article has been illuminating and inspiring for you. I have come across many people who mix up where their inner guidance is coming from and make interesting choices. It takes practice, and it takes guidance to even learn the way to your inner soul self.
I wish many blessings upon this journey of self-discovery of who you really are.
Mardi Storm is the founder of SoulCentric BreathworkTM and SoulCentric PaintingTM . She was trained and certified by Clarity Breathwork, Diamond Light, and Lightbody. She is a graduate of International Academy of Consciousness, and is trained in Intuitive Process Painting, Reiki, Clairvoyance, Shamanic practices, and more. She has a lifelong devotion to spirit, and offers healing sessions and spiritual guidance over Skype/Zoom and in person in Sebastopol, CA.