It has been a little over six months since Holly passed away peacefully, bathed in the golden glow of the midday sun that filled her room and held all of us there in the quiet awe that one can only feel in the presence of the sacred.
I have experienced sacred consciousness and manifestation quite a few times, in a variety of forms: healing miracles in my own body as a boy, sacred sexual orgasm with lovers, sacred light in sessions with clients, the Red Tara Initiation I undertook in 1986 with Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and the death transition of beloved animals into the spirit realm are a few examples. Each was amazing, each was humbling and each came and went in its own time, leaving me back in the more mundane levels of life.
It has been a year since I wrote anything on this blog, and I’d like to share with you where I have been.
My partner Holly went into the hospital last December and was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast and bone cancer. When she was admitted, she was within several days of dying from kidney and heart failure. She went to the ER in the morning, and that afternoon when I went to visit her, I had one of the most painful and profound experiences of my life.
Looking at her lying in the bed so close to death, grief and tears filling my heart, I simply said, “I’m not ready to lose you yet.” We looked at each other for a long time, and there was a moment when I knew that she was not going to die right away. My heart knew that Holly would stay for a while, at least, because there was more for us to do together.
Over the years, I have met many spiritual people who want so much to be whole and free in their souls, and hope that there is a simple and painless pathway to get there – that there can be a transcendent practice or process that simplifies the many pains that we experience, and can ideally keep us in a kind of constant emotional/spiritual orgasmic flow of energy and light.
In my experience however, attempting to bypass emotional pain and dysfunction through spiritual practices only delays what needs healing inside of us, at best, and at worst can actually become a force of denial and suppression that creates more dysfunction. For me, spirituality is a space of intention in which our heart succeeds in holding intact what is truly sacred in life, while seeking to bring wholeness to those places in our lives where love has broken down or failed. To do this, the heart commitment inside of healthy spirituality must embrace and engage with what is wounded inside of us rather than attempt to avoid, transcend or escape it; healthy spirituality loves the whole person and doesn’t see emotions as a lower or lesser aspect of our selves.
For many years I have relied on word of mouth to share my work in the community, and a friend sharing a positive healing experience with another friend is one of the best ways to introduce someone to taking the step of going on their own emotional healing journey. Though people know me as Geoff, Breathwork Therapist and Life Coach, and know the work I do through their sessions, there has always been a structured program underlying our work that has only been described on my website, and not really in full detail.
So in the near future I will be publishing my book, Doing Your Work – The Pathway of the Whole Person, and that will guide you through all the dimensions of healing work that I offer as well as being linked into an online emotional learning center. For now though, I want to being sharing introductory information about Doing Your Work and offer people another way to get to know my work through online publishing and social networking. And the best way to do that is to answer the most common questions I am asked, either by new clients or through my website.
The most common question is, what is Doing Your Work – or emotional healing work -and where do I begin?
Over the last twenty years, I have assisted a number of people in getting off of anti-depression medications, and it is always a deeply moving experience when a person makes that transition successfully by doing their emotional recovery work and making real progress in healing the roots of their depression. And it always brings home the truth about recovery, which is that it is a humbling and liberating experience to allow yourself to go through the process.
A client recently completed a two week outpatient program to get off of medication and into a functioning emotional life. I assisted before and after those two weeks, and my client is doing well. Her success inspired me to share some thoughts with you about the challenges of recovery.
In looking at the process of emotional recovery that is the heart of any recovery – abandonment, abuse or addiction – the word recovery for me is literal: we need to recover the healthy choices that were lost in our families and relationships, like being able to feel our emotions and communicate them safely. Or the choice to not have to internalize other people’s emotions as a way to try to feel safe with them. We need to recover our personal space in which we can prioritize what we need and build our life around that freedom of choice.
It is the beginning of February, and I have had more than a few inquiries as to the progress of the book.
As mentioned in the last post, I completed the first draft at the end of November, and it is everything I intended it to be. And then, because this is real life, that success awakened a new and essential process for me to go through that has added a wonderful new dimension to the what the book is focused on, and breathed new life into the value of what the book will offer.
The entire month of December became a very focused and fairly intense journey into the healing power of empathy, as one client after another needed support in making a crucial shift in their lives by embracing a new depth of empathy for themselves, or for another.
It seems no accident that at the same time, various writers in different social spheres, especially politics, were focusing on empathy as the crucial human quality needed to transform the current polarized impasse in American culture.
Welcome to the Doing Your Work weblog. I am an Integrative Breathwork Facilitator and Life Skills Coach with 21 years of experience, and will be writing here about the complex, challenging and beautiful process of emotional and spiritual healing.
Why the name Doing Your Work? Because when one begins to confront a life that isn’t working as well as it needs to, when you undertake the journey into reactive emotions and stuck patterns, when learning to respond to your own experience at a whole new level becomes a deep necessity — it is a challenge. It takes work to get to the core of where our wounded self is waiting inside for us to find them, respond to them and nurture them.
So many people wish that there was a quick and easy one-shot thing they could do to be a whole and happy person. And the truth is that real emotional and spiritual healing is a lifelong path, an acceptance of a commitment to being conscious and always willing to work on things that come up in our lives. Continue reading