Personal healing is a journey one undertakes to raise self awareness, heal aspects of themselves or obstacles in their lives they are facing challenges, often struggling with and seek to resolve through various modalities. Choosing a healing modality is personal too. Finding one that resonates, that you connect to or has been recommended and researched is optimal.
It may be in the form of a group setting, such as a course, program or workshop, or on an individual basis. There are traditional settings such as therapy, counselling, as well as other modalities such as creative arts, martial arts, movement, in-person or online coaching and retreats.
Primarily, journeys of personal healing and transformation are not linear; they are cyclical. In daily life we experience time as linear through the structure and organisation of time; of the calendar days, weeks, months and years. This is reflected in culture, society and beliefs as well.
Whilst some aspects of healing can be remedied and resolved fairly quickly, the majority of healing takes place on a much more gradual, considerate and integrative level. One that perhaps is less appealing for personal preferences but worth it and required in the medium to long term benefits and results that can be achieved.
Embodiment is a key practice for personal healing. It is the art of integration; allowing the changes to come through consciously, at a suitable pace and within the right setting and format. Embodiment is putting what has been learned into practice, often through action, movement and onward progression.
This article intends to explore the significant role of embodiment in personal healing and the relationship it holds in long term transformation.
Personal healing modalities
There are numerous and a growing number of healing modalities on offer, which is both inspiring and important in the process of research and discerning what is right for you. Each modality offers benefits that work on various aspects of ourselves; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
This may include modalities similar to talk therapy covering aspects such as inner child or shadow work, acupuncture, breathwork, Reiki, guided nature walks, meditation, yoga, movement arts like tai chi and qigong. These modalities are a holistic approach to healing and integration; they consider all aspects contained within the whole. The central aim is to bring harmony and balance to the whole.
Holistic modalities encourage personal healing by providing a structure, a method and a setting in which to facilitate a person’s healing. Whilst it can be in individual and group settings, there is no fixed outcome of results within certain time frames. There is an element of trust required to allow the healing to happen over time.
This can feel or be thought of as counter intuitive, however, it’s an opposing approach to a common belief or expectation that desired results can be predicted or guaranteed by the individual themselves, rather than letting the process work through them as is required. Paradoxically, one might be tempted to try to control and obtain a certain experience, however that can prevent the very breakthrough needed for a transformation or recovery to happen naturally.
Embarking on a healing journey is not wholly predictable and measurable in linear ways that you may be used to in other areas of life. Of course, noticing a difference in yourself after a session or over a short period of time having begun a new practice is supportive, yet a balance of trusting in the process is part of the journey too.
Embodiment as a continual practice
Embodiment plays a key role in the journey of personal healing; it is indeed a continual practice. This is required for integration to occur on all levels being worked on; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. True integration takes time and a cycle is fulfilled when all that remains is a sense of wholeness.
Personal healing begins with an intention and over time this intention forms the journey and contributes to the outcome. It is worth acknowledging an inevitable part of the healing journey which is when resistance arises. This is both common and normal because in order to grow and change direction in life, something within needs to shift and it’s not always a comfortable experience.
Resistance can be met with support and compassion during sessions and part of embodying a practice is overcoming resistance, which can be provided within the framework and modality you are working with. It is a very natural part of the process, otherwise healing and transformation would naturally be a lot easier for everyone. Meeting resistance and working through it, rather than around it is part of the practice too.
Whether considering physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of our being, embodiment is the grounded, inhabited space that gives rise to something in a tangible, physical form. From this perspective embodiment may appear to be an end-process, however as we’ve seen so far, the journey is far from quick-fixes, or skipping ahead to the desired outcome.
Embodiment is a continual practice because it takes time to transform and reach each layer that contains multiple parts that make up the whole.
With the awareness that we might hold expectations of outcomes and timeframes for our healing journey, it can be good to explore and identify what they are as they arise. Breakthroughs can occur rapidly and we can experience significant change and relief in our lives, however, lasting transformation is a longer term frame.
We may identify on an intellectual level and see clearly what we wish to change; behavioural patterns, negative self talk, automatic emotional reactions, stories and beliefs that no longer serve us, concreted from learned adaptive parts of us that form our conditioning. This is useful and supports gaining clarity and understanding, however it is not quantifiable or possible to make changes to the other parts of us from this place only.
An example of mindfulness as an embodied practice, which increases self awareness and is cultivated over time to form new habits, patterns and behaviours that are functional and healthy to our well-being. Self talk is a mindfulness based exercise that requires us to observe the types of thoughts and judgements that arise within the mind.
Self talk relates to the way we talk to ourselves, the voices and narrative that occurs consistently within our minds that directly correlate to our sense of well-being through mood, energy levels, motivation, overall mental health and self esteem. Negative self talk refers to judgements, thoughts and decisions that are made about us and others that reflect our internal experience day to day.
Understandably if our internal dialogue is negative, unsupportive and disruptive there’s a good chance this is going to be reflected in our daily lives in interactions, relationships and situations around us. Mindfully learning to cultivate supportive, kind and positive self talk is a practice that can lead to increases in overall health and well-being.
Onward on your personal healing journey
The main takeaways for embodiment and personal healing is the embrace of the journey, rather than the destination. The end point is certainly worth holding in sight and even creating goals and having an idea of an endpoint, however the focus of a healing journey is the presence during which it happens.
Leaving aside prescribed outcomes and expectations for the duration of a healing experience provides an opportunity for the delivery of the healing required that could not have necessarily been imagined or decided at the beginning, it unfolds as you go along. There are indeed agreed intentions, guidance and support throughout a focused period of personal healing such as Reiki, tai chi or inner child sessions.
Through continual practice, embodying what you learn, provides the space and conditions for lasting transformation that is held in a supportive environment, another key aspect to personal healing. The relationship between the two are intertwined.
Being able to transfer what one learns (mentally), can integrate emotionally, be present physically and cultivate a real sense of self esteem (spiritually) brings the journey of integration into a tangible, considered approach to holistic healing.
If you’d like to read more about self talk, there’s an interesting article here that explains it in more detail. For a more in depth review of healing modalities mentioned in this article and to find out more you can reach out here to enquire further.