This year I’ve been studying with a dear mentor, therapist and teacher Bonnie Badenoch, diving into the world of relational neuroscience.
One of the gifts that Bonnie gives is unending compassion, gentleness, and trust in the healing impulse that lives within and guides our healing.
It’s easy to trust this healing impulse when we feel peaceful, connected, and grateful: when we feel the strength and noble beauty of who we are, tucked into the lap of love.
I thought of this when I was at the library yesterday, browsing the children’s section. Many of you know that children’s books are some of my favorite things – little Dharma teachings in a few pages, and with pictures!
I stopped in my tracks when I saw this book cover: I Am Every Good Thing. I paused and breathed that message in, breathing it in for myself, for every child, and every person. (You can find the book here.)
But when we’re caught in painful emotions or feel the sharp sting as our ‘as yet resolved’ traumas are awakened, we can forget the link of goodness that binds us to life.
Bonnie, in her exquisite tenderness, reminds us that these, too, are opportunities to trust how we’re loved, and how our systems are seeking healing, wholeness, and rest.
Here’s what she said about how we can respond – if we’re able to, and with as much compassion as we have available to us in the moment – when painful sensations, cravings, impulses, and emotions arise in our bodies, hearts and minds:
“I’m going to make an outrageous suggestion…to say thank you here – thank you for being here so there can be healing between us. If you don’t want to do that, that’s okay, you don’t have to.
It’s taken me years to get to the place of feeling like when these ‘not yet resolved pairs come up’ – that I can mostly feel, after a moment of, ‘Darn here we go again’ – shortly after that ‘Oh, yes here we go again!’ Here’s an opportunity. Here’s a possibility. Here’s a way that somebody inside has requested healing because you’ve come into my awareness.’
And I can begin to pull in my supporters… to help me do that – come and help me be with what’s arrived for healing.” – Bonnie Badenoch
Her words remind me of something that another mentor, Stephen Jenkinson, taught me: how the root of the word for ‘enemy’ means something like ‘that which has not yet known love,’ our unloved friend.
Thinking of these wounded places in us as ‘the friends that long for love’ can help us feel less frightened and identified when they come calling, asking for warmth and holding.
We can feel less frightened of ourselves, and of the pain that lives inside, awaiting care.
Oh, yes: we are every good thing, and we have so much goodness inside. So much goodness that holds and cares for us – especially when these ‘places that long for love’ arise.