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The Shape of Healing is a Spiral not a Line

By Nancy Swisher
December 31, 2006

In this excellent article, IB Facilitator Nancy Swisher helps us to move beyond judgment when we encounter the same wounded patterns over and over, even when we are in a healing process.

Yesterday, a client of mine became very upset with herself because she had been acting out an old wounded pattern of flirting with men in order to feel attractive. She said, "I did this three years ago and now I'm doing it again. I feel like such a failure!" She believed that if she were healing that she wouldn't repeat the same patterns three years later.

The thing is that healing doesn't happen in a straight line. It happens in a spiral. We will repeat our wounded patterns until they are healed.A useful metaphor for this spiral is a mountain. Think of a mountain in the shape of a very large pointed evergreen tree. As you walk up the mountain of your healing process you go around and around, making circles but going up. I told my client to imagine that her shame about her appearance was on the East side of the mountain. So when she circles around to the East side, those patterns will get triggered again if they are not healed yet. But she is also climbing up the mountain as she circles. Her consciousness is not the same as it was three years ago, even though the wounded pattern is the same. Her perspective on it is different. Now, she can heal another layer, and move on up the mountain.Some day there will be no more wounds on that side of the mountain.

As we explored her feelings about this through Inner Bonding, she discovered that the healing this time around was not so much about the behavior itself, but about her judgment of herself. Three years ago, she stopped the behavior but hadn't yet deepened her healing to see how pervasive her self-judgment is.

I have learned, both in my own process and with my clients, that judgment of our healing process - i.e. thinking we should be 'over this' - only keeps the pattern stuck.

Inner Bonding, when practiced, does indeed support us to move into Compassion for the wounded self, so that when we come around the mountain again to where our wounded self resides, we bring in Love for that part. Sometimes the Love may be in the form of setting boundaries with the wounded child. As with my client who decided to spend time affirming her body and her beauty rather than flirting in order to get affirmation externally.

But the wounded pattern will come around again as we move up the mountain. You can be sure of that! Healing is a spiral. What's possible is to see it as a gift through which we evolve in Love.

Nancy Swisher is a Certified Inner Bonding Facilitator with a private practice in western Massachusetts and by phone. She can be reached at 413-655-0102.


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