The Cartography of the Heart, Part 4

Finding the truth and making it beautiful

Allow the space between the words. Your life will deepen.

I have written about ‘self-hatred’ as it is something that enters my office weekly…sometimes cloaked in depression or anxiety, sometimes in the form of a sword…ready for battle against the enemy. In other words—sometimes unconscious, sometimes conscious. I write to ‘you’ as a way of teaching, and as a way of listening.
I witness the shame and self-sabotage that is lodged deep within. It creates the charge, the agitation, and the confusion that keeps you from seeing the truth of who you are. I feel such compassion for this.
This self-hatred can be likened to an infection— a fiery line wandering throughout your body, your thoughts, your world. This leaves you feeling a bit delusional, irritated, defensive.
Because you are in survival mode. You are fighting for your life…fighting to save your soul.

You sit with the unbearable grief of recognition.

The wound is cleaned and the infection is drained.
With relief, you discover the sword of self-hatred is not an innate part of you.
You are not the trauma.
You are the self beneath the trauma.
The wound, the space left by the sword, is your own unique medicine. Your body remembers this space. This space, this stillness, is your medicine.
Allow yourself to be curious about this space…this hole that the sword has left.
This beautiful quiet…this place that feels like a star-filled night sky…this is you.
This is your fragile, strong, true self.
This is you, lying on your back, experiencing gravity, in a field of tall grasses, gazing up at the endless sky, connecting with the pulsation that moves throughout the earth. You find your own heartbeat, your own rhythm, and you drop into this. And this place that was left by the sword, you place your hand on it. You breathe. You settle. You loosen. You again have a felt sense of your physical boundary, your ‘armor’. Although now, you unattach from the woundedness left by the sword. You sense the armor is not only rigidity—it is not only holding things in place through tension. It is also your sacred container.
And as you breathe, you experience the edges of this container, and you allow yourself to explore this. The periphery of your body is the healthy and flexible armor that meets the world. Your boundary. As you acknowledge and tend the wound left by the sword, the process of healing begins. The self-hatred is slowly thawing and being replaced with curiosity and self-acceptance. You internalize the boundary. You trust the self-love, the self-forgiveness, the self-wonder that comes with time and with attention.

And at the end of the day, it is your gift to yourself to care for this boundary and this internal night sky…this bioluminescence. It is your work to gently replace self-hatred with self-love.
To find the exquisite and tender truth of who you really are.

To find the truth and to make it beautiful.

About Denise Andes

I am a Neo-Reichian Body Psychotherapist, CRT, and LPC. My graduate background is from SAIC/Rush St. Lukes Medical School and the Bodynamics Institute of Denmark. I’ve had the gift of studying with Dick Olney, Peter Levine, Sandra Ingerman, and many others, two and four-legged, whose teachings continue to be a source of inspiration. As a shamanic teacher and creative thinker, I have woven eidetic imagery and shamanic healing over the past 25+ years into my private practice in Santa Fe, NM. I work extensively with developmental, shock/trauma, and self-acceptance issues.