Getting to the Heart of the Matter
A few years ago, I came across Susan Anderson’s “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”. Her artfully educational and compassionate book became a crucial strand of my lifeline, leading me from deep betrayal trauma to freedom and healing. To this day, I still lean on the tools included in this life-changing book.
One of the practices, found in chapter three, is called BigYou, Little You. It is an interactive exercise, a “conversation” between our most despairing, sad, hurting, or otherwise victimized selves, “little us” with “big us”, our wise, compassionate, inspiring inner-self. For me, I use a special notebook to hold this conversation. For others who are more verbally expressive, using a recording app on their phone can be helpful.
I use this exercise when my day is hijacked by emotions that are too deep or too disturbing for my other coping mechanisms, ie chatting it through with a friend or mindfully acknowledging and releasing it, or going for a walk, etc. are not working. Often, the inner part of me that has been stirred up is connected to some old inner abuse lie that has been lodged in my soul, or some trauma memory that broke a part of me that is still hurting. Letting that injured voice speak, express freely it’s most victimy, complainy, weak, ungrateful, awful ideas, on paper is liberating. No one is here to say “should” or “shhhh” about anything that comes from that place. For once, it can just spew. Then, I write, with all the wisdom, compassion, love and patience I would with a dear struggling friend or child, responses to each argument, each disparagement, each desperate plea for validation and love. To which Little Me responds, and then back and forth until peace and insight and calm has been achieved.
Often, this exercise starts out quiet stormy. And while sometimes that wiser voice is pretty on par, at other times it is not sufficient. But I have found that by the end of the exercise I am being guided not by my own inner voice and experience but by my connection to God, through His Spirit. It becomes a very holy and insightful experience, like many meditations or devotions are. Some of my greatest traumas or most untouchable life events have found healing and hope in this way. And so I recommend Anderson’s book, and her exercise, in hopes that they, too, can add to your journey and healing as well.