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Imagery Launches Healing from Distorted, Punitive, Childhood Church Indoctrination

31 Mar

Annette from Virginia tells this story demonstrating how guided imagery can open doors to deep healing, even from the oldest emotional and spiritual wounds. The impact, as we know, is cumulative with repeated listening. Here is her story, in her own words, with a few edits.

"For my whole life, I have dealt with a genetic disorder that killed half my family.  I was at a point of being depressed, angry and convinced that life is just unfair and hopeless for some people. I didn't think there was any point meditating.

I grew up in the deep South, in churches that taught us that we carried the sins of our ancestors, who had sinned against God, and so God put a curse on the family, and we would all keep dying until God was over his anger.

I can't express the damage this did to a child (me) who was already struggling with the overwhelming health crises and multiple losses in her family.

I grew up and eventually realized intellectually that the idea of an angry God who punishes people for ‘the sins of the fathers’ was nonsense, but it was too late. Those teachings took hold deep in my subconscious, where my analytic brain didn’t go. Those early ideas stuck, and framed my outlook. 

I got the PTSD guided imagery from the leader of a weekly support group I attend.  I went to bed and started listening to it.  I was expecting nothing, but I promised him I would give it a try.  I didn’t make it to a full minute before tears were slipping out of my eyes & rolling down my face. Soon I was just crying.  

It happens every time, but I feel lighter afterwards, not so weighed down with pain. I don't feel so tired.  In fact, I am just starting to realize how weary I have been.  I don’t know how far this meditation can take me in my healing, but I can say that I love this meditation, find it very calming, reassuring & soothing.  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the journey through my broken heart and down into my purest essential self.  I just may listen to it every night for the rest of my life ”

- Annette W. from Virginia

[Ed. Note: We now have Traci Stein’s Self-Compassion set, which would serve as a fabulous alternate meditation for Annette, if she ever did want to take a break from that PTS imagery.] 

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award