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Healing the Shattering Moment of Hearing a Life-Threatening Diagnosis

19 Nov

We just came across this letter from a decade ago, describing the healing impact guided imagery can have on old trauma we aren’t even aware we’re carrying.  It doesn’t happen this dramatically all the time – usually the gains are more subtle and incremental, and kind of sneak up on you.  But it happens often enough, especially when the timing is right and a lot of inner work has already been done.
 
We thought this was a hopeful reminder.  So, here it is, with a little bit of paring down and a switch from the specific to the generic when the identifying info was too specific:

Hi Belleruth:

Even though I did not listen to your Healing Trauma CD repeatedly, I had very powerful healing from old wounds -- deep wounds I was not consciously aware of.

I had already done much healing work on many levels, with help of a super psychotherapist and a terrific energy healer. I thought I had taken care of all that needed healing -- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Therefore, I was surprised to find that I had signed up to hear you talk on the topic of healing trauma!

I had some resistance about going to your talk, but I have rebuilt a high level of trust in my path. And so I went. I was most interested in hearing you talk about how you had come to make the imagery -- the care and thought that went into it, including the music. I was impressed with the fine tuning that you did after feedback from various groups of trauma survivors.

When it was time to hear the CD, you said we should honor our feelings about whether we wanted to hear it or not. I had the most powerful urge to bolt, but I stayed. As I told you before, I had a very deep, unsettling and disturbing experience upon hearing the CD. I'm sure your presence made it safer to consider doing this unexpected profound healing work. I felt very confused, since I thought I was already "healed."

After the CD was over, when you allowed time for us to talk about our experiences, I felt so raw I was unable to talk. But you said something that made a lot of sense to me -- about a friend who had been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness who had done very well, but had not dealt with the actual moment of diagnosis -- a heart shattering event in itself.
 
I had a flash of recognition, that this is what was up for me to heal.  I had been diagnosed with MS years ago and breast cancer after that.  I had healed from these illnesses, but these shatterings of innocence were so deep, that my heart was in fact broken -- a hole in the middle of it. And it was this disturbing image I had seen during the guided imagery of the landscape of the heart.
 
It was too painful to even consider restoring the broken pieces of my heart.  I wanted to run and go home and cry and hide. Instead, the next day at the same conference, I signed up for a native American healing ceremony, and it was this that facilitated the completion of the healing process.

I had signed up for both of these sessions months ahead. I had no memory that I had done so.  I believe if I had not been ready for this deep healing, I would not have gone to hear you, or I would have left before hearing the CD. Even though it was very difficult, all I needed was right there to complete the process, leaving me peaceful, light, and even jubilant!

I had thought I would listen to the Healing Trauma CD at home and continue the healing work, so I bought one to take home. I did not listen to it, but ended up giving it away to someone I thought needed it. I bought another one. Again I gave it away. I continued my healing course.
 
The second time I heard the Healing Trauma CD was at another of your workshops.  Right before, it occurred to me that my being there was pretty courageous given my previous intense reaction. However, this time, I was pleased to observe, my response to the CD was more moderate and even relaxed. I took it as a sign of the healing that I'd done and gave myself a mental pat on the back.
 
So it may not take many listenings for the Healing Trauma imagery to have a profound healing effect, especially when combined with other healing modalities.

With love,
M.
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