For the first half of my life I was very good at new years resolutions. I have always believed in setting and resetting goals and intentions. I once set some 5 year goals and realized I had achieved all of them in about 18 months. Every year, at this time, I would re-evaluate and reset my new intentions to start the coming year. Like I said, it worked pretty well in most areas of my life.
However, in my book Being, I described what some might call a dark night of the soul when all of my suppressed trauma came to the surface a few years ago. I thought I had ruined my marriage and I didn’t know whether anything was going to go back to being normal again. It wasn’t the devil, or sin, or anything like that. It was unaddressed woundedness that I had carried most of my life.
In most ways, setting intentions are good, but they can be used to bypass our woundedness. We hope that achieving new heights will somehow erase those memories and shadow material; but those parts of us are still there and eventually come out at the wrong time and in the wrong way. They are trying to tell us something and unless we are present with them and do the hard work, they won’t just go away.
I used to tell my children, “almost nothing gets better by ignoring it.” The trash doesn’t take itself out, it only gets smellier. When we ignore it only gets worse and causes other issues. When we can be present with it in compassion, it has the chance of transforming or shifting and helping us truly heal.
I sometimes wonder whether all of the talk of sin and Satan in holy books wasn’t just people misunderstanding things that we now understand like shadow and repressed trauma and toxic shame. Religion taught us to ignore the body because it was sinful, but the body is what tells us “there’s something here you need to address.”
So, simply let me suggest that the first intention of 2022 must be to face our woundedness. 2020 brought new trauma as we dealt with a pandemic and other issues. 2021 flew by so quickly we barely had time to catch our breath. Maybe as the sun sets on 2021, we can make our first intention to learn about shadow and focusing and healing. Maybe our first goal should be to talk to someone that knows about these things and start addressing the trauma.
Just like getting in shape or getting healthy or making more money, everything involves some initial pain and takes a lot of energy to get started. But, unless we address the woundedness we carry around, 2022 will smell a lot like the years before. Leaning into the pain is the only way to remove it.
I realize courage makes us vulnerable, but no goal or intention can get us around this reality. We must be brave and face the things we’ve been avoiding. I would encourage you to read or listen to my book, Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity. Maybe my experience or the companion guide can help you navigate this necessary journey!
All of the co-hosts at The Desert Sanctuary, Laura, Aaron, Jason and Kyle are pulling for you! We love you and wish you well on your journey. See our new episode for the new year: Becoming What You Are (January 1st).
Be where you are, be who you are,