For me, Heartwork is all about discovering you. I have been in therapy since I was 12 years old. At 45, I am still pulling together the pieces of my life and myself; trying to make peace with the losses and trauma. The therapists I have worked with have been social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists with various techniques and theories to help me become whole. Some of my prior work has been very helpful and kept me moving forward in my life. But, until I met Dale and started Heartwork, I really didn’t get it. I really didn’t see that it was me, not everyone else, that I needed to know and understand.
There are many words that Dale has said that have turned light bulbs on for me. The first, and probably most important, came after one of my first group sessions with Dale. I had become frustrated with one of the other group members, so I asked Dale what the rules were to responding to other group members when I was having a reaction to them. I didn’t want to offend anyone, but thought somehow I should be able to convey my thoughts and be honest. Dale told me that I could say whatever I wanted to as long as I realized that whatever I said was really about me and not the other person. These words stunned me at first. What do you mean my reaction is about me? Isn’t it this person causing me to have this reaction? Isn’t it about them/because of them?
I’ve spent a lifetime having reactions to other person’s words and actions and have thought that I needed to change them if I felt those words and actions were wrong or didn’t feel good to me. It never occurred to me that I needed to pay attention to me, and why I was reacting to them. This one message, my reactions are about me, has changed my thoughts and actions in reacting to others. I’ve learned to pay attention to me, to listen to my body and consider what it means about me to be feeling and reacting how I am. This practice has opened my eyes to who I am and what I need to work on for myself more than years of therapy I’d had before.
Dale often says, “Come as you are.” At first those words can sound obvious enough. But Heartwork makes those words have meaning to me that they never had before. I felt through my life that I should honor others by being considerate, patience, kind or whatever they needed regardless of who they were. But couldn’t translate those feelings back to myself, or didn’t consider doing that. Heartwork has given me the space to explore all of me, the beautiful and the ugly. I’ve finally given myself permission to be all that am, to accept it all so that I can finally see where I’ve been and where I need to go from here.
The practice of just being who you are, again, seems obvious enough. But amazingly, I’ve found it is not all that easy to be who you are, look at who you really are fully; and honor yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself.