Physician, heal thyself.

Posted January 29th, 2012 by Jack and filed in Uncategorized

Physician, heal thyself.

I coach my clients to engage in compassion for themselves and self care. Saturday, I was reminded to do that for myself.

I had some experiences at work that triggered some old emotional reactions and patterns. I had previously committed myself to refraining from behaving badly based on the triggering incidents, but I was upset and angry at myself for getting angry and upset in the first place.

My pastor describes the process as a helix or spiral. You think you may be finished or complete with a piece of inner work or healing and you move around the helix 360 degrees and there it is again. The difference is that in the journey around the circle you gained some altitude, like the threads on a screw. You are facing the situation again, but at a higher level since you have grown during the trip around the circle. The situation is the same, you are what is elevated. You bring more mastery and less attachment the next time around .

I had forgotten this lesson for myself. The reminder came in the form of some transformative breath work. The operating theory is that you suppress emotions by physically holding or restricting your breath as you exhale. The breath work focuses on regaining the healthy breathing pattern. It came as no surprise to me or the facilitator that the sadness and shame I felt for having “failed” to master my emotional reaction to the incidents at work came rushing out for healing.

The healing for me was the same healing I would recommend to my clients. Forgive yourself for being human, love yourself for being human. Recognize your upward progress on the helix. Give yourself credit for catching yourself in the act before you responded by behaving badly. Take time to grieve for the cost (loss) of your previous bad behavior. The appropriate response to loss is grief…

What else can we learn from this example? How about the strength of allowing yourself to be vulnerable? Remember compassion for yourself too?


humbled but healing,