Let’s see what the fairytale, Rumplestiltskin
has to teach about this process:
Damsel: Oh dear! I don’t know how to turn this room full of straw into gold!
What ever shall I do???
Rumplestiltskin: Never fear! I know how to help you!
But, I’ll need you to provide me something of value for my help.
Damsel: Of course! Here is my necklace in return for your help!
Damsel: Oh no! I have to turn a bigger room full of straw into gold! Will you help me????
Rumplestiltskin: Of course. But again, I will need you to provide me with something you value in exchange for my help.
Damsel: Yes, of course. Here is my ring.
Damsel: I’m so distraught! I have to turn an even bigger room full of straw into gold. Alas, I have nothing to give you in return for your help.
The little imp gets to work on the huge room of straw turning it into gold. When finished he notifies our heroine that he requires her first born child in payment. Horrors!
Our damsel is beside herself, learning of the horrible bargain. Rumplestiltskin offers: If you can guess my name, you will be released from the bargain. Our damsel employs the help of her community to learn the name of the strange little man. One of her allies hears Rumplestiltskin, as he dances around his fire, singing out his own name! Her ally returns with the news, and shares his name with the damsel.
When the little man returns for his due, after the birth of the damsel’s child, he is furious when she guesses his name. For in doing so, she breaks the horrible spell. At that moment Rumplestiltskin stomps his foot, and instantly splits in two.
Unfortunately, the process of restoring health can feel as impossible as turning straw into gold, and as harrowing as this story. And as in any house, all rooms need to be tended to.
- The first room of straw, tending to the body, is most easily accepted as part of the process of healing. In order to make progress on the way to optimal health, payment of some form is needed. The most obvious is paying a professional for their guidance/talents. But ultimately it requires giving up the way you used to treat your body, in exchange for a new, healthier way to nourish and care for your body.
- The second room of straw could be seen as restoration of emotional health. So often people are stressed because of difficulties in their relationships with others, whether professional, familial, or personal. These conlficts take a great toll on a persons health. At the same time, looking more deeply, you see that relational challenges begin within. Problematic relating is learned, or imprinted, in our family of origin before we had any say.
The price to be paid here, to have assistance with transforming our relationships, again may be paying a professional for their guidance/talents. On a deeper level, it is the payment of relinquishing a way of being with others and ourselves that was uncomfortable at best, and dysfunctional to varying degrees. The former way of being is traded for new awareness and new behavior that can generate “golden” relationships and emotional health, which also contributes to improved physical health.
- The third room requires deep trust in the process. You can see how changing your physical habits create more health. And then you’ve seen how interpersonal relationships improve your well-being. What more could there be? This is where external authority is ultimately relinquished. Here is the most challenging bargain of all, as what needs to be given up is what your family, your culture, your country has told you is TRUE.
The “spell” of the bargain is broken. Rumplestiltskin, the mysterious little imp, stomps his foot in anger and is split in two. The illusion of power over our damsel is broken. The veil of illusion split in two. You have earned the right to keep your own new life: no one else ultimately has authority over you.
Try this exercise when you have a few minutes,
to explore how it feels when things begin to transform:
- Bring your attention within. How are you feeling? Disheartened? Anxious? Suspicious? Let yourself take a few moments to notice how your body feels. Notice any emotions you are feeling. Don’t try to change your emotions…if you are anxious, be anxious! Notice how ‘anxious’ feels, and make space for it. And breathe.
After you’ve taken a few deep breaths, close your eyes and gently revisit a time of moderate challenge for you. What feelings do you remember? Sadness? Fear? Loneliness? What ever those feelings were, notice what happens in your body, being with the memory.
What happens? Does your breath become more shallow? Do your chest and shoulders constrict? Whatever it is just notice what affects it has on your body…your breathing. Now gently let that memory go.
- Now, take a few slow, deep breaths. Travel in memory to a time when you experienced a breakthrough in your life. What feelings do you remember? Elation? Inspiration? Joy? Whatever they were, let your body feel all those feelings from that time. Feel them fully.
What do you notice in your body? Does your spine begin to straighten? Do you feel your heart in your chest expanding? Do you feel your energy rising? Does a smile come to your face? Enjoy the memory, then gently let this one fade too.
Example: Not too long ago, one of my clients was lying on the table telling me how afraid she was of injuring herself again. Yet, she didn’t want to give up on the activities she loves. Who could blame her? In that moment I was reminded of the teachers who encouraged me to listen to my intuition…”it’s going to rain, bring your umbrella” ……”slow down, you don’t know what’s around that corner”…You know, that still, small voice within that is constantly looking out for you?
I wondered if my client was consciously aware of the value of listening for that inner knowing? We explored this during her time on the table, and I could sense she hadn’t really tuned in this way previously, even though she is quite a conscious person. She later reported that the shift in her attention toward listening to that still, small voice is helping her honor her limits. It’s keeping her safe.
My client had come to resolve the effects of a previous injury to her body, which was being tended to, during our session. During the treatment, fear arose, which she gave voice to…there was a lack of trust in herself, physically and relationally, because of the accident she had experienced. Through my sharing of the importance in bringing more attention to the “still, small voice” as trusted inner guidance, she later saw that was able to trust that she knew how to keep herself safe. She became more empowered.
Healing is a multidimensional process. The process of restoring health naturally takes committed tending to body, emotions, relationships and spirit. Through the process you are likely to become adept at transforming any “straw” in your life into a golden opportunity!