Our self-discovery, when aimed and aligned with self-healing, will always bring us into new places out of our comfort zone. If we learn to recognize which “zone” we are in, we can not only gain strength for deeper self-discovery but also allow ourselves to trust and then receive the wisdom that is present in each step of our healing journey.
This diagram describes the 4 zones of the Hero’s Journey. From the known place of comfort to the place of growth. It is important to recognize the opportunities and challenges of each zone in order to not get stuck on this journey.
Before I elaborate on each zone and share with you those opportunities and challenges, with the tools that can be used in each, I want to share something very universal that I have witnessed on my own healing journey and in those of my clients and friends.
Deep inside of us is a calling. A calling for a deeper connection with self and with others. A calling that is pushing us away from a contracted self to an expanded self. A calling that whispers wisdom in our Heart and challenges the construct of the tight Ego, the place of knowing.
We are constantly dealing with those two seemingly opposite forces. One that wants security and the one that calls us into adventures. One that feeds on knowing and one that feeds on unknowing.
Sages and wisdom keepers are telling us that the place of ultimate wisdom resides beyond the frontier of the self (small self / Ego), in the infinite void of the higher Self. Yet the self as we know it has learned through our traumatic life experiences, the places of suffering, that we need to be protected. Guarded. And most of our behavior, emotional & mental patterns, are deeply anchored in this guarded self, preventing us from further growth and often having us taking two steps back once we have taken one step ahead.
We experience the bliss of a liberating experience for only a few moments until the shadows and armors regain “control” of our mind, belief, and emotions. Even those experiencing some God’s like moments, through plant medicine ceremonies, for example, will often fall back into old habits and behaviors within a few weeks. And it is where we have the opportunity to recognize the armors, love and hold the wounded parts of our self, and gather our strength and courage to keep taking the next step.
In the COMFORT ZONE, we feel safe and in control. We know and understand our life as it is. We act as if all is where it needs to be. Our career. Our relationships. Our behaviors. There is a certain status quo that makes us feels good, at least on the surface. We take little risks, we harvest little rewards. It is a place of rest and knowing.
Yet often can be felt in that place the FEAR ZONE. Where we do not feel that complete or that safe. Others trigger us with their behaviors, actions, and opinions. Our self-esteem and self-confidence are easily shattered by life events. We worry about money, the world, our neighbor, etc. We find excuses for our actions and behaviors. We resist going into the Hero’s Journey, embarking fully with our two feet into our healing path. It is still a place where our wounds, shadows, and armors have some power over us as very often we will run back into the comfort zone. Yet this zone brings us the opportunity to witness more consciously where the work needs to be done. Our self-esteem and lack of confidence, our hiding and running away, are whisperers of wisdom for us.
With the proper tools and practices we can find the strength to stop bouncing back between comfort & fear. We can enter the LEARNING ZONE. It is where we find new ways to relate with ourselves and with others. We discover new tools, new skills that allow us to expand our comfort zone. Fear and low self-esteem start to not control us as much. Instead of finding excuses we start to solve our problems as we face challenges, especially our own, with more strength. This learning zone can be pretty tiring on the bodies (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual). So when in the learning zone the importance of self-care is crucial. We need to self-nurture along that journey as it is a long one. Another crucial element in the learning zone is the importance to surround ourselves with those who can support us, guide us and empower us to discover those gifts and witness with kindness our struggles and vulnerability.
This learning zone is tightly attached to the GROWTH ZONE. The place where the tools and new practices have been mastered. The place where learning is embodied in our daily life. Where we can witness that old behaviors have lost their power over us. We finally can live our dreams, not held back anymore by our wounded inner child, not controlled by other people's opinions, but flying high on the wings of the creator knowledge. We have conquered a new territory in our life. We can serve and offer this wisdom to others. We often enjoy the fruits of our efforts. The risk is sometimes to stay there as this becomes our new comfort zone and to avoid looking again, more deeply, with our new tools, to our next fear & learning zones.
So here are some valuable tools on this journey:
1. Prayer. Learning the power of prayer as we walk this path is an essential component to witness when our prayers are may be misaligned and how they materialize. Anything we tell ourselves on a regular basis becomes our prayer. So, if this self-talk holds a lot of judgment, anger, self-doubt, or if this self-talk is stuck on repeating / sharing “what happened in the past”, we will keep creating our life from that place. Watch those thoughts.
2. Journeying. Either through plant medicine, drumming or dream work, journeying into the Spirit world to gain assistance from our Spirit Guides is an important part of the shamanic path. It has been my personal shared experience with my clients and students that those journeys can & will reveal the wisdom that is necessary to take the right next step. By connecting “beyond” our limited self, we receive wisdom from “beyond” our limited self.
3. Nature connection. The wisdom of Nature is undeniable even to the most advanced scientists. Because of its extremely complex organization, and yet it’s extremely accessible wisdom, we can through taking the time to be in connection with Nature, receive the nourishment and wisdom necessary to answer some of the hardest problems in our lives. Plenty of technics used for millenniums by Native tribes can help each and every one of us to live a better life.
4. Inner Child work. This has been to me and my community at The Sanctuary a very important tool to discover the old wound that has been carried from my childhood into adulthood. Through re-parenting our inner child, we can totally shift the way we relate to our wounds & triggers and offer a freshly reborn version of ourselves to this world.
5. Sharing circles and community connection. We are walking this healing path alone together. This means it is our full responsibility to heal our trauma and wounds, and yet we cannot fully complete this healing without the support of others. This requires to connect with like-minded friends on that journey who are deeply committed to this self-work too. We keep developing this community aspect of The Sanctuary for that reason. I have witnessed the deepest healing when in a circle together in ceremony, around the fire, and on our virtual online circles. Being witnessed in our vulnerability allow us to feel held in the places we were rejected. It allows us to witness with deep compassion the universality of Human needs & suffering. It often annihilates those deep feelings of low self-esteem and feeling “different” and broken.
There are plenty of other tools available that I have learned and experience the past 15 years on my healing path like shamanic drumming, breathwork, sound healing, etc. Most of them very simple yet unknown from our western education system and culture. Too often “in the west” the discomfort is numbed through alcohol, drugs or other addictions. Too often we do not feel comfortable to be witnessed in our pain. Too often we believe that the discomfort means we are broken, irreparable. So it is my wish and mission to keep learning, practicing, teaching and offering those ancient tools at The Sanctuary as I know the immense power they have and how needed they are in today’s world.
I look forward to sharing those with you and to sit, pray and heal together.