THE PARADOX: You Can Heal Yourself, But You Can’t Heal Yourself Alone

Yesterday, my publisher Tami Simon, founder of Sounds True, was interviewing me for her podcast Insights At The Edge as a way to broadcast to the world that my new book The Daily Flame: 365 Love Letters From Your Inner Pilot Light is now available (learn more here). Tami asked me a question that was so profound that it inspired me to write a whole blog about it. 

“So Lissa, you teach a lot about self-healing, and after reading The Daily Flame book, you suggest that this voice inside can be our best spiritual teacher, healer, therapist, mentor, teacher, muse, and guide. Does that mean you don’t need anybody on the outside?”

Great question. And the answer is no. If anyone has ever interpreted what I teach as suggesting that you won’t need outer help, then I’ve been either unclear or misunderstood. As I wrote in my book Mind Over Medicine in the section called “6 Steps To Healing Yourself,” it’s a misnomer to say you can heal yourself. The body is fully equipped to heal itself; but paradoxically, most people can’t handle doing this hard psycho-spiritual work alone. Just as I recommended in the book doing Step 4 (Diagnose the Root Cause) with a specially trained doctor or therapist, I also recommend having another person that you trust who can help guide you through any kind of trauma healing, spiritual awakening, or physical health journey.

With access to inner and outer support, you set yourself up for a positive outcome. Yes, being proactive about connecting to your Inner Pilot Light can help guide you to that which is in need of healing and you may get wise, even shocking epiphanies that teach you more than even the best therapist. (Learn tools and practices for deepening this inner connection in the new online program I just created here). It is also likely you will need external support to heal the traumas that get in the way of your ability to tune into this inner wisdom—and to call you out when you get in your own way.

IT’S A PARADOX; WE CAN HEAL OURSELVES, BUT WE CAN’T HEAL OURSELVES ALONE.

So how does this work? How can you seek support without giving your power away or letting someone in a position of authority control you? I told Tami that my Inner Pilot Light tends to show me glimpses of what needs deeper work, helps me get insight into what might be hard to see, gently kicks my butt when I’m resistant to facing up to what I’m being shown, encourages me to dive deeper with nurture and love, and guides me to the right therapists, teachers, doctors, and support people, which further deepens my connection to my Inner Pilot Light, so it all comes full circle. Personally, I’ve had spiritual mentors, therapists, and wise friends supporting me for over a decade, and their input and healing work have been critical to my healing journey.

Don’t Give Your Power Away

If you give your power away to authority figures and trust them to know what’s right for you better than you do, you’re a sitting duck, frighteningly at risk of being the victim of the next #MeToo drama with the fallen guru, therapist, shaman, or doctor who abuses their power and harms those who trust them. When you give your power away, your powerless state may paralyze you, freezing you when it’s time to stand up and protect yourself when your boundaries are getting violated. If you fail to filter your therapist’s suggestions through your own inner guidance, you may be at risk of taking on inaccurate or even harmful feedback. Don’t forget, the “wounded healer” archetype is alive and well. Doctors, therapists, healers, shamans, and spiritual teachers inevitably have their own wounding, and if you’re not careful to filter their guidance through your own intuition and discernment, their wounds might get projected onto you in ways that could fail to help you or even further traumatize you.

Don’t Trust Only Your Inner Authority

If giving your power away is so risky, why not just rely on your inner guidance and go commando?  If you feel fairly solid in your inner connection, why even expend the time, energy, and money on expert help? Because, that’s another trap. If you think you’re enlightened and that you always have the 411 on what your Inner Pilot Light is telling you (without questioning yourself or acknowledging the inevitable fallibility of even the most awakened human), you’ll be at risk of deluding yourself into thinking you have it all under control inside yourself and that you’re beyond needing expert help. That’s a recipe for disaster, and it’s how people in positions of power get in trouble. They’ve quit listening to those who challenge them, having gotten infected with what Mariana Caplan, PhD calls the STD’s (Spiritually Transmitted Diseases), including the deadly “I have arrived” virus. If you only trust your inner authority, without outside support and the expertise of therapists and doctors, you’ll be vulnerable to your own shadows, and you won’t get the support you need to enter the tender, traumatized places that aren’t always safe to venture into alone when healing is needed. Connection to your Inner Pilot Light activates great power, and as they say, power corrupts, unless you have people outside of you who will call you on your shadows. That’s why we need both—inner agency and external facilitation and support.

Inner Guidance + Outer Accountability & Healing Support = SAFETY

Someone you can trust will always have access to both inner connection (which invariably comes and goes, even in the wisest people I’ve met) and the humility to seek help from their own teachers, therapists, and wise counselors, people who aren’t just “yes” people, people who are willing to challenge those in positions of power and help them see what might lie in the shadows. Especially if you’re on an intense spiritual path, I guarantee you that you’ll need both—inner agency and outer expertise. Personally, I don’t trust any spiritual leader or therapist who isn’t personally getting outside support. The minute someone tells me, “I have all the guidance I need inside,” I get suspicious. Yes, my inner guidance is my best ally—and I’ve been given so much insight from this inner wisdom. But it’s also true that my therapist is doing the kind of work with me I wasn’t ready to do myself. I wish I could say that all you’ll ever need is a vertical connection to Source in order to fully heal, but most traumas that happen in relationship need to be healed in relationship. Perhaps this explains why so many gurus who ostensibly got “enlightened” alone in caves came down off the mountain and traumatized their disciples. Maybe they saw the light, but nobody helped them heal their traumas while they were alone in caves.

How Can You Connect To Your Inner Pilot Light?

Start by asking your Inner Pilot Light what you need. Listen deeply. Tune in. Pay attention to synchronicity. Ask your dreams to help you. See if something just drops in when you ask what would support your unique journey.

In case it resonates (but only if you get a HELL YES from your Inner Pilot Light!), I created an online program full of tools, practices, and ancient rituals that have been used by many traditions for thousands of years to help people like you and me access this Divine spark inside. You can access Connect To Your Inner Pilot Light.

How Can You Find The Right External Support?

That’s where connecting to your Inner Pilot Light can help you too. Whether you’re seeking one-on-one mentorship, a therapist, the right spiritual teacher, a healer, or an aligned community of spiritual practice, start by asking your Inner Pilot Light to guide you. Surrender your desire for support to this force of love inside you—and then pay attention! Assume your Inner Pilot Light—and the Universe at large—has heard your request and will respond through inner knowing, synchronicity, an email like this in your inbox, or all the other ways your Inner Pilot Light might communicate with you. Ask outside yourself too. Ask your trusted loved ones for referrals. Do a Google search. Keep your eyes open and assume that everything is trying to help you get your needs met. See if you can recognize the guidance that arrives for you.

In my next blog, I’ll be writing about the kind of trauma therapy I’m receiving from my psychotherapist Asha Clinton, PhD, founder of Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT). If you read about what I’m doing with Asha and it resonates, I’ll refer you at the end of the next blog to the AIT therapists she’s trained. I’ll also be writing soon about another trauma healing modality I trust—Internal Family Systems (IFS), founded by Richard Schwartz, PhD. So stay tuned! Help is coming if you feel ready. If you’re not on my blog mailing list and you want to make sure not to miss it, register here.

With love and trust in your journey,

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