Pausing from our typical “food blog” today, I want to share some nourishing thoughts with you that have awakened something new and good in me.
Yesterday I attended a fascinating workshop on a method for “parenting children in hard places” called TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention based on the book, The Connected Child by Karen Purvis). I cannot stop thinking about some of the insights gained, lessons taught, stories of hope shared — and applying them to everything I know about spirituality, relationships and healing. All night and even as I woke this morning, I’ve been having the sort of “A-ha!” moments that feel like mini-explosions in my mind, miracle shifts in understanding.
The main theme that my friend Amanda Purvis (one of the teachers of the workshop) shared, from a deep heart level (sometimes with tears), is that everyone needs to feel their “preciousness” … in the same way that a mother gazes adoringly at her baby in the crook of her arms; or as adults, I imagine this is the way my husband Greg looks at me, his sure blue eyes willing my oft-insecure brown ones of his steady delight, his forever love. As if I am the only woman who exists for him in all the earth.
Dr. Dan Siegal, in his insightful book The Whole Brain Child, alludes to emotional health as helping ourselves and our children live in a “river of well-being.” This sort of balanced existence begins with knowing we are, in the deepest center of our being, “The Beloved.” (Borrowing from the classic by Henri Nouwan.) Children who do not have this sense of “preciousness” grow into adults who do not know this, so at some level, in bad ways and good, they search for this feeling of belonging and being cherished all their lives.
All of us have some trauma, big and small, and each one affects our brain chemistry at the moment. To be bereft of comfort or love after trauma, however, sears our brains with pain; the way we view our world can become skewed and harsh and fearful. But God’s heart is to never leave us “comfortless” and we can heal when we are truly seen, heard, allowed our voice and treated with respect by someone willing to be a loving vessel for God’s love.
In other words, we heal as we see ourselves “precious in His sight” ….. then, in time, we become Wounded Healers (borrowing again from the language of Nouwan), as we allow ourselves to see the “preciousness” in others. We can stand in the gap for El Roi, “The God Who Sees Me” … as we look deeper at one another, and point out the beauty we find there.
Last night Greg and I watched one of my all-time favorite films, Enchanted April. I saw its redemptive themes in fresh light, having just come from a class on how helping wounded children to see their “belovedness” heals and brings them new life. In short, the movie is about four women from the 1920’s who, each longing for an escape from their lives, pool their money together to rent an Italian Villa by the sea, “San Salvatore”. (I realized that even the name of the villa, “Savior”, foreshadowed what was to come.)
Lottie, the discontented but lovable wife –who was the most anxious to flee her life for a month — is the first to wake to lost joy as she allows the beauty of sea, flowers and hills to melt and soften her heart. Then, as she soaks in this balm, feels herself wholly Beloved, she meanders in and out of the other characters’ lives. She says to each person, in her own way , no matter how cranky, or disconnected, vain, or insensitive they are (in the midst of their brokenness and ugliness), “I see inside you, I see the real you. And you are unbelievably precious. In time, you’ll see it too.” She is what some might call a “Christ-figure” in the movie, touching every character and leaving them with a feeling of having been truly seen, messiness and all, and found worthy of love and tenderness. In time, thus loved by a human friend and rocked in the lap of nature, each woman awakens to love and beauty, and one by one, each experiences their own unique April of soul.
At the end of a movie a formerly bitter old lady, now feeling youthfully alive, leaves behind her walking stick, jamming it into the dirt. We see, through high speed film, that it blossoms into a flowering tree. An old walking cane, returned to its original purpose, to be the trunk from which flowers draw their nourishment. A symbol of how the warmth of love can re-purpose our old wounds, bringing us back to Eden and the way life was originally intended to be. When one woman heals, says an old proverb, she heals seven generations. I do not know if this is true, but I know when one woman deeply realizes her belovedness, her very presence is healing to others.
May you feel your “preciousness” today, as you imagine God holding you, rocking you, gazing at you, delighting in you… His forever beloved child. And may you pass this on to your children and your children’s children and all who come in contact with you in the present.
“Yahweh, your God, is in the midst of you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph 3:7 (World English Bible)