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The Healing Path A Call of the Soul
by Michele Germain, LCSW
First Published in Llewellyn Magazine, September 2006
JACK AND JILL WENT UP THE HILL TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER. Thus begins the classic nursery rhyme. The hill is a metaphor for the journey of a marriage or non-marital relationship. The Pail is where each of them puts his/her longings, hurts and past losses from their childhood home of origin. Ones they had long forgotten. During the whole climb they look to the other person to fill their pail for them thus creating the happy family they always wanted.
JACK FELL DOWN AND BROKE HIS CROWN. The fantasy and unrealistic expectations of getting their partner to fill up their pail does not happen. With this as their mission their journey is burdened. The more each pretends these unresolved, historical wounds and previous losses don’t exist or don’t matter the more elusive “happily ever after” becomes. This prevents them from loving themselves and meeting the needs of their partner. Therefore, the fall occurs and so does the relationship.
AND JILL COMES TUMBLING AFTER. The image of Jill tumbling down the hill causes us to focus on what happens to her; and so this is where my story and that of millions of other women begins.
Tumbling down my hill threw me into a tailspin, as my 23 year marriage ended. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (psychotherapist) with a private practice for over 15 years, 2 lovely children and a wonderful home in an upper middle class suburbs of San Diego, California I believed that all the pieces were neatly in place to make me happy and to enable my relationship to go on forever. But despite my professional training, I had been denying important realities of my marital relationship and ignoring essentials elements of my own identity. I was trying to pretend everything was fine inside of me, and I was looking to my husband and all the external things to fill me up. I was alone with a mountain to climb in front of me. I new I had to go deeper and pull on every strength I had lost or forgotten. But, I was willing because I wanted a healing that would provide lasting change,
As I felt better I began to reach out to other women. I started a support group for women in La Jolla, California around grief associated with the loss of marriage or a non-marital relationship. I reached out in my private practice and ran a workshop on divorce recovery. My training in Bioenergetics taught me the importance of the connection of feelings to the body and allowed me to understand how pain gets hidden. This was a important element of my workshop.
As my own healing continued, I explored various spiritual teachings looking at the spiritual dimension of a crisis. I knew that if I was going to transcend this pain, I needed to find my soul. I kept a therapeutic journal charting the steps I was guided to take. I began doing public speaking on how the body and soul are necessary components in the healing process. I started to do some research on recovery models associated with divorce and other relationship losses and discover a holistic approach was missing. I also, learned that many women and men rush back into relationships and marriages never completely resolving their losses; doing the same thing expecting different results. This in my opinion, was why second marriages had a divorce rate at that time of 60%.
Through all of these avenues I began to hear question and comments from women along the lines of: “What do I have to do to make my pain go away? How do I heal these feelings? Why am I still angry all these years later? Why is it talking me so long to start a new life for myself? I thought I could leave all my crap behind and what did I do start another dysfunctional relationship. What is the purpose of all this? Where is God?
Therefore,I began “The Jill Principle A Women’s Guide to Healing your Spirit after Divorce or Break-up”. It’s the story of triumph. Step by step you will read about a process that shows Jill how to reconnect with her body, calm her mind and reawaken her soul. So, let’s look at the modern day Jill as she takes the tumble.
Falling and tumbling down the hill leaves Jill physically vulnerable and mentally disarmed. The impact of the fall forces her to surrender to her body. A story unfolds. She begins to see what has been hidden inside: the secrets of her past, the pain of all her losses and the unspoken feelings in her relationships. She begins to grieve and see the relationship between her feelings and her body. Thus, begins the return to her self as she starts once again to feel at home in her body. Her body becomes her friend and an inner compass, no longer the container for all the things she wants to forget. She now listens within for direction, as she journeys up the hill alone, ready to fetch her own pail of water.
But fetching her own pail of water is a new task as she attempts to heal her mind. Mentally she must now investigate what she has been telling herself that keeps her from believing in her ability to fetch her own pail of water. She pays close attention to her thoughts and finds them to be self-critical. She hears herself say she is not enough. Not smart enough, energetic enough, likeable enough, attractive enough, young enough, or whatever enough. As she listen to these thoughts for the first time, she begins to understand how they have limited her and caused her to feel inadequate most of her life. Not just since her divorce or break-up She discover that these thoughts are coming from the voice of her wounded inner child. She learns to replace her self-critical thoughts with loving, compassionate and encouraging words. She becomes her own best friend and loving mother to the wounded part of herself. Her mind becomes calmer. She moves forward building her new life.
As she fills up her own pail, the pain clears away and Jill feels the pathways to a deeper part of herself. She begins to recognize this place inside of her. It feels like a safe home where she feels energy of unconditional love and peace. It is her spiritual center. Now she begins to listen to the call of her soul. Insights now come more readily. She is guided to the activities, people, events and circumstances that will support and nurture her. As she incorporates the spiritual dimension into her life, she can truly let go, and forgive the unforgivable.
With the Jill Principle as your guide you will have the opportunity to arrive at the top of the hill confident, strong and connected to your true self. The bioenergetic exercises, meditations, personal stories and techniques will inspire and give you the tools needed to heal your grief and create healthier ways to move forward with your life. The Jill Principle will be at your bedside to help you to stay on top of the hill. It will help you to create a life that represents who you really are with and a healthy relationship bond, if you choose to have one.
Michele Germain, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and certified bioenergetic analyst with over twenty-five years of experience. As a specialist in divorce recovery for the last decade, she has written articles and conducted workshops on the topic, and has been interviewed on television and radio programs. More information on her work can be found at www.michelegermain.com.