Last year, a group of my friends and I decided to work through a book by Tara Mohr called Playing Big. This book is for women who want to play bigger in their lives and who, in attempting to do so, run into the inner resistance that nearly always comes when we are stretching ourselves toward something new.
I spent some time with these friends recently, and we talked about the experience of finding our inner mentor, part of chapter two in the book. For me, finding my inner mentor felt like a familiar idea, as I am always talking to my clients about the importance of finding the nurturing parent within and bringing his or her voice to bear with affirmation, attention, and nurture. Finding my inner mentor seemed similar.
When I first met my inner mentor in this envisioning exercise, I found that she was a wiser older part of me. She wore very flowy linen clothing and emanated calmness and openness of heart. However, when I looked at her, she looked back at me with worry in her eyes. When I asked her what I need to do to get from where I am today to where I want to be, she told me that I need to slow down. Way down. That I needed to stop striving and struggling so hard to move so many things forward at one time. That I will get where I want to go sooner if I go slower.
As she told me this, I could feel the calmness and peace emanating from her. I could also feel the hurry-up-and-get-it-doneness emanating from me. However, over time and many years of healing, I have learned to trust this inner voice, so I believed her when she told me that I need to slow down and I will ‘get there’ faster if I do.
Of course, understanding that idea is one thing; putting it into practice is a different matter entirely. Because our brains ALWAYS want more. More information, more entertainment, more sex, more food, more things, more distractions, more experiences.
It is a major task to switch from this mode of faster, quicker, bigger, better to a slowed down, embodied, deliberate and intentional way of living. Yet that is exactly what the most difficult aspects of life require from us including recovery from betrayal trauma. The healing process asks us to go slowly, to take the time to learn how to be connected to ourselves, possibly for the first time ever. To cut ourselves some slack as we struggle with normal daily life tasks during the first days and weeks after discovery. To be patient with ourselves as we learn new ways of coping. To ease ourselves into relationships with others where we reveal our deep hurts with honesty and vulnerability.
With recovery, going slowly gets us there faster in the end. It gives us space to not just learn new information cognitively but to engage in the experiences that transform us from the inside out. It allows deep and lasting change to occur, instead of quick but temporary alterations that swiftly fade.
Wherever you are in the process of healing, I encourage you to slow down, to pause, and to intentionally tune in to what you need at this particular time and place in your journey. What does your inner voice of wisdom have to say? What is the vision cast by this wiser older part of you? What is revealed when you tap into what you most deeply long for?
As you slow down, remind yourself that you are actually going faster. Because when it comes to recovery, the tortoise always, always wins the race.