This month, during the time between mid July and mid August when the sun is passing through the constellation of Capricorn (according to the Sidereal Zodiac) we are gifted the power of catharsis.
(Download my free Balance and Empowerment Cards for more on the gifts of empowerment offered by each constellation of the zodiac.)
Catharsis is the process of releasing, cleansing, and purging. According to definition, catharsis is for the purpose of “providing relief from strong or repressed emotions.”
Am I the only one feeling significant purging and purifying lately?
Seriously, I hope that you will leave a comment or reply and let me know that I’m not alone in feeling this potency and discomfort right now!
Catharsis is something most people don’t want to face. We don’t want to experience the inevitable pain and discomfort that comes with letting go of the old and making space for the new.
The Past that Needs Releasing
Most of us carry around old stories, along with their related strong or repressed emotions, that cause us to repeat unwanted patterns and attract “more of the same” into our lives. We think to ourselves, “This again! I thought I’d already dealt with this.”
As the deeper layers of our wounds expose themselves, we realize just how firmly our stories are rooted in our psyche.
I visited family this summer, traveling to New York, first to see my mother who’s in assisted living with dementia, and then to the Adirondacks to visit the rest of my family. As often happens when we’re with family we haven’t seen in a while, my experience brought up so many emotions for me.
I’ve worked for years to let go of over-mothering, taking on more than is my responsibility, and not believing in myself. That work allowed me to be steady in my time with family, even while I came face to face with just how deep my self-sabotaging beliefs were.
Through numerous conversations and experiences, the deeper details of my old stories came to the surface, and I could see just how strong my belief was that I was undeserving, unworthy, a mistake, and responsible for any disfunction within our family.
The shame and guilt felt unbearable as these stories washed over me. Thankfully, nothing is really as it seems. I returned home to Colorado with a clear sense that I was ready to finally let go of those stories, though I knew this would take time.
I wanted to just ignore the feelings, forget about it, and get back to work. I didn’t want to believe I needed to do anything more than notice the stories, but I knew better.
We cannot just notice the stories from the past that need releasing. We must be willing to integrate and digest them so that they can actually be let go.
Integrating and Digesting
Our old stories keep us stuck in patterns that don’t serve us, ultimately causing us to be in our own way of reaching the life of fulfillment we long for. Becoming aware of our dream-blocking stories is the first step, and perhaps offers the greatest shift toward actually realizing our dreams.
Noticing what blocks us is more than half of the journey to overcome what stands in our way. The rest requires us to actually be with what we notice so that we can integrate it and digest it.
Integrating means making something a part of you. It’s very uncomfortable to admit the dysfunctional stories we’ve told ourselves, or perhaps invite back into our lives the parts of ourselves we’ve disowned or ignored because of those stories. When we begin to integrate, shame inevitably comes up.
How could we have allowed ourselves to think this? Why didn’t we see this sooner? Why didn’t we speak up for ourselves? Why on earth did we listen to these stories and actually believe them?
We ask ourselves a million questions hoping there’s an answer that will numb the pain we feel in having been misaligned with our True Nature for so long.
The questions make us feel like we’re “working on it” and even “trying to fix it.” Yet the questions imply there’s something “wrong” with us for having held the stories that we did. There’s nothing wrong with us. We simply have some digesting to do.
Acknowledging the stories we’ve carried and questioning ourselves for carrying them is a process of integrating, but they won’t clear away until we digest them.
Digestion is a process of breaking things down, taking in what we need and letting the rest be released as excrement, the waste that is unnecessary. But here’s the thing about waste…in the gardening world, it’s a key ingredient in creating the “black gold” that is compost, the rich, fertile soil that generates growth.
Our digestive process is a sort of alchemy that can turn our wounds, stories, and painful experiences into the compost of life that allows us to grow and thrive in alignment with our Soul.
Facing our Sh*t
Most of us want to turn away from the waste material that comes out after digesting. After all, we’ve already worked hard to get rid of it through digestion. Why should we give it any further attention?
The thing is, we still need to make sure the waste is “cleaned up.” We’re not leaving it for someone else, or to fester in the corner. Instead, we’re consciously taking it to the compost pile to be turned into the gold it can become.
This is where the transformation happens.
When we can look honestly at our crap, we can see how it may have served us, find forgiveness for ourselves and others, and allow what seems like waste to become fuel for our future.
My coach training constantly reminded us that we “coach from our wounds.” The full noticing, integrating, digesting and facing of our wounds, our old stories, our pain and suffering, gives us treasures with which we can be of support to others. We can become beacons of inspiration that don’t have to do anything but be, and others will find their way to their own inner light as we shine ours.
Dream analysis has something to say about excrement in our dreams, and believe it or not, it’s not as gross or disturbing as we often feel after having dreams with poop in them. During this month of Catharsis, I’ve had a couple of “sh*tty dreams,” and was thrilled to learn that they were filled with symbolism indicating the process of digestion I’ve been going through, facing and cleaning up my sh*t, and preparing for the new stories I can create upon releasing the old.
These kinds of dreams can be a strong sign that we’re propelling our life forward successfully. After having a couple of poopy dreams, I also realized what a sense of humor the Universe has in this process of catharsis. Without knowing about my dreams, a friend sent me a photo he took of a sign in the bathroom where he was visiting that said, “Enjoy Your Poops.”
I laughed out loud, realizing that the discomfort, mess, disturbance and grieving I’ve been experiencing are all part of the process of catharsis and must be embraced.
Healing and Renewing
When things feel difficult for me, it’s easy for me to go to an old story that I’m not enough, that I should know better, or that something must be wrong with me. Can you relate?
I was blessed through my cathartic process to remember that life ebbs and flows just as the tides and the rhythms of Nature, and that there are so many gifts in the spaces of discomfort and pain.
There’s nothing wrong with us because something isn’t feeling good or we aren’t always on top of our game. We will have our highs and our lows, just as all of Nature does, and that doesn’t require fixing.
I’ve built my work around supporting women to feel empowered, particularly through transitions in their life such as marriage, divorce, starting a business, changing careers, or empty nesting toward their next stage of life after parenting. Life’s big transitions cannot happen effectively without allowing for catharsis.
I coach from my wounds, with experience through many trials. I don’t ask my clients to practice things I myself have not also practiced for the sake of healing and rebirthing myself. I feel so blessed to have so many powerful tools, many of which I share in my Solace program, to help me navigate life’s challenges. This is what keeps me steady and strong, while also allowing myself to let go and release.
Admittedly, I’m well practiced at being steady and strong, and I’m getting better through catharsis at letting go and releasing.
Healing the Soul is a long journey full of remembering who we are and realizing who we’re not. It’s a journey of reconnecting to our own unique and true values. It’s a process of renewal through re-envisioning life on our terms, without the old stories that have held us back.
The Soul-healing journey is perhaps more about aligning than healing, even while we feel the very real wounds of having been disconnected from our most sovereign, beautiful, empowered Self.
As we give up the small self that gets in our own way, while connecting to our True Nature that aligns with our Soul, catharsis is possible, making room for us to rebirth ourselves into the life of joy, peace and fulfillment we long for.
May we all have the inner strength and courage to allow transformation to happen and prepare us for the bountiful harvest waiting for us in this life!