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The Biggest Mistake I Made at the Beginning of my Work

& what women healing the mother wound need the most

I met Mari in an online New Moon workshop I offered. She had a sweet, girly voice that didn’t reflect her 5 decades of life.

She was thirsty for genuine connections in her life to clear the dust of loneliness.

Mari had been in several intimate relationships throughout her life. And now, entering her Elder phase, after different processes with many healers and therapists, she was looking again through the childhood drawers of her heart wishing to shed more layers of the pain that kept her at a distance from sharing her life with someone or at least having satisfying friendships.

A familiar wave of sadness and sorrow washed over me again today,” she wrote to me, “and a very strong pattern which accompanies me since childhood came up.”

Mari went on to tell me that she felt “enlisted” as far as she can remember to protect her loved ones from pain and death: “It’s what gave meaning to my life.

Mari was very familiar with the patterns that played out and made her life feel empty.

Becoming familiar with our patterns is not the end of the healing road, just the start

After years of therapeutic work, there comes a point where we’ve gathered quite a lot of knowledge, theories and even insights about why we are the way we are, which stories have shaped us and what are the major habits and patterns we need to change.

Mari grew up with the role of keeping her sick father alive.

Her mother and big sisters gave her the impression and the encouragement that it was thanks to her that her father survived as much as he did. And that it was up to her!

My father died when I was 18, the morning of Easter. I decided to stay the night at the university because I wanted to join the man I was in love with for a bridge night. It was utter boredom, but the things you do when you’re in love… I could have come back home the day before… I arrived at noon time the day after straight to my father’s funeral.

There is no amount of words which can rescue Mari from the sense of responsibility and grief for not having been there for her father when he passed away; no amount of explanations could relieve her from the pain of regret and a sense of having failed in her duty.

Our emotional sense of being responds only to an embodied way of interaction with that which never happened

In the Hakomi way, a somatic mindfulness-based psychotherapy which I’ve started incorporating more and more into my work, identifying the missing experience is a key element of a healing process that is capable of shifting repetitive and familiar patterns in an extremely profound way.

But back then, I didn’t have the knowledge of this tool.

I also didn’t necessarily focus on healing the mother wound. It took a few more years before I noticed that 99% of the women who wanted to work with me had been dealing with some form of a wound from their relationship with their mother.

But I was versed in holding a powerful space where we can engage with challenging feelings such as loneliness and sadness, growing the capacity to turn towards them rather than away from them so we could glean the wisdom that lives in their heart.

Mari indeed started witnessing things in herself that she hadn’t noticed before. “I came to realise that I’m refusing somehow to grow up and act upon my life. When I’m not in a relationship or a working environment I’m like in a vacuum. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what to do with my life.”

Mari started writing to me more and more in between our meetings. Her emails became longer and longer and she started to somehow demand lengthy responses from me.