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The Three Critical Principles of Healing

And time is not one of them…


After two weeks of non-stop rain, the sun came out. Yesterday she was hesitant, but today she’s bold and unapologetic, bathing the snow-capped mountains in a romantic sheen, patterning my living room with ever-unfolding forms born in the marriage of light and shade.

I sat all morning basking in her warmth. I’ll be honest: none of the items on my to-do list bothered me as I was doing nothing.

I’m familiar with the pang of worry that I’m not doing enough.

I’m familiar with the guilt that creeps in, blaming me for letting Robert work harder than I do and shaming me with thoughts about a ruined future which will be all my fault!

I’m also familiar with the fear that I’ll be forgotten when I’m not making myself seen.

But this morning I was totally satisfied with the eye of the sun caressing me, letting me know that I’m not alone, that I’m doing ok, and that there’s no room for self-doubt about whether I’m doing it right.

There’s a very common saying that time is a healer.

“Just give it time,” we say, implying that time is a magic pill that makes our pain go away and brings us the clarity, self-assurance, guidance and protection we yearn for.

Time alone doesn’t lead us to a guilt-/shame-/self doubt-free place where we can bask in rest

Time is not strong or skilful enough to decondition habits and responses to life’s demands that have been set through experiences.

If anything, time left to its own devices only reinforces old conditions, cementing them deeper and deeper in your automatic system.

Since the first time I learned I needed to work hard and try harder in order to be seen, get the attention I needed, and be protected, nourished and guided, a lot of time has passed.

In that time, the impression that I needed to make an effort became a repetitive response to any kind of challenge. Then a habit. Then a sense of ‘me’.

At the point where things become a sense of ‘me’, our essence is buried under habits and perceptions, and wounds or traumas become the misleading compass of our actions, choices and even our dreams.

One of the crucial principles of healing is guidance. What we do with our time is what builds the capacity to heal our wounds.

Healing happens when we find the guidance we didn’t have before

“It’s time wasted”, “time flies”, “a time-bomb ticking”… These are just a few examples of how our thinking is shaped to compete with time instead of living it fully.

Most of us need to relearn how to live fully in the time that we have. This is even more urgent and poignant with wounds and trauma.

I witness this paradox with my clients so often:

A woman seeks my help when she’s reached an edge where she can’t take any more of the pain of her mum-story and how it manifests in her daily life.

How long will it take [to not feel that pain]?” she asks at first.

The pressure to not spend too much time in healing threatens a sense of identity that perceives the time invested in healing as a fault.

Because I’ve worked with women on healing the mother wound for about a decade-and-a-half, I can get a sense of how long it will take to experience a significant shift that will ease the pain and will build a new capacity, making it possible for encouraging new perspectives to bud.

Body movement, the story and how it’s told, what is not told and the tone of voice are some of the key elements that allow me to get that sense.

But in no way I can say “how long”!

No-one can. Not even you.

Because the hunger that’s active within the wound has its own needs and rhythms that can only be satisfied with the second principle of healing—nourishment.

Healing is not a regime of fixing but a practice of feeding the need for safety with love

After the initial conversation, when we decide to start a journey together, something quite magical happens.

With just a little bit of the right loving attention, a little bit of comforting guidance, and a little bit of medicinal reassurance, the pressure around ‘time' is replaced by the sense of feeling full and being in the right place at the right time.

Then you forget about time completely and focus on growing the capacities you are now cultivating.

A client I finished working with just recently wrote this to me:


“I came to Shelly in the midst of a difficult time experiencing stuck-ness, anger and a lot of frustration.

Shelly listened with a lot of sensitivity and with an open heart. I come from the psychotherapy world and went through many therapies in my life, and still, something in Shelly’s attention and presence felt different.

With gentle attention and great wisdom, Shelly helped me disentangle, identify inaccessible layers within me, see things from a completely new perspective, meet difficult feelings and release them until slowly and persistently I made the change I wished for in my life and mainly started feeling so good.

I’m happy and grateful for Shelly and the journey I went through with her help. I recommend working with her wholeheartedly.” M.V.


The mother wound reflects the embodiments of a self that hasn’t had the right conditions to be initiated to its fullness

The third crucial principle of healing is initiation.

To be initiated is to find and follow the invitation that comes with any significant challenge and wound.

Many coaching and healing practices focus on the feel-good factor.

To the parts that experience pain in us, it’s very attractive. But without noticing it, it actually means that the painful parts become the focus of all your attention.

The biggest loss with that approach is that the courageous part in you doesn’t receive the opportunity to grow and you don’t get to experience the protection you need, that precious sense that someone has your back and is genuinely invested in your well-being.

We’re initiated inside relationships.

Be it a relationship with nature or with other living beings, relationship is the space that gives us a deep sense that we’re protected and allows us to go beyond what we know, beyond the story and history of a wound, and find a greater presence within us.

That space is compromised within any woman who’s faced any form of adversity with her mother and lacked the guidance, nourishment and protection for a repair.

From being told by your mother “you’re too fat” to being abandoned or lied to, from watching your mother staying silent before her own or your abuse at someone else’s hands to her imposing her own regrets about her unfulfilled dreams upon you, these three crucial elements of healing—guidance, nourishment and initiation—have the power to transform the mother wound into a gift.

Being strong is not the same as being full

When I didn’t get the protection I needed from my mum I had to give it to myself. It made me a strong woman for sure.

With the years of my healing, I learned that this strength didn’t initiate me to my full self.

That strength was what stood in the way of me taking the rest I needed.

As you apply these three crucial principles of healing—guidance, nourishment and initiation—you find the capacity to take what you need from life.

Then, the stories your mind tells you about why you can’t do ‘this’ or have ‘that’ lose their grip and a greater sense of accomplishment leads you to do what’s necessary for your fullness.

If this resonates with you, I have two spaces free to work with women who feel they’d like to have that kind of guidance, nourishment and initiation so they could fulfil their potential and take steps towards their desired way of living and being with others.

Click the link below to schedule a free conversation with me. We’ll explore together what’s happening and not happening in your life and what could be the first steps to assist with that.


Healing the mother wound coaching group

Shelly’s helping women on a journey of healing the mother wound who are dealing with the ways it has limited their sense of self, relationships or the success of their calling and want to reach deeper levels of fulfilment & wholeness

Learn more about Life Alignment


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