Do you constantly feel like something is missing in your life? Do you feel a deep sense of emptiness, loneliness, sadness, or discontent even though your life looks wonderful from the outside? Do you long for something from the past or wish for something more in the future? This sense of incompleteness can be so painful and yet invisible or mystifying to other people who do not struggle with it. I have often struggled with this sense of emptiness in my life. This nagging feeling of something-is-missing is really confusing because I have all the trimmings of a privileged life. I used to think that this emptiness can be filled by accomplishments, friends, family, money, hobbies, career, or pets. But the more "stuff" I accumulated to fill this hole, the more empty and incomplete I felt. I came to realize that the hole cannot be paved over by anything from the outside.
Finding Wholeness Within You: A Meditation
I have learned that this empty feeling can be better explained by my experiences of childhood emotional neglect (CEN). You can read more about CEN in my blog posts here and here. Check out this helpful definition from Dr. Jonice Webb's website. I want to offer in today's post a simple meditation to help you find the wholeness that is already and always within you. It may be helpful to have a friend or partner read this meditation to you or record yourself reading this meditation and then play it back to yourself.
Now find a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Begin by bringing your awareness to your breath. Notice yourself breathing in and breathing out. Notice the quality of your breath - whether your breath is deep or shallow, fast or slow. Bring your breath to a comforting rhythm. Take a few moments to bring yourself to your body and to the present moment with your breath.
Now use your imagination, your mind's eye, and imagine an acorn in your hand. Notice the size, the shape, the weight, the texture of the acorn. Reflect on how this small seed contains the life force of a mighty oak tree. Reflect on how tough and resilient this small acorn must be in order to survive the fall to the ground, the elements of sun, rain, wind, or snow, and the animals and bugs that will try to consume it before it can become rooted. Once it has found its place in the forest, the outer shell will crack open for a young shoot to emerge. Just like an acorn has everything it needs to grow into a full tree, you have everything within you to become your full self. Inside of yourself is a whole and complete you that has always been there. It is the wise and resilient part of you that may have become hidden or obscured by the darkness of life, waiting for the right moment to crack open and emerge. See if you can look into yourself now and find that seed, that life force. Allow yourself to touch it, to feel it, to hold on to it and be grounded by it. Allow yourself to give it the care, nurture, and patience that it needs to unfold into your mighty self.
Now come back to the awareness of your breath. We will leave the image of the acorn for now. You can come back to this imagery whenever you need to. Notice yourself breathing in and breathing out. Notice if anything has changed for you since the beginning of this activity. Now gently flutter your eyes open and bring yourself back to this room.
I hope this meditation will help you on your journey to find the wholeness within.
Mindfulness Counseling in Seattle, WA
If you are ready to begin the journey of healing, our team at Thrive for the People can provide you with a safe and supportive outlet for change. They will work with you to increase mindfulness, to identify the "emptiness" you are feeling in your life, and work towards a deeper sense of self. We are located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle and offer online counseling. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation today to see if out therapists might be a good fit for your needs.