The Parallels of Healing and Sandpaper

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Blog

Life challenges us.

The healing journey sometimes feels like an out and back hike, but in this analogy, to come full circle, we begin and end with a piece of 0000 steel wool.

When we begin to sense something is wrong with a situation, it can feel like 0000 steel wool rubbing against your skin. It’s a little annoying but you can ignore it.

It starts to rub some more. The situation begins to take up mental space, but not so much that you’re not able to swipe left and continue to ignore it. Now, it feels more like 00 steel wool. A little coarse, yet still tolerable.

But then the situation goes beyond your mental space, it starts to get into your emotions.

There’s a visceral reaction in your body when you think about the situation.

But with a lot of mental energy, you can still swipe left and ignore the situation. The rub feels more like a fine grit sandpaper.

Next, it begins to feel like you can’t get away from it and you’re not so easily able to swipe left. The situation takes up a lot more of your space, mentally, emotionally, energetically, and physically. It feels like medium grit sandpaper. The wound’s been metaphorically opened.

Emotionally and energetically, it’s exhausting to be in this space.

It’s a tug of war to subconsciously fight off an old story that wants to be let go of.

Then the coarse grit sandpaper comes out. You can no longer ignore what’s going on. Every cell in your body’s been activated and you must make a change. You can’t stand it anymore. You make the decision that it’s time to physically separate yourself because the coarse grit sandpaper is being rubbed against all aspects of your being.

You take action. You move, get the new job, leave the partner / friend / group.
Some stop here at the physical separation. It’s the mindset of – “I’m no longer there. I’m done.”

There is an aspect of freedom here because the physical separation gets you out of the space of the reminder of the old rub. Sometimes we need to take a break at this point – to breathe, to settle the nervous system, and to find a semblance of peace.

But when things feel calmer, we can use the medium and fine grit sandpapers to clear away the old mental and emotional aspects.

What is it that wants to be seen and felt so I can move into a deeper place of peace?

This might be done through therapy or a 12-step program. The wound feels less raw as you give a voice to what was and what’s inside.

Sometimes we need to take another break at this point – to more deeply breathe, to settle new levels in the nervous system, and to create a deeper feeling of peace.

Many stop here. In this space, our walls of protection may remain high.

There’s still a subconscious force-field we put up to maintain a sense of safety.

But then somewhere down the road, something similar to the old situation happens. You’ve done all this work and don’t understand why you feel like you’re in the place of why the new situation mirrors the past.

During therapy and 12-step, even coaching, there often remains an attachment to our story. Our stories define who we are and why we are. They define our state of being.

But there comes a point when we decide we’re tired of the old narrative. The old story doesn’t fit.

This may feel like in-between state, like you’re being rubbed by both the fine grain sandpaper and the 00 steel wool. Do you focus on the old, or do you lean into the nuances that want to be cleared, once and for all?

To let go of the old way of defining what and who you are in a situation can feel scary.

Many decide to stay with what they know. There’s a sense of safety in the known, even though we still feel the discomfort in the rub.

Many stay here because they’ve done “all the things.”

But staying in this space can provide a false sense of completion. This is why pattens repeat.

But when you lean in, this is where the magic happens.

You say to yourself that you can’t settle anymore, and decide you don’t want to be defined by the old, by you or anyone else, you step into the realm to clear the energetic aspects of old subconscious patterns.

You let go of what and who you’ll look like after you’ve cleared the remnants of the deeper layers. This phase brings back into play with the 00 and 0000 steel wool, to understand the source of the pattern and peel off the deeper layers.

Yet this is where few go.

This is when you transcend a story because the energetic aspects of the situation get cleared. There’s no more swiping left, or ignoring, or having to maintain subconscious walls.

There’s nothing more to do, because you’re clear.

There’s a deep sense of satisfaction because you’ve come full circle.

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