The following is an excerpt from Soul Messages:

“You’re just like….”

“You’ll never….”

“You’d be so pretty/handsome/strong/popular if….”

“Nobody likes a ….”

“The world doesn’t….”

“He who hesitates….”

“The early bird….”

From the moment we are born, we receive messages about ourselves and about life. I received them, you received them. After decades of doing the work to heal some of my deepest-seated issues, I found I was still unhappy. At one point I looked around at my life and realized there was nothing on the outside that was really that terrible. All the suffering and drama were happening on the inside, in my thoughts, and, by extension, in my feelings.

I began to examine those thoughts and to question the worldview they expressed. I began to experiment with rejecting them. I did this in several ways. I tried to put the belief into words and then state its opposite. All of its opposites. “You’re just like your father” became “You’re nothing like your father” and “You’re not just like your father” and “You’re just like…Marlene Dietrich…Katherine Hepburn…Winston Churchill….!” I began to then see that I am my own person, unique and separate from anyone else.

Then I experimented with making other statements about myself, ones that I would love to be true but nobody, including me, had ever said about me. I went overboard and over the top, because that’s who I am, and because I wanted to create a counterweight to those other statements that felt as substantial on the other end of the spectrum. “You’re the most beautiful person I have ever met.” “You are brilliant.” “You are in exactly the right place.”

If you’ve ever experimented with words and statements, then you have probably experienced what I have–that inside, certain words and sentiments feel really good, and certain ones don’t. That’s what I began to use as my measurement of whether the words were strong enough antidotes to what I had come to regard as the poisonous thoughts I was thinking. I didn’t ask if they were true, I just asked my little wounded soul if they felt true.

With these rewording adventures and the many that followed, I began to have a space within where I could just be. I started to be curious about who I really am, something that I had never done before. I believe that in my case, no adult had really seen me and been curious to discover the uniqueness of that little person.

I began to appreciate the roots of my own suffering. To not be seen as a unique person with unique qualities–including faults–is, in a core way, not to exist. It’s a short step from not existing to not having legitimate needs and feelings, and to not be fully in your own life. These were the deepest roots of my addiction and my subsequent unhappiness, even after I had successfully arrested the addictive behaviors that were causing me so much trouble.

Slowly, those habitual and ingrained beliefs and thoughts began to lose their grip on my internal environment. I began to question every thought that contained a gross generalization, because that is how to recognize a belief.

“Everyone always….”

“Nobody ever….”

“The world doesn’t….”

“There’s only so much _____ to go around….”

“Hurry up or you’ll never….”

I began to wonder then about the whole worldview that these beliefs create. I began to question that worldview, like a close friend of mine, who, after successfully completing a fire walk, asked, “What else have I been told that is not true?”

When I created the Soul Message cards, I was developing a workshop about manifesting a dream. I knew that at the core of every failed attempt at happiness is a deep soul wound that exists because we have not been given permission to exist, to desire, to have, to enjoy, to trust. We are afraid to want, to strive, to expand, to make noise, and to be sloppy. We have believed in lack and limitation on the one hand and attaining perfection and beating others out for the prize on the other.

It’s not that these conditions don’t really exist or are bad. It’s that they don’t exist on the soul level. They exist out here in the three-dimensional world. And here’s why that matters: If we believe we are limited on the soul level, as beings, we will be prohibitively limited in some area of our worldly life–either in intimacy, our financial affairs, in our career, our faith, or simply in our ability to be happy.

In the workshop, I wanted to address these soul wounds without opening them up. I wanted to invite into the circle those disenfranchised and insecure parts of ourselves and find a way to give them new messages about who they are and how the world works. I wanted to give them hope, so that the beautiful, earnest, souls in that room could actually create those shining, lovely dreams.

I wrote down every over-the-top, positive, affirming, loving, hopeful, supportive, beautiful message I could think of about our souls and about a loving Universe (which I capitalize because it helps me to think of it as a living being), decorated them a little, cut them into little cards, put them in a bowl, and brought them out at the end, during our closing.

Each participant made a quick drawing of her Inner Lost Soul. At the appropriate moment, each one welcomed that inner hurt part to the circle and read it a Soul Message. I suggested they say something like, “Little Lost Soul, welcome to this circle. I want you to know that…” and then read the message aloud.

Instantly, the atmosphere in the circle turned soft and sweet, as one by one those lost parts received welcoming, affirming messages that just happened to be perfect for the person receiving it.

Tears and smiles coexisted on broken, hopeful faces.

I want you to know that “Your beauty is an inspiration to others.”

I want you to know that “It is now safe to occupy space and breathe.”

I want you to know that “It is safe to share yourself with others. You matter.”

It wasn’t until I saw the messages in action that I realized how powerful a healing tool this deck is. As I worked with the cards, I became more and more convinced that if each of us had received these kinds of messages about ourselves and about the world–loving, kind, affirming, welcoming messages that create a sense of sanctity and hope, that foster self-confidence and encourage us to listen to our own guts–it would be a very different world. It would be the kind of world I see is possible, a world that many people sincerely want and are working toward manifesting.

Each of us needs to hear these messages as we actively work on a deep level to heal the core wounds that are holding us back from realizing our full potential.

To order Soul Messages, visit here.

© 2014 Phyllis Capanna. All Contents property of Phyllis Capanna and phyllomania publishing.

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