“How can it be good for me when it feels so awful?” — is something I’ve asked myself quite often on my therapeutic journey. Healing can often get turbulent and feel lousy and destabilising. Because you’re going to go all up into all the uncomfortable things you’ve steadfastly avoided. Challenge strong beliefs, question patterns, revisit trauma and face previously unfelt emotions.
Emotions that are ignored don’t go away. They simply get lodged in the subconscious from where they continue to impact outward behaviour. An effective therapeutic practice involves building a safe and steady container within — a holding space for this journey that will bring up a lot of difficult parts of ourselves.
In allowing for feeling all that we have previously denied, we can begin to disengage from the impact that denial has had — whether an unhealthy pattern, or letting go of anxiety or grief, or opening up to positivity and abundance.
We are very used to looking for linear markers and milestones of success and achievement in everything we do. We chase consistent and upward movement. We seek to feel good as validation of our progress, and so we are not used to feeling unsettled and the process can feel counterintuitive. But healing and growth is an inherently non-linear journey that traverses parts that unsettle, challenge and require you to allow for feeling wretched sometimes.
The Nine of Cups reminds us how crucial it is to take this route, over pursuing bliss alone. To build this container, so we can hold ourselves through the turbulent times. Because that is progress too.
In fact, I can vouch through personal experience that, the greatest changes and more monumental differences in my journey have been on the back off the toughest most emotionally challenging phases.
Within the safety of a holding space, we can bring back into the light all that was previously repressed and pushed into the Shadow. It is necessary to know pain so we can know joy, to process grief so we can find relief, to confront so we can let go. So we can do it all actively, with deliberation. In a healthy way.
So yeah, it’ll feel wretched sometimes. It’ll feel unsavoury and confusing. It’ll downright suck too. It’ll feel entirely counterproductive. But that is the only way it goes.