I’ve been thinking about lately about intuition, and how lost and disconnected I felt for years, where I longed for access to my own deep inner knowing and truth. I remember attending a group with Bonnie Badenoch where we used figurines and sand-trays as a form of therapy and integration. Bonnie asked us to choose a sand tray figure from a choice of thousands of small figures representing myth, legend, family, fancy and work. “Let the figure choose you,” she said.
This was early on in my journey of brain integration, and at that point, my felt sense of self was still deeply entangled with a lacerating self-witness. (I would try to arrive at the group after they had done the silent meditation, just to avoid the torture of being left alone with the inside of my brain.)
Since then I’ve wondered about this tool, which is similar to constellations work, in that we externalize our own emotional experience into three dimensions in order to support sense-making, acknowledgement, relaxation and movement.
It takes being in touch with our intuition to let a sand tray figure “choose us.”
It also takes connection with our intuition to make good decisions, know who and when to trust, make choices that move us toward safety and well-being, and just generally to know what path we want to take in this life.
Since our intuition is an arising from within our felt sense of being, we can’t really access it without taming and holding the aftereffects of trauma which can leave us touching agony and self-blame whenever we try to reach for the felt-sense of the right path or decision.
The learned skill of turning our resonating witness toward our internal critic is crucial to being able to access our intuition.
For example, I might try to feel into the best next thing for me to do. The immediate response is something like, “There’s no hope for you. You shouldn’t do anything. You couldn’t make a good decision to save your life.”
I get these responses from myself, and I go blank and stare at the ceiling for a while.
It just happened this morning. I felt tired, and sleepy, and just wanted to stop working and watch tv or nap.
It actually happens in such an immediate blink of the eye, that I don’t even catch the negative message that has thrown me into a dissociative state.
I have to breathe for a while before I can begin to trace the negative message and begin the empathy process.
So then, once I realize what has happened, I can bring my warm responsiveness to the question at hand.
“Sarah’s critical voice, do you need acknowledgment of despair and overwhelm? Have you tried so hard to take care of Sarah, and have you had her override your offerings most of the time?
Are you in need of a sense that there is something larger than both of you that can be relied on?
Do you long to be able to believe that there is such a thing as “good sense,” and that it is available and accessible to Sarah?”
The gentleness is a surprise to the voice. The sense of humor and the acknowledgment are like fresh breezes in a room that hasn’t been aired out in 50 years.
And all three of these qualities – gentleness, humor and acknowledgment – bring me back to the very first sand tray figure I ever chose.
What a sweet manifestation of intuition!!
In honor of sand trays, intuition and healing, you are so welcome to join me for a year of short workshops to do personal work, learn sand tray work, and deepen more fully into constellations.