Today I’d like to share more about my approach, both for those of you that are new here, and for those who have been following my work for a while. In my practice, I bring together a number of elements from different traditions and modalities, so it hasn’t always been easy to accurately describe and define the nature of it. Recently though, through exploration, I have landed in these words: Embodied, Alchemical Soul Work, which I really feel encapsulate the core and essence of it.
E M B O D I E D
Everything we do happens in and though the body. That is because we simply can’t heal our relationship with the body outside of it -we can’t do it through the mind. The body is our ground, starting and end point, guide and container for ALL that we do. We trust it as the source of Truth and the holder of a Wisdom much deeper than that of the mind.
A L C H E M I C A L
Alchemy is the process of combining different substances and elements, in the right environment, in order to produce a specific outcome. Alchemists took dark matter and turned it into gold. They did not ‘get rid’ of anything -they transformed the original material, they transmuted it.
This is the approach we adopt in this work too -we don’t want to get rid of your food and body-image difficulties, so that you become ‘better’. We lean into the “dark matter” that you bring in, deepen into it and approach it with the knowing that it already contains “your gold”.
From an alchemical perspective, we understand that if a specific combination of elements (qualities and energies within yourself and your life) has led to your current experience, we need to first identify which “elements” those were and in what “proportions” and which ones might have been missing, as well as which might have been there in excess, both in the past and in the present, creating the deeper imbalances that now manifest as unhelpful behaviours around food & body. Then, through certain processes that correspond to the stages of traditional alchemy, we work on creating the essential conditions and combining the appropriate elements, in order for you to have a different, transformed experience.
“Elements” here stand for the elements of nature (earth, water, fire, air) as well as for the soul and body qualities they represent. For instance, water represents our emotional self, among other things. When we suppress our emotions through will-power, we create a deficiency in water through too much fire -this is what happens when we restrict and/or overexercise. However, the opposite is also possible; a “flood” may happen, in the form of emotional overwhelm, when there is not enough earth (a strong enough container) to hold our water -which can then lead to emotional eating, as a way to manage/numb the overwhelm.
A lot of the alchemical work we do happens through the chakras (the energy centers of the body) -more on that in a future post!
S O U L W O R K
Soul vs Spirit. My use of Soul is similar to Carl Jung’s concept of the Self. From my perspective, Soul incorporates both psychology and spirituality, the mundane and the mystical, the personal and the transpersonal -and, doesn’t make a sharp distinction between the two. In Soul Work, we look for the spiritual inside our everyday life, not beyond it. We find the Soul in the Body, not outside of it. We are concerned with going deeper, not higher..
We do soul work, because healing our relationship with food and body is a soul journey, a psychospiritual journey. At the deepest level, it is an initiation, an invitation to greater wholeness, to stepping into more of who we are -ultimately, to embodying our Soul more fully. For true healing to happen, our whole life and self need to be touched and alchemically transformed -not just our food & body patterns. Those are but the symptom, not the root-cause. And this is exactly where we want to go; to the root.