I’ve been utilizing an old Sufi practice, taught to me by Jamal Ramah, as a basis for a daily exercise for myself and my clients. The original exercise starts like this: “Cross your hands over your heart, and say to your heart, ‘I Love You.’ Let the love and light fill your heart. Then use a loving word for yourself and say it again: ‘I Love You, Sweetheart.’ Or, ‘I Love You, little Robin.’”
For my many clients with shame or attachment or abuse histories, I’ve modified this practice to speak directly to what happened:
1. Cross your hands over your heart and say “I love you, and you always deserved love and protection.”
2. Now say it to your infant self. See and/or feel that little one and say “I love you and you deserve love and protection.”
3. Now say it to that toddler self, then the 5-year-old, now the grade schooler, the junior high kid, the high schooler, the 20-year-old, the 30-year-old, the 40-year-old, and your here-and-now adult self.
4. Can you imagine doing this every morning, before you get out of bed?
For DID clients, I have them do it with every separate part, “the angry kid, the one who doesn’t talk yet, the ‘let’s-take-care-of-business’ one. These clients are reporting less distress and more sense of “us”, instead of “them”. They’re also finding long repressed parts and feeling that they have a new tool to connect to each part.
Clients, trainees, and consultees are doing this practice and are reporting less shame, more contentment, and more ability to connect and take in the love of other people. A few have said that they’ve backed out of abusive situations because “Now I know I deserve better.”
My own experience, in doing this almost daily for six weeks, is that I’m more content, sweeter (says my husband), and I’m connecting to and healing long-forgotten little traumas from my whole lifespan. (The dead cat, the sick brother, parents acting out, harassment, etc.) The memories arise, I love the age of me that experienced them, and a shift occurs.