Before difficult psychological work can be undertaken, particularly where there is trauma, it is necessary for a person to build a sufficient structure of resource around them. This can take a long time at the beginning of therapy, and a person who lacks the background of a good secure and healthy base is going to need a lot of help with this. This work builds the sense of self, and it allows access to a fundamental goodness which life’s difficulties can divorce us from.
This goodness is what preserves us from harm. Nothing can prevent us experiencing difficulties – traumatic and troubling circumstances visit our lives with distressing regularity. But our resilience in the teeth of these circumstances is to a large extent a function of our access to goodness.
By the way this is not a value judgment. It is not about you ‘being good’ in any way. ‘Goodness’ here has the same meaning as ‘eat those runner beans up, they are full of goodness!’
What if being in touch with the goodness of life allows us to manage the ‘badness’ of it? Goodness breeds resilience, ability to absorb the shock of pain and difficulty. Goodness is a helpful way of thinking about it. It helps to understand what it is that we need to restore in ourselves (and in people who we are trying to help). Reconnection with the goodness. What does that mean?
The most important feature of ‘goodness’ in this context is it’s earthy connection. It is good because it comes from the natural source of being, and for us that usually means the earth. The development of resilience is thus intimately connected with our capacity to access the material world. However there is a nuance to this – our attitude matters here – to access the earth lovingly, with good will, forgiveness and an open heart is what is called for here. This is the goodness which can heal.
We can offer this to one another through adopting an open hearted way of being and more importantly we can find it for ourselves through softening of the heart and opening to whatever seems safe and natural and good. The safest possibility seems to me to be opening to the beauty of the world around us. Thus resourcing is possible, and resilience is built and healing can begin. This is the mechanism through which nature therapies work, and through which spiritual transformation has been grounded since the beginning of time. It is so obvious it seems trite to point to it, and yet how many attempts at healing involve shabby ill lit therapy rooms, cramped smelly gyms, grimly technical hospitals? Perhaps the time has come to answer the call of the wild and open to the goodness which is holding open its beckoning arms to a green, strengthening embrace?