In today’s tumultuous times, we are more in need than ever for ways to bring about healing. Halt, Expand, Accept, Lovingly act, aka H.E.A.L., is a mindfulness based acronym I developed as a strategy for helping with the healing process.
Life can be full of challenges, stressors, and suffering. Many of us find ourselves either feeling unable to cope or developing maladaptive coping techniques. Until we learn to pause and become more self-aware, we will unconsciously continue in a cycle of despair. In order to bring about more healing we need to get real. To get real we need to become more aware of what is real. If there is something in your life that you are ready to heal from, now is the time. This blog will get you started with a simple 4-step process. Ready to H.E.A.L.?
Step 1- HALT The 1st thing to do if something is awry is to Halt, stop what you are doing, and take a deep breath. As soon as it occurs to you that something may be out of balance, and it will occur to you if you are willing to notice, take a break and bring loving attention to your breath.
Step 2- EXPAND After halting when you have identified a challenge, the 2nd step is to look deeply and Expand awareness. In order to understand what is driving your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, start to ask deeper questions and listen for feedback from within. What’s happening now? What am I feeling? What are my real needs in this moment? Is the story I’m telling myself true? What will the impact of this thought/action be on me and on others? When you start to expand, you begin the process of seeing clearly, awakening to the truth in the moment, and becoming more self-aware.
Step 3- ACCEPT Acceptance is no longer fighting against “what is”. It is the opposite of resistance, which often arises when facing difficult thoughts, feelings or experiences. After expanding awareness you can now start to practice self-compassion with your new insights and feelings. Rather than avoiding, numbing, or shaming, invite yourself to open up to being with “what is”. Accept without judgment.
Step 4- LOVINGLY ACT Now that you have taken the time to identify more clearly what in your life needs healing by Halting, Expanding, and Accepting, your final step is to Lovingly Act. It is important for these actions to come from a place of love and compassion towards yourself and others. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing”. Even if the action does not produce the results you initially were seeking, at least you can learn something. If no action is taken there will be no opportunity to learn.
Now is the time to take loving action and let your learning and healing journey begin. Ready, set, H.E.A.L.