April is Mental Health Awareness month. This topic used to be delicate and highly avoided, but especially after 2020 brought mental health issues into the spotlight, it’s appearing more courageously in conversation.
After 20+ years as a trauma therapist and soul coach, my approach continues to initiate deep, empowered healing. In short, mental health = soul health.
First, a short background on what I mean by soul work.
My inspiration for journeying into the soul to heal my own mental health and trauma and post-traumatic stress was Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.
In brief, Jung believed we are all complex beings with depths that must be explored to reach a whole and accurate understanding of who we are — especially when it comes to uncovering our soul and reaching our individual wholeness. Jung brought a more fluid, spiritual perspective into what had been the leading theory of the psyche: a more rigid and simplified Freudian perspective.
I was gifted with this opportunity to study a somatic-based trauma therapy program that had its roots deep in Carl Jung and alchemy. Through that program in 2005, I fell in love with the invitation to journey toward and into the realms of soul as a way of transforming, healing and growing beyond my deepest problems.
So, this somatic, Jungian-based journey into and with soul as the road to healing is a way and a path that I have walked and healed on. It’s not something I am speaking about just from reading.
My journey since the first program in 2005 and Master’s program in 2014 both deeply informed my own understanding of how to help people most effectively transform their greatest pain, injuries and heartbreaks.
I learnt that the most potent medicine for healing comes from working at the soul level — bringing healing and health to the soul level, and then from the soul level back to our everyday selves.
Soul work takes us out of the mind and the body and to other realms that are more etheric, to the greater dreaming behind or beneath our lives. It takes us out of time and space.
And in that process, it relieves us and our minds of needing to find all the answers within the small container of our psychological and mental space and consensus reality.
When we travel and expand to the realms of soul, it simply allows more diversity at many levels of our own being and within the life that we’re living.
Soul work is an awareness practice.
It’s a process to give ourselves space to allow our awareness to expand, experience, connect and receive insights, understandings and knowings about ourselves and our circumstances that we wouldn’t normally have access to if we were just thinking about a situation rationally.
We get to drop out of our busy minds and remember spirit, energy, nature and the possibility of a positive future life. We remember and connect with the mystical, the magical and the profoundly transformative.
I find a lot of the current approaches to mental health glue labels onto behaviours. Sometimes there’s really good reason for it.
But I prefer to offer an openness that some of the behaviours that we judge or hide are simply greater expressions of the mental diversity that’s part of being human.
There are two points I invite you to deeply consider. I’ve experienced personally and seen in thousands of clients that they’re truths that turn on the healing and freeing lightbulb once understood and experienced:
- Who we are in our mental health is the culmination of our mix of static and mutable inner diversity.
- The space of the soul includes all of your expressions, everything that makes you YOU.
It’s when we draw lines or try to cut out pieces of ourselves that our souls can begin to struggle or suffer, which causes our mental health to struggle or suffer.
Often, part of our mental health issues come from experiencing our connections with the soul getting marginalized, made wrong or shamed.
We live in a culture that works to uphold a strong denial of soul realms in many ways while adamantly emphasizing the more narrowed, scientific, rational, materialistic perspectives.
This dissociation from the soul creates a deep hunger and longing for it.
In my 20+ years of practice as a therapist and coach, I’ve noticed the biggest healing shifts when people start to connect with a greater knowing, their deeper awareness and understanding as an insight of why something is happening or why they’re responding in a certain way.
When people arrive in that deeper and more expansive level of awareness, it has this capacity to simply flow resolution, insight, healing, peace, or a deep “aha” into their everyday selves. Because it’s transmitted with soul-level energy.
Soul-level energy has a congruence that we feel, and that congruence is medicine. It helps us to grow beyond the problems that we’re currently experiencing, to also find meaning and understanding in the things that we’re facing, which is profoundly helpful, and to cultivate steps toward change and relief.
The levels of the soul allow us to alchemize and transform everyday life. They generate insight, direction and meaning.
Even more, they allow us to bring through higher levels of meaning. And no matter how difficult that insight or meaning is, when it comes through, we feel the rightness of the message. We absorb it with gratitude. It gives us the clarity of how to move forward and the energy to do it.
To explore our mental health, we should explore our soul’s health.
Your soul’s health is tracked by determining your relationship with it. If it’s been fractured or severed. If we’ve hidden or denied any pieces of it. If we need to make our soul a safe space that welcomes, honours and celebrates our inner diversity. And if there are any teachings that, instead of ignoring or misunderstanding it, we finally listen — because it will help us grow and live more fully.
To live from our soul, to care about the health of our soul and our alignment between our everyday life and these deeper, essence levels of who we are is like living out of the mainstream identity.
We recognize that our mainstream identity is not our only self. So we become more available for our soul, and we allow our soul to be the energy and the quality that informs and guides our mainstream identity.
Maybe this identity includes labels that are truly helpful, and maybe it discards them.
But if you choose to glue a label onto your identity that marks you as less than thriving, give yourself a chance to uncover a different story that’s hidden under the glue.
Give yourself a chance to come into a relationship with your soul and to use that glue instead to connect the pieces of your soul back into wholeness.
Once you do, your mental health will be nothing more than a telltale or reminder to pause, check in with your soul and give it a little love.
A soul that is loved generates a life that is meaningful, balanced and enjoyed to the fullest.
For some inspirational musings, here are a few of my favorite quotes by my fellow lover of dreams and soul exploration, Carl Jung:
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.”
“Dreams are the guiding words of the soul.”
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
So, dear one, instead of considering how your mental health is right now…how is your soul’s health right now? How can you help it feel more nourished, supported and loved?
With passion for your soul’s flourishing,