“How long will it take me to heal this? Is there hope for me to get relief from this anxiety?” I’ve heard many sensitive clients—including myself ask these questions.

When you hear yourself ask these questions, be alert. You have just bumped into the central paradox of healing work.

What is this paradox and why is it so important?

The word “heal” implies you need to be healed. And there is truth to that: you wouldn’t be seeking help unless something in your life felt not-quite-right or even very-not-right.

But seeing yourself as needing to be healed is a tricky business. It likely means you are watching yourself, evaluating yourself, assessing your progress. In other words, you are merged with a part of you that is evaluating your healing.

The Catch-22 of self-evaluation

On the one hand, of course you need to evaluate and assess your progress. When you seek help you invest precious time, money, and effort. You want to see results.

On the other hand, constantly monitoring your progress is like pulling up a carrot to see if it is growing!

There’s only one way out of this dilemma: Presence. That’s the bigger space in yourself that can everything that comes up in you. Presence can hold the awareness that something isn’t right in you life, while simultaneously making room for something in you that is impatient, wanting to feel better now.

From the spacious curiosity of Presence, you can honor the need to assess your progress, without getting merged with something in you that is impatient or judgmental about your progress. In this bigger space, there is room for a way forward. Presence allows you to sense of the rightness of the steps you are taking to address painful issues in your life.

And most important of all, from Presence, you can offer yourself and all your inner “guests” the unconditional acceptance that is the ideal environment for inner movement and change.

Thanks to Kaitlyn (kaitlyn.wyenberg@gmail.com) for another beautiful photo.