Both – And

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi


I remember my first therapy session like it was yesterday. On 9 April 2009, I entered a therapy centre shaking like a leaf. I felt cold as fear coursed through my veins. Could I even articulate the stuff that weighed me down? I didn’t let myself acknowledge it, never mind discuss it with a stranger. What if I was too damaged and beyond repair?

A few weeks before that visit I met a man. There was a possibility of something in the air, but I could feel all my unhealthy patterns raring their ugly heads. I was getting needy and insecure, and while I knew intellectually that there was nothing worse than that behaviour, I couldn’t help myself. I just needed a quick fix, so that I could finally have a healthy relationship.

My therapist was a young woman. Within the first 15 minutes of our session, I told her about my history of sexual trauma, abusive relationships, dysfunctional family…. I wasn’t ready to explore all those issues, I just wanted her to know what she was letting herself into.

‘Will you take me on despite all of this?’ I asked as we were finishing.

‘Yes, of course.’

‘I’m going to see you until the end.’ I added.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Well, until I heal completely.’

She didn’t say anything. I was hoping she’d say ‘Yes, sure’, and contradict my housemate who kept telling me that she was in therapy for eight years and still couldn’t have a relationship. Eight years! I didn’t have that much time. Maybe she just healed slowly. Maybe she wasn’t consistent enough. Maybe she was too broken. I’ll be different.

I dived into every single approach that came within my line of vision:

  • psychotherapy,
  • family constellations,
  • movement of being,
  • birthworks,
  • five rhythms dance,
  • Reiki,
  • acupuncture,
  • Journey by Brandon Bays,
  • Compassion Key,
  • Non-personal awareness,
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping)
  • the list goes on and on.

I travelled around the UK and even abroad to attend workshops, retreats and have 1:1 support. I’m not talking about one off occasional treatments. I dedicated myself to each practice for years on end.

Well, eight long years, to be precise.

Here’s what I didn’t understand back then. I thought I was going to a therapist so that she ‘fixed’ me.

There are no fixes. This a journey with no destination. And you can’t rush it either.

To me nowadays, the healing path is about growth and transformation. No matter how well you do, when you release limiting beliefs, you can do much better.

At the same time, paradoxically, there is nothing to fix. We are already whole.

Yes, this is not to deny that there are hurt aspects of ourselves too. Both – And, as one of my teachers says, meaning that both statements are true: we are both whole and we have wounded parts too.

Our wounded aspects can sometimes run the show. Just like with that relationship I mentioned at the start: I was so ‘identified’ with needy and insecure parts of myself, I couldn’t fully appreciate who I truly was.

Today, I don’t feel broken anymore. I can connect with the wholeness of myself, which remained pure despite life circumstances. At the same time, life happens. In no way do I want to pretend that I’ve got all my sh*t together. I get triggered and upset from time to time. Like everyone else, I face challenges, because having tools to support others does not make me immune to problems. But I walk my talk. I use all the methods I know day in and day out. If I get stuck, I tap, I do self-directed compassion, and non-personal awareness. I regularly see a range of therapists and healers, and pay a lot of money to get the support I need.

I’ve already arrived. And my journey continues. Both – And.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi



15 thoughts on “Both – And

    • There’s a teacher in the uk, Fi. He calls himself a stand up philosopher 😁 His name is Tim Freke. He’s got many beautiful teachings, this is one of them. I’m glad my posts resonate. Thank you so much for reading.x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A very profound article, dear Gulara. As always an important message woven with your personal story. Going to add it tomorrow to my weekly ‘Other Beautiful Posts’-update.
    My connection with some bloggers (including you) and the study I did this year (Existential Well-Being) helped me to put some pieces of my personal puzzle at the right place. Like you, I now know it’s about embracing the positive AND limitations of yourself.
    Warm regards, Patty

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant post Gulara thank you. Both strong and gentle. You’re so right – there are no quick fixes – and no-one else can do the fixing for us. A willingness and courage to go deep will help us in the voyage of self discovery. A quote : there is no way to the heights except through the depths

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is such an honest and brave post, Gulara. Thank you for sharing with us. Of course, you know that you’re not alone where you are. I do agree about having arrived yet still continuing with the journey. This concept/idea of ‘Both – and’ is quite enlightening. I will remember it always from now on.
    I thought I was “fixed” after my Landmark Forum workshop but while I have the knowledge and I “stop, check and correct” when I go off track, I am definitely not completely healed. What’s important is acknowledging when we are slightly lost and we apply what we know to get back on track again. The first time I went to therapy was in 2007. I stopped in 2000/2001. I’ve been back on therapy since late last year although I did quit again for the first half of this year thinking positive thinking and seeing the good in everything would be sufficient. I still see the positive and the good and the fun but it’s easier and less forced because of therapy.
    We forge ahead, right? All the best to us. 🙂


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