Exercise 1-C

Pass Through Symbolic Death

Betrayal, Trust, and Forgiveness: A guide to emotional healing and Self-renewal


Depending on the phase of your journey from betrayal to trust and forgiveness, you may be struggling with the experience of symbolic death—caught in denial, anger, rationalization, or depression. Remember that, though we do not choose when we “die,” we can choose how we deal with the experience. 

There are gestures we can perform and environments we can create to support moving through symbolic death to awaken deeper acceptance and eventual renewal and rebirth. Cultivate patience for the process. Give yourself time to heal. Demonstrate respect for and faith in your own and others' journeys from betrayal to trust. 

We suggest you print this exercise 1c

Identify what makes you mad. Explore your anger through introspection:
Write about it in your journal.
Ask for a dream to give you insight before you go to bed.
Observe how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with anger.
Observe which emotions surface as you move through your anger.
Keep the energy moving and notice where it leads you.

Examine how your body reacts when you feel angry:
Do you hold tension in any particular place (neck, shoulders, diaphragm, etc.)?
What happens to your breathing?
What happens to your appetite?
How do your internal organs (stomach, intestines, etc.) and body systems (nervous, digestive, immune, etc.) respond to this stress?

Find creative outlets for your energy:
Draw your feelings with big bold crayons on large sheets of paper.
Dance to loud music.
Recycle glass and relish the sound of the glass smashing and crashing.
Role-play a wild beast—get down on all fours and growl, claw, or pounce.
Do the project you’ve been putting off—cleaning your closet, clearing out the garage, or mowing the lawn; make things the way you want.

Create a safe place to express your feelings:
Talk to a friend, therapist, or healing guide.
Pound some pillows.
Scream into a pillow.

Release the emotional energy that is held in your body:
Do breathing exercises.
Take a martial arts class: judo, aikido, tai chi, karate, tai kuando, chi gung, wrestling, etc.
Take up dance, yoga, movement, or hiking in nature.
Get some exercise: Play racquet ball, tennis, handball; go running, jogging, or swimming.
Take a self-defense class.
Get a massage, or do bodywork, rolfing, bio-energetics, Rosen work, or therapeutic touch.

Be gentle with yourself: 
Don't yell or curse at yourself.
Don't call yourself bad names.
Don't judge yourself.
Be kind to yourself.
If you are unhappy with how you handled something this time, imagine how you would do things differently next time.
Remind yourself that you are growing and that you do not have to know all the answers.

Accept loss as part of the journey from betrayal to trust:
Expect to be on an emotional roller coaster for a while—don't fight it.
Observe yourself as you move through the natural denial-anger-rationalization-depression-acceptance process.
Recognize and accept disappointment.
Communicate directly to others about your fears, disappointments, and needs when possible and appropriate.
Listen to others' fears, disappointments, and needs when possible and appropriate.
Acknowledge your fears and needs.
Accept your current reality for what it is—and what it is not.
Appreciate yourself, wherever you may be in your journey from betrayal to trust and forgiveness.
Assimilate the process by taking the time you need to heal; be patient with your process.
Allow your feelings to change, move, deepen, and surface.

Rest assured, this is a confidential exercise, meant for you alone. Your responses cannot be sent anywhere or saved in any medium.

Go on to the next exercise

The Book | Dr. Beth  | Services | Calendar
Q and A | Healing Links | Media Kit
All materials copyright©2002, Dr. Beth Hedva
All rights reserved. 
For permissions TenSpeed.com.