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Feeling Our Feelings: The Key to Healing

A Cancer Thriver Shares Her Journey to Face Her Fears and Embrace Her Feelings


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Years ago, when our son was in middle school, he came home one day and said, “Mom, I really think you’d like this book we’re reading.” His gentle nudge spoke to my heart and that weekend was spent devouring the profound messages within A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, a book about healing, contradictions, and perceptions. These words rocked me to my core:

 “I did not come to heal her,” the monster said. “I came to heal you.

You must speak the truth and you must speak it now, Conor O’Malley. Say it. You must.”

Conor shook his head again, his mouth clamped shut tight, but he could feel a burning in his chest, like a fire someone had lit there, a miniature sun, blazing away and burning him from the inside.

“It’ll kill me if I do,” he gasped.

“It will kill you if you do not,” the monster said. “You must say it.

Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

How did this yew tree, personified as a monster, know:

*My greatest fear was speaking my truth?

*My greatest fear was feeling my feelings?

* The key to my healing was speaking my truth and feeling my feelings?

Our Hidden Monsters

I was surprised by my visceral response to this children’s book. How had I eluded these deep fears during decades of personal exploration? Then it dawned on me—recognizing these repressed feelings and fears was the next step of my healing journey. Self-exploration is a personal quest where insights can only be seen when we are ready to acknowledge, embrace, and transform them into the fullness of who we are.

Have you ever considered that every feeling, thought, belief, fear, and dream—everything you’ve ever experienced—resides somewhere within your body, mind, and spirit? When I thought about it from this perspective, it made complete sense that we all have monsters hidden within us. What I’ve discovered is these monsters are only monsters if we believe them to be so, and we can transform them when we’re ready.

Low Notes Create the Richness

As a musician, I visualize people as harps—beautiful instruments with a full set of strings representing all the different experiences, feelings, beliefs, fears, dreams, and more within us. Each string has a different frequency, and when played together, they create the fullness of who we are.

Envisioning yourself as a harp, if someone told you the low strings were bad and the high strings were good, would you try to avoid the low ones and only focus your attention on the high strings?

I used to resist going down into the depths, into those low frequencies, those low experiences I felt were too something—too painful, scary, and overwhelming—because I subconsciously believed:

  • I did something wrong.
  • It was my fault.
  • I should have known better.
  • I should have made a different choice.

However, now I realize those heavy and dark places in my life have helped me develop:

  • Resilience and the ability to adapt to change
  • Determination and focus
  • Strength of purpose and vision
  • Courage to face my fears
  • Persistence to take the next step
  • The ability to see beauty within every moment

If we constantly stay in our higher notes—those familiar, light, and happy places—we miss the opportunity to fully appreciate the lessons learned from our lower life experiences. For it is the richness within the bass notes that create the fullness of our sound.

Embracing Our Fullness

With my first of two breast cancer experiences, I knew immediately it was an opportunity to remember how to love myself—all of me.

For years I had repressed feelings of abandonment, worthiness, resentment, and anger. It was time to get really honest with myself and allow those monsters within to help me heal.

One of the 13 life lessons learned during my journeys with cancer was, “The only way to know a feeling is to feel it.” Here is an example:

Journal Entry, February 6, 2011

All weekend I could feel a resistance in me…like an energetic wall that wasn’t allowing me to travel further into myself. Yesterday (Saturday) I could feel myself keeping busy and distracted with “doing” so I wouldn’t have to settle into Being. Finally, I stopped and listened to “The Magic Mirror.”  The love flowing through that music got inside and underneath my wall, then the tears of honesty started flowing again and the words, “I really don’t want to go through chemotherapy” kept repeating over and over again. The hidden, concealed fear was coming up and out, so I let the tears flow as the music continued. By the end of the CD, the energy had released, and I felt lighter and more honest with myself. Sometimes my mind…OK, a lot of times my mind takes control and tries to protect me from myself, from feeling the feelings in my body. My mind just wants me to “think” I’m feeling them without the actual experience—tricky thing, this mind of mine….

Allowing Our Monsters to Heal Us

Allowing ourselves to dive into our depths, knowing there are treasures to be found, lessons to be learned, and insights to be gained, can be an adventure. My favorite question is, “What’s yet to be discovered?” Expanding my perceptions and beliefs about the monsters within me, judgments and assumptions dissolved, and I was able to embrace more strings of my metaphoric harp.

Feeling our feelings and speaking the truths we’ve hidden from ourselves takes a great deal of courage. Sometimes our mind creates so much fear around the thought of feeling, we actually believe it will kill us to feel. It doesn’t. It sets us free.

About The Author
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Amy is a professional and therapeutic harpist, certified clinical musician, holistic research developer, speaker, recording artist, composer, author, and co-initiator of the ORIGIN Methodology of Self-Discovery. She loves empowering and inspiring audiences through her program on the healing power of music, vibrational resonance, conscious self-care, and the life lessons learned during her two journeys with breast cancer. For the past 25 years, Amy has been active in the sound healing community with several pilot studies indicating how her solo harp music increases brainwave function; supports the immune system; and reduces pain, distress, and anxiety levels. Amy’s music is used throughout the country in hospitals, cancer centers, and hospices as well as for general relaxation and stress reduction. Her inspired music relaxes the body, calms the mind, and gently touches the soul. For more info, visit