I have counseled individuals, couples, families and business partners for the past 35 years and authored eight published books. All this experience has resulted in the development of a profound healing process, called Inner Bonding, which anyone can learn and use throughout the day (free course available – see resource box at the end of the article). The first step of this process is willingness.

We cannot begin a journey without our willingness to do so. Without our willingness to do whatever it takes to heal, we will not begin the journey of healing and evolving our soul. Doing whatever it takes means that we are ready and willing to feel, learn about and take full responsibility for our own feelings – our own pain, fear, anger, hurt, aloneness, loneliness, disappointment, depression, sense of safety, worth, lovability and joy. Willingness means that we are ready to become aware of creating our own feelings with our thoughts, beliefs and actions. It means we are willing to face whatever it is we fear in order to heal the beliefs causing the fear.

Willingness means that we choose to be courageous and face our demons – the shadow side of ourselves about which we do not want anyone to know. It means that we are ready to move out of denial about the pain we are in, ready to stop hiding from ourselves. Willingness means that we are ready to become aware of how much we want control over our pain, over others, and over the outcome of things. Until we are ready to see, without judgment, how deeply we want to control everything, and all the overt and subtle ways we try to have control, we cannot choose to open.

Willingness means that we are ready to ask for help from a spiritual source of strength, and from others who can bring us love to help us heal. It means that we are ready to acknowledge that we cannot find our safety without spiritual guidance – that we are ready to invite Spirit into our heart to nurture and guide us. It means that we have embraced the journey, the sacred privilege of learning about love upon this planet.

We cannot move into the next step of the Inner Bonding process, the intent to learn about what we are thinking or doing to cause our pain until we are willing to move out of denial regarding our inner distress. As long as we are in denial about our pain, we will not recognize that we have inner pain and may not be motivated to learn about it. Our denial is one of the ways we are protecting against pain. We may not be willing to move out of denial until loving ourselves and others is more important than avoiding our pain.

Willingness means that you pay attention to the physical sensations within your body. You cannot know if you are believing or behaving in ways that are hurting you if you are unwilling to feel what is going on within your body. Feelings of pain, anger, anxiety, hurt, fear, and loneliness are physical sensations that occur within the body. When you numb your body with substances or shut out your inner experience with manipulations and activities, you cannot know what you are feeling.

We put ourselves on a new path toward our own wholeness when we become willing to feel our pain and learn from it.