SCIENCE & SPIRITUALITY
A Holistic Approach.
A lot of times, people think of therapy as only dealing with the mind or thinking that medicine is just dealing with the body. But we know from science that the mind and body are intrinsically linked. There’s this interplay between what we believe, how we think, what we say, the words we use and how our bodies respond down to a cellular level. And in my experience as a therapist, I’ve seen that so much of our physical ailments are really related to our thoughts and attitudes and our well-being and vice versa. So I think that you can’t really approach medicine or mental health without the other and be truly effective.
In that vein, I’m a huge proponent of yoga as a healing tool. During my personal healing journey, I was introduced to a particular style called Raja yoga. It was a 90-minute heated class, but it was not power yoga; it was about disengagement rather than engagement. It was about melting the body and learning how to let go. It beckoned me to become really flexible and open.
Ninety minutes of that. It invited you to slow waaaay down, holding poses for 5 minutes at a time. So we would get in some wild poses, but they were all disengaged. It was a lot of laying on the floor.
I didn’t know it at the time but I was taking a brilliant approach to yoga because I was learning how to let go before I learned how to dig in. I was going through a really hard emotional time and I noticed that it had a huge impact on my mood. Raja yoga specifically gets into the myofascial sections of the joints, so it helps release down to where the tendons or the joints connect, and it was a very special experience that I’ve only had in that particular studio. The instructor was fluid in Sanskrit and also was supremely well-versed in Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism, and he would teach what a posture would do for the mind, the body and the soul. He was so brilliant and it almost felt like yoga was my church at the time.
Where I feel most present.
I tend to be awe struck whenever I’m outside and take notice of the sky or any body of water. When I lived on the beach in Boca Raton, I would sit and meditate on the shore. There was nothing there to cloud my intention about comparison. Meaning I wasn’t looking at my kitchen saying I wish my cabinets were better, I wasn’t looking at the cars driving around and saying my car is such a piece of crap, I wasn’t looking at the clothes in my closet and saying I have nothing to wear.
There’s so much acceptance and perfection and abundance in nature. And we think about how the flowers work with the bees and the scorpions work with the mulch and the sandpipers work with the crabs and it all just works. It’s a deeply rooted reminder for me that everything is OK if you let it be and so much of what we deal with in our minds is bullshit and made up and because we are getting in our own way. When I go outside and take a moment to breathe, I feel almost instantly connected to what’s real.
The purest form of healing.
Love heals pain. Many people struggle to understand that. People think love hurts. But it’s not love that hurts and it’s not somebody else’s love that’s going to heal my pain per se. It’s me understanding that I am lovable, I am enough, love is available all around me and I’m never without it. That’s what heals pain. Love isn’t what hurts us. What hurts us is taking the things people say personally
instead of remembering our worthiness. When we’re more attached to someone else than we are to ourselves. If I care more about what you think of me than I care about what I think of me, then what you say is going to hurt me. Judgement hurts. Attachment hurts. Criticism hurts. Rejection hurts. Love doesn’t hurt. Love heals pain.
We don't make perfect choices.
I feel confident and proud in how I moved through my own experience with divorce. I actually had a dream recently about my ex-husband. And for the first time the dream included a peaceful exchange and there was zero angst. So even today, years later, I’m still progressing with letting go. But I think I unlocked the recipe for healing, and I don’t just mean getting past a divorce but breaking through to personal freedom. It did not come easy. I made more relationship blunders afterward. In fact, it almost got worse before it got better. But I have really come to understand that through the experiences embedded in my divorce process came the unlocking and awakening of truth.
There are still a lot of segments of society that deem divorce as wrong or bad, and as a therapist, I work really hard to debunk the myth of good and bad, right or wrong, and this is just another one of those places. If it’s happening to over 50% of the population, let’s quit being a$$hles to each other about it. Let’s be more supportive and let’s stop judging people. I remember feeling so ashamed—and I know that's a result of how I was raised; that it was wrong to divorce. I felt like it was the biggest mistake of my life up to that point. Like, I really effed up. And I simply don’t believe that anymore. And I want other people to not have to believe that.
I believe in them 100%.
I’m remarried now. My husband has loved me since I was 16. I was the one who wouldn't commit to him. He came to my first wedding and my dad said to him on my wedding day "It should have been you, I’m really sorry". Remember when I said it got worse before it got better? The guy I began dating over a year after my finalized divorce was extra cruel. I got really scared and called dad. My dad knew Brian (my current husband) lived nearby and reached out to him. He gave Brian strict instructions to watch over me until I felt safe again. Brian and I had always stayed in touch and were always good friends. By this time, I realized he was the most solid and loving partner I could ever want.
From there, our true love story began. Don't get me wrong. I still had hang-ups and personal work to do. I judged him and pushed him away at times. My therapist told me that I was unkind and that my agnostic husband was Godlier than I was. Because I was judgmental and he was unconditionally loving and accepting. My mom pointed out my hang-ups about money. I was getting all this feedback from people that I was still stuck in judgment and it was blocking me from the thing I said I wanted. I finally listened and something flipped in my heart. And my marriage was born.
One of life's greatest gifts.
At some point during our courtship, we went to a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. These types of events were typically painful for me. I had gone through fertility treatments in my previous marriage and was diagnosed infertile. As we were driving back from this party, I said you really wouldn’t mind being with me for the rest of your life if I could never have children? And he said yes. Eight days later, I learned I was pregnant with our daughter. He had bought an engagement ring months before the party but I didn’t know that.
He proposed and we quickly got married. So it happened all out of order. And that’s why Grace’s name is Grace. Because we all get a second chance. This was Brian’s first marriage but it was my second marriage and I had reservations. I was terrified. I didn’t want a wedding and I was terrified about him moving in. I thought "I am not equipped for this". And then getting pregnant felt like God was telling me: "Stop. Let go."
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Boca Raton and Key Largo
I specialize in marriage counseling, couples therapy, family therapy, relationship counseling, and individual psychotherapy in-person and online.
Dawn Wiggins, Ed.S., is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She founded and owns Dawn Wiggins Therapy with two therapy offices based in Boca Raton and Key Largo, serving clients in Palm Beach County and Monroe County, Florida, and providing HIPPA-compliant video online therapy for those who are not able to commute. She received her master’s and specialist degree from the University of Florida, specializing in marriage and family therapy using a systems approach, which teaches the philosophy that when one part of a system changes, the entire system is changed.
She has appeared as a national speaker for Moments of Change—a conference on addiction recovery—and is a published columnist with a focus on relationships and personal development. Dawn has been quoted as a therapist and expert for multiple sources such as Bustle, and served as a lead expert in the recent book Surviving and Thriving with an Invisible Chronic Illness: How to Stay Sane and Live One Step Ahead of Your Symptoms by Ilana Jacqueline, which was published in March 2018.
Dawn thinks in analogies and will use her understanding of the person sitting in front of her to teach them things in a way they can relate to it, whether it’s cars or sports or movies or nature. As the only child of a roughneck dude (aka, the son he never had), Dawn knows about tools and science and cars and boats. She is a self-proclaimed Jack (Jane) of All Trades, Master of Self … not none.
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