Of Tears and Blood
Exploring the Raw Truths of the Creative Process
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Saint-Cloud, France

In this episode, Nicholas Ryan Howard serves as the facilitator working with Aurora in Saint-Cloud, France on releasing ingrained beliefs, clearing patterns of giving up, and the expansion of their creative consciousness.

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Please be advised that this episode contains sensitive themes, including discussions of: Self-injurious behavior and suicide.

And, a quick note. The discussion you are about to hear was recorded—and is being shared—with express permission by the participant. Their name has been changed due to the incredibly personal nature of the conversation. Your care and consideration in respecting their boundaries, and in helping to maintain their anonymity, is very appreciated. Thank you, so much.


Welcome to "Of Tears and Blood," where we explore the raw truths of the creative process. In this episode, I’ll be serving as the facilitator as I work with someone on the expansion of their creative consciousness. Thank you for joining us on this journey. I'm Nicholas Ryan Howard.

Saint-Cloud, France. I’m a guest in a gorgeous home. As art lovers, the owners have adorned the environment with delicate sculptures, ornate paintings, and enough books to last a lifetime. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to stay here for a few days, a sanctuary that was  offered to help me regroup, to put a roof over my head, and to lay low during some pretty serious storms that had been bombarding Paris. But today, it’s perfectly tranquil and crystal clear, as communicated by the magnificent balcony view of the parks, the trees, the sprinkled clouds, and the calm lakes.

Aurora, not a resident of France (the accent will most assuredly give that away), is also currently a guest in this home. Her energy is proud, but anxious. Her fingers are clenched, but she still smiles;  warmth encapsulated by caution. She joins me in the dining room, where we begin our conversation with a simple question that I ask. “What’s present for you?” Here’s her answer.

The Session

Aurora: I feel like the world is quite a scary place.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay

Aurora: I want to know what I’m supposed to be doing, and if I’m doing the right thing. If I’m doing the best thing at any moment for myself, or for the people around me. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay

Aurora: There’s a sort of permanent sense of not being safe or able to fully relax because something bad’s gonna happen, so I need to be aware constantly of everything and analyze everything. And it’s very exhausting.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. Yeah I hear you.


Nicholas Ryan Howard: What’s the energy that’s flowing right now?

Aurora: It’s really hard to name it.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: And it’s quite...it irritates me that I can’t name it. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: I suppose it’s like, kind of...I don’t feel very solidly in place anywhere, so what I mean by that is like um, you know, sort of there’s not really a sense of stability anywhere I go or anything I do, een if it’s in a very familiar environment….it feels quite like fragile and unstable.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay. For my clarity and just for informational purposes, when you say it’s unstable, if it breaks, what’s going to happen?

Aurora: ohhhh. I’m gonna get hurt. Or I’m gonna feel afraid and I won’t have a response to defend myself. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: Maybe taken off guard and I’ll have to think of something to defend myself, I think. Whoa, that’s interesting. You gotta, you gotta be ready to like get into action at any moment because there’s something that could come and harm you at any moment.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: What could come and harm you?

Aurora: I’ve never really thought about it that much, so I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it’s a person, or, uh, some kind of force, something just very destabilizing, and a lot of the time I’m sort of floating through my life, and I’m sort of just trying to grab at them and think ‘oh that’s just something that I could hold onto’ but then I maybe think, ‘oh no no...I don’t wanna. I don’t know if I want to hold onto that, because that might go wrong, and then it will harm me, and then I will have to deal with that. I don’t really want to like hold on to anything particularly tightly because something might happen that’s unpleasant.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: I really hear you that there’s this underlying force or voice that is, um, keeping you from grabbing onto something tightly. I really hear that.

Aurora: And it’s quite lonely. As it’s just kind of sad, really. It just...If I feel the impetus to just kind of grab onto something and hold onto it really tight, like that’s kind of what I want, but it’s too scary to do that, because it might go wrong. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: It’s a sort of, kind of, like, push, pull, thing that ultimately it’s quite dissatisfying. And yeah, alright,  I’m not sure if the word is lonely, but we’re just going to go with that word because that feels good enough. And, and there’s this, this thing, like I don’t, I don’t really have a sense of like ground in, of what I would think of as, like an authentic sense of self.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Here’s a question for you. You mention that if you held on tightly, and then it went wrong, something could hurt you, and you’d have to defend yourself. Is that something that happened in the past? Do you have a specific example of that happening? 

Aurora: So for, I don’t know why this example popped into my head, but like, when I was studying, um, at university, there came a point where I had decided that I was going to give up. I had, kind of had this idea of what was coming, partially I think it was based in reality, looking at, like, the subjects that were coming up at the time, and I would have to deal with them, partially I think it was like an imagined sense of difficulty. So I just decided I was going to give up. It was like, nope, I’m gonna, before it harms me, before it becomes too difficult or it becomes a really unpleasant experience, I’m going to give up. And then I didn’t give up. I did continue, but it was extremely hard. And it kind of drove me to the edge of madness at some points. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmm mmmhhmmm

Aurora: I think it was worth it in the end, but it’s like, I think I have got like a very low resilience to things that are hard, and I, part of me wants to overcome that, to become more resilient, but I, I don’t know whether it’s because I don’t want to put in the effort, or because it’s just too scary. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. What’s coming forward for me right now is like, see resilient is one of these words that sounds like strength, like it sounds like if you’re going to prescribe a cure for what you went through, resilience seems like it might be the right drug, but the truth is, is that you went through something very challenging, and very difficult that stung, and it pushed you to the brink.

Aurora: mmm. Mmmhmmm. That was scary.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. 

Aurora: Yeah, things that really push. Because I get... I’m  very afraid of myself because I have some very self-destructive tendencies.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay

Aurora: You know there are times that have definitely caused me to want to take my own life. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: And I’d, that’s part of the reason that I don’t want to go towards things that are too emotional, to that... because I don’t want to be pushed to that extreme again. I don’t want to be in a state where I’m afraid of myself. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: There’s always got to be a back door. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay. Mmhmm

Aurora: Always got to be a back door

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmmm

Aurora: Yeah, because I’m so afraid of, you know, feeling very unsafe with myself that I think that’s a lot of the reason why I...yeah...well you know what’s going to come and get me is myself. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, yeah

Aurora: So yeah, but you know what it manifests as is, you know, often I don’t pursue relationships with people, or put as much love and effort as I want to, and my heart put into relationships with people, for fear of, you know, ultimately I would say, for fear of myself.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: so you know it’s all bound up with I’m not going to be good enough so  it’s going to fail or it’s going to be too difficult, or it’s ...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: I hear that it might be too difficult, it might fail, and at the end of that road I might take my own life. 

Aurora: oh yeah

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: There’s a part of my personality that is ready to give up on life, on the world. And she’s ALWAYS there. And it’s takes a lot of effort to like keep her out of my business.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay

Aurora: She’s...she’s a fucking bitch.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Aurora: She’s always trying to, like, you know, take away anything that’s good, so I’m like. One, on the one hand I sometimes fiercely resist pursuing some things because I’m afraid that it will make her pop up...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmmhmmm

Aurora: ...in a way that I can’t get rid of her. And then I sort of fiercely, like, protect my sanity, but like, yeah, what it does then,  more than I would like, is to keep me sort of not quite as involved in life and grounded as I would really want to be, so it’s like this...I’m like stuck in...what’s that place that people call ...not perjury...I don’t know what it is...it’s like the middle world. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yep, it’s…

Aurora: G’know. Heh. g’know. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yep...it’s between, uh...

Aurora: Hodor ...See this is... I’m gonna resist the urge to...see this is the thing that I do as well is if things get too hard to talk about...I will. I’ll start making jokes.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s ok

Aurora: And I don’t want to, but it’s do...I’m doing. I’m not doing that right now because I really want to, it’s because this is hard.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Well, thank you for telling me. And that’s a demonstration that you’re really ready to lift this and clear this that you’re even identifying your patterns of what you normally do. And you’re saying ‘I’m not going to do that this time.’ That’s amazing. So, you said, you said, ‘Her’. This voice, this presence, if you’re open to it, I’d like you to have a conversation with Her. Are you open to that?

Aurora: mmhmmm. Yep. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So, first let’s take in a nice deep breath and let it out. (sounds of inhaling and exhaling deeply) What I’d like you to imagine... that presence...whoever she is...imagine she’s here and she’s sitting across from you. I’d like you to imagine what she looks like, what she’s wearing, what color hair she has, what color eyes….do you see her? 

Aurora: mmm. Do you know what I see? I see somebody who’s almost like, um, she’s twitchy, and she’s kind of, um, what I would imagine somebody who’s lived a rough kind of life on the street, like her hair’s all matted, and she’s kind of twitchy, she’s sort of what you would imagine….I don’t think she’s a drug addict, but what I would imagine somebody who’s like a drug addict, is, just kind of...she’s really she’s just down and out. That’s what she looks like. That’s...when I really look at her, in my mind's eye, like, she’s a very, like, vulnerable, weak, scared being.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm]

Aurora: Like, she looks very unwell (voice cracks). And I just feel sad for her. And I want...I don’t know why she’s like that.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You can let that come up. You’re doing great. 

Aurora: (Sniff) So when I, when I look at her, I just think, I, you know, I hate her, but, I don’t hate her. How can you hate somebody that’s obviously in so much pain? (sniff)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: But you know I feel like if I reach out to her and try and help her she’ll just kind of ...you know it’s quite, like animalistic, she’s just gonna scratch me or something. Like, an animal. So you want to go towards somebody who’s in pain or somebody who’s vulnerable or somebody who’s mentally ill, but then you’re a bit afraid. You just think…’ugh, god!’

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Well I invite you to imagine that she’s here and in front of you right now, and this is your opportunity to say anything you want to say to her.

Aurora: (sniff, sob) I guess I would say, you know, I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry that this is what you are, but I can’t help you. (sniff, sob) You know I don’t wanna, I don’t want the responsibility of taking care of you. I’m sorry. I feel bad for you. But I don’t want to take care of you anymore, and I don’t wanna...I don’t want to deal with your, like, your needs, and your complexity, and your...you know. I’m sorry, but I don’t...I can’t, I can’t help you. I don’t want anything to do with you. (sniff)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. Good. What’s coming up for you right now?

Aurora: Oh, I just feel like that’s really cruel.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay.

Aurora: (sniff) Because I, you know I am someone, I do want to help people...but I feel like if I keep trying to deal with her, like (sigh), I don’t have enough to...I can’t compensate for all the shit that she needs. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. You’re doing so great. I really see that energy coming up, and ready to lift. Just let it come up. Whatever it is...it’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok to just let that out.

Aurora: (sniff, sob) You know, she, she offers me nothing. She, all she does is like, (sob) (whiny voice) ‘I need this, I need that, no don’t do that because...’ Oh, I don’t...she just..she’s just so fucking needy.  

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

(sob, sniff)

Aurora: I...I want her to disappear. I want her to, you know, die. I just want her to die. Put her out of her misery.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay

Aurora: Just, you know, because there’s no hope left for her. She’s...she’s fucked. She doesn’t serve any purpose. She doesn’t help anyone. She’s useless. Oh god!

Nicholas Ryan Howard: It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s interesting when you say that she’s useless and has no purpose. Do you..do you think maybe she would feel differently, like she does have a purpose? Would you be interested in finding out?

Aurora: Yeah? What, like, trying to put myself in her place? (sniff)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Why don’t we just again imagine her in front of you and maybe ask the question. What is your purpose?


Aurora: I mean..I can...yeah...what is your purpose? Like, why are you here?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: Why are you STILL here?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: Like, are you not done? Like, have I not worked hard enough to get rid of you now?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: Like why are you still around? What do you need? I mean I don’t care what you need...you just need to go…..and I don’t know what her response would be.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So, without even thinking too much about it, I invite you to switch into the other chair in front of you and let her speak. No matter what it is, it’s okay.

Aurora: ok

(sound of moving seats) (sigh)

Aurora: I don’t know where else to go. I feel like I need someone to take care of me, but you’re not doing a very good job, so I’m staying here until you give me what I want. (sniff) Until you take care of me. Until you..you’ve  gotta take care of me and make me not look like this anymore. Why would I be trying to get your attention all the time if I didn’t really need something. You’re obviously not giving me what I want. It doesn’t make me happy to behave like this. You’re not listening. Maybe if you just took care of me a little bit better, I wouldn’t be so awful.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s wonderful. I invite you to shift back into the other chair.

(sounds of chairs moving)


Nicholas Ryan Howard: It’s interesting, what this aspect said was you’re not listening. 

Aurora: Well I don’t...you’re not being very clear. Like what do you want? Like all, all it seems to me that you want to do is just fuck around with the things that I’ve built - that YOU are always trying to destroy. So, why SHOULD I listen to you? You’re...all you always want me to do is do really self destructive shit. So I, you know, why would I do anything else except ignore you? 


Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, and what’s coming up for me right now is ‘what does she want?’ What is the message that she’s trying to tell you that she doesn’t think you’re receiving? Maybe let’s..ask her?

Aurora: What do you want (voice cracks)? Oh, I mean, heh, what is it that you want? 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. What’s the message?

Aurora: Oh it’s like I’m...this ...this...part of me...I don’t really… I don’t care...I have such disdain for you that I’m not...I don’t even want to listen. I don’t care.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Aurora: Like I  I...you are like a useless, functionless, part of my life and personality, that I don’t want to deal with what, with whatever it is that you want, like, you’ve hurt me so much, that I don’t even, I don’t even want to give, I don’t even want to contemp...I don’t...like...care enough what it is to give it to you. Because ….I think you...you’re always going to want more. So, (sigh), I don’t feel any...like I kind of felt like l, maybe I felt a bit of compassion for you before, but, yech. You know? (Sigh)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s good. Maybe let’s switch into the other chair and let her respond.

(sounds of chairs moving


Aurora: Just don’t always assume that I want something that’s gonna harm you. Maybe I want something that’s gonna be beneficial to both of us. You seem to think I’m always trying to hurt you...I’m not. Maybe I’m trying to get something straightened out that’s gonna be beneficial to both of us, but you don’t trust me and you’re too afraid of me to listen. And you’re like, you know,you’re.  you’re done with me. I’m gonna try increasingly more desperate and disturbing tactics. (voice quiet) And that’s why I look like this.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Let’s switch into the other chair. What’s coming forward for me right now is, it’s like, you had asked the question ‘what’s the message that you have for me,’ and then before she had a chance to answer, you shut it off. You said ‘I’m not interested in hearing, I don’t... I don’t care. You’ve hurt me too much.’

Aurora: mm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: And then when you were in her position, she said, ‘you’re dismissing me, but I’m..maybe I’m trying to help, and you’re not listening, what, to what I have to say.’ If you have the courage to, to really dig in here, and ask her, ‘what is your message?’ and immediately switch into the other chair to let her respond, I think we might be surprised at what we find.

Aurora: hmm. Mmhmm. (sigh) okay.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Let’s try it. 

Aurora: Ok,let me try and not think about it too much. And what, what is your message, like what do you wanna, what are you actually trying to do, like, like, what is your goal?

(chair moving)

Aurora: I’m trying to help you survive. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, it’s ok.

Aurora: (sniff) (sob, sniff)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: It’s ok. Let’s just let that come up. It’s alright. It’s ok. Let’s just let that come up. Here you go (sound of a tissue box). It’s ok. Here you go. It’s ok. It’s ok. Just let it come up. Here you go. Yeah, it’s ok. 

Aurora: (sniff, crying)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You’re doing great. You can just let that come up. 

Aurora: (sob)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Here you go. It’s ok. 

Aurora: (sniff, sigh, deep breath)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You’re doing so great. 

Aurora: (sob)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: It’s so great. When you heard that, what happened inside of you?

Aurora: I was very surprised. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Aurora: Maybe I’m surprised to hear it because  I, I, you know intellectually I know like, you know like the child and that kind of stuff, and they’re just like they develop mechanisms to survive... and that, I didn’t expect it to come out in such a ...real way. I mean I wasn’t making any of that shit up, like, that was all...And I do feel sad for her. And I, you know, want to try and have more of a compassion for her, but I...I don’t trust her. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. You see, this person, this aspect…

Aurora: (sniff)

Nicholas Ryan Howard:...is like..it’s almost like, um, an employee that shows up for work early..

Aurora: hmmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: ...and stays late.

Aurora: mmhmmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: They’re there when you wake up and they’re there when you go to bed. And it sounds like her job was to help you survive.

Aurora: mmm. mmhmmm.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Somewhere along the line, that was the mission that we gave her. It sounds like her tactics aren’t resonating..and in a big way. 

Aurora: mmm. (sigh) She doesn’t need to work so hard.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah. Yeah

Aurora: She looks burned out.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: She looks burned out?

Aurora: Yeah, she looks all kind of..well, like I described her before she looks all kind of…

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Has anything changed on her physical form now that we know a little more about her?

Aurora: She’s just maybe not so hunched up and twitchy. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. Yeah.

Aurora: She’s, um, still pretty like, wild eyed and um...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: Actually, she looks quite panicked, but she’s not. She doesn’t look like she needs to be in a straight-jacket.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good

Aurora: Now I feel bad for making fun of her. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Well, it’s ok if you want to say anything to her. 

Aurora: I’m sorry. I shouldn’t make fun of you. It’s not your fault. I wanna say to you, I’ll try and take better care of you, but I don’t wanna be insincere. Because I don’t...I…’cause..maybe it’s weird. Maybe I have enough respect for her, maybe not to say, you know, complete lies to her.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You know it’s interesting, it’s um, your message to her was ‘I don’t wanna take care of you,’ her message to you was, ‘I’m trying to help you survive.’ 

Aurora: mmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Your message to her was, ‘I don’t need your help.’ Her message to you was, ‘I want you to take care of me.’ It’s interesting because there’s sort of a confusion here. It sounds like...

Aurora: hmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: ...about who’s doing what. I submit to you for your consideration, maybe she’s just a little confused. And I know she’s been, um, taking the extreme measures, but maybe she’s just confused about her role. See, at some point, she was created to help you survive. We know that.

Aurora: mm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Do you know at what point she appeared in your life?

Aurora: I mean she’s quite childish. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: So I would imagine..I mean she looks like a child. Yeah, I’d say...I forgot to say that. She looks like a kid.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: She’s not a grown adult

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: She looks maybe like a sort of malnourished like Mowgli type 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: LIke, mmmmm, uh, I..maybe she’s like ten, eleven, twelvish, you know?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Aurora: Yeah I’d say that roughly how old she is.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Can you track any point in time where you needed help surviving. 

Aurora: (sigh) You know there’s definitely points where I couldn’t count on any solid, adult guiding, stable presence. No. I guess I was just sort of my own self contained little family. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: okay

Aurora: At some point I was doing all that functioning on my own. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: okay

Aurora: Or just managing without it. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: So I guess maybe then she appeared to try and, you know, uh, fill the gaps.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Okay. See I’m really hearing that at some point in childhood, maybe to help with a challenging situation, this aspect was created to do some of the heavy lifting and help.

Aurora: mmhmm.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: There’s a word you used...malnourished. 

Aurora: hmm. Oh, yeah.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: What is the nourishment that she needs? 

Aurora: (sigh)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Do you wanna ask her?

Aurora: Yeah, maybe I could ask her instead of responding for her. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah...let’s find out.

Aurora: Cause..what is the nourishment you need? I don’t think it’s food...right?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmmhmm. Good.

Aurora: No it’s not food. Maybe just some attention maybe...or? Say, like a safe space to be? Like a safe..so, and like, build up my ability to interact positively? Like somewhere where I can feel a bit safer so I don’t have to be, like, thinking I need to defend myself all the time. Like, you know, you could show me somewhere where I could just be safe and not to try defend myself all the time. I don’t know what that would look like, but it’s what I need from you.. you being the one who is operating in the adult world and taking care of herself, and doing okay.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. Good. Let’s switch back into the other chair.

(chair moving sounds)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Amazing. Attention and safe space. Those were the two things, the two requests...Now, I understand that there may be some resistance (heh) because of things that have happened in the past. 

Aurora: I also just...I don’t trust her. I think …

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Aurora: Well she wants that, she’s saying she wants that...she’s got...she’s a devious little bitch. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. Hahaha. 

Aurora: haha...sorry

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Mmhmm.

Aurora: It...yeah...it’s funny. I was, like, oscillating in between compassion and abject suspicion of her motives. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Aurora: Because she’s the one who makes me, you know, drink.. too much...and do things...I’m, I’m convinced that that’s her. She’s doing that. I guess I just gotta try and...you know how do I trust you without...how do I take a bit more care of you without you taking the piss and or pushing me or asking too much of me and putting me in a hard situation?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Now, I’m gonna invite you to do something that isn’t a lot of fun. 

Aurora: ooh, ok.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: All those things that you just said, I want you to say them to yourself. I…

Aurora: I…

Nicholas Ryan Howard: ...so all the ways that she hurts you…

Aurora: oof yeah ok. I’m, like, I’m the one that makes me drink. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Aurora: I’m the one that pushes myself into situations that make me really uncomfortable. I’m the one who makes themselves feel , whoops, feel lonely because I don’t want to connect with anyone in case they, you know, in case it’s too hard, or it’s, it’s damaging, or it’s, it hurts, or I’m the one who doesn’t you know leaves my work sometimes to the last minute because it sometimes...I don’t think it’s gonna be perfect, and I want it to be perfect. And I’m ..I’m the one who..

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You’re doing great

Aurora: ...who does all that...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: ..stuff. Like, I’m finding it hard to reabsorb her now. It’s like she’s become quite separate. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Aurora: But like I guess maybe I should be trying to (big sigh)...welcome her back in and kind of, you know, work with her. That’s the thing. She’s not going to go away and I can’t shut her out all the time. She’s not separate.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Right. She was your survival companion..

Aurora: mmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: ...conjured at a young age. The truth is, is, the things you just told me are judgements against yourself. Ways that you judge yourself. 

Aurora: mmhmm, yeah.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: And see, she appeared to help you with survival, and somewhere along the line it sounds like - and forgive me to saying it this way - I don’t mean it with emotional charge..

Aurora: mm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: I mean it reporting and reflecting back..it sounds like she became sort of the dumping ground for the negativity...it was like ‘here’s this thing - it’s your fault,’ ‘here’s this thing it’s YOUR fault.’

Aurora: hmm. mmhmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: She’s a child.

Aurora: Yeah

Nicholas Ryan Howard: She’s a malnourished child. 

Aurora: Ehhh. Yeah, when you say it like that…

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Aurora: You know that’s very...that’s something I have a horror of...any ill treatment of children. That’s very...I react very strongly to that. Even if it’s just speaking to them in a...if I hear parents speaking to their children in a way that isn’t, you know, that is disparaging and cruel..

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: ..like that...like that makes me want to punch them

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Aurora: It’s funny that’s what I’m...that’s what I’m trying to do to her. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: But she doesn’t count because she’s me...and I’m allowed to. It’s like it doesn’t matter if I’m cruel to myself because it’s.. it’s me on me. I’m not doing it to anyone else. So it’s just...there’s this sort of attitude I have - I’m not doing it to someone external. It’s fine for me to do it to myself, but it’s not. It would be horrific to do that to someone else. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Why is it ok to do that to yourself?

Aurora: That’s that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, yeah. 

Aurora: I think, yeah it’s fine to do that to myself. (brrr noise) I mean it clearly isn’t. Rationally speaking it isn’t. Because all it leads to is problems, but like, it doesn’t fill me with a sense of horror, you know, doing this kind of thing to myself, as it would if I was doing it to someone else. Maybe it’s just unimaginable. So why? Why is it ok to do that? Because the consequence...because I don’t take the consequences very seriously. Uhh maybe I don’t have the consequences in mind...or maybe it’s just simply that I just don’t think it matters. It doesn’t matter if you make yourself feel bad. As long as you’re not making anyone else feel bad...as long as everything, everyone else is alright. It doesn’t really matter if you feel bad. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Ah. Okay, okay.

Aurora: mmm...I think that’s a very, very, deep seated belief that I have that’s very hard to shake. It’s, it doesn’t matter if you..if everyone else is fine, it doesn’t matter if you’re not fine. As long as everyone else is fine, and then the world is... in order.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm, yeah.

Aurora: Because you’re not disturbing anyone else, you can just (unintelligible)….you know? It’s very sad. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s a hard one. 

Aurora: mmm (sigh).

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Is that...how you’d like to live?

Aurora: Noooooo

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Ok, okay. Heh. Okay. Let’s jump back into this ...

Aurora: Certainly not

Nicholas Ryan Howard: ...other chair. Heheh. Yeah.

Aurora: mmm. I’ve, I’ve worked quite hard to change that belief, but it’s a very, very, like, ingrained belief.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: So it’s gonna take like a lot more work to change that. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: It could….or...we could just clear it right now?

Aurora: Well, alright then. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: hahaha

Aurora: hahaha - option B

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah. See, ancient patterns we hold as these mountains that cannot be moved...they’ve been there forever, so how could they possibly change? It’s just simply, uh, it’s a metaphor. It’s the way we hold this stuff. But the truth is, these things can actually be removed quite simply

Aurora: mmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: They’re simply misbeliefs. Now, a core misbelief can have major ramifications on how you live your life. 

Aurora: mmhmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s for sure. And a core misbelief may have been really running the show or mucking things up for a while….but we just simply need to let it go. And the trick is to let it go without adding more pain. What we don’t want to do is ‘ugh, I really fucked up for thinking that as long as others were ok, it doesn’t matter what I do to myself.’ 

Aurora: mm. Hmm. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That doesn’t help.

Aurora: mmhmm.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: We’re just beating ourselves up more. So the trick is to exercise...it’s kind of got a great simple name...compassionate self-forgiveness. ‘I let myself off the hook for having thought that. It was what I thought you do, at the time. I thought it was the move. Turns out there’s this other way I’d like to live a little better right now.’ So, if you’re open to it, um, I encourage hand on the heart, but it’s up to you, and it’s simply saying the words ‘I forgive myself for buying into the misbelief that..’ and then whatever it is you’d like to let go of. Let ‘er rip. Let’s see what happens. 

Aurora: I forgive myself for buying into the misbelief that my personal happiness, contentment, comfort, sense of well being, should be completely ignored in favor of, uh, other people around me. I forgive myself for buying into the misbelief that what I think, feel, want, need doesn’t have any importance in comparison to those people around me. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good

Aurora: (sigh)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You have tremendous importance. It’s the truth. You’re just as valid as I am. As everyone else in the room. 

Aurora: (Sigh)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Right?

Aurora: Yeah.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah!

Aurora:  I mean like logically, like why not?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Why not? The math pencils out. 

Aurora: What?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: The math pencils out. It adds up.

Aurora: Oh I see. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Forgive me, American expression.

Aurora: It’s ok. It’s a cute expression.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: What else is there that we want to let go of? So let’s reflect back. And the language sounds something like this: ‘I forgive myself for buying into the misbelief that,” or “I forgive myself for judging myself as,” or “ I forgive myself for…” and then it can be something that you did or have been doing that you just want to clear. When you think about this little girl, and forgive me for using these words, but, how you’ve treated her, how you’ve interacted with her, how you , um, responded to her, what do you want to just...let go of?

Aurora: (Sigh) Yeah I ...I forgive myself then for not, um, can I say I forgive her?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Absolutely

Aurora: ok. Umm...I forgive her for trying to do what she thinks is getting up you know getting up early to do her job, and then, and then not, and then trying her hardest to help me survive when...and I never really bothered to engage with her in a healthy to say like you don’t need to do this anymore, it’s ok. You know, have a rest. And you know maybe I’ll, I’ll take care of you for a bit and so you don't have to keep trying to take care of me because you’re only a little kid. You don’t, you know...that’s not what your job should be... having to do that. And I forgive myself for believing that maybe she’s always out to harm me. I’m sorry, buying into the misbelief that she’s out to harm me. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. The energy changed. Where did you go? 

Aurora: I just left a bit more light.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: hahaha. Good. Hahaha - good.

Aurora: Not so, uh, tensed up, you know like, uh, mmm, yeah it feels good to...I’ve said all that kind of stuff and it feels amazing to... just the fact that I had no idea. I mean I didn’t... not know what I was gonna say.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora:  I didn’t know that that’s what she looked like. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Mmhmm

Aurora: And I didn’t know that that’s what she had to say. And I got upset.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora:  Like there were some hard parts where it was quite upsetting, but I don’t feel upset now. I don’t feel in any way like traumatized, or you know, it’s like (sigh) ok then. I’m just…

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. So there’s one more part left to this process. 

Aurora: Sure, mmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So all of the ways that you’ve been relating to her...

Aurora: mmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Ways you’ve been hard on her...are the ways you’ve been hard on yourself. How about we let ourself off the hook for that? ‘I forgive myself for treating myself in the following ways…’ What are they?

Aurora: (SIgh). Um...I forgive myself for treating myself with disdain. Um, for being, for not showing patience, or for being uh, for, I forgive myself for being VERY harsh and judgemental and for restricting things that might actually be good for me, even if they’re maybe a little bit scary. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm.

Aurora: Um, I forgive myself for trying to put on, like, a front to a lot of people a lot of the time, even though I know that they do love me, and they’ll love me no matter what state I appear in. Um, I forgive myself for doing that. Mmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Aurora: mmm...I forgive myself for putting so much pressure on myself in innumerable different ways. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Aurora: I forgive myself for thinking that I’m not doing a good enough job. I forgive myself for avoiding things that I think are gonna hurt me.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmmm. Good. 

Aurora: mmmm. And I also, you know, forgive myself for being afraid. It’s ok. It’s not...it doesn’t speak to your moral character if you’re afraid or , you know, not brave.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Aurora: And you know I also forgive myself for being afraid that I might go a bit nuts. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. See what I’m hearing now is the first stages of compassion. Of these places that held these judgements and misbeliefs, shifting into a place of compassion. Vocalizing these judgements and these misbeliefs, and these places inside that we have these hurts, giving them a voice. Letting ourselves off the hook for them, that really comes from compassion, which I really hear in the words that you just said. One last thing…

Aurora: (sigh)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: This is your opportunity to give some of that compassion to that little girl  - and also a little attention. And maybe offer a safe space. So I’m going to let you have one last chat with her. 

Aurora: mmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: And the one thing that’s critical is let’s give her a new way to do her job. How would you like her to show up for you?  So, imagine she’s in front of you, what would you like to say? 

Aurora: You can just take a holiday, and if I need you, I’ll let you know. But for now you can just, you can relax, you can go on, go to a beach, collect some shells, just have a little swim.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Now, I’m gonna stop you. 

Aurora: Okay 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Remember, she wanted attention…

Aurora: ohhhh

Nicholas Ryan Howard: and a safe space….and we’re sending her

Aurora: hahaha

Nicholas Ryan Howard:  to the beach to go collect shells by herself…

Aurora: But that’s what she liked to do  - that’s what I liked to do when I was little. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Well maybe you can do it with her.

Aurora: Okay then, alright. SO how about this then. So maybe we’ll just, we can go to the beach, we’ll collect some shells, and we’ll make a little ….I don’t know 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Sand castle?

Aurora: Picnics, picnics, but maybe around a rock pool or something. And just you know. We can just hang out there. You don’t need to do any more work. I’ll hang out and do it with you. That’s fine. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: See this, this is powerful. Because that part of you that was created as a little girl that helped you survive, what I’m hearing now is to help me survive, let’s go to the beach. (heh)

Aurora: haha

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Let’s go collect shells. And maybe right now in your life, that’s where you’d like to be and that’s where she can help you go. 

Aurora: mmm.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So maybe she can be a reminder….instead of the ways in the past she’s done it, maybe now, she can let you know when it’s time to go to the beach and collect shells.

Aurora: Hahaha. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard:  What do you think?

Aurora: That’s nice. Yeah. She’s good at that. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. When you imagine her now, on the beach, with all the shells you’ve collected, what does she look like?

Aurora: She looks really happy.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. Good. Beautiful. Beautiful. So now I invite you again  - final thing - hand on the heart.

 Aurora: (sigh)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: And, she wanted a safe space. Does she have one now on the beach with you?

Aurora: Yeah. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Good. I feel like we’ve given her some attention, some love, the nourishment that she wants. And what a nice thing that now instead of these other ways of getting your attention, now, she’s just going to take you to the beach. 

Aurora: hahaha

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s pretty great. 

Aurora: Yeah that’s nice.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Final thing. Imagine some beautiful light just entering your heart. And all those places that held those judgements and misbeliefs, imagine them lifting and clearing. And just fill your heart up with some of that white light. Send some to the little girl inside.

Aurora: (contented sigh)

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Imagine her in your heart, on the beach together, and when you’re ready, we are complete. 

Aurora: Wow

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Welcome back. 

Aurora: Thanks. It’s hard for me to open my eyes now. 

Nicholas Ryan Howard: hahaha

Aurora: I might just need to keep them closed for a little bit.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Take your time. We’ll just sit in silence for a minute. There’s no rush. 

Aurora: (Deep breaths)


A special thank you to my guest, known as Aurora. Thank you to Drs Ron and Mary Holnick of the University of Santa Monica.  And, also to my incredible host who put me up for a few days in Saint-Cloud. So much gratitude.

If you or someone you know is in a suicidal crisis or experiencing emotional distress, please know that support is available. Please visit suicidepreventionline.org for additional resources.

Before you go, I have a question for you. Are you feeling stuck creatively? Do you feel trapped and can’t seem to break through into the realms that you dream of? If so… I get it. I really do. We’ve all been there.

But… maybe I can help. Here’s what I suggest. Drop me a line by going to oftearsandblood.com/sharing. Feel free to vent, express yourself, or ask questions directly to me, and I’ll do my best to get back to you with some guidance, or words of support. It is always my pleasure to be of service to those in need.

Again, that link is oftearsandblood.com/sharing. I hope to hear from you soon.

And now, here are the credits:


Music is by Glitbiter. (Song plays) You can hear more, including the full theme song to this show, at Glitbiter.com

Cover art portrait by Madena Koybaeva. To see more of her work, follow @madena.art on Instagram.

The producer for this episode has been Rosa Nadine Xochimilco Gevaux.

Special thanks to SabineTek. The interview you heard was recorded using their SmartMike+ wireless microphones.

Sound engineering by Karen Yee.

For more about the show, please visit OfTearsAndBlood.com, or follow @OfTearsAndBlood on social media.

You can learn more about me by following @NicholasRyanH on social media, or by going to NicholasRyanH.com.

Thank you again for listening, and thank you if you’re spreading the word about the show. Every time you tell a friend about it, it means so much to me, you have no idea.

This has been "Of Tears and Blood." Created by Nicholas Ryan Howard.