One of the benefits of extended isolation (I suppose) is ample time for self-reflection. I dove in deep, with a specific focus on attachment trauma and repair. I recently took Cedric Reeves’ guided meditation course on attachment repair (level one), and it was an incredible experience, so I wanted to share a little bit about that here.
It was the first day of the Attachment Repair Guided Meditation course and I had no idea what to expect. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. I tried to quiet my mind and sat still for what felt like an eternity. I opened my eyes, certain that I’d made it through most of the five minutes — only to find a mere minute had passed. “Welp,” I thought, “that’s the best I can do.”
The first session was a blur of curriculum overview, but of what Cedric presented, three things stuck with me immediately:
Our attachment styles are most likely determined by the time we are 18 months old.
Having an insecure attachment style is not our fault.
Meditation using Ideal Parent Figures (IPFs) can be used to guide to repair attachment insecurity.
After detailing what we could expect in the weeks to come, Cedric took us into our first guided meditation, where we identified our IPFs. This didn’t come as easily as one might hope. My mind jumped from a version of myself (unhelpful), to a version of my actual parents (not Ideal!), to an amorphous blob human with no face (absolutely terrifying). With Cedric’s guidance, I finally landed on two friendly faces: my high school best friend’s mom and Stanley Tucci. (Who doesn’t want the Easy A dad to be their dad?)
The first few meditations were a challenge. It was hard to stay focused. It was hard to keep the images in my head. It was hard to imagine how these completely unreal people would react to these scenarios presented by Cedric during the guided meditations. I know I wasn’t the only one who found it troublesome: Cedric set up a Slack channel for us to discuss, and many people brought up their similar concerns. After normalizing the learning curve we were all experiencing, Cedric answered all of our questions, and integrated it into future guided meditations, making it easier to connect with each subsequent time.
Over time, the safe space we created for ourselves in these meditations became easier and easier to visualize. Mine is a gorgeous place: a warm, cozy home filled with dark wood and stone, lined with honey colored walls, almost entirely lit by candles and the fireplace. This place in my mind became a refuge, where the fire lights without any effort, a bowl of fresh fruit sits on the counter, and the linens and couch feel like they are made of clouds. It is quiet, private, and no one can ever intrude upon it without my consent. Invite only.
By week three, I noticed that after each IPF meditation, I felt a marked sense of calm. It was an internal sense of peace that followed me throughout the next day. It improved my focus, and helped me manage my general anxiety with more ease. While the guided meditations took place at the end of each class, Cedric also provided recordings for daily usage as well — making practice accessible and easy, even without 1-1 contact.
By week four, I was weeping through each guided meditation, but rather than feeling hopeless and overwhelming, it felt cathartic. Each meditation allowed me to get in touch with my feelings. The kindness and unconditional support my IPFs directed toward me in each meditation started to show up in my day to day life. The week before the thirteenth anniversary of my father’s death, I ordered a huge bouquet of flowers for delivery on the day, with a note that read, “He isn’t here to say it, so I have to: you are loved and more than he could have ever dreamed of his daughter becoming. You’re doing great.”
I also noticed that my emotional regulation felt more in check. By using the guided meditations regularly and integrating “microhits” of IPF support (essentially short meditations where I visualize the IPFs joining me in day to day frustrations to support me), I was able to better manage difficult emotions, frustrations, and stay on task. Even during an emotionally turbulent week, I was able to finish a significant pitch and present it to a new client, which is something that would not have been possible prior to the Attachment Repair course.
Cedric’s lectures before each meditation were a goldmine of information. He presented research and background on what causes each attachment style, how each style can broadly manifest in individuals, and the kind of work required for healing the associated attachment wounds. He also left ample time for questions and discussion, and created a gentle, welcoming emotional atmosphere for students working through their complex emotional reactions to each session. Cedric is well-versed in meditation and attachment theory, and has a true gift for creating an approachable, open space for attachment repair, discussion, and growth. And the IPF methodology is built to be metamorphic, even if practiced over a short period of time.
In the larger scheme of things, eight weeks is not very long. I had no expectations – and plenty of apprehension about the transformative benefits of the Attachment Repair course, especially in such a short period of time. While healing is the work of a lifetime, I found this course to be instrumental in helping me level up in ways that other healing modalities did not. I truly cannot recommend this course enough – and with the sliding scale price, there’s no excuse not to give it a fair shot. You will be surprised at how deep these changes will embed in your unconscious mind.
The weekend before the last class, I had a terrible anxiety dream. I was performing somewhere and beside myself with stage fright. I was in the green room, smearing makeup across my face in a panic, trying to hide my fear. To hide myself. If I could put just the right amount of makeup on, in the exact perfect way, perhaps no one would know that I am a monster, an imposter, a person who definitely shouldn’t be here. Some friends were in the dream, and they kept saying, “You look fine! You’ll do great,” but their encouragement felt empty.
Then, my IPFs swept into the room.
I looked at them, tears in my eyes, and said, “Do I look alright? Can you tell?”
They hugged me and said, “You always look beautiful, but this just isn’t you. Go be you.” I wiped the excess makeup off my face, took a deep breath, and just as I pulled open the door of the green room, I woke up.