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Finding Ease During Your Healing Journey
5 steps to support your healing journey
Our bodies are made to heal themselves. When we get a paper cut, the body’s natural intelligence repairs the cut without us necessarily having to do anything other than put a bandaid on and make sure we keep it protected. But healing ourselves of deeper psychology and emotional aspects like a car accident, abuse in any form, or a global pandemic sometimes necessitates a more intentional approach.
To me, part of being human is to be on a never-ending journey to healing. We might know what exactly what we need to heal (a traumatic childhood, a difficult relationship, a toxic work environment), or we might not yet be able to know or articulate it. We might be healing things that happen in this lifetime or maybe things that happened to our ancestors.
Oxford Languages (via Google) says the definition of healing is “the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.” To me, this definition could use a bit of nuance because “healthy again” makes it seem like the goal is to return to some prior time and space before the thing that caused us to not be well occurred. While that can be the case with a paper cut, some things will never return to a “healthy again” state. A profound healing experience can provide us with newfound wisdom and insight that allows us to grow and thrive in a way we never knew was possible. For example, I’ve had two open heart surgeries and while I’m doing well now, I continue to have both physical and emotional scars; however, my condition has brought me into a deeper connection to my heart.
Three common ways that our healing can get interrupted are due to pressures from society and the media, trying to fix too many things at once, and lacking the resources we need to heal ourselves.
The media tries to tell us that what healing should look like - clearer complexion, less wrinkles, a smaller waistline - if only we buy the expensive cream, take the supplement that might also cause other undesirable symptoms, or go on an expensive vacation. Now, I do think that going on a healing journey can lead to better skin and weight-loss and taking a vacation is often a good idea, but when we focus too much on how things look on the exterior rather than the interior, we can get distracted.
I used to think that a flat stomach was indicative of someone who was “healed.” My stomach was something that I was made fun of growing up and I thought that if I fixed it, everything would be wonderful. And so I tried working out a lot and different diets, but nothing substantially changed. It was only years later that I realized that it wasn’t my body that needed to be fixed — it was my relationship to my body.
Another way that our healing journey can get waylaid is when we try to “fix” too many things at once. Starting a new diet, exercise plan, meditation practice, and therapy all at once might seem like a great idea, but if you can’t sustain it long term, it can lead to feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and dejected.
Healing is also very expensive and time consuming! There are so many different healing modalities and finding the right one for you often requires research and resources. And the people who need healing the most often don’t have time, access, or funds.
In that spirit, here are 5 small steps to support you as you begin, continue, or resume your healing journey, most of which are free or cost very little. They can support whatever healing modalities you might be working with or they can be healing practices in and of themselves. They’re small enough that you can start them all at once and not get too overwhelmed, but you can also start with one or two that resonate the most.
5 small steps to support your healing journey:
Validate yourself. Grab a journal, a sketchbook, or a piece of paper and write, doodle, or color something that captures your healing journey and where you are now. Consider what healing looks and feels like for you — not anyone else.
Cultivate a regular movement practice. A movement practice can be literally anything — walking, yoga, dancing, kickboxing, some light stretches at the beginning or end of your day. (If you want some inspiration, check out my short, accessible YouTube videos!) If you’ve had the same movement practice for some time, consider trying something new! During the pandemic I started dancing with the Fitness Marshall and it felt so good and healing to move my body in fun, new ways. Also, be aware of the motivation behind your movement practice. Notice if your movement practice starts to become a punishment for your short comings or if you start putting external expectations on your movement practice, like trying to fit into a pair of jeans or losing a certain number of pounds by summer. It’s fine if weight-loss is your goal, but don’t confuse it as a measurement of your healing.
Maintain proper hydration. Not only is it good for your body, but proper hydration helps improve sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
Be compassionate and patient with yourself. There will be times when you hit a difficult growth period or you feel like nothing is changing. This is to be expected! Be kind with yourself and know that things will eventually move forward again.
Also, remember that it’s ok if you need to take a break from trying to heal yourself. There are no gold medals for healing all the things and you don’t need anyone’s permission to take a break from time to time. Everyone’s journey is going to be different.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this newsletter, as well as healing journey!
In a future newsletter I’m going to talk more about finding good practitioners, teachers, and healers to help you on your healing journey. This is important, but can be tricky. I’ll share some of my good and bad experiences, as well as some exciting news!