“Healing doesn’t mean the damage existed, it means the damage no longer controls our life.” ~Akshay Dubey
As I continue to embark on a journey of healing, I am left with a few important lessons I have learned along the same. Sometimes the hard way, but they all lead to understand that healing is a journey that is worth traveling and embracing.
The empowerment that comes from healing is that it holds you accountable to yourself and your growth. Instead of defining and labeling yourself by the pain you are feeling ask yourself-who do you want to become? How will you use your past experiences, even if they hold pain and trauma, to become a stronger and wiser version of yourself?
Let your healing take you to a place of beauty and transformation. Let it guide you to the deepest parts of yourself that are longing to be reviled and forgiven.
How will you become the alchemist of your own life turning your pain into inspiration for your healing?
It’s important to remember that your inner wisdom is what guides you in your healing journey. In a way healing is about remembering who you already are and knowing that you are your own healer. You see, healing is not about what you intellectually know, but do you allow yourself to fully feel the depths of your experiences so you can move forward? It takes feeling to heal.
Healing is a lifelong journey, there is no end point only continuous learning to help you discover what it means not to seek happiness, but be peace. You are not the same person you were before and that’s okay. It’s about embodying a new you in a way that is completely self created by you.
Rather than looking to someone else to put the pieces back together, you become the artist, dreamer and lover of your life. You put back the pieces in a new way, but one that brings you closer to yourself. Holding loving, non-judgemental space for yourself during this process is one of the bravest things you can do.
These are other lessons I have learned. Although I have learned many lessons along my journey these ones are the seeds and roots that continue to grow and inspire me.
1) Cultivate acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you deny what has happened or what is happening, but you choose to not be a victim of it. You accept that in this moment you can be present. You accept that the people in your life may never meet up to your expectations and that is okay. You accept that tomorrow everything can change and that is okay. You accept that your healing journey is your own unique journey and that there is no wrong path, there is only your path.
2) Embrace the unknown. It is when we embrace our fear, our anxiety, that we really begin to discover life. This is where the beauty of life lives. Sometimes we feel so “stuck” or feel like we are carrying weights from our shame, guilt and/or grief, that we remain in the same place rather than find the courage to embrace what we do not know yet. By allow yourself to embrace what you do not know you are letting in love again, you are giving yourself permission to be okay with not knowing what is next.
3) Invite curiosity. Curiosity is your best friend on your healing journey. The more you take time to be curious, the less you judge. Evoke a sense of curiosity to help you explore. Take time to explore just for the sake of exploring. Let your curiosity drive you to discover something new, something different. Let it open you up in a way that it becomes about the little things, such as the curiosity that comes from watching a hummingbird, taking a different route to work, exploring a new yoga pose.
4) Explore nature. Nature is a natural healer. It’s not just there as something pretty to look at, but you can also benefit from the smells and sounds that it holds. Spend some time mindfully walking through the woods and listening to the birds and feeling the earth underneath you. It’s there to hold and support you in your healing journey so whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or over stimulated, go out in nature and breath-even if it’s just for a moment.
5) Making self care a priority. Self care is the pathway to healing. Even if it is just 10-15 minutes a day to take some time for yourself if that means meditating yoga, journalling, taking a walk: do what helps you care and feel good for yourself. Make yourself a priority. Try to shift from saying negative things to yourself to positive. Do things that help you connect with yourself in a healthy way. Self care is a form of self love.
6) Find peace in being alone. We are constantly attaching to others to help us feel happy and loved, but what about our relationship with ourself? The more you take time to be by yourself, the more you learn about yourself. It’s a powerful experience to really know yourself and develop a relationship with being alone. Take a trip by yourself, go out to eat alone, instead of going out with friends stay in with yourself. The more time you take to spend getting to know yourself, the more peace you will discover.
7) Find time for joy. In our deepest and darkest times sometimes we can forget what allows us to feel alive. It is in these times that we must lean on joy. Even finding joy in the simplest things can help us discover the beauty of being alive, such as cooking your favorite meal, or reading a good book. It’s these moments of joy that bring us back to ourself and the feeling of being alive in our body and heart.
8) Developing patience. Some days you must take healing one breath at a time. Healing happens with time, lots of it. Some days you have to take life moment by moment, breath by breath. Some weeks you can take it by the day and-in time-you begin to understand that healing is not liner. It is patience that will carry you through this process gently and lovingly.
9) “This too shall pass.” Our emotions come and go like waves. This one emotion you are experiencing, however painful or joyful will not last forever so do not hold onto it. Really allow yourself to fully feel it and when time comes to release it. Today may be a difficult day, but tomorrow might be better. Science shows that you feel the intensity of an emotion for only 15 minutes. When grief overcomes you remember that feel of intense pain and sorrow will only stay for 15 minutes so in these moments take time to breath. Remind yourself that you won’t always feel this way, but when you do support yourself through these intense feelings and emotions.
10) Just love yourself. In the end people can only offer you the love that you offer yourself. To heal means to love yourself for exactly who you are in this very moment. Not when you become “better” or “healed” but you have you start loving yourself in this very moment. The best place to start is here, is now. In the end all we can truly offer ourself and other people is our heart and love. Learn to love yourself first and everything else falls into place in time.