The Messiness of Healing

I think that so often we think of healing as this peaceful thing. The smiling woman sitting atop a mountain with a calm look on her face, deep in her meditation. We think of quiet, yoga, retreats and breathing. We think of all of the people we see that we see that seem so calm, so together. Maybe we think, why can’t I just be like that?


The truth is that healing doesn’t always happen this way. Healing is messy. Healing is painful. Healing is breaking apart everything that you thought and looking at it deeper and deeper. It’s taking those fears and anxieties and traumas and staring them right in the face. It’s working through something over and over again and going back to that same hurt. It’s feeling the same way in your body that you did at the time that hurt happened. It’s restless sleep, it’s distraction from your daily life. Sometimes it’s panic attacks or trouble even getting out of bed. Sometimes it’s physical pain. Sometimes in the process of unwinding all of that pain, we have to feel it all over again.


There are many ways that we store old hurts. We store them in our blood and have painful periods or diagnosis like endometriosis. We store them in our joints and have arthritis. We store them in our skin and have rashes and inflammation. And all this is our body’s way of being smart. It’s our body’s way of saying- keep the trauma away from our heart, keep it away from our central organs. Put it somewhere where it’s not going to be so harmful. Sometimes there’s only so much the body can hold before problems start to arise. And then we have to do the work. When our body’s subtle hints fail, that’s when it starts screaming.


Sometimes when we do acupuncture or prescribe herbs, people go through healing pains. They cry, get irritable or have old things come back up. The reality is that this is what healing truly looks like. And all of that beautiful as you see, the peaceful person on top of the mountain- that comes from years, or decades, or a whole lifetime of work. We have to practice that calm, peace, meditation and breath work in times where we are calm and things are good. We practice it when things are going well so that we can access it when things are getting hard. It’s easier to be brave when you’re grounded. It’s easier to walk through the storm when you fully have yourself.


When you’re going through a tough time, when you feel the healing happening, when you feel the hurt- this is you coming to a new place in life. This is you growing. These are growth pains. I think we’re often afraid to feel pain. The pain is a part of life and feeling through the anger and the anxiousness and the sadness is how we also feel the joy. Because we don’t get to feel deeply and choose what we’re feeling. If we want to feel deeply we have to feel at all. It’s tough to see when you’re in the thick of it. The Spring has me thinking about this. A time when there’s new growth all around us.