What I'm learning about healing...

Healing. Trauma comes in so many forms; physical injury, emotional injury, loss, and on and on. And all trauma requires healing in order for us to move forward in a real, positive way. 

I have experienced many forms of trauma, much of it physical due to crashes on my bike, skis, and even my car. I have also experienced my share of emotional trauma and loss, and it is teaching me a great deal.

The first thing I am learning is that there is no recipe for healing from trauma. There is no checklist, no order, there are no rules about what it might look like. Each trauma is unique and so are we, unique souls traveling the planet, no two peoples journey’s exactly alike. 

The misconception that there is “way to be” following a trauma is something that I think really can get in the way of true healing. This fall, I experienced great personal loss that left me in a profound state of grief. My body, my soul, my heart, were telling me what I needed, and didn’t need, but allowing myself to listen to it was complicated by another voice. That other voice was judgement, and it was driven by the story that when we experience this kind of loss there is a “way to be,” to show the world that we are honoring those who have left us.

There are so many rituals around mourning and grief, many of them focused on wearing dark colours, and denying ourselves any form of joy, for that would appear disrespectful. We “should” be somber and sad, and of course we are.  But what we need changes from one moment to the next. And none of that resonated with me anyway.

For me, the losses left me feeling Lost, directionless. So much of my the flow of my life was driven by, or led by, my dog Bodhi who left this life on Oct 9th, 2018. We had a rhythm that carried us through our days. Not a routine so much as rituals we enjoyed together. We started every day, rain or shine, often in the dark, with a long walk. If I was working from home he would remind me hourly that we needed to take a break, go outside, and cuddle, stretch, have a snack, etc. When we walked in the forest, he reminded to stop and sit among the trees and just Be. Now when I wake up, I don’t know what to do. Walking without him doesn’t bring me joy.  I am trying to let a new normal emerge.

So I have been laying low, and trusting my heart. I’ve avoided responding to emails and texts, trusting that my friends know I need time and space to find own my own way forward, to listen to my inner wisdom. This journey is mine, and so far it has taken me to depths of despair, where I cannot get out of bed and I hide all day in my dark cave of a bedroom, tears erupting spontaneously. It has also taken me to great heights, both literally and metaphorically. It has called me to the mountains and to the sea. It has led me into conversations with fascinating and wonderful humans and animals. It has led me to places like the Bodhi Tree at the Paleaku Peace Gardens in Kona, HI where I felt I truly found peace for the first time in months. The spectrum of emotions feels infinite and completely unpredictable. 

People ask me how I am. And I can only answer in the present…it is moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day. And that’s okay. I don’t want to know the future anyway, I trust that whatever comes I will know what to do.

How do you heal?