"Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity." Hippocrates

Life is about experiences - all of them, the good and the bad. Life is about making sense of those experiences, and gleaning what we can from them. Sometimes those lessons are easy to extract, to apply, and to keep pressing on - other times, we struggle to find the root cause, the bottom line, the essentials. It's the things that have caused us pain, heartache, and that indescribable heaviness that elude us. We have to learn how to heal or else the wounds that have been inflicted upon us will never do just that. We have to find the right bandage, surgery, or rehab to get us to where we need to be. Each healing process is going to be unique but it has to be appropriate for our trials and tribulations. 

Healing is as much about the process of healing as it is choosing to heal. That is choosing to unpack the baggage we lug around - the hurt, anger, sadness, resentment, anxiety, sorrow, etc. We don't have to carry around a lifetime of hurt. We don't have to drag around the heaviness that comes along with hardship. We don't have to be burdened by our experiences. We can heal by taking what we need, lessons learned, and moving on. That last one - the moving on part - doesn't mean forgetting, not even necessarily forgiveness either, but it means continuing on instead of remaining stuck - bogged down by the weight of all that has happened to us, or what we have done. We cannot trudge on when we're being held back by unresolved issues. How do we heal? It's complicated, and it's simultaneously simple. 1) What happened? 2) How/why was I impacted (root cause of the issue)? 3) What do need to heal from this? 4)How am I carrying what I learned from this experience with me?  What does our peace look like? What does our acceptance feel like? What does our liberation mean for us? Most importantly, how long have we stayed hurt, and how much time/what do we need to free ourselves?

There are people who have experienced so much trauma, hardship, and hurt that it’s their normal. Their entire identity is constructed around that. They have defined themselves in that pain. They don't know what life looks like with light, love, and hope. To heal, we have to have wish & intention in doing so. Some people don’t heal because they don’t know who they are with peace instead of pain. Healing would mean they would lose their identity as someone who has been through it. We can get caught up in our marginalization, oppression, and dehumanization. We are more. We are always more. We have to be or else life is devoid of the full breadth of experiences. We have to be or else darkness gets to take over. We have to be or else the rest of ourselves is lost. 

But going through it means it's past tense, and that we emerged from the other side. Life does not have to be going from ordeal to ordeal, mistrust, anguish, melancholy, and malice. It's like walking around flinching before anyone has balled their first to strike. That anticipation of being hurt can be similarly detrimental like actually being hit. Unlearning a problematic self-fulfilling prophecy of expecting to be hurt is a long, arduous, and potentially lifelong process, but on that changes your entire worldview, vantage point, and sensory experience. You find dreams where nightmares reside, connection instead of distance, embrace instead of strife. Who are you now with pain as your guide, and who you do want to be with peace as your companion? 

To heal we have to want to do so. We have to be willing. We have to have hope or else there is no point in continuing on. If we don't believe things can be better, or at the very least different then we have no purpose. If we are unprepared to do the work to heal then we will be unsuccessful when we endeavor to do so. We have to will our healing to life. We have to yearn for it. We have to chase after it. We have to be the ones to make it happen. That means doing the hard work to heal. Have we learned how to heal? Do we know where to begin? Do we understand how we've been hurt, and more so, why? There has to be a reckoning with what has happened, who we have been, how we have been hurt, and why it impacted us. It's all those challenging feelings that we strive to avoid. It's the pain of reliving what we have endured once more, but this time it's with the intent to come to terms with what has occurred. Taking the proper time, creating ample space, and genuinely working through our pain can be brutal but doing so let's us be in command instead of at the whim of others or our hurt. We can get help if we cannot figure out a release for ourselves. We can find others, especially professionals, who do this work for a living. We can forge relationships built on trust that can help us work out what we need, why we need it, and how to meet those needs. We get to have control. We get to dictate what our experiences mean to us, and that be as important or as insignificant as we want. If we can envision a version of ourselves that has made peace with our trauma, then we can bring that person to life.

Human beings can endure an astonishing amount of pain whether it be physical or emotional. Just when we think we  can't take anymore, we do. Think about all the things we've been through, and yet still we're here. We're alive. We survived. We made it through. We persisted, resisted, and existed. All the times we have been hurt, all the challenges faced, and all the pain felt - none could conquer us. They might have knocked us out, held us down, burdened us with heaviness, etc. but it was temporary. And while it felt like an eternity as it happened, forever isn't always endless. We have to keep perspective. How much of our stories have been defined by our harm? Those can be the most salient experiences for us, but are we overemphasizing them, or even downplaying the rest of the narratives we've written?

Forged by fire, pushed to the brink, and we bounce back. We are resilient. That sense of elasticity, that persistence, that perseverance comes from what we have been through. As much as it hurt us, it also made us stronger. It forced us to be vulnerable. It made us who we are. It showed us how much we could handle, and still come out triumphant. It's those who have been through utter darkness that don't fear passing shadows. Think about that - if we broke with every thing that antagonized us we would never progress or succeed. All our abilities, everything we learned, and the limits that are constantly redefined are a testament to the grit, the tenacity, the audacity we have to keep on, to keep going, to keep living. As we are able we can reframe trauma for resiliency. That can be our power base. We get to choose what our trials mean to us; why not choose for them to be motivation, resolve, and might. X


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