Monday, 24 January 2022 11:43

The Healing Journey

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Do you ever notice when you are on a long car ride how it seems to take forever to get there, but on the way back, it seems a lot shorter? We can think of our inward journey in the same way.  

This last year I went through the most painful experience of my life: divorce. Even the word makes me wince with shame and reek with failure.

I had no idea who I was without my husband. I was alone. I had to search for my identity again. Who was I? Who did I want to be? Who could I become? Not realizing what it was at the time, I embarked on a personal journey, a spiritual one. I had no idea where I was going or what I would find when I got there.

And it took forever to get anywhere.

I poured over self-help books and articles, podcasts and interviews. The underlying theme of all of them: love yourself first.

One of the podcasts brought up important questions for anyone going through a tumultuous time or in the midst of a journey of self-discovery. The podcast asked some semi-obvious questions, yet made the listeners think deeper on the concepts. Some of the questions posed got personal and emotionally charged for me.

  1. Why do you want to be loved?
  2. Why don’t you want to be alone?
  3. When traveling, what are you running towards, not away from?

At first glance, the answers are obvious: why wouldn’t I want to be loved? Are you kidding? Everyone wants to be loved! No one wants to be alone!

But I went deeper. What is love to you? How does it make you feel? How do you react to someone you love or someone who loves you?

When I delved deep into this question, this is what I discovered:

I want to feel loved because it feels good. Love makes me feel worthy and valued. When I feel worthy and valued, I feel appreciated. I feel as though I have a purpose for being born. I am impacting people who love and care for me and return that love and care for them. I’m included in a tribe, a group, a social circle. I’m supported. I’m making a difference and giving back to those who gave to me. If I’m loved, then I’m not alone.

A good segue into the second question: why don’t you want to be alone? What happens if you are alone? How does being along make you feel?

My answer:

I don’t want to be alone because my thoughts turn dark, unsupportive, and unhealthy. My mind begins telling me untrue things: I’m unworthy, unloved, not good enough. Eventually, these thoughts rage so loud I begin believing them and would do anything to quell them. I don’t see an escape or hope for anything better.

When I’m with someone, they help stop the bombardment and help remind me that I am loved and supported and needed by someone. I think that is why many people have children. They want to feel like they are loved and needed. They have a purpose, a meaningful reason to be on earth. They are taking care of another life. Innocent. Defenseless. They will be loved by this mini person forever. It all goes back to feeling loved.

I’ve loved traveling ever since I was 16 and went on my first trip on a plane. When I am away from a place that hurts, brings stress, or makes me feel trapped, I feel free, liberated, my stressors vanish. All of my life I thought that must mean I was running away from my past or my current circumstances. But when the podcast put a different spin on it, this is what I realized:

I am running towards opportunities to heal, to start again, and to change my responses to things. I’m running towards a chance to overcome my fears and apprehensions. “Towards” means assurance that I can do anything I want and I am more capable than I give myself credit for.

It means discovering something new about myself, the place I’m in, or someone else. I’m running towards new lessons, new thoughts, new possibilities to expand my being by immersing myself in the place and drinking in all it has to offer.

It means finally leaving behind my past and old stories and wounds and creating something fresh, new, and just mine. Though I am an adult, my inner child may still feel abandoned, alone, or unloved. I run towards new discoveries about who I am as a woman, and who she can become.

When on a journey, we don’t need to know exactly what we are looking for, only that we are looking for something. And when we find it, we will know.

By answering these questions, I took control. I saw what I really needed to heal and what I had to do.

If we all can answer these questions on a deeper level, keep peeling away layers like an onion, then we will get to the heart of our healing.

This is something that won’t happen overnight. No journey, either literally or metaphorically, will be quick, easy, or always fun. We will inevitably ask, “Am I there yet?”

But once it’s over and we look back on where we just came from, we will see our unique path, the one we made for ourselves. We’ll realize the next one won’t be nearly as long.

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