Displaying items by tag: healing

Saturday, 19 November 2022 21:43

Healing Retreat

“I think everyone should attend a grief retreat at least once in their lives,” I told my friend asking me how the experience of attending a loss and transformation retreat was. “It should be required for navigating tough times.”

As humans, grief is an inevitable part of life. When we open ourselves up to love, we risk losing it. In October of 2022, I went on a life-changing trip to Bolinas, CA to a house of hope and healing called Commonweal. There, I delved deeper into the grief over my mother’s death and my marriage’s failure. During the course of six days, I met wonderful women from all over the country, from all walks of life, and who were experiencing their own personal loss and seeking the same things as me: to feel loved, to be heard, to squelch the loneliness, and to heal.

Published in Personal Development
Sunday, 30 October 2022 21:32

Quitter

When I was five years old, my mother enrolled me in a local majorette’s group for kids my age. I whined to her that I didn’t like it and wanted to quit, but she “forced” me to go so I could learn how to twirl and toss and spin a long metal bar with two knobs on either end like her. She was the “best in the school,” said my grandparents. But I was not like my mother. I was uncoordinated, dropped the baton, and had a hard time paying attention. During the parade my group marched in, I carried the banner with our group name on it because I wasn’t good enough to walk and twirl with the others. I quit after the parade.

Published in Personal Development
Sunday, 28 August 2022 15:50

Finding Our Gold

There is a story in the Buddhist tradition about a clay statue of the Buddha in a monastery in Thailand. Over the years, it was protected in the monastery from outside invaders. One day while it was being relocated, one of the monks spotted a crack in the clay. When the monk looked closer, he noticed that underneath the clay there was solid gold. The clay statue had been made of gold the whole time!

Published in Personal Development
Wednesday, 20 July 2022 22:42

Meaning Revisited

I’ve written on the topic of finding meaning in things that seem hopeless before, but I wanted to revisit with some more of my own thoughts, insights, and realizations that I have discovered over the last few months.

Hamlet asked the question, “To be or not to be,” but these days, our question can be summed up in one small but powerful word: “Why?” We can’t stop asking it.

Why do people die before we think they should?

Why couldn’t my marriage survive?

Why did I get cancer?

We ask why when we encounter any of the things that interfere with our plan, our health, and our dreams for our future.

That’s where faith, hope, and sometimes religion comes in. We need hope for better things to get through the rough times, the sad times, the confusing times, and the painful times. I believe that without hope, people can lose their will to live. But hope is just one part of the “Why” equation.

Published in Relationships
Tuesday, 21 June 2022 23:26

I Left my Heart in San Francisco

Day one

As soon as I stepped out into the 40-degree morning and saw my breath leave my body, I felt like I could live there. The plane ride from Jacksonville to San Francisco was one of the best I’ve experienced. Even in the days of mask wearing, the trip went off without many issues, despite having a 30-minute delay on the first flight from Jacksonville to Dallas.

The Lyft driver was a friendly fellow from India who chatted pleasantly as he drove me to the Hilton Hotel in Burlingame that first night. The check-in was quick and easy, and even when my room key didn’t work when I swiped it, the front desk attendant had it quickly taken care of. I would only be staying there one night and staying with a friend the rest of my time there.

Feeling groggy from being on Eastern Standard Time, I jotted down some notes in my travel journal as I sipped my coffee in the hotel lobby the next morning. My phone dinged a notification. Thinking it was a text message, I opened it only to be reminded of “three years ago” with a picture of my husband and I out on some trail.

Published in Travel

Throughout my personal journey towards growth and healing, there is one theme that continues to crop up on my radar. That theme is fear. Fear is arguably the one emotion that prevents human beings from accomplishing their goals, fulfilling their dreams, and achieving everything they want tin life.

Fear has been categorized as an “opposite.” It’s the opposite of love. The opposite of hope. The opposite of success. Fear holds us back. It tells us we aren’t good enough or that we will never achieve the kinds of things we want. Fear puts doubt in our minds and makes us stay the course. Afterall, life isn’t perfect and it was never promised to be perfect, but at least we are alive and healthy with the way things are.

Fear makes us cling to certain outcomes for our lives. We should stay in an unhappy relationship. We should continue to speak to our toxic friends because they have been part of our lives for years. We should continue to take the criticisms of our family members because that’s just the way it always has been.

Published in Relationships
Tuesday, 10 May 2022 01:12

Dance Lesson

The sway of the instructor’s hips mesmerized me. Jingling like bells, the tassels of her dress sashayed in rhythm with her hips as she twisted and turned. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her flawless figure, her precise foot fall, the way her shoulders sliced through the air as she maneuvered across the dance floor. At that moment, I fell in love with belly dancing.

     At thirty-six years old, my belly roiled with nerves about taking my first formal dance classes. I had enjoyed dancing since I first watched Britney Spears and the boy bands in middle school. When I moved to music—even if I were alone in front of my dresser mirror--a feeling of longing washed over me. When I dance to music, confidence eclipses my fears, and I move into a natural rhythm even though I have no formal training. 

Published in Personal Development
Monday, 25 April 2022 01:01

Loving, Grieving, and Letting Go

I knew something changed when I looked back on the person I was a year ago and don’t even recognize her. When I think of being married, the idea is a foreign concept for me. It feels like being in the in-between-state of a dream and consciousness, not knowing quite where I am for a moment. Except I never really wake up completely. I’m constantly in the state of fog and fuzzy, the “almost aware” phase. 

You would think something like being married would be hard to forget. Afterall, I was with the person for nine years and married for four and a half. I constantly have to look down at my left hand as a reminder. The two bands of metal that once snuggly encircled the flesh are gone and my finger feels exposed and empty. 

Published in Personal Development
Monday, 24 January 2022 11:43

The Healing Journey

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.

Published in Travel
Monday, 27 December 2021 13:31

Healing from Anorexia

Anorexia, like many mental illnesses, prays on your weaknesses, your vulnerabilities. It hits you where it hurts. For those struggling with anorexia, that place is in food and the thought of gaining weight. To the anorexic, gaining weight is far worse than death. As a matter of fact, the anorexic would choose death over gaining weight if she had the choice.

At the height of my anorexia, when someone asked me what my worse fear was, I almost always said, “I’m afraid of getting fat.” But even in my state of complete denial over how my body looked, I knew this sounded ludicrous.

Gaining weight is repulsive for the anorexic. It means weakness, torture, agony, pain, worthlessness, guilt and shame, defeat, punishment, surrender, giving up, and succumbing to her worst fear.

Published in Eating Disorders
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