The path to wellness is neither linear nor passive. When we set out for our destination, our feet must move one in front of the other to get us there. We don’t just think or dream our destination into being before finding ourselves arrived.
It’s the same for healing. Healing from past hurts and trauma, howsoever caused. Much as we’d like it to, healing doesn’t just happen to us.
Freedom from harmful ways of living, being and coping. Restoring the true balance and wellness that each of us deserve as our birth right, so we live life on an even keel rather than lurching from one chaotic landscape into another. All of this requires commitment, dedication, and perseverance.
We might go so far – perhaps much further than we dared imagine was possible. But then we need to stop a while. Pause for a rest. Take in our surroundings. Assimilate all we’ve seen and felt. We might dwell in that place for some time because we’re knackered with the sheer effort of it all. We wait until our energy reserves are restored.
Then we encounter the road block and feel like we can’t go any further. That it was a bad idea after all. Everything hurts. It’s dark and there’s no light up ahead to guide us. We’re cold and exposed and we yearn instead for the familiarity of what we’ve always known. Even though deep down, that little voice keeps reminding us that we’ve stuck it out there way too long and it’s doing us no good.
That’s when, more than ever, we need an iron will to keep moving forward, since we’re all dab hands at talking ourselves out of stuff…
Not today, I’ll do it tomorrow instead.
Or looking for paths of least resistance…
I’ll wait for the bus. I mean, it’d be easier if I just sit and be carried there.
But the buses aren’t running today!
Never mind, I’ll just stay where I am then.
Really? Even though the rewards will be rich when you get there?
It’s okay, I’m happy to wait.
Even though all this waiting means you’re still hurting yourself.
I’m just so tired and it all seems like even more hard work; I don’t deserve to wake up to a beautiful horizon anyway…
If we wait passively for change to happen, all will remain the same. As the saying goes, it’s put up or shut up. And in the words of the 13th century poet, Rumi:
“One of the marvels of the world
is the sight of a soul sitting in prison
with the key in its hand.
Covered with dust,
With a cleansing waterfall an inch away…”
It takes courage to overcome fear and step into the unknown. But if we can find a way to keep moving forward one step at a time, we’ll eventually walk the path back to wellness. It won’t be easy. True healing is painful, ugly, raw. It needs time and patience, along with faith that will often feel like it’s blind.
And the path can’t be bypassed by counting on the ministrations of those who claim to be able to heal or fix us. Aside from burning a sizeable hole in our pockets, as time goes on we risk creating toxic co-dependencies. Our healers or gurus become crutches we can scarce live without. We feel yet more detached from ourselves and our ability to recognise the moves we must make to truly serve our best interests. We have to do the work for ourselves and perhaps hardest of all? Be prepared to truly confront our own maladaptive behaviours and the parts we play in maintaining our open wounds.
I know it can be done. I’ve seen it achieved by others and have walked the path for myself. More than once, as the path is by no means at an end. But what I also know to be true is that once we’re on it, we are each of us walking towards being able to stand in our own strength. And the difference? We’ll be reassured in the knowing that struggle and adversity – woven as they are into the tapestry of all our lives – will from time to time rise up to challenge us. But the thought of those eventualities won’t strangle us before they’ve even come to pass because we’ll have acquired the tools to cope.
Is it your time to begin walking towards your beautiful new horizon?