I think healing has been glamourized.
We have all become enamored by the fancifulness that surrounds healing.
Healing seems esoteric, grandiose. It has been so deeply interwoven with the consumptive wellness culture that you can be forgiven for thinking that healing is provided by someone else, a reiki practitioner, or as the most self-referential yoga teachers call themselves – a mystic. Healing has become something that other people provide us.
Unfortunately, in wellness communities, healers often aren’t equipped with the necessary skills to do the depth of work they are engaged in. Many healers for hire bring about mind-blowing emotional experiences, opening up all wounds so that we feel raw, exposed, and vulnerable. Healing has become about the big experiences, the mind-blowing ones. The ones where our wounds are ripped wide open and we feel all the feelings. The unregulated healing industry is a Pandora’s Box of suffering for many vulnerable people seeking true healing and solace.
Healing often involves misconstrued notions of tantra, extreme meditation retreats, giving over autonomy to a guru or even a health practitioner that is not focused on empowerment. Healing has become something that is passive, that happens to us. Our agency to contribute to our own healing is negated as disempowering models of wellness are provided.
My observation is that when we suffer, we generally want our healing to be quick. Because honestly, I have noticed no one wants to take it slow these days – whether it is love, sex, or healing?
The misconception has emerged that healing should somehow be mind-blowing. I wish to convey that it is not. Healing is boring.
Yes, you may have some mind-blowing experiences. You might go somewhere and feel supported: spas, saunas, touch, therapy, women’s circles, drumming, ecstatic dance, cacao.
Everyone is searching for the healing balm, a tonic to bring us peace. The fact is though, healing is boring. Healing is not about the grandeur or the mind-blowing experiences
Healing is often boring and it takes time.
Healing is about taking it slow, step by step. It is about gently creating new rhythms and patterns that can’t be learnt in one workshop or weekend.
Healing is reparenting yourself. Gently nudging yourself each day to do the things you need to do to heal. If you were fortunate as a child your parents gently taught you the things you need to do: brush your teeth to avoid cavities, drink enough water, don’t get sunburnt, eat well. It is likely they reminded you daily for many years so that some of these patterns would take hold. I see it now, my kids know how much sleep they need, how much junk is too much junk. To get up and move if they start to feel sad, to go outside and be amongst the trees. Just like when your parents told you when you were a child that you needed to brush your teeth every single day so you didn’t get cavities. Healing is like that…
Healing is boring.
Healing is waking up, not picking up your phone, and mindlessly scrolling the internet before your consciousness has even fully awakened to the day. Healing is cultivating even just five minutes of quiet in your busy day to watch your breath. Healing is putting one foot forward in front of the other even when it’s not easy, even when it’s not pretty and I can guarantee you, it’s not always going to be easy.
Healing is about making small choices every day. It’s those minutes on your yoga mat. It’s choosing your words carefully; it’s bringing attention to how you speak to yourself. It’s doing the things that you don’t always want to do, but over time we realise that we need to do. Go ahead and book that workshop, retreat, or treatment. But while you enjoy these times don’t forget that:
Healing is stepping into the boring stuff, every single day.
Maybe it includes spending of little less money so you don’t need to work in a job that drains you. Perhaps it is spending a little less time being entertained by all of the mental and physical pollutants our world has provided to us: Netflix, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, Facebook, Fast Food, Instagram. Enjoy everything in moderation, but don’t forget what is important, even if it feels like a grind: Make that appointment with your psychologist, get to your yoga class even when you don’t feel like it, go outside and stare at the sky, sit down and feel the earth.
Healing is paying your bills, or if you don’t have the money, it’s creating a payment plan so that you can dollar by dollar alleviate yourself from that debt.
Healing means that sometimes you will be alone and you will be lonely. But the time will come where you’ll be more comfortable in your own skin. You won’t feel as alone when you’re not with others. Healing is small steps each day, small achievable steps.
Healing is boring in its immediacy. Maybe the Friday night drinks, or sleeping in for hours and skipping yoga are enticing. But healing is about learning to say no, so you can say yes to what you truly need to heal.
Day by day it may feel that one yoga class a week, a few stolen minutes of meditation each day and a little less time on a screen is insignificant. Especially compared to the high of a workshop or retreat. You may not know for some time the cumulative effect of these choices.
But one day, I can guarantee you will smile and feel contented. Because you accepted healing can’t be rushed and it can be boring.
So, if you are suffering, if you are stuck, if you are in pain, if grief threatens to consume you, just take it one day at a time. Do the boring things, the evening walk, the short meditation, drink some water, watch less tv, call a friend.
Listen to that one song you love and dance.
Sit outside and feel the sun on your skin and make the choice for just three minutes to feel it, to feel it, the warmth radiating on your skin, the grounding, to make a cup of tea, to sit down and watch the clouds and the thunder roll in.
Healing is not exciting as you’ve been led to believe. It is boring, it is sometimes arduous and oh my gosh, can I tell you it is so necessary.
Also, healing looks and feels different to everyone. Some scars cannot be seen, some wounds are festering and everyone needs different medicine. Allow others the time and space they need to heal. Cook for them, make them tea, drop off a favorite book.
Need support in creating healing space? Join me online each Wednesday at 8 pm for Movement & Meditation practice (see our timetable).
If you are reading this and are a member, Yoga Space co-owner and Clinical Psychologist Dr Rob Schutze will be talking about healing, yoga and mindfulness in an intimate online conversation: Tuesday July 20th 7:15pm, more information here.