Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
“Failure is the beginning of success.”
- Japanese proverb
Well I’m a big, fat failure. And I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve been trying to heal for several years, and often progress is slow and frustrating, though always worthwhile. When you reach a roadblock, as I have now, here are some gentle reminders to keep you feeling hopeful and happy instead of comparing & despairing.
I. You do not need to be `fixed` and you are not broken
- Don’t view health, healing, your life, from what you are unable to do. View it from what you are able to do. Even in your worst moments of health or body-image, take time to be thankful for what you do have. Gratitude has played a huge role in the healing process, but more importantly overall joy, of my life. Healing is the destination at the end of a journey, but happiness is constant and always available. We only have to let it in.
- I agree with what Liz says: you don’t need a detox – there is nothing to purge – you just need to know how it works and how to take care of it. Your disease is not your identity. It is part of you, but don’t let it define you.
II. Adversity is the path to wisdom
- After some successful weight loss (but increasingly bad lifestyle issues like sleep, stress, shame, etc), I re-gained 5-7 lb (maybe even 7-10), and it sucked. My body image tanked for about a month. But so many lessons about my body, my food choices, my emotions, and my attitude came out of it (as well as many ideas for blog posts), that ultimately it provided a leap forward in healing. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Make very small baby steps, talk about your goals with someone other than yourself, and remember that if you bring your darkness out into the light, it can be released.
III. You are your best source of wisdom
- Looking for answers from other people is like asking others to tell you your own taste in music.
- I had to learn to be patient, and I mean really patient. Before I was thinking a month would be long enough to solve a problem, now I know that it can take 6 – 12 months to tackle an issue. It can take 3 days to notice symptoms from ingesting a food you are intolerant to. Let time be your guide, rather than your prisoner.
- It takes time to get the best wisdom, and the best wisdom comes from your body. If you are unsure about something or getting conflicting advice, trust your body. See what is best for you. The best advice on the internet comes from people who realize that health and food choices are highly, highly individualized. Some basic principles apply, but in the end your body will tell you what works or doesn’t work, if you are willing to listen.
- Sometimes uncovering our own wisdom means addressing things we want to hide from, or separating our fears and emotional cravings from our spirit and bodily needs. We’d rather look for an external factor to blame rather than focus on internal turmoil. Understanding shame and engaging with emotion is a powerful way to begin healing the body, mind & spirit.
IV. There is absolutely no way you can do it alone, and you shouldn’t
- Health is not only physical but also emotional, mental, and spiritual. They are all connected. Many times, we inhibit physical healing with toxic thoughts, emotions, or perspectives about ourselves. This can create an environment of shame around food. The best way to counteract that is by practicing self-love, and speaking about some of the most difficult and vulnerable things in our lives. When we share our vulnerability with people who have earned our trust, our vulnerability turns to joy. When we remain silent, vulnerability turns to shame.
V. Healing is about the whole : nourishing the mind, the body, the spirit.
- Any time we try to cut up or dissect a problem, we neglect the whole and therefore neglect our healing. Because of insulin-resistance and PCOS, I obsessed over my carb-intake for the better part of a year. I was trying to cut out a problem and then ‘fix’ it. What I really needed to do was address the whole – my approach to eating mindfully and spiritual growth. Not eating mindfully was causing emotional toxicity, poor digestion, and stress & anxiety ~ all HUGE obstacles to addressing specific conditions, probably more so than if I ate 25g over my carb limit. Nitpicking an issue caused a lot of anxiety, preventing me from listening to my body and letting it direct me to the solution for my question.
- Healing should be like a hug, supporting and encompassing from all sides, not a frontal assault on one specific function. Most of the problems I have had stemmed from the idea of fighting against myself, being at war with my body, trying to stifle my emotions, and letting the dictates of society muffle the expression of my spirit. Heck with that. I want hugs!
I wrote the body of this post several months ago, and it all stands true for me. Things take longer than I think; I have to move slowly, and it seems that once one issue is identified another mysterious symptom crops up. But you know what? It’s ok. After reading this post by Paleo for Women, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, and even Cure Tooth Decay by Rami Nagel, I’ve come to this conclusion. We are already healed. At our core we are whole, perfect, and healed. We just have to remove the obstacles our mind, ego, and environment creates. Our body has an innate wisdom and it wants to return to optimal health.
The next post, I’ll share 3 powerful tools for healing that have helped me immensely.