You & I..we’re not the same. We’re different, unique, our biochemistry is different, as are our life experiences. Our opinions, beliefs, knowledge, family history and the way we view the world also..different. Which is why I am so resistant in sharing my journey to wellness and wholeness in the traditional sense. There are a mountain of self help books, blogs and medical guides to tell you what to do, eager to outline all of the things that you are doing wrong. But the truth is I don’t believe a one for all approach is really the answer that we need. I also struggle with the concept that we ‘need fixing’ as opposed to simply accepting where we are in life at this very moment. This life is not about reaching a destination – its not about the past or the future, its about being here NOW, fully present in THIS moment.
If ‘how to’ worked, we would all be well and living the lives of our dreams. I hold on to the belief that true healing can only come when we make the choice to tune in and turn in to ourselves. And yes, it is fair to say that many of us do need some guidance along the way, some awareness into areas that we may never have considered. This is the approach that sits well with me, it feels real and right. Simply because I know what it feels like to be wandering around in no mans land, in the darkness, feeling like your not getting anywhere. And while there is also some benefit to sitting in this darkness, it is a fact that many of us stumble and falter here. Suicide, addiction, crime, family dysfunction, and homelessness are the very real possibilities if we sit idle for too long- if we lose our faith and belief that there can be the possibility of ‘another way’.
I will never tell you what to do, there is no step by step guide. But my hope is that I can guide you towards your own internal investigation- back into yourself and into the core areas of your life. I will say – ‘what about this?’, ‘lets look here’, with the hope that you may dig deep into these areas of your life, explore, reflect, become curious and brutally honest, and then question if this is something that does actually need your attention in the kindest and gentlest way. At the core foundational level regaining your health is about you regaining the relationship with yourself.
My healing came in waves, but for a long time there was barely any improvement (to the point where it seemed much easier to give up because I believed I would never be okay). A lot of inward work, a huge amount of money going out, major chunks of time (years) spent in absolute loneliness and despair with very little progress in return. The gift was that I was alive- albeit it in a way that I despised. True healing, as you may or may not know is messy and anything but easy and straight forward. My healing came because I knew I was being called to explore every area of my life- not just my health, and not just my mental health. There was a deep innate knowing within that in order for me to ‘heal’, every aspect of my life would need some kind of deep investigation. My beliefs about myself, my thought patterns, my emotions, my boundaries, the food I ate, the daily choices I made (& the underlying reasons as to why I was making them) and the connections I had with those around me, all needed drastic re-allignment. It was and remains a delicate weaving together of several complex and essential areas. All which by themselves matter greatly, but the beauty lies within piecing all of these unique and individual areas so that they could begin to fit together in some kind of ‘wobbly wholeness’. And herein lies the beauty of doing the work. You get to structure this in your own way, to move and bend, to flow and ebb, to evolve and give yourself permission to sink back into the darkness when needed, equipped to readjust, re align and re-invent the right formula FOR YOU. There is no quick fix, the healing comes by moving through the process.
This writing has the very real possibility of becoming lengthy, so I suspect this will be the first part of a series of blog posts. However I feel it makes sense to give an overview of the areas in my life that needed addressing.
- Relationship with Self (underneath that is the relationship with God).
- Health – in particularly gut health and using a food as medicine approach.
- Connections with others
- Higher purpose- what are you really here for
- Fear and our inner thoughts
- Emotions and pain
- Above and beyond anything else this is the most vital point that holds and connects everything else together. This is the crux, the link, the key. And it is of course, THE RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE WITH OURSELF. How we view ourself, what we believe to be true about who we are, how we talk to ourself, how we care for ourselves. And I’m talking about the real essence of who we are. Not the part of you that puts on an act, pretends that everything is okay, hides behind money/ appearance/ achievement/names/roles and identities. I’m talking about the most vulnerable, sensitive and raw part of us- the part that most of us try to desperately hide away or constantly try to better by achieving more/looking a certain way/ owning certain things/ maintaining a certain image.
This requires – for most of us- a new approach, a gentleness of deep and profound care for our inner most selves. An awareness that we may have for much of our lives been running from who we really are. It is without a doubt the hardest work of all. And while it may sound relatively simple, it is anything but. And if that little voice is coming up from within ‘I’m really okay with myself’, pause. Pause and ask yourself this. ‘If I was stripped of everything that I have in my life- my family, my partner, my children, my job, the way I look, my possessions, my friends, my achievements and credentials- would I still be okay with myself? Could I still hold my head high and believe that I am enough?’.
This is about deconstructing layer upon layer of conditioning within ourselves – from society, family, teachers, relatives, friends, coaches, colleagues and workplaces. Of who we should be, how we should be, and how we need to be living. An honest digging into oneself is needed, to peel back layer after layer until the ugliness and truth is finally revealed. And I agree very few of us would go here voluntarily. We only end up here when we are forced, when we have ignored the signs for far too long. To walk head in to ourselves is the most brutal and confronting place we may ever find ourselves. It is also the place that if we let it can change our lives. Far easier it becomes to run from our pain, to numb it with whatever feels good, to deny that there is really anything wrong at all. Much easier to blame our defaults on our illnesses, our idiosynchrocies, and those that have wronged us. Much easier to carry the pain for the rest of our lives, than spend time in the discomfort before understanding what true freedom really is.
Illness, and mental illness in particular is a call to our soul. It is our bodies and our minds screaming from the inside out- something is not right. It then, when given the chance, has the opportunity to be the catalyst for change and an opportunity for us to reclaim our true essence. It is and can be exactly the thing that brings us back to our truth.
And what do we gain from healing the relationship with ones self? A gentleness, where grace, courage and love become the foundations of our life. No more pushing, no more berating, no more striving, no more rushing, no more pleasing others, no more comparison and thinking that we can’t do it, no more betraying ourselves. No more living in FEAR, but instead an opportunity to return to the only thing any of us need. A return to LOVE- with the firm foundation and knowing that we can honour our sacredness and use LOVE as the foundation for all that we are, knowing this is more than enough. (Its much more then self-care and self-love).