When I begin to notice and understand what my heart and mind are trying to tell me, I move closer to being whole.
When I recognize and accept that wholeness means I embrace all I am, strengths, talents, dreams, injuries, weaknesses, shortcomings and all, I take one step closer to wellness.
When I embrace the process of learning, growth and healing, I enter into life more fully.
When I experience my commonality with others so that I can lay down the belief that I am a freak of some sort, I join community.
So goes healing, recovery, growth and coming alive.
I have spent plenty of time and energy throughout my life, trying to lay hold of my “self.” It’s like trying to capture a cloud or ray of sunshine; perhaps even more like attempting to catch a rainbow.
On one hand, we seem to be simple enough. We need food, shelter, sleep and love; on the other, we are very complex. Take any physical part, for example: A finger maybe. Well, let’s see, there’s skin, a variety of bones and joints, nerves, circulation…hmmm, very intricate.
Okay then, a blood vessel. There are layers, tension and release as the heart pumps blood through it…. It can’t be reproduced because it is too unique and complicated.
WE now know that our brains are very plastic. They rewire themselves and build new tissue any time there is an injury. We don’t have a tremendous handle on this part of our bodies at all.
So it is with our souls. The simplicity of needs and wants is only a shadow of who we are. Behind that is a being who is ever changing and growing. What was true fades as new reality becomes stronger. Things we once understood are laid down as we gain new knowledge and wisdom. Even wants and needs change.
There are aspects of my Self that I discover, often unexpectedly. Many have been part of who I am forever; others seem quite new. These parts of me emerge from beyond my cognitive grasp. Sometimes, they are too vast and deep to probe; it is only as I receive revelation that I begin to understand them.
Hmmm, catch my “self?” Maybe the cloud, ray of sunshine or rainbow would be easier!
I’m currently on a quest. It’s both inward and external: Trying to discern my own heart, while seeking new opportunities.
I’m finding this to be quite the challenge: My inner world is a labyrinth of feelings, conflicting thoughts and ideas, confusion and plenty of unknowns.
Then, there is matching what I do know and want to the world around me: No small feat.
Opportunities are often created and called into our lives; then again, they usually involve other people and things that are beyond our control.
Perhaps the most vital aspect of this process is the discovery of those places in my soul that are stuck and restless, unable to speak clearly, filled with powerful emotions. They are revealed in my dreams; they lift their voices in turmoil when I try to explore possibilities; they ask hard questions for which I have no answers.
Some of these inner struggles have been with me for as long as I can remember. I think this is so because there is no satisfactory resolution to the challenges they represent.
So what to do.
I say, keep listening and addressing inward concerns; continue to explore possibilities and create new opportunities. That does seem to be the way of life’s journey…the inner pilgrimage seems to be every bit as real and important as the external one.
My journey to wellness has been a long one. That’s okay: I had a lot to overcome.
More recently, this process has taken an interesting turn. I have moved from trying to address what is “wrong” with me to focusing on what is strong, healthy and right.
A thing I learned many years ago is that we can only build on the good stuff: What we want, our talents, gifts and strengths. That which we don’t want and is broken are only holes in the ground; hard to put a structure there.
So what does healthy feel like?
I am discovering that I can check in with myself and know there will be a quiet, clear voice to answer. I am more confident about who I am, accepting the vulnerable parts of my being and not worrying much at all about who I am not.
I find a constant sensation of peace and hope where an underlying current of pain used to be.
Healthy also means respecting the process: I have not arrived yet and don’t plan to this side of Heaven. There is so much to explore, learn, create and do!
There are some things that get promoted in the name of wellness that really aren’t:
*Taking care of “number one” to the exclusion of everybody else: This is just ego centrism and self absorption. Healthy relationships make plenty of room for important people in our lives. We are more able to honor and serve as we get well.
*Never having a problem: Nice try! This is only perfectionism at its worst. WE are all life-long learners, in process and ever developing.
*Having the right job, perfect family and looking good: Window dressing; all pretense; not real. Let the first real challenge come along and this facade crumbles into a heap.
I’m still learning to be well; that’s more than okay, it’s great! I look forward to every new experience, revelation and dilemma.
So, where are you in your journey to wellness? Have you learned to be a sojourner? If so, you are blessed and well on your way to strong health.