Feeling at Home
Alone in my sanctuary
Of birds and trees
I strip of earthly blanket
Where no one can see
It’s one of those days
Of sun and of rain
I rest on a rock
My thoughts, unchained
I feel beauty in all forms
Taste it with my tongue
I let it slip though my fingers
My pinkies, My thumbs
The rain washes over me
Drenching my skin
The sun peaks out later
I go for a swim
I am not separate from anything
All at once, not alone
I am living in all things
Finally feeling at home.
I remember writing this poem nearly eleven years ago. It was roughly three years after I had separated from my husband and a few months or so before I began the ten year abusive relationship with my narcissist. I had recently lost a lot of weight and was hopeful and excited to begin dating. I was in my mid-thirties and was relatively naive when it came to men. I also remember feeling quite vulnerable and anxious at the time because my weight had always been a form of protection for me and my recent weight loss made me feel naked and exposed. It felt exciting and unsafe at the same time.
This poem marks the calm before the storm. Revisiting it now, it is not only bittersweet, but stirs emotions of hope and pride. Often my poems were like rays of sunshine for me, cutting through to the forest floor, scattering light on the trees and twigs, reassuring me that I was still on the path. I felt lost a lot, but looking at past poems and journals reveals that I was always “present”, questioning and searching, even though some periods were dark and miserable. The poem above brings me joy because it displays where I long to be, “home”. And “home” is something I am creating for myself.
I’ve been thinking a lot about healing. I’ve made healing an intention of mine for nearly 4 years now. I have struggled along for years never truly thriving. I have been anxious, empty, angry, and severely depressed. Within the past two years things amplified to the point that I was no longer effective at work because I would miss due to migraines, IBS, and depression. Currently, I feel very unraveled and isolated. I don’t feel a part of things and I have chronic pain. And yet, a part of me feels that I am all unraveled because I am in the midst of an exciting and amazing opportunity to rebuild my life in self-love, giving myself stability and a sense of self-worth and empowerment.
I am in the process of carving out my self-esteem based on no one else’s expectations or ideas, but my own. I find this process daunting and challenging, but if successful, my “Decade of Darkness” will have been worth it. I feel I will have the immense blessing of possibly helping others through the “darkness”. I look back and see the people and the practices that blew open wide spaces for me, clearing the psychological debris that was entrapping me. There were living torches along my path that illuminated the way. There were voices that shouted “You are not alone” that reverberated on the walls of that dark, cold, tunnel that I sat in for a time. I hope sharing my story will reach someone, soothing them and giving them courage to keep going.
Healing is hard work. Life is a struggle, at times, and in that struggle some often feel ashamed to reach out and ask for help. I’m sharing below 6 healing tips. These are things that are helping my now and some of them I have not mastered. If you like, feel free to add another “tip” in the comments section! We’ve got this!
6 Healing Tips:
- Accept where you are currently at with compassion. Embrace your struggle. Do not try to wish it away or try to “fight it”. Accept it without shame and without comparing it to others. Notice how it is yours and yours alone. When the storm begins to rage, be still and don’t flee or fight, try listening to what the storm is communicating to you. We cannot always change certain circumstances, but we are able to decide how we will manage or cope given the cards dealt.
- Establish boundaries to protect your emotional and physical well being. It might be necessary to let go of certain people or habits to achieve healing and eventual peace. Sometimes, this seems impossible. Some of us are in abusive relationships and we want to hold on to a dream that is not longer a reality. Some of us have family members that hurt us and cause us pain. You have every right to peace and that may mean setting firm boundaries and even leaving a loved one. Ultimately, you deserve to be healthy and at peace. This may mean cutting ties and that might seem intolerable to you right now, but there may come a time when holding on becomes harder than letting go. It is ok to “let go” and you will grieve and eventually fill the space with things and people that allow you to heal and be at peace.
- Put yourself as the priority. You are the most important person in your life. Without you, where would you be? So, YES! You matter! Putting yourself as the center of your plate and filling your plate with “food” that you choose is so important to the process of healing. Often, many of us have negotiated our “food” away, leaving us scraps to the point we barely can feed ourselves. Go ahead and take a heaping helping of what you find delicious. Maybe that is a hobby of making jewelry or a sport that you used to love, but you gave it up for someone else’s needs. It might be a challenge to do, but work with others in your life to ensure that you have some things on your plate that are just for you! You deserve to have some food on your plate that you find delicious, after all it is your plate!
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has a different journey. It’s super easy with social media to peruse your friends profiles and feel unworthy or “less than” because you did not achieve this or that! I have been guilting of doing just than and then I realize that I am being silly! None of those people have been in my shoes and what I have accomplished despite the fact I have a mental illness and experienced an abusive relationship, is amazing! We all are on a very unique and independent journey. There truly is no comparison.
- Have FUN! Every day make a conscious attempt to laugh and have fun. I think we forget that it’s ok to just enjoy the moment and “let go”. Go watch some children playing to be inspired to use your imagination more. Kids just jump right in and are totally submerged in the present moment. Ever watch a baby or young kid cracking up? You can’t help but to laugh right along with them, right? Laughter is infectious and it lifts us. Do the activities you enjoy every day and don’t feel guilty for relaxing and having fun. We are meant to laugh and be joyful.
- Be patient. Good things come to those who wait. You are the good thing!! When it seems to be going slow or you relapse into your old ways, be patient and kind with yourself and the process. It’s OKAY. Maybe you needed to go back again, even several times, to truly learn what you needed to learn. We all do this and it is okay. I used to beat myself up and get angry! But, now I am kind to myself and accept the process.
Hope these are helpful!! I am truly a work in progress and I am learning to use the tips above to embrace the process of healing.
Wishing you ample light to illuminate the way for your journey of healing and self love!