I don’t know how many times I’ve been told this by health care providers, and/or read it. “Healing isn’t linear; progress isn’t a straight trajectory; setbacks are a part of the process.” My history of being alive on this planet and rational, logical, thinking would say that this is true. In those moments when I am feeling well, energized, vibrant, clear-minded, and my energy feels directed into something meaningful and beneficial, it feels easier to recognize this. To look back and say “oh yeah, that was rough, but it was temporary, and I am so grateful for what I learned about myself and from my body during that time.”
I’ve found it is quite a bit more challenging to access this perspective when I am IN IT. And for the last month, I feel like I have been IN IT. For the last couple of years, I feel like I have been plugging away on my healing journey, consulting with health practitioners, reading, reflecting, and rearranging the way I approach life to create more space for health and vitality to pour forth. There have definitely been ups, downs, and even spirals, as I’ve found healing can actually occur in a circular fashion; patterns emerge and re-emerge and I learn more deeply from them, how to be with them, and how to move through them or allow them to move through with each iteration. I felt capable of holding space for that. I was in acceptance with it (for the most part).
And then last month, I experienced a GI episode that felt more severe than any other pain I remember experiencing. It was a truly scary experience, and the aftermath has been shaky as well. It feels scary that there is a lack of clarity around what took place. Perhaps it was just an acute, episodic form of gastritis, or an ulcer, or pancreatitis, or an endometrial cyst bursting. It is possible and even likely that there are subconscious emotional and mental patterns that are connected to these physical symptoms. I am hopeful that there are tests and practitioners that I will be connected with who work with me to get to the bottom of it.
But right now, I feel no closer to understanding what took place in my system than I did the day it happened. And I would actually be ok with just letting it go, except since then, I have trouble digesting many more foods, and experience bouts of vertigo, brain fog, and waves of panic that bring me back to my first experiences with panic attacks in college. Right now, all of the time spent reading about different protocols and healing methods and working with practitioners feels all for nothing. Right now, feeling good, vital, energized, and productively accomplishing goals feels very far away. Right now, my mind is latching on to all of the health challenges I’ve experienced over the past couple of years and is projecting them onto the future with thoughts like “what if this is how I feel for the rest of my life?” “What if I am never able to accomplish any of my personal or professional goals?” “What if I am unable to take care of/provide for/support myself for the rest of my life?”
And while I do know that this experience won’t stay the same (the more present we are with our experience, the more we recognize that our experience is always shifting), I don’t know for how long these symptoms are going to hang around. I don’t know if or when my digestive system will feel robust again. I don’t know if or when my hormones will regulate themselves. I don’t know if or when my menstrual cycles will ease up in severity or this adult acne will subside. I don’t know if I will accomplish the personal or professional goals that I have been working towards.
What I DO know, is that I am not the only one who is feeling this way. What I do know is there are many of you out there too, who are not feel as well as you once did, and are feeling like you are IN IT. There are many of you feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of information, clinical and anecdotal, traditional and alternative, and are wondering where to start. There are many of you who are feeling lost and alone in this journey, and starting to lose hope, or starting to wonder if the practitioners who told you “it’s all in your head” or people in your life who’ve said “you’re just too sensitive” are right, and you should just ignore it and try to “act normal” even though you feel like you are only minimally functioning compared to how you used to feel.
I do know that I don’t have the answers for you; I won’t be another well-intentioned voice saying “just cut this out, or add this in, or try this supplement, or read this book.” I won’t say it because I’ve been on the receiving end of it, and tried it, A LOT of it, and while some if it helped some of the time, no one thing has been miraculously transformative for me. I don’t know your story, your history, and your healing truths. But I do know that feeling empowered is CRUCIAL to healing. So I WILL help you find your answers. I WILL support you, honor your voice, and your instincts. And as for my own healing journey, I will continue to show up. I will continue to love and care for myself in the best way that I know how. I will continue to learn and seek growth in the process. I will continue to honor my healing truth and seek the support I need to do so.
In The Way of Meditation class this past weekend, Rev. Michael Beckwith said, “we are not here to be do-gooders. We are here to be PRESENCE.” Do-gooders act or do what they think is best, without consulting those they are trying to help. Presence allows, holds space for, and is willing to be on a journey with someone without needing to place their ‘right way’ onto them. Presence asks, “how can I be of benefit to you, right now?” And while I know that when we are feeling weak, scared, and in pain, it can be tempting to give our power over to an “expert” who take control of the situation, I encourage you to stay engaged in your healing. Stay present. And if I can offer strength and support to your own healing essence, please, don’t hesitate to reach out.