“Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.” ~ Dale E. Turner
A radical adversity shatters the structure, order and meaning in your life. Chaos and confusion rush in to take their place. Amidst all this turmoil you cannot see that renewal lies on the horizon. All your energy is consumed by coping and it’s hard to even fathom that it’s there. It is and all healing moves us toward it. The first priority is to do what you need to do to restore the stability of your daily life enough to get past the crisis. That is the very first step to piecing things together again and as you take another and then another order is restored, structure is recreated and the chaos calms down. Once it has settled, the work of moving beyond coping to healing can begin.
Healing is a gradual process during which we release the grip of our emotional wounds. As this happens our consciousness (awareness) is no longer constricted by pain and so it can expand. We can begin to see things differently. New perspectives come to light, new insights suddenly dawn and fresh opportunities appear. We are complex creatures creating life stories that twist and turn through all kinds of ups and downs as we grow, learn and change. It’s no surprise then that the healing process is complex and can be quite convoluted too. Keeping in mind that it does go in a positive direction but it does not go in a perfectly straight line, it can be thought of as having five essential elements. All of them interweave and overlap to varying degrees at various times throughout the process. Depending where you are, one of the five may be much more prevalent than the others.
This involves letting go of the constricting emotions that were activated when the adversity happened. They are contained by you and until they are released will remain bound up in the experience you are going through. Grieving plays a key role in this release. There are many different therapies and options to help facilitate your healing. Energy therapies such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or TAT (Tapas Acupressure Technique) and bodywork such as Somatic Experiencing or Bodynamics can be particularly helpful in releasing emotions associated with a traumatic event.
This is about taking time to remember your past, reflect on the present and imagine your future, not just for the sake of ruminating, but to see what understanding and insights are there to be revealed to you. It’s important that you approach this exploration with an attitude of curiosity and are open to having new learning come your way! These are the conditions in which different perspectives can be gained, new perceptions of self and others can form and new opportunities can be seen. Curiosity and openness create space for all of these things to arise.
As your perspectives and perceptions change, you can begin to think about things in a different way. You may think differently about yourself, how you want to relate to people and what you want to do. The only way to move these things beyond thought is to act on them. You integrate the change you envision into your life by trying on new ways of being in the world and seeing how they fit. You experiment with risking new experiences. You may try changing the way you speak, setting some new boundaries or signing up to do something you previously thought was beyond your capabilities. Whatever it is, it will most likely feel awkward or uncomfortable because it is new and you are breaking out of old patterns that you and the people you interact with are used to. At a deeper level you can still assess whether it feels right for you. Sit in silence, quiet your mind and ask yourself. The answer is in you; you just have to let it surface.
The change we want to bring about as we heal doesn’t often happen in a flash. It is cultivated with care and conscious effort. As you experiment and find what fits for you, practice it until the awkwardness has vanished. Do whatever fine tuning you sense is needed until it becomes strong and fully integrated into who you are. You will need to learn to discern between when a change feels wrong because you are fearful of something new and when it feels wrong because it is. Your intuition can guide you and if you are unsure, let it sit for a while and revisit it. Think of this as a work in progress that you can rework whenever you wish.
Radical adversity is like a big net descending over your life and scooping everything up in a tangled mess of confusion and dark emotions. Healing can be looked at as disentangling yourself from the net. As this happens there is less resistance pushing back against positive life energy, and more clarity, harmony and peace can filter in. Joy begins to flow back into your life in all its different forms – enjoying time with friends, playing with your pets or feeling the satisfaction of meeting a goal you have worked hard to achieve. These are but a few of the faces of joy. This is where the road to renewal goes no matter how long or convoluted the route!
When a traumatic event rocks your life, unwanted and often unexpected change happens to you without any choice. In healing the effects of that adversity you make every choice and create the change you do want. Renewal happens as you grieve your losses and get strong in your most authentic self again so that you can joyfully embrace life’s infinite possibilities. The healing journey is about honouring your needs and desires, talents and gifts, dreams and goals and taking care of your whole self, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Letting go of what existed in the past and opening to the possibility for a vibrant now is difficult work that is helped along with patience and compassion. Be good to yourself on this journey and bestow kindness upon yourself! The road to renewal is intensely personal and whether you go along it faster or more slowly than someone else makes no difference. It isn’t a race. We are all unique and have our own needs, our own style and our own pace. The healing process needs to be encouraged with loving kindness. It can never be forced. Go gently…