It takes effort to heal

It takes effort to heal.

Back to the Inspired series!  Which was inspired by my friend Alana, of The Alana Banana Show (@thealanabanana) and creator of the podcast, Inspired Grown Ups (@inspiredgrownups).  Take a listen to podcast episode "how effort can uplift your life & others - Inspired series #7”.  I am always inspired by all the love and effort she’s put into uplifting others through this podcast series.  I highly recommend adding her voice as a sweet little dose of pick up me in your day.

This post is my take on #effort from the perspective of a bereaved mom on a healing journey.

In the episode, EFFORT is described as directing our energy towards our actions.  What about inaction? It also takes EFFORT in choosing to do nothing.  We put our energy towards applying brakes on the forward momentum that is life.  It takes a lot of effort to hide and stay in hiding when we place our energy into escaping pain. But while we’re doing everything we can to escape our reality, life continues to keep moving forward.  Then we fall behind, and the more behind we  are, the harder it is to catch up with life.  Then life feels impossible.  Why even try? 

In the deepest parts of grief and depression, every thought feels heavy.  All I want to do is stay numb or freeze - which is really a part of our natural response to traumas, flight vs fight.  Throughout our lives we’re faced with many traumas and each response is recorded and stored in our bodies.  The amount that is stored inside of us dictates how much these thoughts weigh.  The heaviest of these are borne from our childhood.  If we were physically beaten as a child, we might have been cocooned on the floor, eyes closed, waiting for it to be over.  If we were not seen or heard as a child, we might have learned not to use our voice in order to keep the peace.  If we were subject to abuse as a child, we  might have had to “freeze”, or escape into a “happy place” to survive.

The pain inflicted upon us by the most trusted people in our lives can create the deepest wounds.  Our response in those situations to either take flight or fight can impact our adult lives greatly.  We might be punishing ourselves through getting drunk or picking fights.  We might find ourselves chasing highs, escaping our reality by binging on TV, games, etc.  We might choose to punish ourselves or those around us. 

If any of these sound familiar drop a heart in the comments below.  I see you.  You’re human and you are a product of all of your life's experiences, the good & the bad.  And we’ve all experienced a level of bad.   

When you are ready to overcome the overwhelming urge to numb, escape, or punish yourself and others - you have to put in some effort toward healing.  Personally for me, it has taken an enormous amount of effort to heal from my daughter, Eesha’s death which uncovered the need to heal childhood traumas.

In the throes of grief and depression, it can take a collosal amount of effort to just get out of bed. But when it starts to hurt my relationship with myself, family and life, I know it’s time to do something.  Through therapy I have picked up a few tools to help channel energies through conscious awareness.  Using these tools, I then put effort into doing something meaningful and purposeful. 

Here are some steps you can take that can help you get on or stay on the healing path. I didn’t really start on a healing journey until almost 3 years after my daughter’s death.  I realized I needed help when my pain poured out of me in the form of rage and self harm.  I came very close to drowning in the grief before I reached out for help. 

So step 1 - Look for help.  It exists.  We live in a resource rich world and by resources I mean people.  There’s almost 8 billion of us on this planet.  There is someone out there that can help you from drowning.  There are books and information available at our finger tips on the internet.  There are experts in every field you can imagine.  For example, my psychiatrist’s specialty was in working with women who have lost a child.  It definitely helps to have a push, a reason, a purpose and a deep desire to get better - pure intention.  My rainbow baby, my little healer, was the catalyst for me.  I had to heal for her sake.  And I had to heal for my partner’s sake.  I also had to heal to preserve all the goodness that came from Eesha.  She gave me so much more than pain.  She made me a mother, she gave me Shakti!  I couldn’t let the world of hurt shut out all the light she brought into my life.  I had to find a way to stay connected with her to keep that light on.

Step 2 - Get out of your head and into your body. At any given moment you’ll find yourself thinking about the next thing, your to-do list, family, friends, kids, the state of the world, hunger, climate change, your mistakes, consequences, failures, regrets, pain, grief…the WORKS!  With grief and depression those thoughts can become downright dangerous.

So, get out of your head and into your body.  Give yourself a break from the thoughts and practice connecting with your body.  This is why I dance!   Working with my hands to create something is another way for me to get back into my body.  I love getting lost in the details of a painting, creating something new in the kitchen, gardening and harvesting and injecting creativity any chance I get. When I do that, I suddenly connect with a different energy and I am able to tap into a wealth of joy.

Step 3 - become self aware, find your authentic voice.  For me, practicing mindfulness was the key to unlocking and finding all the hidden patterns and auto-pilot routes my thoughts tend to take.  Practicing mindfulness comes down to being fully present in whatever it is you’re doing.  I was introduced to this concept within weeks of starting therapy.  Sit for 10 mins everyday, in complete silence and watch those thoughts come up.  The more you practice, the easier it gets.  You will be surprised at just how much you judge your own thoughts.  You will hear that negative self-talk and realize, that’s the voice of your mother, not you.  Soon you’ll get to hear your own voice.  That intuition.  All of a sudden, you’ll wake up and find your voice and your authentic self.  It’s astounding how such a simple daily act can have such a profound impact.

Step 4 - forgive yourself for your failures.  All of them, no matter how big or small, just forgive yourself for those mistakes.  Show yourself the greatest compassion and you’ll be lighter.

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