This pandemic (entering Week Five, for anyone keeping count) has brought wellness to the forefront. Health presents itself as a focal point during this time, not only in the face of the virus but also within ourselves. Spending extended time at home has put me in an intense state of gratitude. As of this blog’s post date, everyone in my home is fever-free, which is a blessing in itself. But the greatest gift has been the opportunity I’ve had to invest more time into my healing journey:
- With more time in the day, my meditations have doubled up.
- Virtual yoga classes has increased my time on the mat more than usual.
- I’m burning through journal pages, documenting my thoughts, emotions and actions during this crisis on an almost-daily basis.
All of these actions have aided in my healing practice, something that’s been particularly challenging for me as of late.
I recently released a special friendship of over 25 years. This person, whom I love dearly and deeply, is the definition of the adage ‘hurt people hurt people’. They encompassed an energy that did not serve me or our friendship so I made the conscious decision to release them.
It was serious because I unfriended not only IRL, but on the socials. I’m an extrovert so, if I unfriend you online, it’s truly a fucking wrap.
But all jokes aside, this was someone I’ve known since I was a child, a very pivotal force in my life’s trajectory. So let me keep it a buck about how am I feeling.
I have my good days where I thank the Universe that this person and their toxicity was led out of my life. I have my not-so-good days when I cry in the bathroom (any bathroom, really) because I miss them so much. And, yes, this is me, so I absolutely have my ego-soaked petty moments where I call this person every iteration of the word ‘loser’ until my condescending soul is satisfied.
And all of these feelings are valid because this is what healing is about. The thing about healing is that it’s never simple and it’s always messy. There’s no linear path to getting over it, whatever ‘it’ is. Hell, I’m not even sure that ‘getting over it’ exists. But what I do know is that healing is required and it’s accessible to us all.
Here’s what I do when I heal. Take what resonates and try something new:
Step One: Be Mad AF
The only way through it is through it, boo. Allow yourself to feel the feelings. When I began my healing from my dissolved friendship, one of the best resources I had was a venting buddy. She’s a dear sisterfriend of mine and her only job was to listen. That’s it. No judgment. No cheerleader-type support. Just her ears.
She listened when I called my ex-friend out of their name in anger, listened as I rehashed decades of drama and trauma, listened as I cried. What’s more is that I provided that same space for her. When you are in the emotional throes of healing, it is vital to let the feelings fly and to reciprocate that energy whenever you have the emotional bandwidth.
If you don’t want to vocalize it, grab a pen and paper to write a letter to the person/situation that you will never mail. Punch some pillows. Burn the muthafucker down. (Okay, don’t actually burn things; you can just imagine that Angela Bassett moment.) Bottom line: feel the thing. You deserve to have emotions. You deserve to be mad/angry/envious/pissy/petty.
Then, you need to ask yourself some questions, starting with…
Step Two: What is This Experience Trying to Teach Me?
If you’re new to self-introspection, congratulations and welcome to the thunderdome. One of the first things you learn on your journey is that, no matter what happens in your life, it involves putting yourself on the spot. This question serves me in even the smallest of conflicts: inconvenient traffic jams, rude people in the grocery store, my children engaging in loud and semi-violent sibling warfare. In relation to my most recent healing moment, what I know for sure that the situation was trying to (re)teach me was that friendships are seasonal. Some last a lifetime, some for decades, some for months – but all timelines are valid and valuable. My healing experience taught me that if a person is only to be in your life for a short time, it’s important to see the good times you had with them with utmost love and compassion.
Remember: anything you think is happening to you is actually happening for you. So ask yourself what the moment, the traffic jam, the rude people, the fighting kids, the friendship in despair, is inevitably trying to teach you. You can ask in meditation or prayer, in your journal, to yourself in the shower, wherever you can find some peace for a moment. The insight you receive could be life-altering.
Step Three: Find An Outlet
You’ve felt the feels and asked the questions…but you’re still not quite ready to let go. That’s human and honest – this is also an opportunity to be creative. Find a way to harness all of the energy your ego wants to use to resent the person or the situation and put it into something that feeds your soul.
Once I was up to it emotionally, I took time to further explore astrology. It’s a subject that’s been a lifelong interest of mine and I was still seeking answers about the dissolution of my friendship. It proved to not only be an educational journey for me that I am still working with on a daily basis, but it provided comfort for all that wacky energy I was feeling. It healed me to put my creative emphasis on my birth chart instead of subtweeting about this person on social media (although, I’ll admit, I still did and do that from time to time. Growth, like healing, ain’t linear. LOL!)
Step Four: Shoot for the S.T.A.R.R.
In addition to astrology, I’m using my healing time in quarantine to learn more about mindfulness. Thanks to the streaming service Kanopy provided by my local library (#supportyourlocallibrary), I’ve been making my way through The Great Courses: Masters of Mindfulness. One of the course moderators was Kristine Carlson. Her husband was the late Dr. Richard Carlson, author of the Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff book series. Together, the two created a system called S.T.A.R.R. (Surrender, Trust, Accept, Release, Receive).
I understand that meditation and/or prayer may not be your bag, but if it is, the S.T.A.R.R. Method may be of interest to you. Whenever I feel my ego nagging me about my ex-friend or old resentments start to flare up, I step right into my prayer:
After a few rounds of that mantra, I’m taken out of that ego trap and pulled back into the present. This one is my particular go-to but any prayer or mantra you prefer works here, too. During your healing journey, you are going to need an anchor to keep you grounded in the present. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to use one. You deserve the comfort.
Step Five: Cut The Cord
There comes a time in every healing journey when release arrives. The work you’re doing in the previous steps prepares you to finally let go. It can be difficult, even at this stage, to loosen ego’s grip on the past. Resentment, like most iterations of fear, is like a drug. It makes you feel powerful for a short time before the landslide comes. Release looks different for all of us. Cord cutting meditations work for some while cold turkey is the move for others. Whatever the let-go looks like for you, one thing is for sure: the weight lifts. The soul lightens. The heart mends. And it’s yours to have when you’re ready – don’t rush yourself.
I’ll be honest: as of the timestamp of this blog post, I am still in Step Five. Not sure how long I’ll be here but I figure that if I can make it through the first four steps, I’ll get through this one – and you will too. Healing is a gift we not only give to ourselves but we give it to others. I hope that even one of these steps has helped you on your healing journey and I encourage you to share your healing steps in the comments section below. Be well.