They call it the dark night of the soul. The odyssey we embark on when we are ready to face our fear, heal our collective pain, or when we are basically tired of our own bullshit.
For me there has always been an insidious fascination for the macabre especially when it came to healing my own trauma, experiences, and pain pictures.
My childhood through young adulthood was pretty unbelievable. Imagine if a Stephen King novel and Ernest Hemingway’s old man in the sea had a book baby. That was my life. Weird, bizzare, tragic, but always dowced with explosive humor. Laughter kept me alive.
So once I hit a self-reflective maturity in my early 20’s I decided it was time to work on my shit. Reintroduce myself to all the old stories as if I were at a high school reunion seeing my friends for the first time in over a decade.
Unfortunately though, these particular classmates were the mean girls and I was infatuated with the burn book. Thus I wanted to flip through all the pages to find out as much as I could about my lived experiences so I could tend to them, heal them.
Digging and unearthing. Figuring out the why’s.
What was the purpose for my painful childhood, my clairvoyant abilities, my failing health, and the psychological mountain that I was continuing to climb to simply find peace?
Because everything happens for a reason, right? (Insert eye roll)
But little did I know that just like many other other folks on the quest to not feel discomfort, I would become addicted.
My addiction wasn’t to drugs or alcohol. No, my addiction was to finding a solution to my suffering.
I was addicted to healing.
I was obsessed with reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. The quintessential “If I can just fix this; then my anxiety will go away, I won’t have anymore intrusive thoughts, my body will heal, etc”. (you get the point)
In retrospect that mindset although admirable had deep flaws because if we look closely there is always ALWAYS something to fix. Always something to heal.
What can being addicted to healing look like?
Quick Example: “If I just take another class, see a different therapist, practice more meditation, drink only celery juice every morning, dig deeper into my trauma, take 50 more vitamins, exercise to exhaustion, look for the next quick fix – I will finally feel better” Basically it becomes an obsession.
Now don’t get me wrong, of course we have to take the necessary steps to do the work and advocate for our wellness in a balanced way. And at times that does mean dropping into the raw tender corners of our psyche.
What we don’t want to do is remain there forever.
Just like we can’t spiritually bypass and love bomb our way through healing we also can’t spend our lives walking in the shadow of our dark night of the soul either.
There is a delicate dance between doing the necessary work required to integrate/heal and getting stuck in the wound. I found my ultimate freedom when I decided to let go.
Let go. Let it go. Let’s go.
I wanted so badly to be in control.
I had mentalized what I imagined my life would need to look like in order for me to be happy and pain free. I worked with amazing teachers that promised the more I practiced the better it would get.
And it did get better but I always felt like I needed to do more.
Until, one day. I was in deep thought about people who were happy and grounded. Living in the moment and not in the chase.
What made them different? I knew better than to think they had completely escaped discomfort. Everyone I have ever met was healing from something but what was their secret?
Then it hit me! They were Okay with not being Okay…
Yes! That was it. As I embodied that knowledge I felt something in my core shift. It was like my parasympathetic nervous system finally powered on.
Immediately I had released all these internalized dialogs about what it meant to be happy, healthy, and a normal human.
When I realized and became neutral to the fact that there was never going to be a perfect moment when everything was completely better (like all the movies say it ought to be) and that there was always going to be a broken spoke somewhere on the wheel. Eureka!
And that my friend, was when my life started to make major shifts.
When I could just be with and except what I was resisting. When I stopped searching for bloody scabs to pick, I could deeply rest and nourish my body.
Then like magic all the things that I so desperately wanted to fix/control started to dissolve.
When IT WAS TIME the spiral of life would usher in my next lesson and instead of meeting it with panic I would greet it with curiosity and neutrality.
Because you see we will NEVER stop evolving and awakening but We. Can. Be. bad bitches while doing it!
So if you find yourself constantly touching your wounds and picking at the crusty decay maybe it’s time for a different strategy.
What if you stopped resisting, made space to focus on your gifts, and got clear about what you have to offer the world. You see, your shadow and your light do not have to compete with one another. They are meant to marry together in a beautiful triangulation of wisdom and power.
Not sure what your gifts are? Then that’s an excellent place to start and my personal favorite when it comes to working with clients.
So the next time you you notice yourself touching the wound by overthinking, obsessive journaling, drinking a gallon of alkaline water, and speed walking, jk.
STOP, breathe, laugh, and remind yourself “Nothing needs to be fixed because you are not broken”.
Loving you fiercely, Barbara
I can’t believe how this touched me . I am addicted to healing . I wake every day thinking about all that is wrong with me . I need to be ok with not being ok
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