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The word “healing” is so important because it is different from fixing.

In order to heal— to me, healing is about making whole.

And to be a healer, you have to be able to listen, to learn, and to love.

-Vivek Murthy


I recently returned from a 6-day silent retreat in the BC mountains. Although I normally find silent retreats to be calming and regenerative this one felt the opposite. About ten days prior I was given some news about my health that I knew I needed to sit with. It was not six hours into my silence that I was so overcome with grief and anger that I could not stop crying.

As I was sitting alone Journaling through my grief, my Dharma guide came down and handed me a metal baseball bat. We agreed that I needed to move the rage out of me. I could feel the anger searing through my chest and stomach as I headed out to the woods and began to hit old logs. I was surprised by how much came through. It was not just the regular dramas but much deeper memories, images of situations that hurt me, injustices that women have and continually endure, little cruel slights that people have made to me over the years - I smashed that bat for hours.

Every so often I would get so tired that I just laid on the bare ground in stillness. I felt the anger was still bubbling up like a pandora's box I had been pushing closed for decades. Past the injustice there was this deep shame welling up of "This is your fault, this is why you're sick" followed by the tears of confusion and feeling completely alone. Each night I would head back to my cabin disappointed at the lack of peace in my heart, body, and mind.

The strange thing was in the night while I was sleeping I would have these vivid dreams that would wake me up. I would look up at the stars and realize 'You're missing something'. I retired to the fact that this hateful and feral state was going to be a part of my process. When the fear, the shame, and the anger bubbled up, I would take a few breaths, feel into it and say you are allowed to be here.

I had a very turbulent ride on the tiny 3 seat plane home. I could feel my body welling up with fear and I was able to stop and breathe into it."I am feeling afraid, and out of control and that feeling is welcome". The tension softened in my body and my breath steadied. No matter how much I tried to make deals with God, the plane would either get there safely or it would not.

The next morning when I arrived home I was still very tired. I tried to tend to my responsibilities and kept becoming exhausted. I laid down for a guided meditation and held my hands on my belly. As I scanned through my body I felt the tension and judgments about the tension begin to bubble up. I took a deep breath and whispered to myself "Thank you for protecting me" A deep feeling of love washed through my body and I fell asleep to a gentle regenerative rest.


It's painful to be held to a standard of "Perfection". Sometimes it comes from the people around us, but often, this comes from within. Next time you find yourself spinning out in an unpleasant drama, take a breath and tell yourself "Thank you for showing me where I need to be loved"

... then if you need to, punch a pillow for 5 minutes.


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