Healing can be downright sneaky, for it not only mends us, it changes us. As wounds are scrubbed clean and heal, old fears dissipate, and crippling shame heads for the hills, we are left different. The old places don’t fit anymore. The old work, the old ways of relating to others, of relating to ourselves, they all change.
I’ve been so focused on healing that I was unprepared for the massive changes that would take place as I healed. I thought healing would mean security, steadiness, strength, and it does, in myself. But the other places, and my relationship to them, become shaky.
I wondered why I no longer fit in the vocation I’d been in for years, why my old ways of doing business and managing the farm and being married and being a friend and dealing with myself just felt wrong and wretchedly uncomfortable. Nothing felt right.
I had a choice to make. I could either go back to the old ways to keep those old places steady and familiar, or I could celebrate my healing, dig deep for renewed courage, and forge new pathways in how I interact with myself and the world.
So that’s what I’ve been doing the last few weeks, one hand holding tight to Vulnerability, the other clinging to Courage.
I started with a lot of letting go. Letting go of a steady paycheck and knowing how I was going to pay bills and put food on the table, letting go of an image I had of myself and my place in the world, letting go of relationships as they were, so I could invest in them and make them as beautiful as possible.
It’s been terrifying. It was way easier to start a new life in Australia than to start a new life with myself.
It’s also been the most wonderful thing I’ve ever embarked on.
I’m sitting here now, at my little yellow desk in the granny flat, teary and smiling, so overwhelmingly grateful for all the events and people and choices that have led to this place and this time.
I mostly don’t know what the hell I’m doing, truly, but I’ve never felt so secure and so safe. I think that’s mostly due to knowing that I’m now 100% on my side. Whatever it takes, I’m here for me for the long haul. To heal, grow, learn, and thrive, to do the things that help me be my very best, healthy, strong, loving, and loved self.
I’ve slowed way down, only taking steps forward when I know it’s right for me. I’ve put new habits into practice which give me daily strength, courage, and understanding, as well as continued healing.
Some of the things I’m doing:
- Every morning I go down to the granny flat and do Stream of Consciousness writing. All that means is, I sit down with a notepad, and write whatever comes into my head for three full pages, then stop. That’s all. It does wonders for taking all the tangled, crazy thoughts, smoothing them out, and giving me a calm brain to start the day.
- Every morning I read good things. This month it’s: “A Little Bird Told Me” by the Brave Girls Club, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown, and “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Wherever they take me, and they always take me somewhere, I go there, and stay there, facing what needs to be faced with love and patience and compassion.
- Every day I draw something. I have a notepad and a pack of markers and I just draw something, anything, whatever is in my head. I draw because I’m TERRIBLE at it. 🙂 And that helps me let go and just do it. Just doodle and sketch and get my feelings out into pictures. Lately they’ve been the pictures I drew as a child: house in the woods, house in the Alps, oddly shaped flowers, wonky looking mountains. I haven’t thought of those pictures in years, but drawing them again connected me with Small Girl me, and it’s been lovely to remember her wild imagination and adventurous spirit. My friend, Jane, encouraged me to draw from the present as well, to make that connection between Young Me and Now Me. I started that today, drawing our campfire and trees in the backyard. I show my pictures to Bear every day, which, I must say, takes great courage on my part since he’s a fantastic artist and can draw, paint, sculpt, you name it. But he’s been awesome, cheering me on, finding beauty and meaning in my scribbles, and even taking me out for lunch to celebrate my first drawing.
- Every day I do something physical outside. It’s usually three things: work in my garden, hike in our bush, and go for a bike ride with Bear. I love them so much, being out in the wind and sunshine and sometimes rain, though my pelvis is shrieking at me for the whole bike-riding thing. Whoever invented the non-pillowed bicycle seat was a sadist. 😉
Those four things are so little and simple, but they’re doing wonders in me, giving me the wisdom, strength, and courage I need to build a new space for myself in the world. I’m living from a place of strength and self-worth these days, and what a difference it makes.
I’m still a writer, still a photographer, still an artist and farmer, but I’m doing these things differently now. I’m only working with people I trust and enjoy, and who trust and enjoy me. I don’t let myself get bullied anymore, or let my work go unpaid or unvalued. I’m building slowly, one client here, another there, adding in projects that are good and fulfilling and allow me to tell stories that matter to me. I’m poor as the proverbial churchmouse while I build this new business of mine, but I am content and grateful and at peace. I’d so much rather be poor and working with good people than where I was before.
I’m loving my marriage and relationships so much more now. It’s astounding to me how much nicer it is to love and be loved when you believe you’re worthy of being loved, when you’re content in and of yourself. Nearly every weekend we’ve had friends come to visit, and my heart is full just thinking about our campfire chats and treks through the bush and watching the sunset with a glass of wine glowing in the firelight. We’re building a good life here, and all those years of wrestling with the past so I could heal have truly been worth it.
Today is quiet and still, hardly a breath of wind. I did my morning bush hike and watered the gardens, planted elderberry bushes, yellow French beans, and sugar snap peas. Soon I’ll find my big straw hat and go out again to harvest pineapple sage to dry on the veranda where Bear is busy hammering and sand-papering and painting his beautiful medieval chair.
Tomorrow we go to a medieval meeting to make plans for our medieval village at Abbey Medieval Festival next year, and on Sunday dear Canadian friends are coming over for fun projects and a whole lot of visiting by the campfire. It’s going to be good.
What are you looking forward to this weekend? xo