What does it mean to heal? 5 steps to makin’ it happen!

I am a huge fan of masterwoman Brené Brown, known for her sociological discoveries and infamous Ted talk on vulnerability. Her recent blog highlights her ‘one little word’ for 2012. It got me thinking about my word…just a simple word that can make a powerful meaning in my life as I move forward day to day. At first, I wanted some extraordinary word like scrumdiddlyumptious because it’s fun to say and even harder to spell! Then, I thought my word should have profound meaning so that I am deeply influenced by my word on a spiritual level. Finally, it softly slipped into my brain, the kind of “ah-ha” moment, or more like, “DUH, why didn’t you think of it earlier!” And so I resolved with HEAL! This word is pertinent to my circumstances after 2011 was a year of pain with a capital P. But I realize that as powerful of a meaning as four simple letters can have on my daily life, ‘healing’ for one individual can be toxic or negative for others. I started looking around at friends, loved ones and even strangers in my life, noticing that to heal oneself is a much more personal experience than I’ve previously imagined. It goes beyond the neosporin on a cut or the ‘I’m sorry’ after an argument. It is UNIQUE!

The word heal can be referenced in many different ways. That’s one of the difficulties in mastering communication; the numerous definitions one word or concept can mean depending on the person or context. I mean, there are three ways to spell the word ‘there’, depending on where or who you are talking about. And ‘read’ can be about the present, future or past. It is obvious that reading between the lines of interpretation can become foggy when trying to navigate through life and all the external distractions, emotions, influences, relationships, and expectations. I think that’s why it can feel so stable (a.k.a drama-free) when honest communication becomes clear with yourself and others around you. Isn’t it simply awesome when you grasp being able to understand your own needs, acting accordingly and paying it forward to others with respect? Or when you feel that someone else understands where you are coming from 100% no matter how ridiculous the experience you are having? That is true friends; that is yoga!

The definition of heal, according to trusty google, is to “become sound or healthy” or to “have a healing effect on the body”. Of course, I end up picking a word that can apply to the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical body. Yet again, balance comes into play here. It can be a catch 22 sometimes…for example, it can be healing to practice slowing down for mental and spiritual peace of mind, but too much slowing down can be harmful for physical and emotional health. Ultimately, it comes down to shining the light back on ourselves, asking our inner self what we need (not our mom, boss, significant other, closest friend, or america’s next top model), and using affirmations, a mantra, or our “little word” to help guide the way. Make it a working definition!

At times, I want to pretend it is a strict definition, that I only need to do A and B and then poof, I’m healed! All better, no more yucky stuff ahead. Ha, if only! I think I’m just now accepting that the major healing — releasing the past and forgiving in the now is one thing that never goes away. Then, there’s also the minor healing — the daily maintenance that fluctuates from hour to hour. Coffee one hour, tea the next, a glass of wine, followed by water, water, water. Maybe the point is to avoid being perfect and just focus on maintaining a constant level of healing and support in order to sustain and thrive! It’s so easy to get bogged down by the pressure to do it all according to some book, celebrity, blog, study, 21st century marketing scheme, but what if we took all that time and attention and put it towards getting up close and PERSONAL with our own healing. It can be so simple:

1) Ask yourself, “what does it mean to heal myself?” If nothing, great job! If multiple things come to mind, welcome to the club!

2) Pick a word that will help fuel motivation or self-love.

3) Write it down all over your room, iphone, work space, car, hell even write it on your hand (preferably in washable ink!).

4) Engrave it in your mind (educators say at least 28 times) so that it starts to come to you naturally, both in times of joy and struggle.

5) Change your word if the current one isn’t serving you to reach your highest potential.

For now, my goal is to focus on my personal healing, rather than making assumptions or ideas about how my healing should look based on something/one outside of my own experiences. The more emphasis inward, the more outward opportunities start to unfold. It’s time for me to be more flexible with my definition. The only thing I can count on is being alive and healing is a fundamental part of that…might as well make it count!



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