Men + Myself + God

Tag: healing

There is Medicine in Story (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

My childhood friend, Marie, sits beside me on the pavement. We are outside of my parent’s house, getting ready to go back to our respective homes. I didn’t expect to see her, but it’s a nice surprise. She pushes her fiery-red hair out of her face and kicks dried leaves around with her designer sneakers. Our shoulders touch. We joke and laugh a bit – pretending it hasn’t been over a year.

“I didn’t make it to your last birthday party,” I offer when there’s a lull in the conversation. “I was kinda going through a difficult time.”

She drags a leaf across the curb with her foot, and I explain that, while she was planning her party, I was separating from an ex-boyfriend and his complicated drug addiction. I gloss over the details, but I share what she needs to know: it was hard to witness a loved one’s undoing.
She lets me speak, she doesn’t judge, and so I share a little more. I talk about anxiety and subsequent panic attacks. I’ve told this story before, in writing and in therapy, but today my story is an apology and a plea. If I could’ve shown up at her party, I would have.

“I had no idea,” she says.

“Yeah,” I offer a weak smile. “Shit happens.”

She laughs at my crass comment, but I am serious. Shit happens. Really stressful and uncomfortable shit happens every day. We are all walking warriors, moving through our lives, and the micro-battles we face stretch us and often test our limits. We are souls having an often confusing human experience, but if I can manage to remember that shit happens, I find the lesson and am able to move forward (sometimes with some time, some therapy, and some good friends).
“I went through a hard time, too,” she explains once I’ve finished. “The summer was really really hard.”
The sun has started to set, and there’s a bit of frost in the air as she tells me about her ex. She shares her journey through abuse, stalking and her decision to finally leave. She tells me about the restraining order and the process of testifying against someone she used to love.

“I went through it all alone,” she says. “I’m proud of myself, but it was tough.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Embarrassment,” she counters. “I haven’t told anyone. I probably wouldn’t have told you if you hadn’t shared your story.”

We both sit in silence, connected by the knowledge that no one suffers alone.

Yes, bad things happen and the goal is to transcend, but the road to collapsing your story is fraught with mixed-emotion. There may be shame in what has happen, or fear of what’s to come, but part of releasing your story involves an exorcism. You’ve got to share it, you’ve got to get it out of your own head. You have to let it out, so that it no longer lives inside of you.
Keep inside only things that you would like to nurture and grow.

There is medicine in sharing your story. There is healing in standing empowered in your story. When you can stand in that space you, unwittingly, become large enough to hold the space for others. Your story, devoid of shame, can help another step into self-acceptance and love.

We all deserve to be heard. There is medicine in both the story and in the kind ears that receive the words.

Today, if you are going through something that feels larger than yourself, share it with someone you trust. Share it with someone who can help you hold the space. Whether a therapist, a coach, or a really good friend, share your story with someone who will listen. We are not our circumstances. The shitty things that happen do not define our true potential. You are larger and more powerful than you could possibly know, and even if you’re not ready to step out of isolation, you’re never ever alone.

Shit happens, but there’s medicine in your story.

Let it out and create the room to heal. 🙂

Psst…I’m away from technology until September 8th, so if you comment I won’t get back to your right away. Sending you love from my retreat. Xoxoxo

What does it mean to be healed? (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day (or week or month), I reread my own blog posts.

I’ve never mentioned this to you because that shit sounds super narcissistic.

But it’s true.

I don’t do it because I’m into the sound of my own prose (although sometimes I do feel myself a but), I do it because when I’m having a bad day and I read something positive it makes me feel better. The whole truth is that the person who writes these blog posts isn’t always running the show. I get angry, I throw tantrums, I get stuck in negative ruts. I hate life, I question myself, I think the world is against me. I act stupid….the list goes on and on.

And then, when my friends are tired of hearing me gripe, I sit down by myself and I read a 500 word piece from a girl who thinks forgiveness is the path to true freedom. I read a post about gratitude or patience or shame and suddenly I gain some perspective. I read a blog that says “Today I am learning…” and, I remember that day that I was learning to be better and…without judgment, I try to remember the lesson I was trying to learn that day.

Healing is not a destination.

Healing is a choice we make every single moment of every day.

In coaching class, I learned that the brain does not replace old neurological pathways. When we learn a new behavior or way of being, our brain creates a new pathway, BUT the old pathway still exists. When we are triggered/stimulated, our brains must make a choice: do we choose our old way of being, or our new way?

Healing is not a destination.

Healing doesn’t erase the broken and effed up bits. To be healed is to harness the power to make a different choice.

Emotional healing is not a magical place where you’ve lost the weight, and your parents no longer piss you off. It’s not a secret island where you’ve transcended and you’re no longer afraid of your own shadow. It’s not a place where you are perpetually happy, perpetually well-adjusted or perpetually anything else. That 14 year old version of yourself who loves to run and hide still exists, even when you’ve “healed.”

Healing doesn’t erase the things that ail us.

So here’s my informal definition:

To heal to face difficult stimuli with enough self-awareness to make the most beneficial choice for all involved. To be healed is to lean toward the direction of emotional, mental, and physical health with the understanding that adversity and challenges may be involved in this course of action.

Healing is not for the faint of heart. It is for the brave lioness, the slow and purposeful warrior.

To heal is not to be free of challenge, but to embrace challenge as a part of emotional and mental health.

What does it mean to you to be healed?

Psst…I’m away from technology until September 8th, so if you comment I won’t get back to your right away. Sending you love from my retreat. Xoxoxo

How Do You Love the Slowest Part of Yourself? (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

20130824-083510.jpg
I’ve never felt so definitely at the end of my own personal narrative. If my life is a three (or 12) part series, the first part of my life is ending. Have you ever felt this way? I haven’t.

I feel like a new character is emerging.

Astrologically, I’m almost through my Saturn Return, but metaphorically I feel like there are two very distinct versions of myself separated by a river. Most of me has crossed over – I am an inhabitant of an elsewhere and I am older, wiser, more empowered. There is, however, the smaller tenacious part of me that lingers by the edge of the river, watching my newer self across the distance. I stick my toe in the water, but I cannot cross over yet.

That small part of me is attached to what is.

My core belief is that part of our ultimate journey in life is learning to love the slowest parts of ourselves. This is what it means to love unconditionally. This is what it means to surrender. When I send love to the part of myself that cannot yet cross over, I empower her to take the leap when she’s ready. I convince her that the other side is a safe place to reside. I let her know that what she feels is valid. Conversely, when I force, push, belittle, tug at, or deny that part of myself, she cries, she acts out, and she stays unwilling to meet her ‘better half.’ I have to honor the slowest parts because I promise: a small part of a larger self committed to sabotaging the rest, will make an entire life a living nightmare.

And both selves, the emergent and the stagnant, will suffer.

What does it mean to love the slowest parts of yourself? It means allowing yourself the space to cry or vent or whine. It means sitting with the uncomfortable feelings that come up (instead of pretending they don’t exist). It can mean sitting down and praying – praying for courage, or strength, for wisdom or peace. For me, it’s understanding that my slowest self LOVES support. It’s finding a coach or mentor who can provide loving structure and accountability so I can move forward toward my dreams.

Loving the slowest part of yourself isn’t letting yourself off the hook. It’s holding your own hand and guiding yourself forward…with love.

It is acknowledging your fears, shame, failure, or grief as ONE PART or an infinitely larger picture. It’s accepting the implied: that where there is a slowest part, there’s a part that’s moving quickly. The slowest part of yourself isn’t all you are.

It’s a practice in unconditional self-love.

It’s loving the you that hasn’t yet lost the all weight, the you that’s still in love with self-destructive partners, the you that doesn’t quite know how to achieve her goals, but is bursting with the knowledge that its time to try.

It is trusting and loving what is.

And knowing, wherever it is your going, you are strong enough to get there and trusting that you’ll do it….in perfect time.

And so it is.

How do you love the slowest part of yourself?