Each and every one of us has healing to do. Part of this human journey is about living through experiences that make us ache and writhe. If we didn't feel these hardening episodes then we wouldn't feel the amazing ones either. We'd have no contrast. Contrast is what makes the bad, bad, and the good so good. Whatever it is that you endured, you survived it: you're still here. We should never shun or forget what we've been through, because there is always something valuable to learn - something of purpose that acts as a lesson we chose to experience and understand while we were busy vigorously creating this scroll of our life. And now that you've felt the atrocities of heartache, longing, loss, confusion or betrayal, help your spirit come full circle and heal the wounds cast upon you. Suffering was never meant to "win" but to teach, to open, to change. Reflect on those lessons and begin rebuilding the new you, stronger for having felt what you've felt. Below are three ways to heal your spirit:
Dance was my very first method of healing and I truly wish it was something I continued as religiously as I had. It is my 2016 goal to bring dance back into my life, as I believe it is one of my spirit's most cherished healing methods. And it just might be one of yours. Dance is an old, ancient practice that spans across cultures. It is one of the oldest ways to celebrate, express and enjoy our bodies. When we dance, we allow our bodies to express an art form that is wild and unwritten. The power of dance lies in allowing your body to move without judgment. How lucky are you to have a body that does move, a body that carries you through each day, enduring everything you throw at it. Dance is a beautiful expression because it has so many potentials. It can be delicate and angelic, aggressive and passionate, wandering and thoughtful. It gives us an outlet to express anything we're feeling, literally shaking it from our bodies, allowing our whole being - not just our minds - to feel whatever it is we're going through.
If you're not a ballerina, tap queen, or maiden of salsa, this is still for you. These beautiful art forms are all expressions, but they're based in teaching the body to move a certain way. While you're alone, certain you will not be interrupted, put on some music. It can be fast and jeering, or it can be painful and haunting. Trust whatever song you're feeling and just go with it. Stand still in an open space with your eyes closed. When the music starts, don't open your eyes but begin to sway and move your arms and neck in a way that feels like a hypnotic expression of what you're listening to. Try not to think. Try not to judge. Just try to feel. Let yourself relive whatever it is that drew you to this post, and allow your body to also feel it. Let your bones and muscles feel it. Get it out of your heart and out of your personal space.
Singing was my second method of healing, one that I credit to saving my life. As a teenager, I was an intense vocalist, recording an album and trying to market myself. When I began to lose vocal power, I was sent to the doctor to discover a large tumour in my chest, squashing all my organs, and particularly - my lungs. Thankfully, I had a very developed diaphragm thanks to my body's learned strength from singing. Had I not sang as much as I did, my outcome may not have been as lucky as it was. And believe me, if you saw the size of the tumour that was living inside me, you would be shocked that I am still here. I am shocked.
You don't need to be Adele to heal your body through singing. When we sing, we send vibrations up our esophagus, through out chests and into our masks. This vibration resonates in your cheekbones, your forehead, your chin (the vocal mask), and most importantly, all around your heart. It strengthens your insides. Sing to your favourite music, happy, painful or silly, and try to do so without judgment. Sing because it feels good, not because you're good or bad at it. Cats purr and they heal their bones. Imagine what this vibration - resonating from inside you - can do for you. We have beautiful artists out there who have put some of our deepest feelings into words, and expressing those words in the form of song is a gift we are lucky to experience. So sing your heart out. Literally.
I am a writer. I began to write as an escape from all the pain I was feeling. I watched my father die, I was dying, and I was angry at the world. I didn't want to live my life - I would have taken anybody else's. The month's I spent living in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy were nurtured by typing away into my laptop. I find it so curious that that experience is what threw me down this writer/storyteller path. This is how I got into creative writing, and luckily was accepted into journalism school based on some of this fiction written from a hospital bed. Writing is an escape. A reflection. It's why so many of us keep journals.
I'll tell you my little secret: I keep a document on my computer - buried deep in its crevices, never to be found by another - and I pour my little heart out there. It helped me navigate my pregnancy, my moments of despair, particularly my frustrations with myself, my few romantic relationships and everything else in between. The trick is to do something called automatic writing. You may have read about this before, but for me it works best with a computer because my fingers can keep up with my thoughts better than they can while holding a pen. I open my laptop, open my document, and almost shift the focus of my eyes so everything is blurry and I'm not looking at anything in particular. I type. I never once hit back space and I never once stop to give myself a chance to think about what I'm writing, or to organize my thoughts. I just write. I don't even know what I'm writing, it happens so fast. Once I've completely expelled everything, I stop. It usually takes 10-15 minutes. Then I get up, stretch or do something that doesn't take long, and I come back and read what I wrote. I am always surprised by it, sometimes even upset at how mean I am to myself (I would never say some of those things to another person) but I am proud of myself because I released that dark energy that was festering inside me. Don't think about what you're writing - just write. Get it out.
How have you healed your spirit? There are many ways we can navigate through the emotions of our lives, be that dancing, singing, writing - yoga, meditation, running - you name it. What works for you?