Healing is a transformation of view rather than a cure. It involves recognizing your intrinsic wholeness and, simultaneously, your connectedness to everything else. Above all it involves coming to feel at peace within yourself.  – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Last February I started going to a chiropractor after discovering that my pelvis & shoulder girdle were all out of wack. I had assumed that the aches & pain were just the stuff of life and not a problem. When I saw my x-ray all those aches & pains made obvious sense. I had never really had chiropractic work done before so I did not know what to expect. I assumed it would start to feel better quickly. It started to change quickly, but I wouldn’t describe at as feeling “better”. Some days my hips felt like they were going a whole new way in my body. I was so used to adapting to being out of alignment, that the adjustments the chiropractor was making in my body towards healing & better alignment didn’t actually feel good at all. It was uncomfortable and just plain old hurt.

Sometimes when people start practicing yoga it doesn’t feel good in the way they are expecting. Lots of people come to yoga for the first time because someone (doctor, neighbor, daughter, t.v. celebrities.) told them that it would be so wonderful and would feel so good. I worry that especially for people who experience chronic pain (in mind/body/spirit) yoga is their last resort to feel better and have built up LOTS of expectation & hopes for it to “work”. And for some people it works right away. And others, myself included, it does not.

I tried yoga years before I finally understood what all the hype was about. At first, it didn’t make any sense to me why people liked it at all. I am not comfortable sitting cross legged on the floor (still today!). I couldn’t hear the instructor well or understand what they were talking about. Everything that the instructor said to relax me or focus my attention just made me want to crawl out of my skin (and out the door). I get it that there are times in life when being encouraged to draw your attention inward is about as relaxing as listening to a radio station that isn’t coming in well on full blast. There have been so many times when I am so tired of myself and how I am feeling. When I finally did find the right class for me I became vividly aware of how tired, angry, and sad I was. I didn’t realize just how crappy I felt until I started doing yoga! So, instead of feeling obviously better, I felt kind of worse because I was feeling ALL the feelings.

Healing is a complicated word. We want it to feel obviously good- like happiness, sunshine, laughter, and smiles. Sometimes taking a long nap is really healing. Eating delicious soup & healthy fruit smoothies can be healing. And yet draining a cyst is also healing – and painful and disgusting. Having a difficult conversation with someone you love can be healing – and heartbreaking and scary. Getting the curve adjusted in my misaligned spine was healing – and took my breath away in the moment. Giving up alcohol or drugs is healing – and sometimes causes such a shock to the systems of your body that it is life-threatening.

Maybe we need to think of a few more words to describe the many sensations of healing, because it is otherwise just too vague of a term. Our expectations and hopes are always going to go to the most desirable version of healing; the kind that feels “good”.  But, that good feeling might be so far down the road, and our expectations are jumping over really important healing steps along the way. Maybe the first steps of healing are feeling all the feelings whether they are all too pretty or not. Who knows? Feeling & Healing rhyme – have you ever noticed that? hm. Interesting.

This is kind of all I have to say. I want to come up with a big list of synonyms for healing. 

I hope that if you are experiencing some of the difficult, uncomfortable, and stinky synonyms of healing that you also get some moments of the other synonyms like; fresh air, long naps, and laughter along the way. 

Peace on your head, you.

Rachel

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