February’s resolution for the soul came more quickly to me than I expected – to engage healing. Last month marked one year since the start of all the bad, and all of the good, that happened last year. Being that and my daughter’s first birthday, the month already felt charged with emotion. It was difficult to think of taking on more. It would be nice if the old adage were true, but time does not heal all wounds, or any wounds really. Left to its own devices, time will sweep issues under the carpet and leave them for dust to gather and a lump to form that will trip you up on a daily basis whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Time can offer distance and the space for perspective; it can soften edges and give you a breather. While I am only a short space from the most recent life crisis, I am a full year from the first. Time has done what it can, and now it is my turn to actively engage in healing. Having embraced the hope that there can be healing, I felt like my spirit could take the process now. For to heal, we often have to clean, stitch, set, repair, or rehabilitate, and none of those come without pain.
Healing has always been synonymous with writing for me. However, this past year has been one of the few times I have shied away from writing. Every piece of me from body to spirit felt fragile as if there was a crack in my stability and the lightest tap would shatter me. Writing meant reliving, and I wasn’t ready for that. Normally I pick up my pen in times of heartache and distress, not to whine and complain, but because it is therapeutic. I need to write my way to clarity and coherence. Putting pen to page (or fingers to keyboard) is a way of constructing myself and processing. I don’t even necessarily need to reread it. The act of writing itself leads me to where I need to be. In college, I was the nerd who actually filled entire notebooks with class notes because the act of writing engaged my attention and my memory. In my personal life, I write to understand what I desire and what I fear, to ask questions and find answers, to explore ideas and make connections. I write to know who I am. Without it I become lost in my own mind.
During my last year of college, I had to complete a short research paper for an advanced composition class. Our professor was deeply invested in getting her students to love writing in addition to doing it well. So our project began with mind mapping our interests to develop a topic that we would be willing to write about. Mine landed on writing therapy. I know it is used in cognitive behavioral therapy, but I was most interested in the ways people use it on their own and if they would use it more if given certain tools and encouragement. Now I find myself on the other end of that – needing it and cringing away. Engaging healing means taking a deliberate step toward writing for therapy again. This blog has been a tentative first step in that direction. I never meant to have any, let alone most, of my posts be about personal matters. But that is what I felt prompted to write and, so far, I haven’t been sorry. I think it has prepared me to move further up and further in.
Concrete ways I am engaging in healing outside of writing are practicing forgiveness in specific and intentional ways, re-reading Aeryn’s birth story for the first time and beginning the process of facing some things down, being relentless in my pursuit of answers to the questions and problems still hanging around, and looking for ways to teach myself a whole lot more about peace and relaxation. I found this quote by Wendy Wisner while I was still pregnant with Aeryn and reading it shortly after her birth made me cry with that first sweet glimmer of hope. Reading it again now tells me who I will be in the end.
I wish someone had told me that I would eventually find all those pieces of myself — that I would sweep up the glass, put it together again. And that the new me would sparkle, bend light, make rainbows.
So that’s where I am now: sweeping up the pieces, getting out the gorilla glue, and settling in for the tedious task of rebuilding myself. After all, mosaics begin with broken glass.