This year at any given moment you could have found me on my knees, or in the fetal position, wishing for a different body or a different life. You could have found me in the car, driving, snot-nosed, tears blurring my view of the road, driving aimlessly with nowhere to go. You could have seen me sitting alone in my parked car, listening to music, escaping home. You could have heard me reciting “why me,” and “of course me,” while sitting under the covers in bed, staring at the television.
Yes, those are a few of the somewhat destructive ways I react when I’m slipping out of trust, when I let pain guide me, instead of grace.
Grace you see, is how I heal. She is that inner voice that picks me up off the floor and says “Get up, my love. You are going to be okay.” Grace tells me I’m worth it, that I’m strong, and that I already know the way. She is my light. She’s the one who shows me how to heal the pain.
Healing is messy. It is tears and hurt, breakthroughs and breakdowns. It is snot and sad music, beauty and depth. Healing is complex, and while I found myself on the floor, I also found grace. This year, I discovered a few ways to heal the pain. I wanted to share these with you in case your year has looked anything like mine.
5 Things I do to Heal the Pain
- Move. I put on music and move my body. Sometimes movement looks like child’s pose and deep breathing. Sometimes it looks like a wild intuitive dance with shaking and jumping and circling. Sometimes it looks like stillness. I let my body tell me how to move, and most often it breaks me open and releases the pain. My spotify playlist “Isolation” has been getting me through this last year. Maybe it will help break you open too.
- Pray. I ask God or the Great Mother, or my own mother on the other side, to show me the way. I offer my pain to Her. I surrender. I sink into my trust that all of this is here to initiate me into a wiser, more whole version of myself. I ask for guidance, to be shown the way. I trust. I allow. I breathe. Tosha Silver has been a guide for me and my prayers. I love her book Change Me Prayers. It’s full of simple prompts to connect you more deeply to the unknown.
- Connect. Sisterhood always holds me up. I have a few women in my life I keep close even through isolation and distance. They know all the things. Mostly we have long ongoing conversations laced with text and voice on Voxer. I highly recommend starting Voxer conversations with the women who you trust, so they can hold you in all your fullness. Check it out if you don’t know what I mean.
- Read. Books save me. I love memoirs and juicy romantic stories that whisk me away to another place. Through reading I remember that I am not alone. That being human means to struggle. That we all hurt in our own ways and we all desire to feel more whole, more connected, and more ourselves. Right now, I’m reading Outlander. It is the perfect escape from the pain.
- Write. I scribble constantly. Tiny poems here and there. Little notes on my phone. Half-written memories of grace and beauty and loss and pain. There’s something cathartic about letting the pain slip out of my fingertips onto the paper. Through writing, I get a chance to make sense of it all. My latest poem is titled “An Ode to my Womb,” a remembrance of who I am before and after my hysterectomy.
And so, we march on. As we continue to wind through these dark and uncertain days, my prayer is that we find ways to heal the pain, that we find ways to get up off the floor and connect with grace. I’d love to know what has been helping you through this past year. Hit reply and let me know. I love to hear from you.
Sending you love,
Michelle Long (Founder of The Practice®)
P.S. Our next Sunday Service is on February 14, Valentine’s Day, at 10 am PST. This is a sacred time to connect with yourself and others and heal the hurting parts. I hope you will join us. It’s a donation based offering, so pay what feels right to you, and take time for yourself.