When you set out to climb a steep slope, the most expedient route isn’t a straight line toward the peak. Instead, you zig and zag, gradually making your way upward at an incline that’s sustainable. Though at times it might feel like you’re moving sideways or even backward, all along you’ll still be making your way forward and up.
Healing, like climbing, is rarely a direct path upward. While it’s natural to want to keep track of your progress, it isn’t always obvious and on some days you might feel as if you’ve made none at all. The roadmap to healing can be a long and bumpy journey of gaining and losing ground, but what truly matters is that you’re on your way.
To make things a little more complicated, not only does healing rarely occur in a straight line, but it also moves in two directions. At times you may find yourself healing from the inside out, while at others change occurs from the outside in. So what’s the difference?
Imagine you’re cooking dinner and your hand accidentally grazes the hot stove. Looking down to see a nasty burn, you’re angry with yourself for making this mistake. The idea that the ensuing discomfort might get in the way of your day-to-day is aggravating and upsetting, but those feelings will fade as the physical wound mends. This is healing from the outside in.
On the other side of things, imagine you’ve just gone through a breakup. You can’t see any damage on the outside, but your heart is hurting. Because you’re having trouble sleeping, you grow noticeably fatigued. You know, however, that time and little self-care will be the recipe for getting back to yourself. This is healing from the inside out.
Emotional and physical healing may seem completely different, but in fact, they are usually intertwined. A back injury might prevent someone from exercising, and deprived of their usual outlet and in pain, they become angry. The problem only grows worse as they pick fights with their partner and keep up a self-defeating internal dialogue. Now healing is required both on the outside and within.
Because the mind and body are so connected, it’s important to allow the healing process to permeate both. Ask yourself how your physical body is affecting your emotions and vice versa, then consider what you might need to feel a little better.
It’s not always easy to keep track of the twists and turns in the healing process, so it can be helpful to keep a reflection journal. That way, even on the toughest days, you’ll have a roadmap of where you’ve been and where you’re at. Let your journal become a daily place to observe your feelings and show yourself compassion. If you need a starting point, try answering the following questions candidly:
When and how did I discover my current challenge?
How did I feel when I discovered it?
When I feel like I’m healing, I want to ______.
When I feel like I’m not healing fast enough, I want to ______.
The truth is, we’re all healing from something. While we try to stay positive, sometimes we face unexpected challenges, such as an onslaught of well-meaning, but unsolicited advice or the impact of receiving a diagnosis. It’s okay to have a bad day, to feel overrun by your emotions, to ask for help. It’s also okay to feel on top of the world, to brim with confidence, to take charge. Days like these, and everything in between, can be equally in service to your healing.
No matter your story, healing takes care and it takes time. We can’t stop the flurry of emotions that come up, but we can find solace and sanctuary in our practice. Whatever you might be facing—be it illness, heartbreak, or a dream that’s been derailed—the following classes will help you remember that through it all, you are always healing.
Everything in Service of Healing with Felicia Tomasko
Audio Meditation – 15 min
The Power to Heal with Kia Miller
Kundalini – 30 min
Healing Practice with Jo Tastula
Vinyasa Flow – 60 min
Listen to Your Body with Steven Espinosa
Hatha – 60 min
Visualize a Positive Healing Outcome with Felicia Tomasko
Audio Meditation – 10 min