Is your recovery a sort of homecoming?
A few weeks ago I had a tough day. No, actually it was more like a tough week. I would like to think that it came up on me quickly, but in reality it was right there, simmering in the background for days.
Ever had a week like that? You can feel things simmering in the background but you are not fully aware until it slams into you.
That’s what it was like for me. Good things were happening, in fact, so good that I began to ignore myself. I ignored my need for good nutrition, for exercise, and I had important stuff going on. So important that my mind couldn’t rest.
I ignored my health, my need for sleep, my need to slow down and my regular practice of writing. Instead, I was completely focused on what lay ahead and I lost track of what is going on now.
Sometimes recovery has a way of reminding you that you have gotten off track and you need an attitude adjustment. Looking back on it, I realize that I allowed what was going on outside of me became more important than want what was going on inside.
Then I woke up, I felt like I couldn’t move. Everything took energy to do and I felt like I had a head cold. Only this time my body wasn’t sick, my insides were sick.
And you know it’s time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light in the distance
I get like this every now and then. My mood feels low, my thinking gets slow and my energy is sapped. I feel sad. Lights are far off in the distance. I long for the light and life to return to my bones but that is for another day. On these days, you just need to do the work in the moment to get through.
I have learned that on these days, the days when my mind feels like a war zone, I don’t need to come out and do more shooting. Bringing out the big guns will not lead to healing. Usually you are the one who will end up being the collateral damage. When you feel like you are in the war zone, you need to find a way to go home again.
Oh don’t sorrow, no don’t weep
For tonight, at last
I am coming home
I am coming home
Going home does not mean that you have to go away. Leaving your life, your situation probably won’t make things better. Going home is about returning to a practice of gentle living. You lay down your weapons and leave the war zone. You are gentle, with yourself.
On these days, I breathe more, I walk a little slower, I re-read important things, I close my eyes, I practice patience, I do the basics, I try not to isolate, I take time to laugh and lose myself in my music, I pray more, I review a few things that I am grateful for, and I give myself the gift of a daytime nap.
Tonight we’ll build a bridge
Across the sea and land
See the sky, the burning rain
She will die and live again
When your heart beats slow again, you are ready. You will have to walk through rain and falling snow. But you walk with determination. When you walk through days like this, you are bridge building across sea and land. Across flesh and blood. Across grief and pain.
Sometimes healing is not being pain-free, it is more about what you are building towards. You are building a bridge from where you are at to where you want to be. You lay the foundation, place the frames and then pour the surface out so that it can cool and be ready.
Bridges can sometimes be years in the making. You do a day’s work and then at night you let the bridge rest. Sometimes the next day you are surprised because instead of you building the bridge, the bridge builds you.
One of my favorite songs by U2 is “A Sort of Homecoming.” The lyrics quoted in this article are taken from that song. The song tells a story of returning home after a battle. When you return, you walk past walls that have fallen down and you have to look through eyes that have faced battle. You have to learn to see with new eyes. You have to learn to look past the smoke and rubble, past the grief, past the winter than seems unending. You look for the people who can be there together with you. You look within yourself to the parts of yourself that are ready.
So maybe today is a day for you to build a bridge? If you feel this way, you are not alone. Healing is about building a bridge from where you are at right now to where you want to be. Today, give yourself the gift of patience.
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Keep it Real
Photo by Timo Kuusela