Healing as Spiral: Redefining "Done"
When we see life and healing as a continuous spiral, we can claim the infinite depth of possibilities in learning how to communicate between our mental being with our physical body.
Over the weekend I was reminded of the importance of continued practice. Practice in movement. Practice in nutrition. Practice in breath. Practice in self touch. Practice in boundaries. These are things we all find at least a little challenging at one point in time or another. And that challenge is further compounded by the desire to be “done.”
When we’re in pain, we want to find the end. We want to be finished. We want to walk away from that period in our lives and never look back.
And that is important. And completely valid. And completely possible.
However, our understanding of what constitutes “end” is problematic. Our “finished” space is often visualized as one in which we can drop everything that was related to the time of healing because we are now healed. And once we’re healed, we can get back to the “real life”...the one that lead to the pain to begin with. When “done” equals “forgetting,” it is no wonder consistent practice is challenging.
We are taught that life is a line. We are born, we live, we die. We get injured, we heal, we move one. Beginning, middle, finite end.
However, when we step back a bit, we see that life is a spiral. The sun and the moon chase each other across the sky in slowly oscillating paths. We repeat routines over and over, yet slightly different every time. We move along the arms of double-, triple-, nonuple- (probably infinite-) helixes, constantly moving forward, and constantly revisiting past spaces from different vantage points.
And that is important.
And it is the thing we are not taught. We are not taught that wellness is work. We are not taught that healing is continuous. We are not taught that we are deserving of the effort.
We are taught that pain and injury are an interruption to life instead of seeing them as the messages they are. We are taught that repeated patterns are meaningless coincidences instead of stabilizing influences or opportunities to grow and be differently. We are taught to compare our pains and problems to others’ and see them as lesser instead of being encouraged to acknowledge them as simply ours to change or not change as we are ready.
It is no surprise to me when clients ask me, “How long do I have to do this self massage/these exercises/meditation/breathwork?” because we live in a world that has become sight blind to the true spiral weaving of life. We look for the full stop, instead of the evolution. We look for “Am I done yet?” instead of “Does this still serve me?”
There is nothing wrong with the desire to “be fixed.” There is nothing wrong with wanting someone to deus ex machina that bitch and just make the problem go away. Sometimes we need that type of support. Sometimes we need an external resource to bolster us and help us to figure out where to go next. Sometimes we look at what is immediately under our feet instead of searching ahead on the path. This phase of healing is totally valid!
It is when we reclaim the understanding that this healing phase is just a phase, that we can grasp that healing happens every day, always. When we claim ownership of our bodies (that we will exist in long after we stop seeing the practitioner/therapist/doctor), we can see clearly our responsibilities to ourselves and start honoring the lines of communication between our psychic selves and our somatic selves. When we open to the idea of life as spiral, we can become aware of the possibilities in our replaying and repeating patterns and leverage them to reach levels of healing so much deeper than quelling the scream of pain that originally (finally) got our attention.
Will you always do the same self massage/exercises/meditation/breathwork. Probably not. But you will always do something. You will listen to what your body needs and make changes to your life. You will find what works in the now, what works for the next turn of the wheel. You will own your health. You will know you are worth it.
And that is important.