October 6, 2010

Of Healing!

Posted in English, Reflections at 8:55 pm by Rou...

A dear friend of mine shared this article with me a while ago… I cannot possibly describe how much it touched me… I remember like 2 years ago, during one of my many break-ups with my ex, my intimate friend told me that I should live my grief and pain on losing him fully, just like I have lived my love to him fully… Becasue only then that I will be able to heal… Reading this now, I couldn’t but remember her words… My friends… thank you both!
Time Travelling – By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
So, a couple of days ago I did something I thought was. . . . unwise. I telephoned my ex. Earlier in the day I’d come upon a note in my date book. It said, “Six months since explosion,” referring to the night I received the news that ended my marriage. I’d written it in my calendar a week after that night, hoping that when I came upon it in October I would be able to say, “Wow, I haven’t thought about that in days.” Ha! Clearly, after ten years together, a six month time-line for moving completely out of the grief and pain of the separation was. . . .overly optimistic.
So, disappointed that I was not pain-free and pretty sure that contact was a bad idea, I dialed the phone number that used to be my own. I had not spoken to him in a month. I’m not sure what I expected. It felt like something I needed to do.
The conversation my ex and I had was almost identical to conversations we’d had six days and six weeks after the night we’d separated. I heard us both say the same things, express the same hurt, guilt, regret and bewilderment although admittedly our words lacked the fire they had once held.
After I hung up I just sat there for a few moments in my apartment, silent and unmoving as if I was waiting for something. And then, I got it: we were done.
I once read an article about how different forms of life live at different speeds. When you cut down a tree it does not die instantly and in fact may be alive- producing new leaves- a year later. It dies slowly. I think about this as I experience and observe both the spiral of grief and the slow healing in my own life. The truth is I’m not sure we really know how emotional healing happens, but I am watching carefully in the hope that along with feeling more whole and enthused about my own life, I may be able to glean some new insights that will help me in my work with others.

So, here’s today’s six month observation: it has taken me six months to really see- to know- the reality of what has happened. I mean, I felt the pain, but it has taken me six months to really get that the marriage is over, that the dream I shared with this other to co-create a life and a home, to spend the rest of our lives together is finished. Now, I may be a slow learner, and I am not saying I have gotten it “once and for all,” although there does seem to be some stability in the knowing that was not there over the initial months when I would spiral through and then away from this knowledge. Earlier, I simply could not fully take in the reality of what had happened.

Surely this is part of the healing: being able to see what is, to grasp what has been lost, what has been injured, what has died and what remains. Because we cannot heal what has not been grieved, and we cannot grieve the loss that has not been experienced. And we can’t experience something fully until we do. That’s probably the hardest part: the unpredictability of how long it will take to grasp loss and change at all levels of our being. It doesn’t happen all at once, but in bits and pieces: I see an art exhibit or eat at a restaurant I know Jeff would have enjoyed, and I feel the impulse to turn and share it with him, (and delight in his pleasure) and then I remember that I can’t; I have a hard day and my muscles anticipate curling up to be held in familiar arms, and then realize those arms are no longer available. And slowly, as the new reality is faced and felt, what is sinks in.

I’ve always loved the quote by Suzuki Roshi: “We don’t need to learn to let go. We need to recognize what is already gone.” But it takes time to recognize what is gone, to absorb loss, to see and feel the new normal and make our internal and external adjustments. Often we have to tell the story of our loss to others in order to recognize what is gone. That’s what memorial services and funerals are often about: sharing stories of the loss we share so we can support each other in recognizing what is gone.

Healing happens if we allow it to, and it starts at least in part with our willingness to see and experience our losses. And sooner or later, if we are willing to be touched by grace and guided by the impulse for healing that is in our very DNA, we will be able to see and experience the loss, to know the wound fully. We may wake up in tears or wail at the moon, but it will be bearable. And healing will happen. And we will know again both our own wholeness and the larger Mystery in which we participate.


  1. Asmaa said,

    I just like it :))
    not just like it … but I really feel every word and every letter and everything It summarizes the loss and healing experience … it’s something you need to read every now and then to connect with oneself .. and understands its feelings, reactions and needs…
    Thank you, I really LOVED it

  2. Rou... said,

    I couldn’t agree more ya Asmaa… I have absolutely fell in love with her words… and it’s very very true… I can relate to every word as well…

    Thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment kaman 🙂

  3. gjoez said,

    wooow! Amazing bgad!

    Bass howa feh eh, posts keteera awy 3al blogosphere,including mine, is talking abt forgiving, and forgetting and healing…
    Yemken because blogs are sanctuary?
    Wala ana elyy 3ala rasy bat7a!?LOL

  4. Rou... said,

    Didn’t notice that ya Gjoez… not until you mentioned it… 🙂

    3amatan this is a good sign of moving on… we law 3ala el bat7a, kolona haza el ragol my friend! 😉

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