“Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean that it is not real?” -Albus Dumbledore
I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend, who’s five year old daughter has been in the hospital for the past month due to a freak accident that has left her paralyzed from the waist down. My heart aches for this mother, her daughter, and her whole family. I know the pain, confusion, exhaustion, and overwhelming helplessness that comes with caring for a sick child. What struck me most about this conversation, and the reason it has not stopped churning in my mind, was this mother’s undeniable hope and positive spirit. Her words still echo in my brain, “I am a firm believer that if our minds can make us sick, then we must be able to use our minds to heal and make us well again.”
A month ago, her world had been turned upside-down. This mother’s life, this little girl’s life and this family’s life will never be the same. Yet, her determination to keep focused on the positive, giving hope to the situation, was inspiring. Can our minds truly heal us? This question has been haunting me for more than a week now.
Perhaps, my obsession with this theory stems from the fact that the most positive person I have known in my life was not able to heal himself or save himself from cancer. If it were simply the case of mind over matter, then he would still be with us today. Yet, I cannot bring myself to fully dismiss this line of thinking. My actual response to my friend was, “I think our minds can heal us in a way that makes us able to bear whatever our outcome may be.” She was dreaming of the moon, and I came along and gave her a hand full of lunar pebbles to help fill the crater she had been given!
Yes, I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and meditation. Giving my burdens over to God is a daily practice in my life. A shift in my mental focus, placing my mind on a higher power, provides strength and peace. I have seen the transformation it has had on my ability to “handle” stress and “bear” hardships.
The truth is that lately I am tired of “bearing.” I want to heal. Really heal. I want the whole Moon! My wounds may not be physical, like my friend’s daughter, but I am paralyzed in my own way. Any given day I can be paralyzed with grief, loneliness, stress or anxiety.
I can see how anxiety and stress play out in my life. The undertow of emotional currents tug on me in physical ways. I don’t FEEL stress, but my eye starts twitching, my face breaks out or a mysterious rash emerges, I compress my teeth with such strength while I sleep that I have actually cracked a molar in two, or I feel physical exhaustion all the time. I want to crawl into bed when I get home from work and hibernate. Essentially my mind, my emotions, have physical manifestations and physical ramifications. Yet, can our minds heal us? Really heal us?
My comfort and combat zones are both in my head. As an introvert and an avoider I find solace in the quiet. As a mom of three, the bathroom sometimes is the only quiet space in the house and even that territory is often invaded. I have solved many a problem and have come up with my best ideas alone in the shower. On the flip side, most of my best internal wars have been fought on the battle field of my brain. Sometimes the toxicity just has to be let out before I explode!
One of my best fought wars was ragged over starting this blog. To me this page goes against all of my instincts as an introvert. I want to stuff away my feelings, my weaknesses, and my fears. In my mind, “vulnerability” is a foul four letter word. I have had little difficulty sharing my burdens with the Lord, but when it come to real Earthly people I have an inability to be completely free and open. Perhaps this is why my healing process has to start here on these pages. Letting the door to my mind and my thoughts open a crack. Allowing people to see me and hear me. Mind over matter!
I picture God as Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid –Wax on, Wax off. He would say something like this, “Rory’san in order to heal you must tear down what you have built up -Wax on, Wax off.”
Build up pride, tear down and replace with compassion.
Build up isolation, tear down and replace with inclusion.
Build up fear, tear down and replace with understanding.
I have built up walls in my mind and deep within my heart to protect me, but in reality they are imprisoning me. Where are your strongholds? What is getting in the way or preventing you from healing? What roads are you being lead to that you know will be good, but scare the pants off you? Being vulnerable is a big one for me, and I know to fully heal I need to work on that area in my life.
Healing is hard work and takes time. It is not something that can happen overnight. We actually have to make up our minds to engage in the process of healing. Like my friend’s daughter it may take months and years of therapy to heal. If you are in your own healing process during this season of life, whether it be physical or emotional healing, you are not alone. Maybe life has left a crater in your heart and you are beginning to search for a place to hold your burden, or perhaps like me, you have been coping for sometime and want to work on healing in a deeper way. Each step we take down the road of healing adds a pebble onto our Lunar pile, and someday maybe we will reach the Moon. Life’s craters, bumps, bruises and all shining bright in the night sky for all to see!