Healing Fundamentals

Watercolor and pencil, 5 x 7 inches

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
—Eleanor Roosevelt
I love the day we spring forward. Ah, more light! That's for me.

There are so many aspects to my current healing journey that I'm breaking the topic into several posts.

As a teacher, I am big into foundation. Maybe it's my architectural sensibility. Without a good foundation, a building will collapse. I teach basic drawing, basic watercolor, (and occasionally, basic guitar) because too many people leap into the fray of creative expression without a solid elemental foundation and then struggle with the frustration of baby step issues for years.

So it is with healing. The foundation of healing must be in place in order for any remedy or treatment to be effective.

The healing fundamentals I describe also form the foundation of well-being.  While these principals can apply to any problem in need of healing, for the sake of this post, I'll call the problem an injury.

Here are the underlying principals of healing.

Yep, you have an injury. Regardless of how in our face matters may be, it's amazing how we can resort to denial. Don't deny it, deal with it.

Regardless of whether the injury is acute, chronic, temporary or terminal, accept that you have a new commitment. This new commitment is a relationship to your healing journey. As you are in relationship, it's not just you and your willpower at work. You are interacting with your particular injury and situation. Each aspect has an effect on the others.

Good Cheer.
Use your healing experience to your best advantage. Take pleasure in the benefits that your injury presents. For example, these benefits may be spiritual lessons, helpful people you encounter, knowledge and wisdom you gain as a result of your injury and healing, or simply slowing down.

For example, here are some benefits of my foot and ankle injury:  
  • My upper body strength has increased 10-fold and my upper arms are nicely toned
  • My right thigh can now handle an entire body squat
  • A neighbor installed a new guard rail along my studio loft
  • I've slowed down and become more mindful
  • I've learned new healing techniques
  • A student is trading weekly housecleaning for a drawing class
  • I am learning how to ask for help and (even better) how to allow people to help me
  • Being cheerful makes life fun
  • I've been inspired to get back to regular blogging
If it seems outrageous to suggest that you be cheerful about your injury, consider this: Your mental and emotional attitude and approach towards your own healing is critical. Emotions are thoughts and thoughts affect our physical experience from the cellular to environmental realm. Be your own Pollyanna. It has to start with you. Expect the best, visualize yourself fully healed and remember, thoughts become things.

Become aware of an inclination to complain and intend to not do so.
"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
—William Shakespeare
The healing process takes time. So kick back and enjoy the ride. How many people do you know who have rushed the healing process only to make matters worse? Have you? (I have.)

I completely understand impatience. When I was eleven years old and sprained my ankle for the first time, my lower leg was placed in a heavy plaster cast. I couldn't stand it. Within a week, I hobbled down to the basement, found my father's hammer and chisel and broke the cast off. I don't think there were any dire consequences but I am relieved to see how much I've matured since and that I am  (at least a little) more patient.

If you run out to work with bronchitis, chances are that pneumonia might arise. Let yourself heal. What is the rush, really? There is nothing more important that your personal radiant health. Without physical health, everything else in your life is compromised.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. Your fear can be lack of motivation, depression, crankiness, frustration, whatever. Feel that way and get up to take your next step anyway. Learn how to pat yourself on the back. Practice becoming your own biggest fan.

You are responsible for your own health. Not your doctor or pharmacist or drugs. My foot and leg are healing because of my efforts. The doctors are here to help us with the finer points. Learn about how your body works. Become more aware of how you are feeling. Learn about ways to get better and stay better. Doctors, as we know them today, and pharmaceutical companies are recent phenomena. We've been healing ourselves for millennia.

Really, take it easy. Your body is working extra hard on the cellular level. Sleep a little more. Lay around and enjoy just being. 

One final note about Good Cheer and Allowing. We're human. We have untamed minds. Allow yourself a few days to mope around. At some point near the end of your acute recovery phase and the beginning of your rehabilitation phase, your energy and momentum will have to switch gears. (And that won't be the only time you'll have to switch gears.) You'll feel blue. Give yourself permission to be a little cranky or a little depressed but do not let it go on too long. Feeling down is part of the healing process but not a place you want to get stuck!

As much as you can. It's good medicine!

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RH Carpenter said...

This is a beautiful painting and a beautiful post - one to read more than once and take to heart, especially when feeling badly/sickly. I hope every day brings you a joyful moment that helps in your healing process!

Suzanne McDermott said...

Thank you, Rhonda ... my steadfast friend.