The Journey is the Healing

Written by on June 12, 2012 in On Healing

It is easy to fall prey to the alluring idea that healing is a destination, that it is something to be achieved. But what happens when you achieve it? Then what? Does life suddenly pause with happily ever after? It is self defeating to be chasing the end when all the learning and joy is on the path that gets you there. Maybe there is no end of the rainbow but just the road ahead. 

Life dashes us all against the stony shore and we all need healing from life to keep on living. Everyone has wounds and pain in their lives and everyone is on a healing journey of some kind. To heal is to journey. The pain, the question, the emptiness whatever it is in each persons life, it is the motivation that gets us moving on a path, it pushes us to seek out answers to puzzling questions and it strengthens our resolve to overcome crippling fears. Sometimes that road can feel frightening and dark. Other times it seems like the only hope. Here is an example from my own life.

My Own Story of Healing

One thing that I have dealt with that pushes me on the healing path has been my weight. I have dealt with weight issues all of my adult life. At first it seemed like a curse. I was thoroughly engaged in war against myself as I dieted and self abused when the diet failed. I tried so many ways to lose weight. I fooled myself so many times thinking “This is it! This is the issue that has prevented me from losing weight.” This revelation was followed by feelings of intense shame when it turned out to be false. What I have learned (most painfully) is that my weight is my teacher. It is there for a very important reason and it will not leave until it has finished its job and fulfilled its purpose. My weight has challenged me, overturned old beliefs, helped me develop understanding and compassion. It has guided me back toward what is really important, it has shown me the truth when I would have preferred illusions and it has never given up. I realize now that my weight has been my friend and I have not treated my friend kindly. 

Since I have learned this (and need to be reminded daily) I have come to see my body in a different light. Yes, I want to be healthy, yes I want to be fit and be comfortable in my clothes and I can do all those things without dieting or focusing on my weight. It has been a challenge to find the right balance of acceptance and being proactive about change. But when I viewed my weight as my friend and teacher it changed the way I approached the issue. What is my weight teaching me right now? How do I feel in my body? What are my thoughts about food? My weight is like a friend that doesn’t let me fall asleep at the wheel of the car while driving. How could I not be grateful for such a dedicated and loyal friend?

I stopped fighting the teacher and began to learn. I am learning about myself, about others, and about perceptions. My weight has taught me self respect based on merit not appearance. It has taught me not to assume, and to remain open. It has shown me that who you are on the outside is temporary and subject to change. It has taught me that being yourself is an act of humility and vulnerability. I am on the journey. The journey is the destination. The healing is the journey. I look forward with profound gratitude to whatever the future holds.

What has been your teacher and friend? I would love to hear your comments.

Some books that helped me with my weight:

Women, Food and God, by Geneen Roth. Author’s website here.

The Joyous Body, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Author’s website here.

The Language of Emotions, by Karla McLaren. Author’s website here.

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  1. Lisa says:

    Physical ailments and depression have been and are my teachers and friends. They have given me pain and suffering I wouldn’t wish on anyone but I wouldn’t change a thing in my life. I am so grateful for the lessons they’ve taught me. They have given me deep compassion for others and are now helping me to love and accept myself just the way I am. Thank you pain! Thank you depression!

  2. Susanna says:

    Thanks Lisa!