When I was 19, I went to see a therapist for the first time. I was anxious and secretly consumed by a growing eating disorder. I knew I needed help, and I was hoping that a professional would put me on the “fast track” to healing and “being okay,” for once and for all.
18 years, 4 therapists, 1 semester off of college, 3 massive relapses, 4 major moves, 10 years of yoga practice, 2 children, 1 marriage, 2 hip surgeries, 9 million pages of journaling and 1 year on crutches later, it FINALLY occurred to me that there might not be a FAST track to the kind of healing I was looking for, after all (EX-hale).
Maybe what was “wrong” with me wasn’t ever cure-able, because NOTHING was ever wrong with me to begin with. Maybe, the problem wasn’t with ME, but in how I knew or didn’t know how to cope. Maybe I didn’t know how to cope because I hadn’t yet learned how to. Maybe it took me a long time, and maybe it takes a long time. Maybe I confused what was “wrong” with what hurt, and maybe what hurt wasn’t bad or wrong or a sign of the apocalypse. Maybe it just hurt, and maybe it hurt so much that I thought it implied death. Maybe I was confused and human and doing my very best, and not a problem to be solved or a situation to be improved.
As Geneen Roth says, we aren’t problems to be fixed, after all. To say that there is something wrong with right where we are and just who we are is to refuse our lives, and THAT is a kind of spiritual suicide. There is no button that any one of us can press that will instantly make our lives feel better. If our lives don’t feel so good, that begs questioning, courage and maybe change. But it does not mean it’s the end. And it does not mean we’ve done something wrong. It doesn’t mean we’re bad or make sloppy choices or do stupid things. It means we’re alive. It means that we feel. It means that life isn’t about doing it all right or getting somewhere really comfortable or finally being free from challenge.
If we take ourselves off the treadmills and the tight ropes and stop stuffing ourselves into too tight quarters or closets or jackets and let ourselves EXIST, even momentarily, we might see that we’re just right. We’re perfectly alive. We’ve got skin on our bones that cover our organs that are working for us AND WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO DO ANYTHING FOR ANY OF THAT. Except to be born.
Maybe we don’t know what will happen. Maybe we don’t know if we’ll ever feel better. Maybe we don’t know if our plans will ever come together, if we’ll ever truly heal or if we’re even getting anywhere from all of the moving around we’re doing. So, the most sensible thing to do is to be in the moment we’re in. Feeling our cells bobbing around inside our bodies, giving us a whole life to lead and follow. Trusting ourselves enough to feel whatever arises and trusting ourselves to let go when it’s time. We don’t know everything, but we can sense a lot of things, and that’s worth noticing. We know, in our hearts, that what the world doesn’t need is another woman striving endlessly and desperately to fix herself. The world needs deep compassion, radical love, acceptance and courage that comes from showing up as our WHOLE selves with our WIDE hearts and without apology.
We can stop working on getting somewhere and do something revolutionary. We can stop searching for the fast track, the quick fix or the long suffering road of self improvement, and we can look around at WHO WE ALREADY ARE when we aren’t trying so hard to be something or somewhere else. As Ram Dass once wrote, we can “be here now.”