Aha moments. Epiphanies. Game changers. Mind blowers. Whatever you want to call them. These are some of the guiding principles that have helped us create some sanity and sanctuary in our lives. Many we return to again and again for support. We offer them to you wherever you are in your healing.
Yes, it really happened.
One of the hardest things to come to terms with was the truth. We can see now that it was the running, hiding, deflecting, covering up, and ignoring of our early experiences that caused so much additional stress, fear, trauma, and dis-ease in our adult lives. Fair warning, though: Acceptance was not easy. It may or may not have lead to tear soaked moments in the fetal position. But once you look your past in the face and say: “Yes. It really happened. Now What?” you are magically catapulted toward ultimate transformation and freedom. And it’s a wild and awesome ride, where the past is no longer a behemoth barrier to your success, but a small mirror in your pocket that you can pull out whenever you need a little reflection time.
Time doesn’t heal wounds, people do.
Your painful experiences will not go away. You will not wake up one day and find you ‘got over it.’ Try letting a toothache heal on its own and you’ll know what we mean. The pain might fade in and out, but eventually what once could have been a quick and simple cavity fill ends up needing a root canal or all-out extraction. It just doesn’t disappear on its own no matter how much you will it to. Being scared of the dark at twenty-seven and drowning in a bottle at twenty-nine, we finally realized our lives weren’t going to get better without us. As it turns out, healing is a verb. It is rolling up your sleeves, down and dirty, hard work! But it is ever so worth it . It is ultimately up to you to actively pursue your own healing, carve your own path, and change the outcome of your story. And lord knows, if we can do it, so can you!
It’s never too late.
If it turns out you do need a root canal, that’s okay too. Make the appointment now. It’s never too late to fix your teeth. Or your soul. It’s never too late to heal. To forgive. To get the extra scoop of ice cream at a baseball game or swim with the sharks or start your first blog or fall in or out of love or splash through the mud on a mountain bike or completely and entirely change the course of your life or radically accept yourself right where you are. We didn’t really get this ball rolling until our thirties, but we’re having the best decade of our lives! And it’s only getting better.
It started with one mile on the treadmill. One yoga class. Slowly, step by step (some of them backward), we found ourselves running a 10k. Backpacking 25 miles. Then biking 80. Individually and together, we discovered how critical physical health is to our emotional and psychological survival. We ditched the fast food, the booze, the sedentary life. We hit the trail, the mountains, the gym. And now we can feel the difference when we go without. We know that physical “therapy” is as essential as air, because we choke when we go without.
Feel what you feel (even if it’s nothing).
There’s this line from Oriah Mountain Dreamer that goes, “I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.” You don’t really know what that means until you actually sit. with. pain. It hurts like hell, people. Anxiety like a thousand moths trying wildly to burst through your chest. Sorrow like a dead weight anchor in the pit of your abdomen, immovable. Anger like an electric shock through your limbs. So overwhelming sometimes you find you feel nothing but empty. You don’t want to move but can’t sit still. The magic is that once you let yourself feel it, you realize you can handle it. And it’s oh so impermanent. And if you really feel the tough stuff, then you really feel the good stuff too. The warmth and lightness of gratitude. The breeze on your skin. The comforting pressure of another’s touch. The creamy sweetness of that ice cream. You really feel it in a physical way. You come alive with sensation, and the whole world around you seems more alive, too.
Be Here Now.
When you’re feeling the physical sensations of a moment, you are really here. There’s a lot of new agey talk about ‘being present’ but it truly may be the single most important key to healing. Every time you’re here enough to hear the quiet flap of a bird’s wing over your own thoughts, or feel your breath in your chest, you are living in the present instead of the past. Or the future. The more you do this, the more you realize that you are not the kid stuck in the struggle. You are not the insecure guy in relationships from ten years ago. You are not the employee giving the presentation next week. Every moment becomes an opportunity to feel. To hear. To experience this completely radical phenomenon of being alive. You will catch yourself going astray many times. Bring yourself here – where you are safe, loved, and perfect just the way you are – every chance you get.
You can’t be your best self by yourself.
Sadly, statistically, there are about a bajillion people out there who have endured childhood trauma. You, yes YOU, are not alone. We’ve been insanely lucky to have each other on this journey – someone who witnessed our traumas and stood steady through our challenges and triumphs – but we’ve also found invaluable support in our communities through things like yoga, cycling, and reconnecting with friends. We trimmed out the people in our lives who were toxic, including an entire half of our family tree. Now we’re working to surround ourselves with people who inspire, motivate, and support us. This blog is a step toward that end. We hope to stop the shaming, the hiding alone in the shadows, and join together to heal each other and our communities!
As much as we focus on the difficult habits that arise out of traumatic situations (anxiety, depression, addiction, relationship troubles, tooth decay, etc.), if you pay attention you will find that some of your coping skills are actually healthy and helpful attributes to have (compassion, intuition, determination, awareness, etc.). Or you may find that you’re just naturally great at the guitar or juggling or public speaking or comforting people near death or writing or welding. Everyone has something to offer this world. Every time we give, we are rewarded tenfold. It’s a viciously awesome cycle, really, because we can never seem to give enough back for all the amazingness that comes our way. Every day you make an effort to discover your creative potential and use it for the good of others, you elevate the consciousness of the whole planet, and you heal yourself in ways you may have never dreamed possible.
Life is Good.
This is how we end many of our conversations. It’s a simple reminder that our existence is something to be celebrated. No matter how frustrating, heartbreaking, or defeating an experience or day may be, at the end, it’s good to be alive. Just how good it is? Well, that’s up to you.