When you embark on your journey to healing, when you communicate to the Universe that you want to heal, evolve, and vibrate higher, sometimes things get worse before they improve. All your issues are revealed. You are no longer able to repress the things you attempted to hide.  Real healing does not occur in a vacuum. It takes real work, daily work…it’s painful, uncomfortable, embarrassing, humiliating and depressing at times. Healing never really feels good. It is not a completely enjoyable process. 

The Universe will also continue to test you. It will utilize folks in your immediate and extended circles to teach you lessons. When you least expect it, another lesson is on its way. In these moments, know that you are not alone. Healing is occurring. Stay aware of opportunities to heal and use them to your advantage. Furthermore, you are not alone in your quest to heal. You are surrounded by many individuals,  all across the world, who are also committed to healing.

One of the most difficult parts of healing, is not only dealing with the trauma, but replacing old coping skills with new ones.  Addressing the identified trauma, as well as the maladaptive coping skills that have been utilized for extended periods of time, can be challenging. Sometimes, the idea of releasing the negative coping skills and replacing them with new, positive ones, can be so overwhelming, that some feel defeated before they even begin.

They frequently question …

Now what? What do I do when I start to feel the pain again or have those intrusive memories? Do I overeat, drink, self medicate, isolate, hurt myself, hurt others or engage in risky behaviors? What else is there? It’s all new, so how will I know what to do?”

They question their ability to determine if the new skills are effective. It’s the “what – ifs”, the periods of uncertainty, the insecurities and low self esteem, that are paralyzing.
All of these emotions, in some cases, are far worse than the idea of reliving, releasing and healing. The dysfunctional familiar is far more comfortable and safe. It’s challenging to accept the “ebbs and flows” of the healing process.  The possibility of failing, disappointing others, guilt, and falling short of goals, in addition to having to relearn “who one is ” and trust in what can work, inhibits many from taking the first steps. One must trust that the new coping skills will be just as effective or even more effective, than their previous skills.

In order to be successful, a variety of simple tools must be readily available. A functional holistic toolbox is necessary.

Here are some tools to consider…

Prayer–  Connecting with a higher power. Knowing that one is not alone. Trusting in a Divine energy.  Communicating thoughts, fears and concerns to a higher power is a powerful method of healing.

Meditation–  “Prayer is talking to God. Meditating is listening to God.” Silence is key, taking time to tune in and listen to the energy around us, as well as our inner voice, helps to keep one connected.

Visualization- Visualize your healing. What does it look like, feel like? What will your life look like once you are healed? If you can’t visualize it, you will not be able to recognize healing when you finally experience and live it.

Feeling and Releasing- Allow the pain to come…and then release. Confront the feeling, do not repress it. Accept that healing comes in waves and is a lifelong journey.

Developing a Life Line-  Identify one person or several people to call on when things get tough. Identify folks in your circle who can “give you life” when feeling depleted.

Engaging in hobbies- Engage in activities that feed your soul. Participate in activities that create joy and happiness in your life.

Know that you are not alone- There are many people who are in your shoes. Many who are on the same journey. Find your tribe. Find a community that supports you, someone you can confide in. Connect with individuals who motivate and inspire you.

Deep Breathing – Shallow breathing does not provide us with the oxygen that is required to effectively heal. Learn deep breathing exercises that promote relaxation and healing. 

Grounding exercises- Occasionally, individuals who have experienced trauma experience feelings of being disconnected or they may disassociate. This can be quite scary. In these occasions one can feel that they are reliving their traumatic experiences. Grounding exercises, such as Earthing or deep breathing or even utilizing grounding crystals, can help to “bring one back into reality.”

Journaling- Expression through writing, releases tension and anxiety. It also helps to track progress and identify patterns. This allows one to document and visibly “see” the healing as it occurs.

Healthy eating- Eat foods that promote health and wellness. Avoid processed foods and incorporate more “live” foods into your diet. Live foods will essentially “give you life.” Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water to remove toxins from your system that may accumulate as you heal. 

Spiritual support community- Find a spiritual group to support you. Ensure that it is one that is nonjudgmental, open and specifically designed for you and the healing that you require.

Learning to identify the triggers – If you can recognize what your triggers are, you can be better prepared when they occur. You can also avoid places, people and things that will send you into a tailspin of uncontrollable emotions.

Learning from nature-  Recognize the opportunities for growth at the crossroads. Let things flow like the river.  Learn to nurture oneself as the Ocean. Honor your strength as you honor the strength of the mountain. Learning from energy and nature around us, is essential to healing.

Make peace with your “Shadow”- Embrace your flaws and shortcomings. Recognize the balance of positive and negative and the role it plays in the makeup of our being and our experiences. 

Rewriting your story- The story remains, however as we evolve and heal our perspective changes. Learn to embrace that. Share your story and experiences with others.

Remove toxic/ negative energy- Eliminate toxic situations and relationships that inhibit healing and evolution. Surround yourself with positive people and pleasant situations. Immerse yourself with the beautiful things of life.

Acceptance – It is ok to accept the past..all the hurt, trauma and pain, and make peace with it. It is your foundation, your story, your testimony. It was the catalyst for change. It is your reason for healing. Don’t be ashamed. 

Forgiveness- Forgive…not just for others, but for yourself. Release angry, toxic energy. If not released, it can result in illness and disease. It can also prolong stagnation. 

In addition, don’t hesitate to seek professional treatment if necessary. There is no stigma attached to receiving mental health services.

Mind, body, spirit health is interconnected.

Empowerment is key.

Be realistic and set small goals that are easily attainable and measurable. Be patient with yourself and with others. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Self care is crucial. 

Most importantly… believe. Have faith in YOU. Once you master your thoughts, and believe you are capable of healing and deserving of happiness, you allow your blessings to flow.

Healing is crucial, not only for ourselves, but also for our children, our families, our communities, our world, our ancestors and our descendants.

Many blessings on your journey to healing. 

Iya Otá Niwé