Thursday, July 9, 2015

To Write Love On Her Arms

This story has been beautifully haunting me all day.
It has stirred up emotions in me which I try to write out, only to end up sitting in front of a blank piece of paper. It's been years and still I don't have the words to accurately reflect the world of mental illness, even though its a world I know personally.
I have a tendency to try and rush through uncomfortable places. So as I reflected on Renee's story, and sat with the emotions it brought up for me, I had a desire to try and wrap it all up neatly in words. There would be a beginning, a middle, an end, and everything would be complete when I finally put the words to paper.
I'm writing to you from the middle.
I've been saying for years now that I'm healing, that I'm a survivor, and I am. But I don't know if you ever truly stop the healing process.
I thought I had healed from my issues surrounding love and sexuality, only to find out when I fell in love that I didn't actually know as much as I thought I did.
I have moments where my issues around food are relatively non-existent, and then there are moments when every single bite of food is a victory.
Sometimes my head goes to dark places.
And I'm still learning to give myself grace in those moments. I'm in recovery, not recovered. I'm healing, not healed.
There's a saying in yoga that it's not about touching your toes, it's about what you learn on the way down. It's called a practice, not a perfection. And I think the same is through with addiction and recovery. It's not about being perfect, it's about growth. And if I know one thing for sure it's that I'm growing.
This week I've been doing a holy yoga video practice every day, and what I'm learning about myself continually blows my mind. Every day the practices (unintentionally) seem to follow a similar theme of keeping the heart open.
In today's practice, the challenge was to write down one small 't' truth you believe about yourself and your body.
I didn't realize until I'd already written it that I wrote my small 't' truth in all capital letters. My truth?
In so many different ways, it's the story I've come to believe about myself. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, in so many different ways I've come to believe that there is something fundamentally flawed about who I am, something that makes me broken.
The second part of the challenge was to move through the practice as if that thing wasn't true. And at the end of the practice, the final part of the challenge was to write the big 'T' truth on the other side of the paper, to counteract what you believe about yourself.
The paper I picked up was one I had used for my practice the day before.
I had been writing about keeping my heart open, and this line I wrote on this page seemed so fitting to become my big 'T' truth.
I ask who I will be without it all and the whispered reply comes "Free." I will be free.
And underneath that truth telling statement I had written John 8:36
"So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free."
It became the statement to counteract the story I believe about myself.
I'm trading brokenness for freedom.
I wish I could say I'd figured it out. I wish I could say that recovery and healing and trading brokenness for freedom is a one time thing and I did it and now I'm good.
It's a process, a practice. And I'm somewhere in the middle, not where I was but not yet where I will end up. And I must continually offer up grace for the practice, for this beautiful ugly middle piece that I'm still making peace with.

"Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars. The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope."

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