Healing involves transcending the suffering that can be caused by traumatic or disruptive life events. Transcendence of suffering takes place through wholeness of self. Wholeness is the alignment, or the re-alignment, of the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual aspects of ourselves.
On the one hand the pandemic we’re living through is frightening, on the other, fascinating. There’s reason to be afraid, and opportunities to grow and learn. One of the things we can learn about it how heal during and after an unprecedented, massive, and disruptive change.
While we’re In the midst of the conditions that cause such disruption, I don’t know that we can find an absolute moment of healing. But we can we can find ways to remain whole and on a healing path, preparing ourselves us to move forward positively in the post-pandemic reality that awaits.
Last Saturday, I held an online 3-hour mini-retreat called Calming and Healing in Anxious Times.
I first designed it during the last couple of months of our pre-pandemic life. Once the pandemic arrived in the US life rapidly changed. I saw the mini-retreat had to be adapted to reflect our so recently changed reality. I reduced the amount of writing we would do, to leave more time for calming, centering, and deep discussion.
Four Approaches to Healing
The mini-retreat offered four integrated approaches to aligning (or re-aligning) our physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual selves: Supportive connections with others; meditation; expressive writing, and Reiki.
• Meditation quiets our minds, brings us into our bodies, allows us to notice thoughts and feelings, all in the present moments. It creates the calmness, openness and curiosity to explore our inner experiences.
• Supportive connections help us cope in times of stress and are critical to our ability to adapt positively in the face of change that transforms the context of our lives. During the mini-retreat others supportive presence bears witness to us, and to our stories, struggles and strengths. We each had something to share, and each received something from each other during our time together.
• Expressive writing promotes healing by telling what has happened, connecting events to thoughts and feelings and expressing these honestly and deeply. It helps us create a coherent story from chaotic, disruptive events, and find meaning in them for ourselves and others.
• Reiki is a practice that integrates body, mind and spirit, using hands-on or distant energy healing to support self-healing and balance.
Here’s what the mini-retreat participants noticed about their healing experiences.
- Such a helpful series of prompts that held so many useful surprises!
- I appreciated how we could each do what we needed to – write about what mattered to us and then listen to the discussion, and add to the discussion, or just listen and take it in. It was just what I needed.
- Changing perspectives let me express first my negative feelings and then my positive feelings. That was really helpful.
- Through my writing I was able to give myself some helpful advice about a difficult work situation.
- Listing what I did yesterday emphasized the ups and downs I’ve been experiencing, making it really easy to find both a dark and a bright point, and helping me recognize how I’ve been instinctively coping with things.
- I saw that my feelings are valid. I’m able to accept them better and not push them away by ignoring them or distracting myself.
- I came here today to relax and be held by the structure of this time together. And that’s what happened.
- I’ll be holding more of these mini-retreats. Let me know if you’d like to be informed of the next one.
These comments underscore what author and physician Diane Morrow says: Healing is not one thing, but a constellation of many things.
Would you like to be in one of my mini-retreats? If so, let me know. I’ll make sure you’re informed about upcoming opportunities.
Other Relevant Posts
Diane Morrow (2016). One year of writing and healing. Guest House Press, North Carolina.
Pennebaker, J.W. & Evans, J. F. (2014). Expressive writing: Words that heal. Enumclaw, WA: Idyll Arbor, Inc