On healing.


Six weeks ago my life changed forever. I lost a relationship that I thought would be my last. I wasn’t clear on the why or the how, but the pain of the loss was palpable. I needed to do anything in my power to begin healing. As is my way, I took to diversion first. I ran. I ran until I couldn’t run anymore. I started teaching P90X at the gym again. Buoyed by that success, I began to look for more ways to challenge myself. I chose MMA – mixed martial arts. Finally I had found something endlessly complex and challenging, that success wasn’t just a matter of being the fastest or the strongest – it was about strategy and nuance. The pain from my loss became pushed aside by my schedule – up at 5 am, teaching at 6, working until 5pm, running, MMA, returning home at 9pm – just in time to eat and crash asleep.

But avoidance has a way of catching up.

During a wrestling session, my leg was pinned under my opponent during a roll. Something gave. I immediately stopped the fight and tried to stand. My knee felt weak and tenuous. I tried to rotate it slightly and a shock of pain ran the length of my leg.

I was crushed. No more running, no more MMA, no more life.

I went home with a bag of ice and tried my hardest to feel sorry for myself. I became despondent. I had lost my outlet, any chance of healing.

Or so I thought.

With my physical life removed, I was forced to examine the life I had been ignoring, to begin processing my loss, my life.

I realized that healing physically is precisely like healing emotionally. You must avoid the activities that can cause reinjury, you must treat your pain gently, and look to other ways to strengthen.

I began playing my guitar again, something which had fallen to the wayside with both injuries. I reached out to friends and family members. I doubled my efforts to give back to my community. Instead of hiding, of stagnating, I decided to grow, just in other ways, to strengthen other aspects of me that were weak.

I’m a considerable distance from being healed. Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever be whole, but I at least have a path now. And each day that passes I’m able to process, gain insight and heal.

And that, in itself, is life-changing.

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