As I sit down to write, I think about many of the life lessons I have learned at 38.
I also think about a chat with an Indigenous friend, who explained to me that the Medicine Wheel also represents the life cycle. The idea is to progress through each phase of the life cycle while gleaning learning and wisdom; thereby allowing you to move to the next phase.
Through trauma and unresolved issues we can become stuck in a particular phase of our life cycle. For me (after much therapy, reading, education and work experience) I have come to understand that when we are stuck in anger or hurt we are stunted in a way that is often harmful to ourselves and to others. (Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development would also apply here nicely).
Working through my own trauma has allowed me to appreciate and understand the life lessons that they have become and I continue to work at not saying “stuck”.
I would like to share a few of the life lessons that I have learned at 38 in hopes of inspiring another and/or helping another to get unstuck. (The thing is, there are many that have walked similar paths before you…it helps to listen). Here we go:
Your intuition is a real thing. Pay attention.
Our minds and our hearts are often in disagreement. Whenever possible, follow the thing that beats in your chest.
You will be scared shitless. Taking incremental, baby steps helps.
Have faith that you are deserving of greatness. Because you are.
Don’t be discouraged if you fall backwards, it happens.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel you are healing “fast enough”.
Always a complex creature…because I’m the human kind.
I was triggered tonight by something I had seen on Facebook. (I know, I know too much Facebook isn’t good for you).
Before I delve into the trigger and reflection, I want to acknowledge that I am so thankful and grateful that I am able to recognize the trigger and the why. Knowing and having something in my consciousness is a gift. Self discovery is beautiful.
The Facebook post was in relationship to “natural” healing and the masking of symptoms western medicine is accused of.
I love many of the modalities that eastern medicine offers and I do my best to incorporate them into my daily life but I also need to be on western medicine to function in life.
I understand full well how dysfunctional our society is. I don’t know all there is to know, but I am keenly aware of how damaging capitalism, patriarchy and the Protestant work ethic are for people and ultimately societies in western culture.
I can acknowledge that there is corruption in Big Pharma and it’s easy for doctors to throw medication at their patients…but the medication that I am on works for me.
It gives me quality of life, so that I can actually practice yoga; I can get a good nights sleep; I can ride through the waves of life in this society dictated by traditional ideals.
In my mind, there is this punishing narrative that because I am on conventional medication it means that I am not trying hard enough; I am not eating clean enough; it’s ultimately my own fault that I am not “healed”.
There is this underlying belief that western medicine is “bad” and natural medicine is “good”.
And if I examine that objectively I don’t think that is true. I don’t like the corruption that is behind the companies that make the medication, costs, profits, etc., but I can also acknowledge that there is corruption in spiritual communities or brands that market themselves as “healthy” and “natural”. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, they want you to buy their product.
If I knew a small vendor that could actually make Effexor I would buy it there. But I can’t.
There is also part of me that worries about the long-term damage being on medication is causing to my stomach, kidneys, etc.
But I am doing the best that I can. Simply, Honestly. Truly.
So the Facebook post triggered a response in my that left me feeling like I wasn’t trying hard enough. I was healed enough. I wasn’t perfect enough. I wasn’t woke enough.
It triggered me enough to write a snappy response. I didn’t feel the greatest after I wrote it but I was also upset. I felt personally attacked. The poster was someone that was selling a marketed, pyramid scheme health product. How are they any different?
A huge part of this is how I actually feel about myself. A need to be “perfect”. Yuck. I am responsible for own own well-being and what I put into my body. I get to make that choice and feel good about it.
A huge part of this is the shame baggage that I carry and the stigma around mental health and medications used for mental health issues.
I am actually so grateful that western medication exists because it can help people live better lives in conjunction with other healing modalities.
As we say in social work, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Just because I work on helping myself differently than someone else doesn’t make my approach any less valid.