Ever realised...the better you get....the better you get at getting better!

“Healing takes time, and – so does not healing. Choose how you spend your time – wisely.”

Lalah Delia

It is coming up to the end of my so-called Year of Firsts. It’s amazing how things can take you back to a time and a place and an experience. Stinking hot, January days; the Australian Open; Australia Day long weekend. These were all events and experiences that were taking place when my dad was diagnosed last year. When we were holding onto that hope that somewhere, somehow, something would help him and would make him recover and become stronger. But sadly, it wasn’t to be. It was his time.

And so I have spent the last almost-year navigating a path of healing of my own. Trying to get my head around the “new normal” of life without dad. I don’t think I even realised in the beginning how much pain I was in. I think if I stopped and fully acknowledged it, somehow, I thought I would fall into a hole that I’d never be able to climb out of. So in the beginning I didn’t focus on “healing”… because I hadn’t quite accepted or even realised that that’s what needed to happen.

Gradually it started to dawn on me. I was actually just in survival mode. One foot in front of the other. Breathe in…breathe out. Sometimes I think that’s all I could manage. But that was OK. Because that’s what I needed. Just to keep breathing.

When I realised that I was actually in a period of intense healing, I felt a sense of comfort. I knew that I just had to create the space for that to happen. So I consciously withdrew. I had been sub-consciously withdrawing for months, but now I was aware of it. And I was kind to myself. And the people around me who knew me and loved me supported me. For that I will be eternally grateful.

Eventually the fog started to lift. And I could feel myself emerging from my almost-robotic state of numbness. Starting to feel again, and laugh, and dance. But still the waves of grief would wash through. Sometimes it would feel like two steps forward then three steps back. At first, I panicked; thinking I would never regain my sparkling spirit. But the wave would pass and I would feel steady again. And I could feel my heart lifting.

What I have realised is this: The better I got…the better I got at getting better. When the line on my “happiness over time” graph started to head north, its trajectory started to steepen. Getting better seems to build its own impetus. I think I almost resisted it in the beginning; it felt like it had been so long since I’d felt a sense of joy and happiness in my heart, that at first, I was sceptical and suspicious. But the better I felt, the better I wanted to feel. When I finally returned to doing the things I did when I felt like me, I wanted to do them more…I realised how beneficial they were. Yoga. Meditation. Connecting with loved ones.

And I have noticed this in others. People I know and love who’ve gone through really difficult times requiring immense emotional and physical healing. As the mind and body heal, they draw on their own strength, and there’s this multiplier effect on getting better. Have you ever seen this? Or experienced it yourself?

What does all this mean? I believe it means we have to honour the space we need when we first embark on a path of healing. But as we feel ourselves heal, and we notice improvements in our emotional and physical health…know that getting better in and of itself helps the healing process. So when you are faced with a tough journey of healing, draw strength and comfort from the fact that the better you get…the better you get at getting better.