Healing the Soul
I was hurting beneath my heart. The only other place I could describe where the pain was coming from was within my soul. My soul was aching, gasping for life, and the only way that I knew to nourish it was through self-care. I needed to nurture myself.
We were married for 13 years. He began to displace his anger and open wounds. His mood swings escalated and eventually became unbearable. Unfortunately, daily life became emotionally and verbally abusive, leading to an extremely unhealthy living environment, not only for me, but for my son as well.
I was existing in a façade. We would pull up to the soccer field in our Jeep SUV, the soccer coach and team mom. Little did they know the drive there entailed the roaring complaints of mountainous debt, and the never-ending holler, “I hate being married to you!” I could feel the blood scorching my veins and my stomach churning as I thought about the terror my son must have while listening in the backseat.
We’re here! Come on, let’s get this win! I was submerged in functional depression and self-betrayal. How did I get here? Most important, how do I make my way to the surface? A parade of thoughts marched through my mind: I don’t want my son to think this is acceptable behavior or the way to live. If I die, who will take care of my son? I do not want to die. More tragic than dying was living dead, lifeless.
I affirmed what I did not want, but it was time for me to profess what I did want. If I could be the woman of my dreams, who would I be? What would I do? Hell, I am Connie’s daughter and Mary Belle’s granddaughter. My grandmother and mother are the epitome of resilience. Along with them, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dr. Brene Brown and others became my inspiration, examples of women who courageously and creatively shaped their worlds. I embarked on my journey to heal my soul.
Glennon Doyle Melton said that wise women have peace and purpose. They also have specific tendencies that promote selfcare. I implemented the following practices to cultivate love for my own soul.
Eliminate Negativity from Your Life
I took responsibility for who and what I allowed in my personal space. It is incumbent to eliminate toxic relationships, because they are exhausting and they will deplete you both physically and emotionally.
I immediately started to implement selfcare, and became conscious of what my soul needed. I found little ways to honor and reward myself: “divine time.” I made time to do at least one thing that I love as a ceremony each day. These rituals were not expensive; they were as simple as practicing yoga, meditating, reading a chapter of a book, burning a scented candle, having a glass of wine, or cooking a favorite dish. The healthier you are, the healthier your family will be.
Find or Create a Sister Tribe
I created a circle of women—and a man—around me that earned my trust and helped me to put things into perspective. They not only called me on my bull, but they also provided encouragement and a safe place for me to vent and weep without judgment. I let myself be vulnerable by asking for help and leaning on my tribe for extra support.
Follow Your Curiosity
I reconnected with what inspires me. I made a commitment to start taking yoga classes. I also watched Ted Talks and explored literature, writing and mindful eating. My son asked me about my becoming a yoga teacher, so I completed a yoga teacher training. We often believe that our circumstances must align perfectly before we try something new. If you just show up, miraculous things will happen.
Make Time for Quiet and Stillness
This discipline is most influential to me. I am a constant student of yoga. Sri Swami Satchidananda commented that God talks to us all of the time, but we often talk so loudly that we fail to hear.
The challenge is to silence the mind so the soul can heal. I learned to listen to my inner voice, my intuition.
I realized that if you have to choose between salvaging a relationship and saving your soul, you should always save your soul.
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Image: photo by Bryan Pearson