To you who feels broke, with the heart that bleeds and the mind that runs. Know this; time literally does heal all. The key, is what you do with that time ~ Mark Groves
Several years ago I experienced my first in a string of heart breaks. In my desire for, and whole-hearted belief in, love, I chose to ignore red flags, niggling feelings of anxiety, and blatant disparities in lifestyle and future pathways. Although hindsight being what it is, I can now see that it was a ripple effect. In 2015, I sustained loss, and experienced several significant changes in and to my life, all culminating in some serious heartbreak and grief. However, having been born In England, and raised in a British family, my prevailing thought pattern was simply, “keep calm and carry on.” And carry on I did, straight into another heartbreak, and another. I thought I had given myself enough time, but the losses, the grief, and the hurt just continued to pile on top of each other. Until I broke.
Time on its own did not heal my wounds. Time gave me distance and perspective and a change in my interpretation of what had occurred. It allowed me to see the upsides, to evaluate my choices and decisions and allowed the wound to scab over. But it didn’t heal and it didn’t force me to chew on, digest, and absorb all of the lessons that I needed to learn, incorporate and change. It simply passed by, with each day the memory of the hurt and fear fading, but never truly healed.
It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t agree. The wounds remain. Time – the mind, protecting its sanity – covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone ~ Rose Kennedy
In the midst of my broken state, grateful for my friends surrounding me, I received a text message, “I’m going to Nicaragua on a yoga retreat in November, wanna come?” My vision was somewhat blurry as I stared at my phone screen through teary, bloodshot eyes. My hands shook as I texted back, “yes, need my credit card number?”
Those ten days in Nicaragua could not have come at a better time. The first week was part of the yoga retreat and the last few days were spent doing some additional traveling. The retreat offered three yoga classes each day, for six days. 6 am, 10 am and 6 pm. I did all three classes, every day, for all six days. I breathed, I felt my muscles stretch and work, I trembled holding the postures, I meditated, I went inside. About half way through the retreat, during our evening Yin class, while in a particularly uncomfortable pose, I started to cry. And then I really started to cry. I released what felt like years of unwept tears for everything and everyone I had never grieved before. The class went on around me. I lay on my back looking at the stars, tears running down the sides of my face, pooling on my mat and soaking into my hair and simply let it go. The class ended and I remained, in stillness. My brain empty, my heart full and I felt calm.
The next few days I spent writing, in between yoga classes and frosty drinks on the beach. I wrote it all, the sadness, the loss, the fear, my insecurities, my feelings, my lessons learned. I could not stop writing. It was cathartic, invigorating, motivating and overwhelming. My mind was bursting with lessons I felt I needed to ingrain immediately and fears and insecurities I wanted desperately to run away from. There was no more capacity for keep calm and carry on. I only had space to do the work.
The mere passage of time did not heal all of my wounds. Time took me away from the initial acute pain of it all, the gut punch of hurt and brought me to a place of ache with a better ability to process and reflect. Time allowed my perspective and interpretation to change and change again. Time provided me the space and distance. But it did not heal my wounds. It is what I did in that time that healed them.
GIving myself permission to use time to grieve and to feel the feelings is something I still struggle with. My default is to put my head down and keep going. But I know that I will only run into a wall. I need to look up, sit with the emotions and the hurt and let time move me away from that intensity. From there time needs to be used to do the work. To actively grieve, to actively heal, to make the changes and absorb the learning. To grow stronger, more resilient and revel in the security of who I am, what I believe and what I deserve.
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself ~ Andy Warhol