Months ago when I started EMDR, I read a few articles about it to get some background on what I was getting into. One of the articles talked about when EMDR becomes necessary and noted that ordinarily, if left to itself, the body tends towards healing. When there is a cut, or a break, or some sort of other physical trauma, the body will seek to heal itself. Same goes for the mind— if there is psychological damage, the mind will seek to heal itself as well. But when there is repeated trauma in the same spot, mental or physical, the natural restorative process is hindered, which is when EMDR (at least for psychological cases) is introduced. The idea that “The body tends towards healing” stuck with me, and I started to wonder if maybe life does the same thing. If maybe life tends towards healing too, given we allow it. (P.S. This theory was cosigned by my therapist, who is right about everything, so I’m pretty sure I’m nailing it, but stay with me) If we can have the space to be present with ourselves and our surroundings, to really observe, notice, and take in the brilliance of a sunset or a nice tree, to spend time truly engaging with a close friend, or even just stop to take a REALLY big, deep, and slow breath in and out—those are healing moments. They don’t make everything magically better. They don’t, on their own, cure depression or a broken heart, but I think there are healing properties in participating actively in the life unfolding in front of you. Even if, like I said, it’s just to breathe.
You guys all pretty well know by now that this has been literally one of the worst years of my life. Not an exaggeration, truly a statement of fact. This was also the year that one of my best friends in the world got married. And I recall, maybe around mid-year, the two of us had a conversation where we just like, lamented how shitty the timing felt. Because it felt so unfortunate, and frankly annoying, that this year of advent—of joyful anticipation—for her, was also a year I was confronted with one of my most challenging emotional struggles to date. And I was sorely disappointed because I know that there were ways in which I was not able to be there for her as I wanted to be because of my own drama. Honestly, I was really angry about that, and it only added to my long list of grievances against God for this year. But while He and I are still kind of in a fight about some things, now in retrospect after her wedding, I have to question my own judgment and wonder if it wasn’t in fact a huge blessing (I’m sorry, I know, I hate that word too but it fits) that the timing worked out this way. I mean, I’ll never know another version of the timeline, you know? There’s no way for me to tell for certain whether or not it would have been better for her wedding to have coincided with a different year in my life. However I will say that the collision of these two events allowed me to experience that deep sadness can cultivate such an even deeper appreciation for joy when it comes. And profound loneliness does the same for extravagant love, when it is seen and felt. I stood next to her on the stage and listened to her vows, I gave a speech to the patrons about how much I loved the couple, I danced and shouted with the groom as we celebrated the coming birth of his baby boy. And being present for those moments in the middle of my struggle felt like putting aloe on a burn, or wrapping an open wound. Healing.
It doesn’t have to be a wedding, although I’m not gonna lie, that helped a lot because weddings are the best. But like I said, simply being alive offers healing properties. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and notice how you feel afterwards. Look at a flower, seriously. They’re gorgeous. Ask yourself what colors it is, what patterns you seen on the petals, what it feels like. Listen to a really good song, and stay present for all 3-5 minutes. It’s not a cure-all, it’s not everything, but it’s something.