How do we heal?
Earlier in the summer I was in an auto accident. It wasn't terrible but it was enough to total the car and send me for physical therapy. When we are in pain, we usually wish for someone to tell us the right path - and we hope it's the quickest one. My journey led me to see a bodywork specialist that was a referral from a family member while I was traveling. This practitioner's method was to apply direct and intense pressure to the trigger points that had been activated from the accident. The sessions seemed productive but I was left fatigued and sore. Hopeful that healing would be expedited, I continued with this method. The pain didn't decrease significantly and the therapist told me that it was important to continue treatment at home. The next person I went to see was a craniosacral therapist who I have seen periodically over the years. Her method has always been to listen to the body and respectfully and carefully apply treatment. She could tell that my first attempt at rehabilitation had been intense. She questioned the wisdom of that method from what she was seeing and told me that too much pressure to already injured tissues would only retraumatize the area instead of healing it. Healing takes time and I was reminded that our bodies (and our minds and hearts) are designed to heal. What I was feeling was my body relaxing for the first time since the accident. I left her office with a distinct difference in the two types of therapies I had received. My body instinctively knew which type of treatment it preferred.
We all want to heal quickly - whether it's from a busted knee, a difficult circumstance, or a broken heart. Our desire is so strong that we believe we can lean in and it will make it heal quicker if we will it to do so. Our bodies and our hearts want to heal and are even designed to do just that when the proper environment and circumstances are in place. I had to remind myself many times this season however, that it's a slow process and we can only go as fast as we can. And ironically, we don't have control over that speed - we can only be attentive to and careful with where we are in each moment. I have had experiences with a client where we have tried to dig in too quickly or too deeply and it is evident to both of us that we have to slow down. And so, it is the slow and steady path I have found, that moves us out of pain most quickly. How do we heal? With kindness, patience, consistency and love. And the surprise gift in the end is that we are always better and stronger because of it.
Kimberly Simpson, a native of New Jersey, graduate of Wheaton College and resident of Nashville. Married and mother of three children. Lover of the ocean, gardens, yoga, cooking and travel.