Written by Freedom Fighter
Last nights Recovery Class was on being gentle with yourself throughout recovery and beyond. We learned about How it can be all too easy to slip into a mindset of self flagellation especially in a time where being really busy is looked upon as a virtue and just “being” is seen as a waste of time or even worse, a sign that you’re lazy. It seems like a paradox but the way things are now, you need to be strong in order to be gentle with yourself and to not buy into it. Ignore that voice in your head that tells you its not ok to stop and take it easy for a while. That you only have worth so long as you are doing something. Even if its something you don’t particularly like doing, you have to be busy. But often I found that I would end up staying busy as a way to not face up to what’s behind it all, too terrified to stop and confront that voice that whispered abuse in my ear about how lazy I was for not being engaged in something “Productive”.
I remember going to the doctor when I was deep in condition. It had been about 4 years since I’d been in a doctor’s surgery and the only reason I finally allowed myself to go was because something was wrong with my feet where it felt like they were on fire, like they were going to spontaneously combust or something. I took off my shoes and showed the Doctor my feet. The expression on his face went from neutral to shock. He looked at me, then back at my feet and then his expression softened and his face was full of sympathy. I’ll never forget what he said to me and this was the moment I went from blind ignorance about my own suffering to one of painful awareness. He looked at me and said, “Ah this is terrible………. you know you’re feet are in a desperate way. Do you not have anyone looking after you?”
I didn’t really know what to say, but I had a feeling that I wanted to run away from. It was a while later before I was even able to admit to myself that It was really deep sadness and loss. I hadn’t looked after myself, the truth was I didn’t know how. All I ever knew was how to flog myself and push through pain. I firmly believe that life conspired to give me that experience in the doctor’s office that day so that I could see the truth about myself and how I really was as opposed to how I thought I was. To teach me about self care and being gentle with myself. And whether you believe in God, the power in the universe or the Tao………I think it’s all the same, like the power of life itself is harnessed inside of us and restores us to balance and harmony. And there’s no logical explanation for it, there’s no psychological or even scientific explanation for it. But it happens and when it does you see that this power is on our side and wants us to be happy and will put experiences in our way that will move us along a path to wholeness, even if those experiences are painful at the time and very challenging. Being gentle with ourselves is how we heal, being harsh and valuing deprivation is how we stay stuck and trapped in a small painful, scary life.