Updated: Mar 5, 2020
The year was 2010. Fed up with my mishaps and mistakes and old patterns I seemed to effortlessly repeat, I was in search of something to make me feel whole again. The muscles in my stomach ached from soul purging the salty and muddy waters of hurt, and the taste of bitterness began to rot my smile. The term healing was new to me. What exactly did this healing thing consist of? I was familiar with spiritual practices such as praying, meditation, and yoga. But, was actually considered "healing?".
What nobody tells you is that, trauma has many layers. And each time you pull back a layer, the deeper you travel into the abyss of your wounded soul. My healing journey took me all the way back to the shores of the Nile river. Where Black Women were praised for their melanated beauty, lucious and bountiful features, and divine essence. I saw streets and walls painted with gold. The smell of lavender and frankincense uplifted my heavy spirit and brought calm and ease to my tense body. I visited a realm that only my subconscious was familiar with.
During my journey through the deep waters of my womb, my ancestors directed me to a woman named Queen Afua. Through this woman, I found proof of my existence. On the pages of Afrika's golden history, I saw myself unravel and intertwine with each and every word.
A decade later, I sit in awe of the roads my healing journey has led me to. Reading Queen Afua's divine sacred texts, was the first step in reclaiming my power over years of hurt and traumatic experiences. I was (re)introduced to Afrikan Spirituality. In my journey, I've learned that you cannot know where you're going, if you don't know where you've been.
Health and Healing
Mainstream media rarely associates health with spirituality and healing. In the world of wellness, most attention is focused on fad diets, and workout programs. While nutrition and physical fitness are very important in the overall scope of wellness, they are not the only aspects. The concept of mind-body connection is not a new idea, rather a spiritual one originated thousands of years ago, and the wellness industry is finally beginning to adopt it. Being part of a population that has been oppressed for 400 years, catapulted my need for mind-body healing.
The journey through healing isn't a one-size-fits-all. My road will look different from yours. But, what I can tell you is - it all begins with what and how we think about ourselves. This aspect doesn't change no matter how far along you are in your journey. Breaking years of unhealthy conditioning and passed on toxic behaviors will probably take a lifetime to change. It seems that each new layer I shed, there's another to peel back. This is what healing looks like. A constant shedding - of old thought patterns, old self-limiting beliefs, and cultivating new habits that are conducive to health and vitality.
The Wounded Child
We all have an inner child that we bring into adult life. Our thoughts about ourselves, choices, and self-worth, originate from the level of thoughtfulness and care we received as children. What no one told me about healing childhood wounds and even cultural wounds, was that it happens in stages. Once I became aware of my unconscious decision making - such as continually choosing to date the same type of man over and over, I was forced to discover why. What was the source of my choosing men who were not equipped to love me in the way that I desired to be? The painful unravelling of many childhood wounds (abandonment, emotional distance and dysfunction) pointed me right to the source of my pain: unworthiness. I was chasing emotionally unavailable men, because I was conditioned to believe that was the norm. I repeatedly continued a cycle of self-abandonment; as the saying goes, "children repeat what they see". It's too easy to feel as though you're not enough - "smart enough", "pretty enough", "good enough"; when as a child you never felt like you were. This is layer one. And, layer one has many micro steps before getting to layer two.
Learning how to nourish and reparent my inner child kept me up many nights, sobbing my mascara away and reheating my cup of chamomile tea to keep the headaches from becoming migraines. Healing causes the heart to break open. Your body becomes so exhausted, as you purge the emotional baggage that been overloaded throughout your entire life. You're forced to face that scared little girl, and feel her pain that she so desperately ran from, and did everything at all cost to protect herself from - because she had no one else to do it for her. There's a myriad of thoughts and emotions that take over the body like a tsunami upon meeting this sweet, delicate, wounded inner child. Mostly anger - at the caretakers who could appear to be so careless.
How to Get Past the Pain
Peeling back the layers of resentment, anger, then hurt - eventually lead to understanding, and later forgiveness. This becomes a continual process as you begin to dig up the cemented ground of limiting self-beliefs, unhealthy coping mechanisms, toxic behaviors, and familial dynamics. The number one thing to do is, to be gentle with yourself. The first layer of recognition of the self, will sting like an open sore. This vital step in "allowing", will give air the the emotional wounds that have been covered for years. This takes time to process, and there is no rush in that process. It is important to have a healthy support system in place - a therapist or counselor, understanding spouse, and friends, or a mentor who is familiar with childhood trauma.
It is important to find healthy ways to sooth these deep rooted emotions once wounds have been exposed. Remind yourself that, it is ok to feel what you're feeling. Allowing yourself to feel whatever comes up is imperative to healing. Running away or repressing unwanted emotions only perpetuates the healing process. Remember, your emotions are welcome here. Hug your inner child inside your mind, and let her know that she is now safe. That you won't allow anything, or anyone to ever harm her. Remind her that she is loved, and that she is seen. You see her, and she doesn't have to do anything to earn your love. (2)