Last week one of my daughters went through oral surgery to remove her 4 wisdom teeth. I have been watching her healing process and recognizing how unique that is for each individual, even though there are guidelines, markers and averages given with the idea of assisting you through recovery and healing.
(Not to mention your own concepts, expectations and pictures about healing.)
It started with the instructions for after care and the opportunity to ask questions. I asked how long the numbness should last. The answer was 2-3 hours. However, in reality the numbness lasted until the early evening, a good 8-9 hours. Does this mean that the information I was given was incorrect, or that there was something wrong with my daughter? No, it simply means that every body responds differently to medication.
The more I looked at the instructions and guidelines and tried to have her fit them, the more I saw that my daughter was healing in her own way.
Over the next few days she slept and slept and slept. I found myself thinking, “she should be up and about more” and then realized that this was not my picture. There wasn’t a lot of time or space for unwellness as I was growing up, even though when I was ill I was well taken care of. It’s just that the expectation was to get over things as quickly as possible. And this was before the fast-paced, technology-driven society we live in today!
And yet as my daughter slept, I watched her heal from out of her body. She was creating space for the energy of the trauma to be released and for the tissue to heal.
Another reason the sleeping was so effective is that when she was awake, she would fall into the impatience of the body to be “done”, to be over it and all better. That energy of resistance and competition – I should be better by now – would then interfere with the healing process.
Everyone I work with is having to address healing a part of themselves whether it be a physical illness or injury, an emotional trauma, mental anguish as a result of overwhelming stress, or an old spiritual wound.
And just about everyone I work with finds themselves managing expectations, statistics, instructions and rules in that healing process as much as, if not more than the unwellness itself.
Healing is as unique and individually based as each of us is. There is no magic formula, no right or wrong way to heal. Beware of comparisons between you and others in similar situations. The way you manage, process and heal the unwellness you are experiencing is unlike anyone else in the universe.
And then, in healing as in everything else, there is always a silver lining to every cloud….
While having a bite to eat one day, my daughter told me how much more she was appreciating eating and drinking now because she was having to be very conscious and present so that she didn’t overstretch her jaw, or irritate the incisions. As a result, she was tasting more and savoring the sensations and the ritual of feeding and taking care of her body.
This is one of the benefits of having to heal or take care of one’s body – the recognition of how much we take our bodies for granted when they are well and fully functioning, of how unconscious we are of the incredible workings of the most intricate and delicately balanced human body.
The next time you find yourself in the situation of having to heal something, give yourself permssion to be unique and do it your own way!