I think we often understand healing, vaguely, as a process: there’s an injury, then thru some processes it’s fixed, and there’s no injury anymore. Broadly speaking, this is a perfectly OK understanding.
But have you ever had a road crew fixing pot holes on a road you travel frequently, and they just didn’t quite finish up? Sure, the pothole is filled, but now it’s a bump on the road, there’s loose gravel or something all over, water pools when it rains… but then you turn into a fancy neighborhood or cross into another township, and the roads are purrrrrfect. Smooth, even blacktop; crisp, bright lines; wide, even shoulders bicycles can fit on. It’s like a dream.
So what’s the difference between the town that has bumpy pot hole repairs and the one with perfect roads?
Resources. The time, budget, raw materials, and skilled workers to get the job done right, completely, and in good time.
I’m not here to bash local politics. Organizing things like road construction is well beyond my purview. But I can help you influence YOUR local resources, and encourage you to look to yourself- what resources are you providing to your own healing construction and repair crews?
Yes, healing is a process, and it’s one that the body often can’t do a complete job of because it’s so busy putting out fires (literally and metaphorically) all over. So providing enough resources to the systems that establish and direct the healing processes can help them do a better job, as can reducing the overall demand on the systems in the first place.
You Need Rest
- You don’t walk on freshly poured concrete
- You don’t cut into a hot cake
- Ink from a fancy pen needs to dry
- Water doesn’t magically turn into ice just because you showed it the freezer
This includes you, too.
You need DEEP rest- darken your room, remove your electronics, and give yourself as much sleep as you can. Honestly, so what if you can go to bed by 8:30, or even earlier? The hours before midnight seem to count more than the total hours anyway, and who's actually judging you for taking care of yourself?
You need PHYSICAL rest- have a lazy morning. Put your feet up and read of an afternoon. Take cat naps. Indulge in a float tank or a salt room session. Get a massage. Watch a movie. Take a bath. Get in a swimming pool.
You need MENTAL rest- time when you don't think or plan or push. Schedule a day just to do the little tasks, like deleting emails, filing papers, organizing your books, sorting out of season clothes to donate or discard. Take a walk with an audio book or just listen to the birds. Garden. Journal for 15 minutes, no spelling or grammar or even spaces between the words, just whatever comes out of your head, then discard the paper. Wipe the light switches, the trim work, the door handles.
Your NERVOUS SYSTEM needs rest- put on some piano music, or whale sounds, or a rainy day youtube video. Get out a coloring book. Make something, however inexpertly. Stretch. Do yoga or tai chi. Chat with friends over ice cream or a beer. SHUT THE NEWS OFF.
You can’t fix a pothole without blocking the road. You can’t heal without interrupting our ceaseless pressure to GoGoGoGoGo.
You Need Resources
When there’s physical injury, you need physical molecules to repair it- proteins, fats, fluid, etc.
So eat clean proteins, and collagen- we simply don’t make enough to overcome the damage this life does to us. Eat healthy fats. Drink more water. Get nutrient dense foods so your micronutrients are lavishly supplied as well- Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Sulfur, all the vitamins, all of it.
Drink more water! Your body needs water to deliver nutrients and wash away waste from your cells. Your body needs water to create the waste you eliminate- solid, liquid, and gas. Your body needs water to keep your membranes healthy- and your WHOLE digestive system is a mucous membrane.
Eat good fats! Every single cell in your body, your entire nervous system including your whole brain, and all your mucous membranes are made of fats. They're not the enemy, they're essential. My rule of thumb is if they're from something I recognize I eat 'em- like olives, avocados, coconuts, eggs, and yes, animals.
Here's a common question: Should you take supplements? A concrete answer to this isn't within my wheelhouse. But I will tell you, hardly anyone is harmed by a quality multivitamin, Magnesium, Omega 3s, and Vitamin D.
You Need Waste Management
Have you ever considered just exactly HOW your body actually accomplishes healing? It takes two major, underappreciated systems: the Immune system and the Lymph system.
Think of the Immune system as Mission Control, and the Lymph as both an Instant Delivery and Waste Management system.
Read more about your waste and repair crews next week in Part 2