Part Two: Healing journey
Lost in Berlin I make my way through the deserted battlefield that the city has become on this first day of January. More than anything I am lost within myself. Never have I felt this broken, lonely and ashamed. I sob uncontrollably, with short intervals, while I get in and out of subways. I feel scared and as venerable as a bird with broken wings, surrounded by hungry cats. The sky seems to crumble and fall onto my head. Then a small voice speaks to me from very, very deep within. As I sit sobbing in the subway tunnels of Berlin the voice tells me calmly yet clearly: “forgive yourself. Forgive yourself right now, or this will nest inside of you and rot. Forgive yourself now. O
I had to heal. There was no way that I was going to continue on this destructive path. I simply couldn’t. I had reached a breaking point and now I had to find a way back to myself. I had to learn to trust myself again. And I knew I would have to treat myself like one would treat a frightened animal; with a lot of patience and no trace of intimidating behavior. To me this was a completely new way of treating myself. Even on my best days I had always been hard on myself. Luckily, I knew even then: although this had been a horrible experience, it had cleared the way for a whole new narrative. I was going to be kind to myself, have patience with myself, become loving and compassionate towards myself, and I wasn’t going to force myself into doing things that weren’t meeting my needs. So it happened that I returned home, with a broken heart and all my self-confidence lost in the endless maze of my destructive mind, but also with one clear purpose: I was going to heal.
In January I sat with myself in meditation. I did yoga when I felt like it. I went outside into nature as much as possible. But most of all I held space for my emotions to be heard and recognized. I came to understand on a very deep level how this practice of loving-kindness, of accepting all emotions, observing them and treating them with the correct attention, was something I would benefit from for the rest of my life. I was changing my narrating voice from something mean, destructive and condescending to something supportive, friendly and filled with unconditional love.
Near the beginning of February, I started a new job and made a new plan. In only four short weeks I had entered a completely different state of being. That only happened because I had made my mental and physical wellbeing my first, second and third priority. I managed to slow down every time the familiar voice of my inner critic arose. By observing that voice at the very moment it spoke and not identifying with it; it lost its power over me. Instead of the critical narrator, there was now room for a new one. Slowing down and observing my inner landscape becomes accessible to me through my yoga and meditation practice. The mindful attention that I develop during those practices is something that I meet great benefits from during the rest of my day. For that, I am forever grateful.
I will continue on this path. I realize that even though I will experience growth, it will unavoidably be alternated by setbacks. But I am at peace with that. Setbacks are quite necessary, because most of the time they spike growth. Because of my self-practice I learn how to open myself more to whatever the universe has in stock for me, so I can flow with it, effortlessly. I learn how to have faith and patience. I notice that I am becoming better at not engaging in thought and holding unconditional space for whatever arises in me. In August I will fly to India. I am looking forward to this great adventure. I have faith that whatever challenges I will face, that I will be there for myself and that I will learn so much on this journey towards my highest self.