The Art of Healing
Anyone remember when we were little and we could just play without abandon? There was nothing that was unimaginable. And we could just go to our friends’ houses, ring the doorbell, and ask if our friend could play. Or, build snow forts in the cul-de-sac until all of a sudden it’s dark out and we can’t see anymore, realizing we’ve lost all track of time. At least this was all a part of my childhood.Where along the way do we lose this curiosity, this unadulterated longing to just play and imagine and create and lose time in our activities? Someone once said to me, “Courtney, your laughter and your play will be your healing.” There was a time in my life I forgot that play is for adults, too.
If there is one thing I’ve learned about healing and mental health, it’s that at some point, we are all going to need to step outside our comfort zones and embrace curiosity if we are to move forward. If we are to heal the relationship. Or, in some cases, walk away from the relationship. I am a firm believer that healing requires curiosity. And creativity. And discomfort. My go-to quotation that I apply to the healing process is by poet Robert Frost, “The only way out is through.” Dare I say, we have to hold the discomfort with the curiosity in order to imagine a different reality.Some of the most powerful healing experiences I have been a part of have existed in outside-the-box scenarios. I once sat with one young woman while she had a seemingly devastating visceral reaction during a dance movement therapy group. When in reality she was connecting to and listening to her body for possibly the first time in her life.
Furthermore, I once led a humor/improv group for a group of 30+ women, all with complex trauma backgrounds, in a residential treatment facility, and within just five minutes, there was such an uproar of laughter that site security rushed over to ensure everyone was okay.
Finally, I once worked with an art therapist who so attentively invited clients into creative healing prompts that everyone in the room felt like an artist, even if they didn’t qualify themselves as “artistic.”
There are countless transformational examples I could muster to share of people stepping outside their comfort zones in the name of healing and growth.
And so I wonder, what’s your outside-the-box invitation this week? This month? This year? This holiday season? What is one thing you can commit to trying, even if that something is as simple as validating your own feelings for 2 minutes per day. Or, asking to have the hard conversation. Or, coloring a picture of your emotions next time you feel overwhelmed. I wonder how different our lives, even our world would be, if we all practiced more curiosity and wonder, and less (self-)judgment.