Heart Healing

Heart Healing

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Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

by Erica Rivers, LPC-S, CPT, MBA

The longer I live, the more I have experienced the beauty and the pain that life has to offer. I know that many of you, from all walks of life and backgrounds, can say the same. I am never bored by watching a squirrel gather up nuts and scamper up a tree, hopping easily from one branch to another or by a baby learning to crawl under the watchful care of a mother. On the other hand, I have to limit my exposure to the daily news as it saddens me when I hear of a senseless shooting or the death of a precious life by a drug overdose. There is a lot going on all the time – good and bad, benign and impactful. I watch and there is so much that happens simultaneously as this amazingly not-boring world turns.
As a therapist, I’m eager to share hope. As an individual, I get where it’s easy to lose hope, to sit in sadness, and to feel the discouragement of dreams that get lost and relationships that hurt way more than we would like. We sit in this broken humanity together and laugh and cry. Sometimes it all happens in the hours of a day – ups and downs – laughter and tears. Yep. That is, indeed, the life we are in. Of course, it’s easier sometimes, to numb out from it all … to drift to the coolness of an emotional wall instead of feeling the pain of relationship and duty. Other times, we may find it easier to be ticked off, angry at the way things are going or the way other people are acting. We can blame, aim, and defend.
With all of our feelings (those nasty emotions that are, whether we like them or not!) we can cope in healthy ways, unhealthy ways, or a blend of the two. Somehow we learn to be aware of what we are experiencing and how we are reacting and then, we get to decide how to deal with it. There are soooo many decisions daily, big and small. Each decision matters. Some lead us to health, connection, and freedom and others lead us to detachment, murkiness, and unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving. Often, it’s hard to even pick up on what we are doing that’s working or that’s not working. We need caring, honest voices in our worlds offering us feedback and walking alongside us as we stumble, fall, and get up, all the while, trying to heal.
I am assured, personally and professionally, that healing can come…That hope does exist…That lives can be bettered. I have seen that we can make better decisions, even after four billion mistakes. I have watched as everyday heroes crawl up from the ashes and choose to love and plod forward even in the midst of hate, of difficulty, or of downright horrific circumstances.
As 2019 commences, I want to encourage you to take a step back, consider what you are experiencing and decide where you want to go and who you want to be. Yes, January is a time of goal-setting and purposeful decision-making but I think it goes beyond those first few days where we make the resolutions. As we see this world around us, how can we make a loving, positive impact? As we become aware of our own response patterns, our emotions, and our habits, what small steps can we make that truly are consistently healthier for us and those around us? What accountability do we need to put in? Change is possible. Healing is real. Let’s march toward it together today. One different decision can go a long way.

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