Releasing for Healing
I had some intense health scares this year. I’d sensed that something was wrong for quite some time, but it wasn’t until this summer that I slowed down long enough to get it checked out. After several doctors’ visits, an ultrasound, a mammogram, and an MRI, what I suspected was confirmed, and I learned that there was even more cause for concern.
The diagnosis was multiple uterine fibroids, some of which are the size of a grapefruit, an ovarian cyst, and a mass in my breast. The mass called for a biopsy, which thankfully produced a benign result, but the lead up to the appointment and the wait for the results felt horrifying.
I felt as though my body had betrayed me, or maybe it was me who betrayed my body.
Naturally these events led me to embark upon another leg of my healing journey. In addition to the professional advice of traditional medicine, I sought the wise counsel of an herbalist and other holistic healing practitioners. A common theme was clear. Holding onto hurt, anger, stress, and other unprocessed or trapped emotions were showing up as unwanted masses in my body. Instead of starving them with healthy habits, I’ve been feeding them with methods to numb or avoid feeling the fullness of these uncomfortable feelings. I’ve been holding them hostage when they’ve simply come to deliver a message, after which they could have been peacefully released.
Writing has been a powerful form of release for me. Not only moving what’s on my mind and heart through me and transforming it to words on a page, but taking the pages that held the thoughts and things that no longer serve me and burning them for good.
After experiencing a powerful ceremony that included this practice on a healing retreat in Bali, I decided to bring it home to Detroit. It started many years ago on New Year’s Eve with a few friends and a tiny portable barbecue grill on my porch. It then evolved into a session around a fireplace in my new home with the inaugural group of women who trusted me on their journeys when I launched my coaching practice. Now, it is an annual event that I host for the community at The Cochrane House Luxury Historic Inn in Detroit, as well as during my Restoration for Leaders Retreat in our camp in the middle of the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
As I prepare to facilitate this powerful practice tomorrow, and for the celebration of my 45th personal new year on the following day, I invite you to engage in these strategies with me. Write away your worries to support your release of what needs to go to make room for your healing.
Journ and Burn. This is the name that I gave to the annual event that I host where we write down things that we want to release and burn them in a fire. Initially 'Journ' was just short for journaling, but now it holds a deeper meaning. This year I declare that it is also short for the word 'journey' because this practice of releasing is not meant to be a one-time event. As we go and grow through life, we must return to ourselves and reflect on what no longer serves us. Just as food and medicine have expiration dates, so too do some of the beliefs, behaviors, thoughts, and self-talk that we’ve been holding onto for far too long.
Release and Replace. When you release, you make space. This week I’ve been decluttering my closet. As I remove items that are ill-fitting, tattered, or simply no longer spark joy in me, I am noticing the space that is made for items that light me up. I now have room for garments that support me in feeling beautiful, powerful, and confident.
Community Care. One of the most powerful aspects of the Journ and Burn experience is gathering around the fire with others and hearing what they are releasing as they throw their bits of paper into the fire. In this we learn that we are not alone in our fears, trauma, and insecurities. We feel seen, heard, and understood. We learn that even the seemingly most successful and confident among us, are human, just like us.
This week I challenge you to take inventory of what is taking up residence inside of or around you that is no longer welcome. Whether it is through writing and burning, tearing to shreds, or balling up the paper and tossing it in the trash, find a way to release what is no longer serving you to make space for your healing.
I am maintaining my wellbeing by embarking upon the next leg of my healing journey.
I am making space for that which sparks joy in me.
I am inspired by the transparency and vulnerability of my community of care who lets me know I am not alone.