The Healing Process: It’s a Marathon

healing marathon | Dianna Bonny Photography

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” Thomas A. Edison

Fifteen years ago I ran a marathon with the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training program. The spark for this adventure began when a friend of mine was in training for a marathon and I made the comment that there was no way I could ever do that. She laughed at me and said, “Well, of course you couldn’t right now, but if you trained properly, you could do it.” It stopped me in my tracks and made me rethink what was possible, so much so, that when a postcard arrived in my mailbox six months later advertising the Team in Training program for the Honolulu marathon, I immediately said yes.

The experience taught me an important lesson about the beliefs we hold to be true, the ones we never question that inhabit our psyches as though they belong there. How many things do we simply overlook because of our invisible programming that tell us we “can’t” do it?

The training process was deceptively simple. Every week, our runs were incrementally increased, moving the runners from short distances to longer ones that increased the body’s strength and capacity, as well as expanding our mental boundaries to include the possibility of completing a 26.2 mile run.

I think the same philosophy of training for a marathon can be applied to the healing process. When standing at the very beginning moments of a traumatic event, making the decision to heal can seem overwhelming and impossible, but breaking everything down into smaller parts and building outward is the ultimate road to wholeness and freedom.

There were, and still are, many layers to my healing. Some of the layers include grief, embracing suicide as a part of my world, adapting to swift and radical changes and parenting three children with grace. Without a doubt, some of the deepest work I have immersed myself in is exploring the contours of my husband’s infidelity. I was initially overwhelmed by the idea of it — feeling its entirety threatened my mental equilibrium. Little by little, I began to break it down into manageable parts, similar to marathon training: a mile, then two then three, and so on. By slowly allowing myself to sit with the uncomfortable reality, I built up the capacity to be with the excruciating feelings that accompanied it. Over time, my tolerance expanded, which created a way for me to explore the feelings without being completely decimated.

There were times when it was too much. I would hit the wall and have to stop, in the same way certain running distances pushed me out beyond what I was capable of at that moment.

I simply stopped, initiated extreme self-care practices, and waited until my body signaled it was ready to begin again.

Building my capacity to explore the feelings has allowed me to make sense of the larger picture and understand how all the pieces fit together. This has given me a much deeper understanding of myself and the way I lived my life back then, as well as a blueprint for how I want to live in the future.

I have met many women who have been affected by infidelity and rather than face the pain head on, they allow it to color their world with bitterness and anger towards men and subjecting themselves to tormenting thoughts about the “other woman.” I consider this to be an unfortunate obsession that ultimately robs them of their power.

Learning to be with the reality of infidelity has worked for me. I don’t want to spend my days haunted by the ghosts of the past, by people who intersected my life but thankfully have no part of it now.

Finishing the marathon was pure bliss. I remember thinking as I crossed the finish line that I really didn’t want it to be over because the experience had stretched me so far out beyond who I thought I was. In an odd way, I have the same sentiments about the process of healing from this tragedy and I am deeply grateful for the lessons.

Can you find ways to break your healing down into small, manageable parts that will allow you to be with your experience?

Sending love,


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

  2 comments for “The Healing Process: It’s a Marathon

  1. September 30, 2013 at 7:06 am


    Really liked this post. You broke it down to steps in healing, likening it to training. Also liked the quote from Edison.

    • Dianna Bonny
      October 1, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Thank you Anne 🙂 A marathon seemed like a good metaphor for what we do while healing. So glad it resonated with you. xo

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