The Immeasurability of the Healing Process

We are a nation of measurers aren’t we? Everywhere you look there is someone with a yardstick stretched out over our lives to make sure we are keeping up: school GPAs, test scores, top 100 lists, body mass index, IQs and happy lifestyle percentiles, and even a stress scale to keep track of…stress.

Just for kicks, I added up my score about six months after life came crashing down. I didn’t need to be told I was under stress, and the ridiculously high score made me even more stressed as I contemplated the potentially dangerous effects of my situation. I couldn’t change one thing at the time.

Measuring my stress only made it worse.

On the surface, there seems to be safety in all this measurement we do, giving us a false sense of where we are in relation to the rest of the population. But with all this information streaming like a ticker tape in the forefront and background of our lives, is it any wonder that we all feel inadequate, or at the very least uneasy about ourselves?

If your life happens to intersect tragedy, and I think it’s pretty safe to say no one is exempt here, thrusting a yardstick into the delicate realms of the soul seems futile, but I regularly see articles trying to reduce healing to bullet-point checklists.

Healing is organic, messy and completely non-linear. It requires sitting in the deep, cavernous holes that tragedy creates in our being and deciding to either fill them up with a new way of being or aimlessly languish in the space.

Traumatic life detours can squeeze your heart so hard that you are left with a lopsided heartbeat that no machine can translate into meaningful information. It is up to the human bearing the mangled heart to sit quietly and listen for the wisdom in the irregular beats while patiently waiting as tragedy slowly releases its grip.

Take this recent question from a young man, which caught me completely off guard, but opened my mind to an exploratory playground of thought:

“So there must be a lot you hate about what happened to you. Is there anything you love?”

That’s a pretty bold question to ask someone who has experienced suicide, infidelity and devastation, but it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than, “How are you feeling on a scale of one to ten?” If we keep focusing on the mechanics of banal numbers and mind numbing questions, we end up going in vicious circles of “fine” and “better” and never really making any progress in healing our heart.

This audacious question was similar to a moment I had when I realized I missed an entire closet in my hotel room after being there for three days. It was hidden and huge and had a bunch of cozy blankets and a cool robe that I would loved to have worn, but I didn’t realize the door was there until the last night.

I honestly don’t know how I missed it, but I did.

Healing goes like this doesn’t it? We think we know the terrain and then something presents in a new way that opens a door to possibility. Or a set back. This kind of thing can’t be measured in numbers, scales or lists.

I didn’t think I could ever “love” anything about what happened to me. For a while, I held tight to it being an awful experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I still wouldn’t wish it on anyone but it is something I continually strive to integrate into my being and I am deeply grateful for everything I have learned.

I  love that I have no way to measure that on a scale of one to ten.

Have you found meaningful ways to gauge your progress on the path to healing? Have you encountered thought provoking questions that gave rise to a new way of seeing your situation?

Sending peace and light your way.


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.

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