Know This Love: Retracing

I haven’t written much lately. Actually, next to nothing, other than what has been required.

My brain hasn’t been working right. I’ve been at turns foggy, confused, disoriented, depressed, severely anxious – and that’s just what I’m comfortable sharing.

Those in fields like mine – as well as fields like psychology, chiropractic and homeopathy – call it retracing. That’s when the body is healing something and it goes through some of the same symptoms and patterns it went through on the way down, so to speak.

I’ve been going through a great deal of retracing, on purpose, because I’m doing an intense healing program. The benefit is that I’m healing quickly from deep, long-standing health problems.

But the downside is that the retracing can be extremely tough to go through at times. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind. I have found myself saying the 23rd Psalm (“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. . .” and “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. . .”) more times in a day than I can count.

One of the main lessons I have learned during this time is one everybody has to learn, and sometimes learn again and again and again until it sticks: to love myself, no matter what I go through.

It reminds me of a quote from the movie Moulin Rouge (maybe it came from somewhere before that, too):

“The greatest thing you can ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Most important, and most difficult, is to learn to love yourself.

It struck me the other day, after coming out of a difficult hour, that we have criminalized all sorts of harm toward our fellow people and animals: not just killing them, but also abusing, neglecting, and other forms of what I’d call spiritual harm.

And yet it is still totally legal to repeatedly abuse ourselves! We beat ourselves up all day long in our own minds. We can abuse our bodies, whether it’s subtly through a poor diet or more overtly with drugs and physical self-harm. These acts would get us arrested were they perpetrated against anyone else, but against ourselves, it’s acceptable.

I’m not sure it would ever be feasible to outlaw self-abuse or self-harm, but it’s worth imagining. What if we weren’t allowed to do that? What if we could only love ourselves and treat ourselves with respect? What kind of world would this be?

Call me idealistic, but I believe this is what is coming — sooner or later — and in my lifetime. I think we will all retrace some deep, old wounds, and that will be really difficult. But once we go through it, we’ll be healed and ready to embrace each other with love. And the world will be a more delightful, luscious place to be than we can ever imagine.

So I’ll embrace each retracing and love myself through all of it, no matter what I need to heal.