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The Beautiful Chaos of Healing

Healing, as a word, sounds plain and uncomplicated—a term we hear almost everywhere. But I’m not sure if we truly understand its depth and complexity. Healing has multiple layers, and I am only beginning to grasp its intricacies.

We all go through healing in one way or another. For some, it’s a conscious effort; for others, it’s more unconscious. Sometimes we feel more enthusiastic about it than at other times. As a therapist, I get to witness others’ healing journeys intimately, and the more I heal, the more fascinating and complex I find it.

Healing sounds like a beautiful process, and it is, but it doesn’t always feel beautiful. In fact, it rarely does when one is in the depths of it. Healing is always beautiful, but it is often uncomfortable and chaotic.

Healing can lead to better decisions, relationships, and more positive states of being. But often, it involves ugly crying, helplessness, self-doubt, and distrust in others and life. Sometimes, healing makes us feel worse before we get better, hitting rock bottom as a milestone. It can mean feeling stuck, unable to move, or not wanting to live. Healing can also look like taking drastic steps that don’t make sense to others or even to our past selves. Sometimes, healing happens silently, without making any noise, just occurring in a corner while we go about our lives. Other times, it rocks our world and pauses everything.

Healing is hardly ever what we expect. It often shocks us into melancholy because it has no rules. It plays peek-a-boo when we start to believe we have healed, and sometimes it reserves space in our lives even when we don’t intend to participate. Healing is beautiful but often painful. When we look deeply enough, we start to see the beauty in the pain and the order in the chaos.

Based on my experience, observation, and understanding, I remind myself and others that healing is not always going to feel breezy. It is painful and messy, often accompanied by helplessness, hopelessness, and doubt, but also by empowerment, self-compassion, and a wider opening of the heart. Healing empties what has been heavy, allowing more life and light to come in. It may seem absurd to our rational mind, but our heart knows what’s happening and why. It may feel like everything is falling apart, but often it’s falling into the right place at a deeper level.

So, I hope you allow yourself to trust the process. Recognize self-doubt as a companion of change and find the resilience to not listen to it all the time. Know that there is light even when it seems pitch dark. Remember that the chaos, irritation, exhaustion, euphoria, frustration, changing relations, emotions, and difficult states of being are all part of the process. You aren’t doing it wrong. Feeling like you are doing it wrong is also part of healing. Healing takes care of itself. You just have to let it happen and trust that, even during the most horrific fall, you are going to land in the arms of your healed self.

I dedicate this piece of writing to my clients who I am forever grateful for, for showing up courageously on their healing journeys as they do and for letting me witness their vulnerable selves deeply engaged in this work. It is a privilege I give thanks for every day.

lotuses blooming in muddy water
Lotus blooming

Photo by Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash


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