Sometimes, on the winding, yellow-brick road back home to ourselves, we get tired. Our spirits flag, and we lose motivation for a spell.
On such days we might ask ourselves, why do all this hard inner work? When so many people in the world choose to stay hard-hearted, numbed out, or absent-bodied? Why should we bother to try to retrieve our aliveness, nourish our tenderheartedness, revive our colorful human soul? Why shouldn’t we just give in to the difficulties, to our self-destructive urges and patterns, to our desires to fall back asleep?
Here are some thoughts of my own. I hope you will also add to this list and think of your own reasons for keeping on keeping on. Take heart, fellow traveler, on lonely stretches of the road, knowing good things are around the bend for all of humanity. Thank you for walking the road, it does mean something, to me and countless others.
1. We Have to Keep Going to Get There
The journey to wholeness can feel endless sometimes, but the idea that our wounds won’t ever be resolved comes from the trauma experience itself, of feeling stuck and frozen in a hellish moment. The actual truth is that little by little, we are getting better, bigger, fuller, deeper, more ourselves. It just takes a long time, like a very long hike to the top of a mountain.
The main thing that gets in the way of getting to the top is when we get discouraged and stop walking the trail. We have to give ourselves many, many chances to release, repair, and repattern. Sooner or later though, one fine day, we’ll get there.
So it’s ok to stop and rest, it is. Maybe even kick and scream for a little bit, have a toddler tantrum and cry into our elbows. Then we get back on the road. Because we have to keep going to get there.
2. We Do It to Stop the Cycle of Broken-heartedness
Many of us experienced intense suffering in our lives at the hands of people whose wounds were too big for them to hold. They themselves most likely didn’t mean to hurt us, but the damage in them damaged us. Because these people we loved and needed to love us back were so addled with heartache themselves, they passed their hurt right onto us. We end up holding the same damage they held.
So those of us with the privilege of being aware of this do the hard work of healing so that we stop the madness of passing woundedness on from person to person, generation to generation. Not only that, we give from the best of us. We choose something else. We create new patterns that can be passed from person to person in the other direction. We do it to stop the cycle of broken-heartedness.
3. We Do it for True Love
True love requires full self-acceptance and self-love. If we want to experience the deep satisfaction of a true love union and partnership (or even a deep, real friendship), we have to do some work to be ready for it.
We must learn not to push away the intimacy, needs, and yearning of others, and yet still hold onto ourselves. We must find a way to be our own selves fully, vulnerable and real, while also holding the power that belongs to us intact in our hearts. We have to combine all these paradoxes of strength and yielding into one human heart. It’s a lot, but then, true love is the best. So we do it for true love.
4. We Do It Because Healthy Bodies Need Healthy Hearts
Physical health, immunity, and well-being at the biological level are influenced by whether or not we find ways to attend to the wounds of our souls. If we want to be in fit physical condition, we have to do our best to be in fit emotional, mental, creative, and spiritual condition, too! So we do it because healthy bodies need healthy hearts.
5. We Do it for Our Dreams
Whether we have a bucket list of experiences we want to have before we pass on from this plane, or a set of accomplishments it would be very satisfying to one day achieve, we will benefit from doing the hard work of healing. When too much of our pain is neglected, cast aside, rejected and unaddressed, we will either not even try, give up at the first challenge, self-sabotage our dreams just when they’re blooming, or be unable to enjoy them when they do happen. So we do it for our dreams.
6. We Do It for the Planet
If we don’t do the difficult work of healing our minds, bodies and emotions, we will always be manipulated by our wounds to continue to live in the ways that the Powers that Shouldn’t Be want us to.
If we truly, really want to stop waging wars, victimizing the vulnerable, and destroying the world’s beautiful flora and magnificent fauna, the body of mother earth, we must learn to find ways not to respond to nudges and urgings that come from the appetite for destruction within us. The most powerful action we can take to stop being part of the problem is to heal our hearts, bodies, minds, and souls. So we do it for the planet, too.
What are your reasons for keeping on keeping on?