A week ago, I had badly bitten the inside of my lip, which resulted in a painful, glaring ulcer. I began to naturally orient myself around the source of pain. I would eat food and expect to feel the sting (it did). I chewed only on the right side of my mouth. I avoided fried foods. I flinched whenever I drank hot soups. When brushing teeth, I would get really gentle near the ulcer, because even the slightest prickle of a single brush bristle would cause the pain to flare up. I slept on my right cheek. You get the point.
Today, without thinking too much, I brushed my teeth. Suddenly, I realised, that all the pain was gone. Zilch. Subconsciously, I was no longer engaging in pain-avoidance. I began to reflect on the week, and realised that I had been eating, drinking, sleeping, and brushing my teeth without a second thought.
I guess, it made me wonder…
Do we always consciously realise when our metaphorical wounds are healing ? The unremarkable, quiet healing of the ulcer was slow and gradual, and perhaps, that is the way it works for all the other things that have hurt and haunted us, at some point in our lives. I suppose it’s not the same as letting yourself passively sit by for things we do need to confront, but there is a comfort in realising that not all healing takes place consciously. Within us, healing is already taking place. With time and age, comes the weathering of rough edges, wisdom, and bits of newfound courage. Perhaps one day I’ll wake up and realise, oh, it’s been a while since I’ve felt this way. It’s been a while since I’ve felt scared. It’s been a while since I worried too much. Sometimes, the demons outgrow their homes in our hearts, and they simply opt to leave.
Until we get to that point, we must continue to do the small, unremarkable things. Showing up every day. Trying. Getting through, getting busy. Life moves on, both in our external worlds and within us.
Today, I suddenly realised that my ulcer had healed. It was so unremarkable, I barely noticed it. I guess that’s a good thing.