What Really Happens On The Healing Journey

October 12, 2017

If you’ve experienced a healing crisis, or are currently experiencing a healing crisis, this is for you.

This post is also helpful for those who are caregivers or friends to those that have been on the Healing Journey.


Welcome to a space where you are seen and your unique journey to wellness and wholeness is not overlooked, pathologized, diagnosed or prescribed. 



Some people go through life without ever experiencing what I’ve come to call the “Initiation”. On the path of healing, an initiation occurs when change is no longer just an option, but an absolute necessity. It’s the time when the option to ignore an issue is taken away- leaving the initiate to embark on the path of healing, whether prepared or not.


An initiation can take many forms, shaped by your higher self and your soul’s unique journey towards freedom. For some, this might look like a healing journey that combines elements of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual upheaval. Disease and illness could be the catalyst of an initiation, or a traumatic event such as deep heartbreak and death of a loved one could result in sudden, unexpected transformation.


I also think we have multiple initiations, and not all of them are in the realm of a healing crisis that sends the initiate into complete re-evaluation of life. But I’ll save that for another post.


The initiation is said to be the point of no return. Often though, the healing journey as a whole is both a result and a cause of this initiation. And it isn’t quite as cut and dry of a moment as the initiation itself.  


Let’s unpack that for a minute, shall we?


The healing journey begins before the initiation. If you’re drawn to this piece of writing, you’re probably one of the incarnated souls that have chosen this lifetime as one of healing. Whether you like it or not, you’ve come into this body as a vessel for healing. Perhaps unconsciously, you’ve known that the “stuff” you’ve dealt with your entire life has deeper significance than just the surface level symptoms or patterns.


On the healing journey, the initiation or healing crisis occurs before a deeper healing happens. This point of darkness can be viewed as the Winter Solstice, the darkest time before the light returns. It’s cold, uncomfortable, and dark- but if we're present, the darkness becomes an ally and new opportunities seem to reveal themselves. There’s an invitation to go into the darkness. Because we know that the light will return.


One of my initiations came this past year. I was sick and I wasn’t getting better. Actually I was getting way worse. And I had to before I got “better” (a loose word that shouldn’t be used synonymously with cured).  


Adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances, a chronic infection, severe carpal tunnel and an inability to process and digest any amount of food is the list of things I tell people when they ask, “what happened”?


That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. I had never before experienced such intense physical symptoms in my body. Looking back I’ve seen that my first healing crisis came when I was 13, a long story of loss that hurled me into the (sadly) common teenage depression.  However, that initiation didn’t come with any physical distress. Maybe it was this event all along that triggered the healing crisis of last year, wounds I thought I had healed coming to the surface once again for a final bout of cellular upgrading and renewal. A very uncomfortable DNA activation that spread me as thin as I hope I’ll ever be.


Over the past few years of my life, I’ve learned a thing or two about the healing journey. Most of these have become fully realized and experienced over the past year as I was much more conscious (thanks to physical symptoms) of what exactly was going on.


I know many people that have been dealing with persistent chronic illness (whether mental or physical) for their entire lives, and in no way do I mean to compare myself or act like I have all the answers. I don’t and I never will, which is okay- I'm continually making my peace with that as a practice of surrender.


What I do know is that I tend towards accelerated experiences, ones that knock me down pretty damn hard, fast, and without relent. Only after am I able to see clearly what exactly went on and review the signs that came before.


I’ve been studying (as the best student does, by directly participating) what really happens on the healing journey and putting it into words. For those that I’ve surrounded myself with and personally, these are some of the things that can happen on the healing journey- In no particular order and in no way encompassing everything.


1. Quietness/Empyting


When I was in the beginning stages of physical distress, I was basically forced by my body to just be quiet and empty my life of everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. This looked a lot like canceling plans and minimalizing my commitments. When in the acute stages of a healing crisis, there comes a point where the daily tasks are all you can do- and sometimes, not even that.


There was a profound catharsis that happened with the emptying. When I actually couldn’t go out and do things that used to be the norm, I got really clear on what was important to me. What I missed, and what I didn’t. The people I craved to be around, and the one’s that just fell away.


In the quietness, I confronted what I struggled with the most. I confronted the internal dialogue that had been limiting me for years, and was able to trace back where it all came from. This stillness was uncomfortable. I wanted to “fix it”, I wanted to “heal myself”, to “move on”.


But healing doesn’t happen overnight. Illness, disease and imbalance often take quite awhile to build in the system. It can’t be eradicated right away. When I was able to understand this, I started to celebrate the small victories and the days that I did feel okay. Which brings me to my next point…


2. Apathy


Apathy is commonly defined as a “lack of interest or indifference”.


Huh? How does one that’s dealing with chronic conditions develop apathy or indifference? How can one “not care” about very pressing symptoms and an overall low quality of life?


This might seem like a funny experience to have on the healing journey. And the irony is just that- Chronic conditions have a way of enabling one to become comfortable and get used to being in low level discomfort.


Apathy set in for me at one point during my healing journey, and it’s something that is still present for me sometimes. It’s cyclical. Working with Flower Essences has helped me to snap out of apathy faster each time it creeps in, thankfully, and I know most of my triggers now.

I became apathetic towards my situation when I began to forget my body's capability of healing. Instead of remembering to trust the innate wisdom of my higher self for putting this experience into my life as a big teaching, I entered into a state of forgetting that I was worthy of healing.


When I looked at the timeline of my symptoms, I didn’t want to see that it had been months. I saw instead that clearly, based on how long it had been, I was unable to heal and that I would “deal” with discomfort forever.


This is a very real experience for most people who are living the healing journey. Becoming accustomed to being limited was the catalyst for another layer of my process to be revealed…


3. Inner Rebellion


I flip flopped between apathy and inner rebellion. Instead of continuing to do the things that I knew were helping and supporting me, I let my desire to be “normal” take over for a bit.


Being “normal” for me has always been a sensitive spot. To some extent, I believe that all of us deal with a surface level conversation between the higher self and the egoic nature. This conversation is based on other people’s perceptions, judgements, a desire to fit in and be accepted, and the overarching human need for connection.


My discomfort led me to feeling disconnected. It was simple things like not being able to go out to eat, indulge in “normal” things, and maintain a steady presence at my job because of how often I felt physically ill.


I also was single and didn’t have a lot of intimacy or sexual expression in my life. This was perhaps the hardest part for me and one that I see more and more in my clients and friends that are on the healing journey as well.

Healing by nature is isolating in the way our society is set up. Healing by nature is isolating because it requires a commitment to simplicity and an emptying of life, as described above. But healing by nature cannot happen without connection, fun, enjoyment, and pleasure.


Inner rebellion can actually be very helpful, because it shows one exactly what needs to come into life in order for fulfillment to happen. It can also serve as a platform for the surfacing of addictions and a review of behaviors that have contributed to the conditions present. It is a powerful tool of witnessing.


However, inner rebellion didn’t look healthy for me at first, because I acted on the rebellion instead of witnessing myself in rebellion. I know that I needed to experience what I did though, because that in turn helped me to further clarified what the heck actually helped me.


What it really looked like was pretending, ignoring, and also first hand experiencing what it was like for me to live in a non-restrictive way. I threw away my food sensitivities and ate whatever I wanted, not from a place of intuition, but from a believing that not limiting what I ate would help me to mentally feel more free. I stopped doing the practices that were helping me, and began to try and live how I used to, in a less conscious way of how I treated my physical body. I wanted to escape my body and my symptoms.


I now know that liberation and unlimited experience of life for me actually looks like placing restrictions on how I eat and nourish myself, who I see and engage with, the commitments I make, and maintain mindfulness around my boundaries.


Through inner rebellion, I was able to see that liberation for me does not mean absolute freedom. It means taking the best care of myself in order to be able to embody and experience something better than the “normal” I thought I craved. Liberation means having sustainable connections and surrounding myself with people that I can show up with as my whole self- Without needing to stay out until 2 am and consuming alcohol or being pressured into a relationship that is only revolved around sex without any other form of connection.


4. Gratitude


A renewed sense of gratitude for simple things took up way more space in my consciousness. Instead of focusing on big picture visions, I found comfort in the simplicity of living. I was alive- although there were days when I did not want to be- but this aliveness in itself helped me to see a new beauty in the present uncertainty of when I would “get better”.


I turned to nature as my center of grounding and gratitude. I relished in the plants that were growing outside of my city apartment and the redwood that took up my minimal backyard space. The flowers blooming on my daily walk became a source of inspiration when I felt there was nothing left. It wasn’t depressing, it was simple, and the simplicity of noticing and naming my gratitude for the moments I could breathe into resilience was a daily practice.


For me, gratitude is a process of bringing me closer to the truth of the moment. During the challenging moments, gratitude didn’t wash away the pain or gloss over the real physical discomfort. Instead, it helped me to balance my perspective and cultivate purpose. There was always something for me to be grateful for, and for that I feel absolutely blessed. If health is wealth, I had plenty of it, because I believe I was privileged to have began to listen to my body in this new way, saving me from years of continuing down a path of neglect. 


5. Instantaneous Healing


I moved across the country during height of my healing crisis.


I drove from the West Coast back to the East Coast, alone, and without any crutches to lean on as far as addictive patterns go. I wasn’t able to drink caffeine, or eat most “fast food” (even healthier options), and I definitely couldn’t do the more physical tasks of travel that I enjoy, such as backpacking or camping down trails that I had to trek my gear into.


All of those things aside, I was able to put into direct action what I was learning- To not label myself as a victim to suffering. Sure, I was in pain, and I was frustrated, but I didn’t need to suffer. I didn’t need to attach to the "no’s" I had to say during that trip. Instead I focused on my "yes’s". That I could in fact do this trip, that I was capable of  healing and expanding in the ways that a big road trip lends itself to.


I experienced a level of connection to my reasonings for why this was all happening. Synchronistic experiences happened, and for the time being, I felt relatively good in my body. I got out of my head and into an expanded awareness that there was more out there for me. I was capable of pushing myself by softening into my boundaries and listening to what I needed, even on the road.


Instantaneous healing occurred in the moments of profound clarity I was lucky to have received during the trip. The catalyst for recognizing the importance of not attaching to suffering in my body enabled my mind to also cease the suffering.


It wasn’t for forever, though, and once my travels were over and I slowed down and settled back in, I was faced with the realization that I needed to choose to feed the gratitude and not feed the apathy or victimhood of the “why” this was all happening to me.


It was happening for me. For my evolution. For my growth. For my protection.


Instantaneous healing's are the moments that one lives for on the healing journey. These are not spiritual experiences of miraculous cures per say, yet they can be. I haven’t had a miraculous healing in a lasting way from a physical perspective, but I have had it in a mental way.


Dr. Edward Bach wrote that “health depends on being in harmony with our souls” and that “there is no true healing unless there is a change in outlook, peace of mind and inner happiness.”


When it comes to instantaneous healing, these two quotes could not be more true.





Healing is a lifetime journey. It has a timeline of it’s own, usually one that’s larger than the conscious mind can comprehend because healing exists beyond the concept of linear time. Once that first initiation happens, a portal opens, and there is only expansion from there.


Being on the healing journey looks different for everyone. These 5 things are only a handful of my reflections-on-experience. It is my hope in sharing parts of my story that those of you who are working with pain, disease, illness, and chronic conditions now will see that you are not alone, and that you are seen and supported.


Stay tuned for my next exploration of writing on the healing journey. I’ll be sharing about what’s dangerous about thinking certain ways of being are “normal and healthy” and “wrong and sick” - Bridging the gap of understanding to include a much larger dialogue for these binding and limiting words.


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​© 2019 by Emma Amara Elisabeth