Healing is like cleaning house…woot?

It always needs to get done.  Rarely get a break.  Always need to do more.

I used to hate cleaning.  I still often have days of less appreciation, but I’ve improved my relationship with it.  I’ve come to feel the connection between the act of cleaning and the magic of cleaning.  When every act of cleaning becomes a magical act, it has, for me, greater purpose, and thus a greater appeal for getting it done.  Plus, I really love living in a clean home.

It’s actually a bit of a treat now rather than a relentless torture.

Even though I will need to do it again later today and tomorrow and next weekend.  There are always more dishes.  More dirty clothes.  The floors get dirty.  Dust falls on everything.  Then there are the pets.  Since they don’t have the wherewithal to eliminate into the toilet, there’s all that associated cleaning, too.  And closets!  Wow, closets are a dangerous zone.  They get organized a time or two throughout the year, and if that organization is maintained, everything is good.  But it’s sooooo tempting to just put that one thing back quickly rather than properly and before you know it, the whole closet has gone to shit and you’re looking at a major overhaul before it will be fully useful again.

But when I put the effort in to putting things away properly, in the closets, in the teeny, teeny kitchen.  In my office area.  When I use things and then complete their usage by putting them away, all becomes beautiful in the living.  But the cleaning will always be there, behind everything I do, and an ongoing work on its own behalf.

That’s what healing is like.  I’m thinking of emotional trauma and old physical trauma and habits healing.  Things that have become embedded into us.

When I first started down my ‘oh shit, I have sexual trauma in my background, I’m going to need to do some work on this’ road, my original viewpoint was ‘let’s get this done and over with so we can go back to living a fun and worry free life’.  (Yes, apparently I am referring to myself in the 3rd person.)  And yes, I had this cheerful delusion that I could face it, deal with it, and have it all be over with in a year.  Maybe two.

That was over 15 years ago.

Today I know that healing is an every day thing.  Today I will do some healing for my nervous system.  Some.  And tomorrow will come some more.  There will be big days, where I clear through a lot in one go; those epic healing days, like the epic cleaning days, that are intensely satisfying and make you feel like you’ve really accomplished something.

But just as with cleaning, it takes less effort, and life is generally easier to live, when the healing is done in small doses on a regular basis.  Slipped on a rock and fell?  Take that extra minute and let the nervous system work it out now instead of having more troubles later.  Delivery company pissing you off?  Have a healthy response of useful aggression (non-violent) instead of bottling up everything inside to eat at you later.  As the day-to-day cleaning, ah, healing, settles in, then when there’s time for a deeper clean, we can actually go a bit deeper instead of just catching up on the little things.  If the dishes are already done, things put away, then that extra time goes to washing floors or wiping down cabinets, instead of just catching up on the little things.  (Called titration, btw.)

And the absolute, inescapable truth is that the healing is going to go on for the rest of our lives.  We’ll get so good at it that the effort will go down.  Then we’ll get so caught up on it that the effort will go down.  (Or alternatively, we’ll just let it all pile up and ignore it – but I’m assuming we’re all in the ‘want to deal’ group.)

Some days we won’t bother with healing.  And things will pile up a bit, and we’ll need to catch up on another day.  And that’s okay.  Because it will be waiting for us tomorrow.

When the healing is big and scary and overwhelming, the idea that it won’t end can seem like we’ve been sentenced to some level of hell.  That we are doomed to suffer until the end of our days.  Except not.  Healing isn’t hell.  It just needs to take us through things that can feel hellish in our systems until we’ve worked things out.  Have you ever done physiotherapy?  Not always fun.  Sometimes downright torturous.  But afterwards?  If done well, afterwards is a veritable treat.

Healing our selves and our souls and our spirits is just what we do.  So that we can live life to the fullest, in all our corners, bright and dark.


Went by my old work place today.  Was smart and paid for the all-day parking, because once I get talking with old friends, there’s just no stopping.

It’s been two years and things have progressed along the way they do in a large organization.  Some things changed.  Many things haven’t.

I saw my successor: smart, strong, confident in my old office chair, catching me up on the recent changes.

We met years ago at an HR workshop.  I sat down beside her and discovered I knew her mother (technically she introduced herself and I cried out “oh my god, you’re Judy’s daughter!).  In the workshop they asked what we were trying to figure out in our lives at the time, what chances we wanted to take.  She wanted to take a chance on a new job.  Turned out I was looking to hire an HR Manager for a medical leave coverage.  Two years later she’d moved from our HR Manager, through special projects, into my job.  She was nervous and worried she couldn’t manage the financial aspects.  I had complete faith.

My faith has been rewarded.  More than rewarded.  She is flourishing, as is the Department I left in her care.

For the second year in a row, I stopped by on front office holiday decoration day.  (I have a gift for showing up when there’s treats?)  They set up the tree, put up lights, ate some goodies, decorated with bows and boxes and greenery.

The tree is an old, fake tree.  It was actually mine.  When I moved into my current home I made a personal vow that if I couldn’t fit an item into my apartment, it had to go, no storage room pileups for me!  So one early morning I took my old, fake Christmas tree to the office (when I still worked at one) and snuck it into the storage room with the rest of the holiday gear.  It was accompanied in that trip by a bunch of old ornaments that didn’t make the dear-to-me cut and an old tree skirt my mother made for me when I moved into the basement.

As I walked past the closed front office on my way out of the building today, there was that tree, standing small and kind of proud, with lights and garland, decorations I recognized from my years setting up the tree there and from my old personal collection and beneath it was the tree skirt from my mother.

(Side note:  it turns out you can’t anonymously donate a tree to a department without causing incredible kerfuffle, because apparently people don’t believe in magic tree faeries and start wondering if someone stole the neighbouring Department’s tree when they weren’t looking.  In the end I had to confess to my donation.  Sadness.)

There were a number of other little reminders, little moments when I could smile and point my internal, mental finger at it and go ‘hey, I helped bring that into being!’  You know, reminders of basic operational practices that I helped create and that are still useful and going strong, things like that.

I have left a gift of legacy.  I wasn’t perfect, and by the end I was far from perfect, but still.  I see my successor and hold deep pride that I helped bring her to that place, for her and for the Department.  I see my tree and skirt and can literally see that in odd, small ways I have left behind parts of my self that still serve.

I am honoured to be proud.

I didn’t plan it.  It just happened.  Legacy.

~The Abysmal Witch