Welcome back to Restorative Grief with Mandy Capehart. You are listening to episode 64 titled, “In Pursuit of Whole Self Healing.” We’re diving headfirst into the new year with a conversation about treating ourselves as whole, start to finish. We are not a people made whole after finding a partner, nor are we made whole once we finally have children, land a cool career path, or deepen our spiritual understanding of the world. All those things have great meaning in our lives, but our wholeness is inherent. So today we’re going to pursue some ideas to help us insist on our wholeness and the validity of working toward healing and restoration for our whole selves, too.
Well my sweet listeners, it is the new year – we’ve cruised in 2023 in the blink of an eye and if you are anything like me, you have ZERO resolutions on the docket. I don’t do resolutions for many of my own rebellious reasons, but the one I want to share with you today is that I believe resolutions send us chasing after the wrong type of healing. Now you might be wondering if there is a wrong type of healing, and I’ll admit it’s a bit of a misnomer. Perhaps the better word to use here would be an incomplete healing, and I’ll tell you why.
When we grieve, our whole self – the heart, mind, body, and spirit parts of us – are thrown out of alignment with our values and sense of self. We get confused and wonder, “Who Am I?” as loudly and often as anyone will listen. We set goals and resolutions to try and fix what feels broken, too often overidentifying with that idea of brokenness to the point that our wholeness seems to be lost forever.
Think of the last ten resolutions you set. What were they? How did they improve or bring healing into your life? Did you focus on weight and consumption? Did you add fitness or financial health goals? Maybe you wanted to travel more, but on the heels of a major pandemic, still wonder if or when that’s truly going to feel safe for you to do.
When we think of resolutions, we tend to think of them in terms of improving our health. But from what I can see, it’s usually the health of one or two aspects of our lives in isolation. There are the occasional few who set themselves multiple resolutions for all the areas, but I wonder – how sustainable are those multiple goals at once? If they were that simple to implement, I suspect we wouldn’t need a restart each calendar year to remind ourselves to focus.
You can throw a dart in a bookstore and find a memoir or self-help book on discovering the value of therapy and therapeutic practices. The same is true of spiritual growth and physical health. When we pick and choose or even become intentional to focus on all four areas of our whole selves, we may end up with a stack of new books to read that takes at least 4 months. Which is lovely, and helpful in many ways, I’m sure. Although personally, I burn out fast on self-help or improvement works; especially when grief is also involved.
In my life, I have three major grief event anniversaries in January. My latest miscarriage, the death of my grandfather way back when I was 13, and the death of my mother in 2016. It’s a terrible time of the year for me to start thinking, “Well, better get myself together and start improving!”
So knowing how many obstacles I carry, how can I make space for myself to find healing in even one of these areas, let alone all four?
By relying on my core values.
That’s right – I want you to picture your resolutions or however you press “reset” at the start of a new year with your core values in mind.
Instead of making those “SMART” goals that are specific and measurable and timely, etc., try thinking big picture this year. What core value do you want to embody that could move the needle toward health for you in all FOUR areas of your whole self?
This is where we get creative. Like I said, I don’t love resolutions, but when I invite myself to think about my whole self in terms of improved health along the lines of a core value, my perspective changes. I’m no longer looking at myself with a vision of lack, but of growth. Last year, the goal was nourishment – mind, heart, body, and spirit. What do I want to add into my life that leaves me feeling nourished, and how do I frame my so-called “resolutions” around that value of nourishment?
Throughout the last twelve months, I have both succeeded and failed at pursuing nourishment. In all four areas, my focus has shifted back and forth. Some months were easy; some crawled by one day at a time. But you know what I didn’t feel?
Condemnation. Because I didn’t set a goal that allowed me to fail. I set a flexible standard of compassionate curiosity. So that way when nourishment of my mind took a backseat to red wine and Bachelor nights, I could offer myself grace and wonder why my mind needed to check out instead of grow.
The same is true of my emotional state, being nourished with intentional heart work and allowing new relationships to have access to my heart. It carried into my body, allowing me to change my connection to food and fuel, as well as appreciate my body itself for all the hard work it does allowing me to live. And my spiritual health became something accessible in ways I’ve only dreamed about for years.
It wasn’t that I had a specific goal in mind that I needed to reach. Instead it was turning my attention toward myself with an attitude set toward nourishing every part of my whole self.
So with that in mind, what value is a worthy pursuit for you this year? It’s okay if you’re not sure. Sit with a list of values. Go back to your journals. Think about the biggest pain points in your story right now – what heavy experiences are you walking into repeatedly that could use a different intention?
Feel free to borrow nourishment, if that feels good to you. And of course, if one value doesn’t fit for the first few weeks, switch it up. For this year, my value of fun is my focal point. My question is now, “How can I incorporate fun into my thoughts, emotions, my body, and my spirit of connection to myself, others, my community, and my spiritual practices?”
Value work allows us to make our resolutions into something manageable – a moving target that grows with us. We don’t have to minimize who we are to improve or heal. We have to learn how to take up more space. And this year, that looks like allowing the values we hold most dear to have a seat in navigation with us as we go.
Thank you for listening to episode 64 of Restorative Grief.
Before I let you go, I want to give you a sweet, somewhat cheesy phrase that I’m also including in my focus for the new year and that’s “Nourish to flourish.” We all want to feel like we are flourishing in life. Truly living a life what brings us joy, hope, and peace. But to remain in a place of flourishing, we must take in the things that give us nourishment. What feeds you in all four areas of your whole self – heart, mind, body, and spirit? Feast on those things and let them inform your values, your yeses, and your boundaries. This is where we will find that wholeness and healing we want and that we deserve.
If this is your first time listening to Restorative Grief, then thank you for starting your year with me. I hope this is a conversation that allows you to start asking questions of your grief experience with compassion and hopefulness. Please take a moment to subscribe to the show, leave a review, and share this episode with someone you love and see on the regular. That person is likely to be impacted by your new values and way of moving through loss, so inviting them into the process with some context is a great and loving thing to do. I also want to remind you about the Patron side of things; you can gain access to our monthly Patron chats, bonus episodes, and more little surprises I may come up with this year by visiting the links in our show notes.
And one last thing, as always: Please remember, the only solution for grief is to do the work of grieving. Thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week, and may this new year be joyful and gentle.
Links + Resources from this episode: