healing and the art of resiliency

my inner wolf

Wolf is a teacher, meant to come back to the pack with life lessons and insights.

Life, as a force or energy, has its own rhythm, ebbs, and flows. Our individual lives follow a subtle, circadian beat. Our days unfold in predictable patterns of space and time. Many of us, without knowing or meaning to, grow complacent, dispassionate in our course.

Then it happens. A split moment, or emotional jolt blast us out of our orbits. 

An accident, a death, an illness throw us into a tailspin. Traumas and tragedies take center stage. There is just no way life could be sustained as we know it. Borrowing from the wisdom of Breñe Brown, we fall with our face on the arena floor. The challenge is finding the courage to pick ourselves up, through the daze and hurt and unknown.

My split moment was when the doctor said, “stage 4, treatable but not curable.”

For the next full year, my primary focus was getting through surgery, enduring chemotherapy, and wrapping my head around what appeared to be a predictable, inevitable, statistical demise.

I didn’t know two years ago that I would be alive today.

As I picked myself off the “arena floor”, it became quite evident that life had changed forever. I was determined to make meaning out of the trauma. For a year, my loved ones gathered. Their familiar warmth and laughter was all part of the healing. I allowed myself my every heart’s desire.

As it turned out, the first year of my diagnosis was so full of love and life; it had left me searching in its wake. I hadn’t considered that I would be so healthy. I kept gearing up for the sucker punch that hadn’t come. I soon realized that I caught myself between living my life and waiting for something to happen.

It was time to re-examine my life.

Stripped of my daily routines, patterns, and identities, I found myself staring in the mirror, searching. There, reflecting back was what I had always known. I was so much more than my profession. I was worthy beyond all the roles I play, and richer than the things I own. As each day ticked by, my remission lingered, like a long expansive plateau, where the drop off is seemingly way off in the horizon.

From up on the plateau, I was reminded that true healing was not only of body, but especially of mind and spirit. If I was to heal in all ways possible, it required “medicine” that connected me back to my truest essence. I also knew that healing was much more enduring that any cure.

I have often drawn insight from symbols, visions, and dreams. They have been a path to my own inner wisdom. On this journey of healing, I instinctually knew that integrating my intellectual mind with my creative self was essential. Among the wealth of creative expressions available to me, I dabbled in music, felting, and clay forms.

But, what took me by surprise has been the emergence of the art of drawing. Drawing has been the medicine that has resonated deep within my core. This medicine required as much faith as my weekly chemotherapy treatments, perhaps more. I had to trust that the medicine would be effective and cumulative in its affect.

I started by drawing stick figures. Then I would copy simple drawings, line for line. Just as the chemo, I had to persevere. I had to keep at it, giving myself time to practice and refine the skill of putting pencil to paper. Most of all, I had to let go of my tendency to compare myself to others. The medicine required that I allow the drawings to evolve and emerge.

Then the magic happened. The gift of pyrography came into my life. I picked up the burning tool as if my soul had been reborn, restored. Trusting in this medicine, it touched a very deep part of me. I opened a window to my inner self.

So, there, emerging in the grain of the wood, I found my “inner wolf.  Wolf empowers the teacher within me to share medicine with others. This is what I had learned:

Re-examining my life has, and still is, an exercise in trust, persistence, practice, allowing.

Re-examination enables me to dust myself off and pursue life from this step forward.

Re-examining has helped me to emerge from the grief and loss.

Re-examination has enabled me to find the courage to trust my instincts, to take new paths, redirect from dead ends, and learn by discovery.

I am grateful for this journey, sucker punches and all. I have come to realize that resiliency does not always mean a return to how things have been. It’s about my capacity to move forward. Although my body may one day succumb to disease, I am most definitely healing.

I have discovered the freedom that wolf inspires.

As your coach, I would be honored to help you re-examine your life. Please contact me at bridgett@bridgettperry.com

2 Responses to “healing and the art of resiliency”

  1. Arlyn Anderson says:

    A truly satisfying outcome, Bridgett. Thank you for sharing your learning, your darkness and your light. The whole world is brighter for it.

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