Isn’t she over this Already?

Apr 12, 2024

“I try not to talk too much about my story battling cancer (during COVID) because sometimes I feel like people think that was a long time ago. Isn’t she over this already? And the truth is, I’m not. I will never be. I know that’s not what people think, but that’s where my mind goes sometimes. Friends and loved ones have the best of intentions, however, oftentimes don’t realize the magnitude of mental and emotional trauma to process following the completion of any cancer treatment protocol. How could they? Yes, there is always physical healing that is necessary, but that is only a small piece of the puzzle.

The healing process took me several years and included yoga, meditation, acupuncture, medical marijuana, Reiki, and counseling among other things. I was not well enough (physically) to attend yoga during my treatments, however, I started going to yin and gentle yoga classes at Bella Prana Collective during my recovery. I attribute a great deal of my healing to a diligent yoga practice. The more I practiced, the better I felt on mental and emotional levels. At the time, I was going to the studio four times a week. And when I didn’t go, I noticed an obvious change in my mood and mental state. It didn’t take long for me to realize my yoga practice was truly making a difference in my life off the mat.”   – Rachel Patterson

Sutra 1.14: Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkarasevito dridhabhumih

 “Practice becomes fully integrated into one’s life when it is carefully nurtured for a long time and engaged in faithfully, with inner reflection and fervor.”  – Rev. Jaganath translation

The above message first began as a social media post by Rachel, and I asked if we could share it on our blog because her rawness felt novel….and it shouldn’t. See we are in the business of healing, but it’s easy for it to look almost glamorous in an “instagramable” way, or even easy…like all you need to do is show up for yoga and meditation, or get some reiki, and you’ll be good to go. But healing is more of a gritty day to day action, that often never fully comes to an end. It’s an awkward experience with moments of clarity followed by moments of deep insecurity. Getting better can often be like that moment after a gathering when everyone has said their kind words and given their final hugs and the door closes for the last time. There you stand, alone and “better”. But your body and mind has waged a battle and you will never quite be the same, in fact the battle itself often continues, but in a new way that is confusing to those around you, because how to support you isn’t as obvious. During the healing you don’t want to talk about it too much and depress those around you, and after if you talk about it you fear you come off like you aren’t grateful or are living in the past. The reflection upon the intensity of what just happened to you is a crucial part of the processing, and a part that can only happen after, sometimes many months after, because that is when you might finally have some perspective. Healing is what we do at The Collective, and there are many many things that we need to heal from. Some are visible and many utterly invisible. Some are sharp and stop you in your tracks, and others are like a dull throb in your soul. Healing is a tapestry, a patchwork quilt, a chaos and a warm bath. It’s a dance of how to let the dark stuff be dark and of how to make others comfortable in the shadow. When I heard Rachel say “Isn’t she over it yet?” it hit me like a ton of bricks because I want Bella Prāṇa to be a place where that question is never asked. Yoga has this beautiful way about it that can sometimes make healing look trendy, but that’s not really yoga. Yoga is the real deal belly laughs and ugly cries that life has dealt us, and we each get a different hand. No matter what you’ve been dealt we hope you’ll roll out your mat and let it be as it is – open wound, trying to scab, freshly healed yet pink and tender, scar tissue from the years gone by….it’s all perfect and we don’t expect you to ever get over it. We just hope to be a place where you can sit in it or look back at it, and do the work to not be defined by it.

– written by Roni Harris, Founder and an owner at The Collective