“Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.” ~Linda Hogan
I have a set of scars on my right palm from surgery I had as a child. These scars are so much a part of me that I seldom even notice them anymore, but the rare times that they do register in my consciousness, I am reminded of the injury that made the surgery necessary, the strange experience of being put under with laughing gas, the bloodstains on the sheets of my hospital bed after I woke from surgery, the large bandages that encased my hand, and the view from my hospital bed as I spent the night there in a bed not my own. I don’t take time to think about the healing that took place or the fact that the hand serves me now with no impairment.
Likewise, my heart so often feels like a mass of scar tissue. When life rubs up against one of the scars and causes me to notice its presence, I remember the wounding that caused it. I relive the hurtful thing that happened, the pain it caused, and the ways that pain affected me as I trace the scar with my awareness. But in remembering the wounding and reliving the pain, I forget to notice that there very fact that it is now a scar—and no longer an open wound—means that it has healed.
I never gave this tendency a second thought until I read the quote above. I know that whatever I focus on grows, and yet here I am focusing on the wounding rather than the healing whenever I encounter my scars. In so doing, I am putting my effort into reliving and growing old pain instead of growing additional healing. It strikes me that perhaps this isn’t the best way to direct my energy if my goal is to live a whole and healed life. Perhaps I would be better served by celebrating the miracle that I have healed, acknowledging the useful lessons that I took away from the healing process, and focusing on the ways that the experience has created growth and wisdom in my life.
I think it’s time to re-perceive my scars—no longer as old wounds but as badges of healing. That changes the stories I tell myself and where I put my focus and my energy; it can’t help but shift my perception of life and of myself at the same time.
How do you look at your scars? Do you relive your woundedness? Or do you celebrate your healing?