What Comes After Healing

Chelsea Lockwood
3 min readApr 4, 2022
Photo: Alicia Eggert

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the process of healing and transformation, and how it seems like there are different ideas about what is possible or what it looks like. Some people seem to think healing is a neverending process. Like you always get closer and closer but never fully heal. While this belief may be true for some, I’ve found it stems from an unconscious attachment to one’s pain and also a fear of living without the protection that attachment to pain provides.

Your beliefs are what shape your reality. They are the lens that you see the world through. And if you believe you can never fully heal, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will keep you in a prison of your own making and the repercussions can extend into all areas of your life.

Several times in the past while telling stories from my childhood, I’ve made therapists either cry or become visibly shaken. These reactions made me feel a combination of fear that I was permanently broken and blissful validation that finally someone was seeing how bad it really was. Over time, the more people I‘d confide in who’d confirm my belief that my pain was rare, deep, and unhealable, the deeper into pain and dysfunction I went. Until it almost ended my life.

The only “person” that ever had the audacity to make me confront the possibility that I could let go of this pain whenever I was done being attached to it, was ayahuasca. It was the first time that I wasn’t being treated as a victim, but as someone who had the strength and capacity to completely release the burden I’d been carrying. And it changed everything.

We become attached to our pain because it feels like the only way to protect ourselves from experiencing it again. If we let the pain play out on an endless loop and go over it in our minds until we can make some sort of sense out of it, we think maybe then we will be free. We think that if we ever dare to forget the trauma or put it down for awhile, we risk having something just like it happen all over again. And beneath that is the fear that we won’t be able to trust ourselves to handle it next time.

Part of putting the pain down is accepting that you may come face to face with it again in another form. On the other side of healing is a free fall into radically trusting yourself to handle whatever may…

Chelsea Lockwood

Writer and figment of your imagination. I write about pain, consciousness, and psychedelics. Subscribe to my free Substack: chelsealockwood.substack.com

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