rē•connecting and Healing After a Period of Turmoil
Holding onto the lessons the last two years have taught us.
The last two years have been challenging. Globally, we’ve endured suffering, health crises, the need for social justice reform, and the inability to feel connected to the loved ones who help us thrive as the individuals we are. In addition, the global shift has forced us to learn lessons we may not have otherwise had a chance to experience or understand in our lives; we’ve realized the importance of community, our sense of self, and nourishing every aspect of our health – physical, mental, and emotional.
As we’ve taken these lessons in stride, it’s time to hold onto them tight and bring them forth into our present and future to continue to rē•spin our routines and make a better life for ourselves.
Finding a shared experience
Chloe Dulce Louvouezo, author of “Life, I Swear” and host of the podcast of the same name, found profound inspiration from the conversations she was having with Black women centered on topics that often go under-discussed in modern-day. The words she heard of self-love, healing, the trials and tribulations that come along with everyday life, pain, and seeking connections – these are the conversations that sparked the often profoundly personal stories for readers and listeners who may have been struggling with something similar to have a source of familiarity in the material to see themselves in.
“Each contributor’s lived experience is unique and offers a slightly different angle in how they assess and resolve their life challenges,” Louvouezo tells rē•spin. “This diversity of perspective offers an insight in and of itself; it demonstrates how our choices and consequences are specific to us. There is no blueprint for navigating life, given that our backgrounds, interactions, needs, and motivations are different. Thus, the onus is on us to develop deeply intimate relationships with ourselves so that our resolutions to life’s challenges are led by intuition and self-trust.”
The common thread weaved within the stories to tie everyone’s narratives together became what Louvouezo refers to as a “pursuit of our own truth at our own pace,” allowing readers the ability to understand that “their own personal revelations will surface when they face and own their truths as well.”
rē•framing healing during a period of turmoil
Initiating change can be difficult. Initiating change during a period of painful uncertainty is another feat in and of itself. Louvouezo explains, “If we’re being honest, healing during a period of turmoil is an extremely demanding practice. The work to mend our heart while it’s being punctured in real-time can feel nearly impossible.”
This is precisely what Louvouezo feels we collectively as a society has gotten wrong in the past, especially before the global shift two years ago.
“It was always reactive; we got hurt or experienced periods of turmoil, and only then were we promoted to identify what we needed to bring ourselves back to ease,” she explains. “But this is a forced uphill battle. Healing should be a much less frantic treatment to our wounds, and it can begin and continue well before we are triggered to desperately need saving from ourselves or situations.”
We’ve all learned a great deal since the beginning of the global shift, especially when it comes to our sense of healing beyond the physical sense. We’ve learned gratitude and patience, the importance of connection to the people in our lives, and why preserving our own mental wellness is essential. And as a community, Louvouezo says that we’ve gained the knowledge of what was not serving us, giving us authority to discard those factors from our lives.
“I think we’ve also shifted from individualists to being much more community-focused,” she adds. “The irony is that we’ve spent more time alone these last two years than ever before and have placed more value on ‘selfish,’ unapologetic self-care or self-preservation. But also, we’ve seen clear examples of when one of us isn’t well, none of us are well, and just how infectious community healing is to personal healing and vice versa. Everything is interconnected.”
Through “Life, I Swear,” one of the lessons that is made evident is that mindfulness equates to healing. Louvouezo says, “Proactive self-awareness and self-examination prepare us so that the moment we hit periods of turmoil, we already know what we need to diffuse the fire or the spiral we would otherwise default to. The lessons in the book echo this necessity for consistent nurturing and question-asking of ourselves.”
A period of rē•connection
The past two years have felt like a dichotomy between disconnectedness and feeling more in tune than ever, causing deep rifts–some temporary, some permanent–while also strengthening ties not only to our family, friends, and loved ones but to ourselves, too. As we ease back into normalcy, whatever that may look like today, it’s essential to rē•flect on this period of disconnect turned rē•connect and understand the bigger picture, the deeper story that thrives beneath the surface. Louvouezo explains, “If there’s anything we’ve learned as of late, it’s that we have no idea what lives on the other side of the smiles we exchange with others.”
“We had become masters of disguising our hardships from strangers, friends, and family and vice versa,” she adds. “And while we may or may not continue to do that as we ease back into normalcy and interact more, it’s important we don’t assume that our perceptions of others are their truth. From a distance, it’s easy for people to judge one another. But I challenge us to interrogate our own judgment—why it exists, lingers, and overshadows the grace we could otherwise extend.”
Before the pandemic, Louvouezo describes one of the more devastating aspects of being a comparison game, trying to measure ourselves (and others) and our worth against standards set by a capitalistic, patriarchal, racist, and sexist system. She adds, “Until we address these systems’ impact on us personally, our relationships will continue to be a casualty of them.”
Beyond our relationships with the individuals in our life, our connection to ourselves may have suffered along the way, too. After a period of tribulation with seemingly no end in sight, it may have felt like you lost your way or lost a piece of yourself. But rather than trying to find oneself, Louvouezo prefers to look at it as rē•connecting with oneself instead, explaining, “The idea that we are rē•connecting with ourselves frames our growth in a much more empowering way. It honors that who we innately are has always been true and present in our spirit.”
When we are born, Louvouezo believes we’re created perfectly in God’s image, and each day, we become exposed to different messages and teachings, inevitably steering us in one direction or down a different path to become a certain version of ourselves. Yet, as we transition from childhood to adulthood, Louvouezo notes that our values tend to shift.
“Over time, these messages take such a hold on us that they influence us to adopt standards that impose on and dismiss the possibility that our voice and position in this world are and can be exceptional,” she says. “The necessity to reverse the hold these messages have on us is why so many of us are doing really intentional work to tap back into, to love on, and to make amends with our inner child.”
It’s this that inspires Louvouezo’s notion of coming home to oneself and back to our ethos.
“When we rē•connect with how we were designed, build on it with the wisdom we’ve acquired through lived experience, and allow ourselves to discover new facets of our capabilities, we can leverage that to show up our best,” she says.