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  • Lara Krawchuk, LCSW, MPH

Longing


Lately I’ve been full of longing. The feeling is strong. Aching and thrumming. It feels large, too large. Like maybe it does not quite fit where it lives but is squeezing in anyway. Demanding to be known. Longing.

The other day I decided to surrender to this feeling. “Pull up a chair. Tell me what you need me to know” I say. I sat, breathed deeply, listened, felt the ache. Tried to open my heart wide towards the longing and listen. The silence was deafening. The feeling remained strong, but no secrets revealed. “I am longing” it whispered. But, for what or who?

The next day I sat down to collage about it. Hunted and pecked through many magazines. Searched for the exact right images to express the feeling, words to capture it. I found pictures of Colorado mountains, birds flying, feathers, fathers, people laughing, children learning. Images of travel, freedom, fun, ease. The images got it right. Next, I snipped out letters that spelled; She was longing…. That felt right too. But still, this did not quite capture everything. There was more.

Then I sat down to write about longing. Bam, it hit me. So obvious I just had to laugh. Longing is about loss. Current and anticipated losses. School going virtual, grounded travel experiences, absent family gatherings, altered hopes and dreams. Mostly, it is all the losses my children experience that hurt me the most. Both my teenagers expect to learn online in the Fall. It is hard to imagine. I miss the school campus! I long for clarity, ease, for the future to look bright for my children, for justice and opportunity for all Americans. The losses are many. They are deeply personal and full of meaning. They hurt. They often leave me exhausted. Sometimes emotional parts of us need time and space to unfold. Need to be revisited before their meanings are clear. After spending some time exploring my feeling, it now is clear. Longing is the soundtrack to my new loss filled Corona Life. This makes sense. I send compassion its way.

Each day now, I honor my longing part. Welcome it to be with me throughout the day. No need to hide. No “look on the bright side” talk or attempts to push it away. No effort to fix anything, because I know it speaks truth and there are no easy solutions. I encourage it to stretch out, be known. This feels honest and right. I offer connection, comfort and compassion. This is enough. This is the healing!

You too may struggle with longing. This is ok. This is natural in a time of chronic sorrow. Here are a few ideas to help you if you too feel the ache of longing:

A) Validate LONGING. Name it. Try to identify its roots. Ask yourself “What is the hardest part?”. “What do you long for?” You may long for a relationship, a treasured place, peace of mind, clarity, hope, or anything else. It is all ok. Just listen with care and compassion.

B) Notice how LONGING gets braided or tangled with other things like grief, anger, frustration, anxiety. This is normal. Each part of the struggle deserves attention.

C) Express how you feel to someone who cares. Talk, draw, collage, write, dance it out until the LONGING part of you feels heard.

D) Shift. Hope, joy, love, laughter also exists inside you. You never need to choose between one part of you or another. ALL parts of you are always welcome. Once LONGING parts feel cared for they will allow a shift towards other parts of you that bring more peace or happiness. Enjoy this!

E) Count your blessings. Practice daily gratitude and count your blessings where you can.

F) Hit repeat as often as you need to. Simply being with struggling parts of yourself with an open heart can be hugely healing in troubled times. Welcome hurting parts in, tend to them, and do the same for parts that are easier to enjoy. You will find your way! Good luck on the journey.

Sometimes we need a little help naming, claiming, and making sense of the tough emotions. If you, or someone you love, is struggling with longing, sorrow or worry in this time of uncertainty remember that help is near. Simply call us at 610-209-3111 or email Lara at healingconceptsllc@gmail.com. We, at Healing Concepts, LLC, would be honored to support your journey towards healing and well-being.

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