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As we continue the Holy Week journey to Easter, Jenny Tisi reflects on the ongoing journey of healing: inside and out.

A few weeks ago, I learned about a ministry at our church for health and healing. This ministry offers healing sessions in a relaxed atmosphere with two healers. The session lasts a half an hour. I thought I would give it a try. I know that it is important to be open to this kind of energy and although a bit skeptical, I went.

Before I went, I knew I would be asked a question : “What do you want to be healed from today?” I thought long and hard about the healing and what I wanted. I didn’t even know where to start. My 50 years on this earth have been a whirlwind of … well … you will have to read the book … if I ever write it. But the one thing I wanted to start with was not my physical body aches and pains, not healing from past relationships, no … it was healing from what I had done to my own self. I asked for healing from … wait for it … self-loathing.

I have built up narratives around my body image that have haunted me since the 4th grade. I remember exactly when they started. I remember exactly where I was. And I learned that if I became overweight, I would be unlovable. That is pretty heavy stuff for a 9 year-old. And so when my body started to change at puberty, I hated my new body and did not like any new curves that I was forming. I felt as if everyone was staring at me and I heard the comments that were being made. I was a “tomboy” as a young girl, and when my body started changing, my boy friends took notice. Somehow, I wasn’t one of them anymore.

I also heard comments about my weight, yet when I look back at pictures, I was just developing and perfectly in shape. That began the long journey of me hearing comments about my body from friends, family, professors, and ultimately, myself. Somehow through all of this, I learned to hate my body. And to ask for myself to forgive myself, to ask for healing from self-loathing, seemed as if it was the most liberating, healing thing I could do for myself.

So, I went to my appointment. I was asked what I wanted to be healed from. I don’t think the healers expected to hear what I had to say. I said, “I just lost a considerable amount of weight and I want to rid myself of the self-loathing I have done in regards to my body image for the majority of my life.” I heard a deep mmmmmmmmmmmm and sigh… deep. And it is!!

Sometimes I wonder if our body aches have anything to do with the negative vibes we give ourselves. If we think toxic thoughts about ourself, how can we possibly feel good? How do we undo what we took so long to keep in place? This is hard work. And I am slowly beginning to feel the changes. It’s coming through work that I do with my own self-reflection, my nutritional therapist, and through my time helping others who struggle with the same thought processes that I have/had.

Now you might wonder … was I healed in one session? No. This is nearly 40 years worth of my 50 years on this planet that need healing. That I actually took the time to sit still for 30 minutes and relax while 2 beautiful women prayed over my body? That is a big start. And the work happens in between the sessions, too. The work starts with me. Yet another journey…

Jenny Tisi is the Director of Children’s and Youth Music at All Saints Church in Pasadena.