March 21, 2016

There is No Plastic Surgery for the Soul.

Suraj Baadkar/Flickr

Have you ever watched a physical wound heal and marveled in the miracle that is our physical body?

Think about all the bumps and bruises along the way. The burn you had when as a child you touched the stove. The bloody knees and elbows while learning to ride a bike. The first “whoops” when you started to shave. The wine glass you dropped and sliced a finger on while cleaning up. A life time of mishaps, all just magically taken care of by this amazing vessel we travel in.

Some of these are a little more serious than others, some we still see the remnants of. Scars, markers of where we have been, the lessons we have learned.

What of the wounds that go deeper—the ones that mark our heart and our soul?

We can easily see the progress of healing when it is a cut or a burn, so we observe patiently, and trust the body to do its thing. Nurse it along the way with ointment, bandaids, maybe some pain relievers. The internal injury, however, is a little trickier.

How do we gauge the progress when we can’t actually see it? How do we, who have been programmed to expect results, trust in the internal healing process like we trust that a cut on our hand won’t be forever?

A relationship ends, a loved one passes on, a friend betrays us. We all have situations that leave marks deep down below the surface, invisible to the eye, but painfully real to the inner being.

We do the things we know. Deny it, get angry, move onto mourning. Then comes the nurturing of self, where we pick it up, pull up the boot straps and start fresh. But why does this process seem to take so much longer? Where are the rulebooks?

Cut on finger: one week.

Burn on arm: two weeks.

Broken bone: six weeks.

The internal is so much more abstract. We can chug chug chug along, think we are making great progress and then pow! We’re blindsided by setback.

Perhaps we just expect too much sometimes. When a flesh wound heals and leaves a permanent scar, we accept it and move on. Yes, in this day and age there are things vanity might drive us to do—plastic surgery, cosmetics and the like.

However, there is no plastic surgery for the soul. There are no cosmetics for the heart.

Like so many things, we expect the magic cure. Do yoga, it will all be okay. See a therapist, you will get over it. Meditate, you will find peace. I do not suggest that these things are useless. They all have their place and they all lend to progress.
What I suggest is this: much like the external and physical wounds in our life, our spirit wounds vary greatly in degrees. There are some that you will move through, take the time to digest, and heal from completely. Then, there are some that will leave a scar. Much like a scar on your arm, you might not be aware of it every day. But every once in a while, something will happen that reminds you. You catch a glimpse of your arm in the mirror, or someone says, “How did you get that scar?”

The physical scars we are left with are a reminder. Don’t touch the stove while it is on, look before you leap, use caution with sharp objects.

The spirit wounds, the ones that hang on, are also a reminder. Trust your intuition, accept life and death as a process, be forgiving(especially to yourself).

There are some wounds that will be with us forever, leave a permanent mark. But, that doesn’t mean they always have to be that raw ache that was their beginning. Those that linger on, that we are reminded of at seemingly random and sometimes inconvenient moments, are perhaps the most important of all. They allow us to be the active author of our own novel. The ones that learn from our past.

The next time you feel an old ache, or have a memory surface that makes you wonder why you can’t move on; sit with it.

Find a scar on your body and rub your fingers over it.

There are things that aren’t meant to be forgotten.

I truly believe these “unforgettable things” lead us closer and closer to the most important lesson of all.


Every person on this earth is here to live out their own path. Interconnected as we may be, the individual journey is part of being human. When we reach that space where we can observe our scars for what they are, and not feel mortally wounded by them; then we find peace.

Stop nursing old wounds like you will bleed out if you take the bandage off. Love the lesson, be grateful that you are still here and you have the chance to apply what you have learned. Love your life, live it.

It’s a scar. It builds character.


Author: Adrienne Encinosa

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Suraj Baadkar/Flickr

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Adrienne Encinosa