'Recover'... the word origin is apparently from the Latin recuperare meaning to ‘get again’; to reclaim something that is yours. This implies that the process of recovering - in the healing sense - is to have back again a state of health and serenity.
But it is interesting how another angle on the current English could be 're-cover' - to cover up again.
When it comes to 'recovery' in the sense of personal or spiritual development, I wonder how many of us are simply re-covering up the stuff we don't want to face; our shit. Even with things that are supposedly good for us - yoga, exercise, workshops, books, even creative and artistic pursuits.
I know I do this.
And I see this a lot in our culture. An addiction to feeling good or OK.
A powerful and difficult question to ask ourselves is "How much of what I am doing is simply to NOT feel bad?"
Facing our shit is hard, and I don't expect anyone to be able to just 'do it'. Sometimes, we have covered up for so long and swept so much shit under the carpet, that we can only start to clear it out a little bit at a time.
Simply lifting up the entire carpet in one go and clearing it out is an almost impossible and potentially dangerous approach for most of us.
The first step is recognizing that we have shit (feelings, memories, beliefs) that we are avoiding experiencing. Then, knowing that the only way through to the other side of our unwanted stuff is THROUGH it, then slowly and consistently looking at what we have been sweeping under that carpet.
This is why dealing with these parts of ourselves is reserved for the therapy room, retreats and our personal practice. It's not impossible to do this on some level throughout the day in our daily lives, but for most of us, getting things done in our modern lives does not allow space for this. We have to show up as a certain kind of person at work, we have to be present with our children and be able to function as their caregivers. Our partners have often - rightly or wrongly - come to depend on us to some degree.
Looking at our shit impacts all of these.
With this said, it is still important to dedicate time and effort to recovery; recovering our peace and wellbeing. Because no matter how much we re-cover-up our shit, it will still be waiting for us and this will also impact our work, responsibilities and relationships ultimately.
Timing is crucial and requires wisdom. There is a time to get on with life and there is a time to process and integrate our shit. How often and how much is dependant on how much shit we are talking about, how much life-responsibility we have and what our capacity to process the shit is.
There is no one way for all. But we have to start somewhere and keep going no matter how small those steps.