Radical Self-Care: Soaking in Nature’s Healing Power

Soaking in Nature's Healing Power

By: Susan Deborah Schiller   aka Tender Lily

When you've lived in the war zone of domestic and spiritual violence… a place where sharp, cutting words have torn and shredded your spirit like shrapnel. When explosive actions, like grenades, have ripped your gut in half, choking off your air supply, you need immediate evacuation. Instead, the friends you thought were in your corner have either abandoned you and left you for dead, or worse, they have joined in the slanderous attack against you. It feels like you're drowning, and that is the moment when radical self-care is a matter of life or death.

Radical self-care is essential when you're drowning in the wake of living with a narcissist or a sociopath.

My journey to freedom began in a Wyoming desert, my truck broken down, and not knowing a soul nearby. My husband had just run off with another woman and demanded a quick divorce, after first taking nearly all our assets. An expert mechanic, he left me with a truck suspiciously rigged to fail.

Stranded in the desert, I discovered an "oasis of healing" at a nearby town that was made famous by its "world's largest" hot springs – a place of healing mineral waters. God wanted to be my Hero and He began showing up in various places, using strangers I would never have normally associated with. A mechanic appeared out of nowhere – two mechanics, specifically – and fixed my truck.  Help appeared around every corner, but also more abusers.

Part of radical self-care means being on the look out for the hidden land mines – abusers disguised as rescuers.

I rented a motel room near the hot springs and began to soak in the healing waters every day. I felt a little like Elijah running for his life from the sociopathic Jezebel. Not having motels nearby, Elijah found refuge under a Broom tree, where he sank to the ground, praying that he might die. This dismal scene immediately trailed his amazing victory at Mount Carmel, in an historic "holy man contest" in which Elijah won the tournament with a thundering supernatural downpour.

"Elijah failed in the very point at which he was strongest, and that is where most men fail. In Scripture, it is the wisest man who proves himself to be the greatest fool; just as the meekest man, Moses, spoke hasty and bitter words. Abraham failed in his faith, and Job in his patience; so, he who was the most courageous of all men, fled from an angry woman." (Spurgeon)

How interesting, really, to note how God sees fit to look after Elijah's physical needs first. And that's what God will do for us, as well.

As women, we often forget to take care of ourselves, but God wants us to be whole and healthy: body, soul, and spirit.

No broomstick tree for me. I learned to soak, that year in the desert. Soaking, floating, swimming… absorbing Heaven's Light into my soul. Instead of deadly chlorine, the healing waters contain dozens of important life-giving minerals. Due to the intensity of the heat, the minerals are absorbed into the body while at an elevated body temperature. An induced fever. All that is bad is killed off naturally, is how it generally works.

As I soaked in the sunshine and the healing mineral waters, I imagined this gentle, watery, healing substance washing over every cell of my body, restoring my spiritual and physical DNA to normal with its high frequency.

I took time for Susan. After years of caring for my husband during a devastating spinal cord injury, it was time for me to be healed. The disabled get medicine, drugs, therapy, and lots of loving care. Caregivers go through the same trauma with very little or no support.  When my husband got well again, the first thing that happened is he required me to quit my business so that he could enter ministry school in Toronto, hundreds of miles away. Pretty soon we were both traveling as itinerant ministers, as I supported him on this new venture. Everyone admired our strength and courage, but underneath it all, I was dying inside… and no one saw.

My identity had been stolen, as I relinquished my own dreams to support my husband and his needs.

Pretty soon my body got very sick and I just wanted to die. Not long after that, my husband persuaded people to believe that I was a dead weight and that God had told him to release me so that he could travel more freely for ministry. It was amazing to see how quickly our friends rallied to his side, comforting him in the sadness of pulling away from me, and encouraging him to get the divorce over and done with. He was a charismatic storyteller that everyone loved to love. But it was only a mask.

This is the basic story line typical of being married to a narcisisst or a sociopath. To rewrite your future, you can begin to change the story line by adding "radical self-care" to your daily lifestyle. To get your life back, your own physical needs must be taken care of, as God demonstrated with Elijah under the broomstick tree.

Wherever you're at, even if it's stranded in the middle of a Wyoming desert, God's loving touch will provide for your needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual. He wants to love you back to life. He wants to restore your fractured soul and to give you His Name, his very nature, of which "I AM LOVE" is the first strand of heavenly DNA.

This is radical self-love. It's not selfish; it's life-giving. Take baby steps. I know of a woman who began with returning to the simple pleasure of dental care: flossing her teeth every day. It's strange what we give up, in the wake of living with a narcissist. Learn to give gifts to yourself, even if it's just a little thing like flossing your teeth.

Just like the healing mineral waters, Love is a substance, just as faith is a substance. It can be absorbed through soaking in the nature of God. You don't need a hot springs pool; you can touch and absorb nature in your own backyard. A tree, a butterfly, a dandelion flower… they all carry the DNA of our Creator and can minister to your body as well as to your heart.

So I soak a lot these days. I soak in the healing waters. I soak in the beauty of Nature. I soak under the clear blue skies. I drench myself in the beauty of trees. I marvel at a single blade of grass. I am mesmerized by the beauty of moss roses. I drink in the colors. I delight myself in the sound of birds. I let myself be impressed and dazzled by the resiliency and strength of Nature.

What I focus on, what I soak in, becomes a part of me. My identity is restored.

Millions of women have been hurt so much more deeply than I, and they don't have opportunity for high dollar doctors and prescriptions. Neither do I. I've chosen to go the natural route. Not because I don't believe in doctors, counselors, and drugs… but I choose to identify with the millions, even billions, who do not have access to professional help.

It's a time of new beginnings. New friends just show up. People whose heart beats like yours, who help support each other to spread their wings and fly. It's time to fly, my friend. It's time to rise up. The world has enough victims – it's time for change. It's time we create a new world, together. Let's do it, shall we?

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With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  

Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

julie khan November 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Hi Sue, I cannot believe what i just read it like my life.I am married to a paraplegic [which i married] and almost from day one i was thrust into a vortex of confusion and tremendous hurt leaving me numb.I left many times came back because he refused to settle.I am now separated in my home for about a year because he refuses to settle.I am 69 been married 21 years .I left the church and they believed his lies and refused to hear anything I said,he teaches in the church,is charming and totally different in public.He has had affairs and is having an affair with a woman in the church which I guess the church approves of because I have no voice on the martter.He reads his Bible every morning like nothing is wrong,When I try to explain my pain he saysI don't know what you are talking about total and complete denial.The verbal abuse  and mental cruelty have been so defiling.I am trying to get out again but I am not sure what to do I have had many lawyers and spent money I did not have to no positive outcome ,the lawyers take your money and drag it out until you give up.I can't believe I found your website I typed in socsiopath and discovered you.I am very tired ,I did not think this is how I would end up my retirement years.Wasted my years because I was so decieved. I know I have to move on and I am trying  to get some direction on my next move.Thanks for sharing your story so woman like me can be encouraged that we are not alone.  julie  stuck in grief


Cyn Rogalski May 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I am always amazed at your writings. All the things you have been through, yet you are able to see His Hand in the way He connects all things for our food. God is amazing! And you are amazing, using the gifts He’s given you, to share them here with us! Thank you Susan!


Susan Schiller May 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Hi Cyn, your words are gracious and life-giving. You are a refreshing fountain and I thank you for visiting her today! Thank you for the blessing of your presence!

Hugs, smiles, and kisses   <3


Ron Cross October 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I can totally relate to this article. I love looking at beautiful, natural scenery. Never do I feel more like I'm actually watching the hand of God move than when I watch the Sun drop down to the horizon and out of site. It is indeed a very cleansing, healing thing.


Sue Glashower October 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

It is an amazing experience when you can feel God's presence in such a real way! I always feel closest to God when I am in the woods by myself and I can "see" God in all the beauty around me.


Susan McKenzie October 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I can just imagine you outdoors, Sue, from all the gorgeous photos on your site! Your whole family must be so healthy and wholesome!


Matthew Reed October 15, 2012 at 11:32 am

one of my sons responds to water similarly. There is something soothing and powerful about soaking in the water. When he is beside himself or overstimulated running a bath for him and letting him just relax in the water (with usually only his eyes and noes peeking above the surface, does wonders. 


Susan McKenzie October 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Matthew, what a great way to help your son relax when he’s overwhelmed… so much more peaceful than other alternatives!


Olga Hermans October 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

I love this, where you mention that Love is a substance, just as faith is a substance. It can be absorbed through soaking. This is a great article Susan; I love to be in the outdoors for this one and particular reason! Thank you soo much!!


Susan McKenzie October 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Hi Olga,
God’s ways never cease to amaze me! I love to see the world through His eyes and I sense you’re a lot like that too!


denny hagel October 15, 2012 at 7:32 am

The need to replenish our soul is always present. Since I was a child the ocean has done that for me…no wonder I felt as if I had come 'home' when I moved to Florida! Peaceful, calming, invigorating and inspirational all in one! Love reading your articles!


Susan McKenzie October 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

Wow, Denny… that is powerful how you feel the connection to being “home” with living near the ocean! It’s so important – thanks so much for sharing <3


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