What is healing, really?
This question has fascinated me for a long time. Until recently, I didn’t recognize myself as a healer. I felt I was a teacher, a yogi, a writer, and a thinker. What I most like to think about, write about, and teach are those practices and perspectives that help people make sense of what never fit together before, help us connect more deeply to ourselves, and help us to find resolution of the physical, emotional, psychological, and relational patterns that keep us stuck in suffering and struggle. In other words, I’ve always been fascinated with what heals us.
This passion has been fueled by my desire for my own healing, both physical and psychological. I’ve always had the sense that we were meant to thrive, but I knew I wasn’t thriving, and, looking around, it didn’t seem like many others were either. I’ve always wanted to understand why we get so stuck, and why our best efforts to move beyond self-sabotaging habits and patterns of insecurity rarely succeed.
In the course of my personal quest for healing, I turned into a self-improvement junkie. I became more and more eager to “fix” myself… which didn’t work very well. I succeeded at changing some of my unsupportive habits through willpower, but the changes either didn’t last or didn’t “fix” the way I felt, emotionally and physically. Eventually I realized I was creating internal opposition, pitting one part of myself against another in my attempt to create harmony, and that I was approaching my self-improvement project from the deep wound of feeling like there was something inherently wrong with me.
I had already spent some years improving my self-talk – learning that the idea that I was somehow deficient was misguided and mistaken, and replacing that story of myself with a healthier one. It took practice, but I really did learn to trust the new story – that I was actually okay, as is. It helped, but the feelings of inadequacy and insecurity were still there; they just came to the surface less frequently. When they did, they felt just like they always did — devastating. I could think wiser, more respectful thoughts but they didn’t seem to penetrate to the deepest layers of my felt sense of self. I still felt deficient, when it came down to it. Like I couldn’t relax fully in my own skin. I had to try, to do something, to be someone. It didn’t feel safe to just be.
This recognition has been healing in itself. In realizing that there is this very tender, core experience of not feeling safe to just be, I found compassion for myself, and have been able to make space for those feelings to arise and to flow freely when they do. I have invited them to arise, learning to trust the intelligence of the healing process’s impeccable timing. When they do, it is often a very physical experience as well as an emotional one. I sense that in presencing these aspects of my experience I am learning how to relax, in a way I never knew was possible. Sometimes there is simply an innocent sobbing and shaking. Sometimes I receive insights that help me to make peace with my historical struggles, help me to grow in wisdom and glimpse the big picture. Sometimes I have felt streams of energy pouring into my body; I sense these energies as vibrations or frequencies of Self that I had become cut off from – in this lifetime and perhaps in many lifetimes – and to which I am now choosing to reclaim access. I’ve realized that I have called in my own healing, and in doing so, I have become a healer.
I’ve come to see how healing is a process of unwinding back through the layers of our conditioning, and that in order to bring resolution to our earliest experiences of wounding and all the subsequent layers of trauma, suffering, mistaken identity, and misunderstanding, we need to be willing and able to receive healing into all layers of being – spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and energetic. It’s about recognizing that there is nothing wrong with us, and there never was anything wrong with us, and opening ourselves to the process of coming into alignment with that truth, on all levels.
For me, this is what healing is at the core – Self-love. It is about bringing love in wherever it is needed, wherever the sensations, emotions, thoughts, and patterns of unworthiness and inadequacy hold court.
Healing ourselves isn’t about self-improvement. The Self doesn’t need improvement. Healing is about recognizing that right down to our cells, and relaxing into the perfection of our unique expression of Being. It’s about becoming the source and the recipient of a ceaseless flow of unconditional self-love. It’s about becoming so sourced in the nourishment of that love that all habits of blaming yourself, judging yourself, and comparing yourself to others lose their power and eventually drop away. Healing, really, is about coming home to ourselves, for not only are we entirely deserving of love, this love is who we are.
“Discover your capacity for sustained energy, ease, and joy.”