Guest Blog ~ Lauren Worsh: What is Healing, Really?


“It’s not about self-improvement… it’s about self-love.”

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.

Lauren Worsh
“Discover your capacity for sustained energy, ease, and joy.”

The Sixth Hour

It’s a sobering energy, a disengaged presence, beautiful, but unaware of its beauty, peaceful, and unconcerned whether you come or go, relax or fret, in fact live or die, the difference immaterial.   Not even uncaring—simply not caring, the concept of caring in that sense beyond its nature.  Here, you are irrelevant.

When I was escaping from the city to the mountains, I found there was a consistent rhythm to my hikes.   The first two hours were largely settling into the natural setting, shifting from frazzled to relaxing.   Hours two to four were about being in the experience, the heart of the hike.  My head would be full of the problems at home, swirling about, but I was hiking along, enjoying the walk.

But something regularly shifted for me at the sixth hour.  It was here that suddenly the mental clouds parted, and challenges that had seemed complicated and tangled would abruptly clear.  Solutions just bubbled up, simple and straight-forward paths, effortlessly conjured with no effort on my part—if you don’t count the six hours of hiking.  It was hard to imagine what I had ever found difficult about these problems.  (If you’re wondering—the eighth hour was about being tired and ready to get back to the car for the day!)

As my life simplified—and probably as I matured as well—I didn’t face knotty problems so often, at least not the twisted obsessive what-am-I-going-to-do kinds.   But from time to time issues would arise that weren’t resolved with patience and critical reflection, and I learned to take these intentionally to the mountains (or at least to the wilderness, mountain or no), deliberately planning a six-eight hour day or more specifically to give myself time to get into this position of clarity and focus.

Long walks alone, though, don’t do the job.  I live in a beautiful county with many lovely trails, and on a day when I don’t want to travel, I can walk all day in peace.  Sometimes I do, and I appreciate that peace and beauty.  But other than the benefits of relaxation, it doesn’t bring the same balance and clarity.

The wilderness is different.  It’s a different kind of quiet, an untamed balance, not a cultivated garden (which certainly have their own charm and beauty), but more of a state of being, of something inherent in its existence.  It’s not shaped—it just is.   Nor am I romanticizing.  It’s a sobering energy, a disengaged presence, beautiful, but unaware of its beauty, peaceful, and unconcerned whether you come or go, relax or fret, in fact live or die, the difference immaterial.   Not even uncaring—simply not caring, the concept of caring in that sense beyond its nature.  Here, you are irrelevant.  The problems you carry in even more so.   Not even enough to be silly.

When I took all-weather backpacking trips, this reality was part of the centering.  Hike in, and then set about properly pitching the tent in a dry/safe area, preparing dinner on the tiny backpacking stove, hanging the food high between trees to keep it from bears and raccoons, getting out of the day’s clothes and into fresh dry ones, and all in order and quickly, because if I didn’t do all these things—I would die (of hypothermia).  That’s a focusing principle, especially those trips in December/January (one way to beat the holiday stress).  It was actually part of the allure—such straight-forward necessities were a relief from the perceived problems from which I was escaping for a few weeks.

Today I experience the centering of wilderness in less extreme day trips.  The energy, though, is the same as when I was running from my own mountains of stress.  That quiet, detached calm pervades, and that clear, stark mirror reflects only what is, and not what we make of it or try to see in it.   There is only truth, without ego—something that’s hard to see in our daily spaces.

The photo is a view toward Elk Lake on the way up Dix Mountain.

Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.   I’d love to see them.


Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
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October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness


Feeling creates Healing

I have long known and experienced the power of gratitude, and of focusing on what we want, rather than what we don’t want.  But I had never realized the full impact of these energies on healing until I saw Alan Cohen and Gregg Braden share their powerful experiences with cancer patients.   And like them, I had to realign my belief system.

In the Introduction to “Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment,” Cohen tells of Shin-ichiro Terayama, a Japanese sold-state electrical physicist, who in 1983, at the age of 47, developed cancer in his right kidney.  Surgery, chemo, and radiation all failed, and faced with death, Shin turned to naturopathy, a therapy that relies on natural remedies, such as sunlight, diet and massage.  But he also turned to playing the cello, something he had set aside in his busy life 25 years before, and he credits this with the disappearance of his cancer three and a half years later.  As Cohen explains, “He went to a Japanese garden and considered what would make his life meaningful, whether he lived one more day or another 40 years. His answer was: to be grateful for everyone and everything—including his cancer, as a wake-up call. From that day on, Shin said, ‘Thank you’ for every event and experience that showed up in and around him.”  Today Shin conducts “Smile Workshops,” designed to “discover small uplifting feelings,” “experience and fully taste uplifting emotion through workshop activities,” and to “be filled with gratitude.  Andrew Weil, M.D., also tells Shin’s story in his book, “Spontaneous Healing:  How to Discover and Embrace Your Body’s Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself.”

But really?  Spontaneously healing?

Braden shares a film of a Chinese woman with a 3 inch tumor in her bladder treated in a “medicine-less hospital” treated by three doctors trained to create the feeling that she is already healed.  As they perform this, we watch a sonogram showing the tumor shrink to nothing–in just three minutes:

What can we make of this?  Sure, our own limiting beliefs hold us back in many areas of our lives, but this evidence suggests our societal assumptions are keeping us separate from massively effective treatment for conditions we cannot currently treat well–or so we think.  Only “think”–and we can learn to think and feel differently, with different results.  As Deepak Chopra asks in “Quantum Healing,” why is watching the body heal a broken arm normal, but healing cancer a miracle?  As Braden explains, this is not an isolated occurrence in China at all.  The problem is that we cling to our notions of how physics works, ignoring the evidence showing where our model is falling short.

I had my own experience in spontaneous healing when I first had my Reconnection and was unexpectedly healed from degenerative disc disease.  Just as Braden mentions, the Zero Point Field of energy in not only demonstrable, but also practical, superseding in my case my limiting beliefs.  These higher frequencies act as a spiritual DNA, repairing damage, real or perceived, in ways that seem amazing to us.   Yet the evidence is here.

We are vibration, energy, and frequency.  Just as we “lift” our mood, our spirits, thoughts that feel good are higher than ones that “bring us down.”  I’ve noticed that virtually all my healing clients report feeling calm, peaceful, and positive after their session.  I don’t think this is coincidence–I think it’s the prerequisite for healing, so naturally the first thing that happens when healing.  First, feel good.  Then heal.

Yes, that’s backwards from what we might think–feel good after we heal.  But evidence suggests we’ve got a lot of approaches backwards from the start.  We need to rethink not only healing, but when to heal–if we’re not feeling happy, it’s time to reassess, and either rethink, redirect, or get outside help with that healing.

Happiness is our natural state.  So is health.  Let’s start there with that belief, and accept it with gratitude.

Shin-ichiro Terayama