In my last article I spoke about healing being a process and not a pill. I offered a perspective that it may be we don’t get to a place where we are healed, but rather that healing is an ongoing and non-linear process of peeling back the layers of the onion, so to speak. It is also a natural process of evolution if we are focused on our spiritual path.
As well as looking at this large subject of healing, I am also interested in the word “healer”.
Who is a “healer”?
As someone who lived with daily debilitating chronic pain and depression for many years, I resist the information so often found out there of the quick fixes and an obsessive strive for health perfection. This is in part because it is an unrealistic expectation for many us to meet and especially if you have a life-long diagnosis of chronic illness or disease.
I also see in this sort of advertising a denial of our own humanity. Health and well-being are important to me personally and for others, but illness and disease (and eventual death) is part of our human experience, so why are we fighting it so much?
Being healthy is a big challenge in this world we live in. For example, we are bodies that have cancer cells and viruses and other potential sickness-inducing factors growing inside of us all the time. We are connected to a world full of pain and social injustice. Pollution is destroying our atmosphere and our planet and all that inhabits it. Most of us are still in a place of survival and many of us live in a society that does not create work, family and social environments that do anything to nurture self-care and healthy living. Evolutionary and environmental trauma that we carry is now coming more to light with the science of epigenetics (looking beyond our genes and to our environment), and we are understanding how we are carrying traumas that happened to our parents and grandparents in our cells.
What does all this mean? As I mentioned before, sickness and illness is an enviable part of life that will affect us all at one time or another. Illness is also not just an individual problem; it’s within us and our communities.
I’m more interested in not fighting illness or having perfect health, but how we as individuals can learn how to experience illness as not something to fight or be afraid of (this specifically involves working with our nervous system). I’m also interested in how our relationships, our community and our social supports make this process either extremely challenging or easier to bear. As a person that works with people in pain, I want to know how I can support someone in their own healing process.
With all that I know about illness being a natural part of life and that the deep acceptance of pain can be very healing, I admit, there are times when I still wish I could heal others! Although I truly believe that a healer is someone who heals themselves. You are not healed by another; the healing happens inside of you.
Long-lasting healing consists of seeking knowledge and diving into dark and shadowy places of pain. We hope there will be times when we emerge from our practices with knowledge, patience and personal wisdom (and being humbled through it all). I think transformative healing comes from a kind of intelligence that only one’s own body knows and a wisdom that is gained only through one’s own experience. When a shift within you is experienced, the inner knowing inside you is awakened. One could say this awakens the “healer” inside you.
And this is what I believe is a “healer” – the part of you that has gained this experience and wisdom.
If you see the word healer from this perspective then the only healer is you. This is far more powerful than going to a “healer” to be healed!
That said, we need help reclaiming this part of ourselves. There are many health care and holistic practitioners who also hold this inner healer within themselves, and when this health care practitioner works with a client and they themselves have gone through a healing process, I believe it serves whoever they are working with more than anything that they are doing. This is because they hold a strong potential energy for their client to awaken their own inner healer. In a way, they are a healer, but it’s not what they are doing, it’s how they are being.
I think healing happens not from the modality being practiced alone; it is in what the health practitioner can hold in their energy field that can be so powerfully felt by their client. There is also a relationship between the two of you taking place… and maybe something beyond the two of you at work in the healing space as well.
You may have felt this exchange from a health practitioner you’ve seen before. I recall the first time I saw a long-time mentor of mine. It wasn’t necessarily what she said or did that had a profound effect, but it was a felt-sense that I got from being around her (and I’ll add, my own openness helped me to receive this exchange). There was an energy that she held that I picked up on as something I could also activate within myself. I valued her own embodiment and the energy she held (being her own inner wisdom and healer), just as much from anything she did with me.
As a practitioner of energy work and body work, I cannot heal you and am not arrogant enough to think I can. I do wish to be in a good relationship with you, educate, inform and offer some help doing what I do!
Most important as a practitioner is that I am embodied in my own energy and hold an open heart and loving space for healing to happen. I also need to let go of expectations, outcomes and any other agendas (like wanting to heal you) that I may carry.
I believe the healer is within everyone waiting to be awakened. When wisdom and knowledge is gained from your unique healing process (and this may not look like the elimination of symptoms), you awaken your inner healer. It is you that is healing you. It is the potential energy held by another that can support what has awakened inside of you. This is sacred, deeply feminine (I am speaking of feminine energy that belongs to no gender here) and often undervalued and disregarded in our society.
There is a sense of freedom that happens when you stop projecting your own well-being onto others and feel the powerful inner healer inside of you. To begin that process, find a practitioner to support you and help you learn the ways to access this knowledge inside of you.