Healing and responsibility
I’ve been questioning a lot of different things recently as my life shifts from one way of being to another, and so my perspective has had to shift accordingly.
Amongst other things I have been questioning the quest for healing, and whether we ever reach a conclusion, and to what end anyway. This has tied in a little with my questioning of addictions and the manner in which these show up in our lives and indeed influence our lives and the lives of those with whom we interact regularly (more on that another time).
It has crossed my mind that healing can become an addiction all in itself. I wondered whether maybe this isn’t a bad thing, because it’s perhaps better than being addicted to cocaine or some other drug (illegal or legal for that matter), but then I considered that perhaps it comes back to intention.
Is the intention truly to heal, to address our pain and suffering directly, in the quest to improve our relationship with self, with others and our life generally? Or is it to go through the motions, but never truly do the work, that can be both rewarding but also deeply challenging, uncomfortable and blinking painful?
Are we being honest with yourselves, or are we clinging on to our denial? Are we doing the talk, but not the walk? Are we kind of going there, but then not really feeling into it on any level, just reading the books, attending the classes and yet avoiding the actual work? Do we have our feet on the Earth, or are we floating in the ether, neither here not there, in our spiritual bubble of love, light and peace? Are we truly practicing or spiritually bypassing?
This led me to question the point of it anyway. There’s a whole generation and more who don’t even question the need to heal. Sure, something goes wrong and they get sick, but even then, they don’t actually take any responsibility. This is perhaps one of the main downsides to the Western approach to health (other than the manner in which doctors are increasingly becoming puppets for the pharmaceutical industry), the fact that people frequently put doctors on God-like pedestals and assume that they will be doing the healing for them…with drugs provided by the pharmaceutical industry.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have friends who are doctors and I think they’re great, but I certainly wouldn’t want their job. Imagine that level of responsibility weighing down on you daily. You are the one who is meant to heal everyone! And you’re meant to achieve this in the ten minutes that you have allotted to you to spend with that ‘patient’ (patiently waiting to be healed!). Yet, as we in the holistic world know, only we can truly heal ourselves. No one can do it for us. Yet there are so many who overlook this.
Sure doctors can give you drugs, that’s often what they do right? It’s expected that they give drugs, and many patients will get very upset if drugs are not given to them following a doctor’s visit. Yet drugs don’t always get to the root cause of any imbalance or dis-ease. They might help address the symptoms, but does that mean that they actually heal?
Studying Ayurveda is making me increasingly aware of the discrepancies between the various healing models and the need for responsibility. Do we truly take responsibility for our own health or are we always looking outside of ourselves to hand that responsibility to someone else? Do we hold our doctor responsible for our health? Or society? Or the government?
When we get sick, do we take responsibility even then? Do we question why we ended up with the dis-ease that we are now suffering?
I truly believe that mostly all ailments and dis-ease in the body have an emotional and/or mental and/or spiritual element to it. I don’t believe you can separate to the physical alone. But the trouble is, the Western model tends to focus solely on the physical – although fortunately these days there is greater awareness of how, for example, stress may manifest in the body, let alone anxiety and other ‘mental’ disorders. Perhaps this is the reason so many have turned to yoga in the last few years.
E and I were discussing this earlier, because a member of my family has been diagnosed with an eye condition, which apparently, accordingly to my optician, puts me more at risk of developing this condition too. I don’t buy into this at all. I mean I get the fact that we have a genetic disposition towards certain characteristics – we might inherit hair and eye colour, let alone personality traits, so why wouldn’t we also inherit the ‘bad’ stuff like suppressed anger and alcoholism, or eye issues, for example.
But I don’t believe that because one family member has something then we will get it too. There is always a chance, but many of the conditions are created by that particular individual due to the manner in which they have been living their life, and the lack of healing work (ancestral and otherwise) to address this imbalance. Thus if we live our life differently, if we do the ancestral healing too, then we have every right to choose a path free from dis-ease and suffering.
However, if a doctor or an optician tells us that we have a genetic disposition to something, then there is a high chance that we might create it, not only by the law of attraction and creating that to which we give energy (thought, notion or otherwise), but also because we might give away our responsibility top look after our own health – “because we’re going to get it (whatever ‘it’ is) anyway”. Who knows what might happen, but the odds may well be stacked more in favour of history repeating itself if we buy into what others are telling us and perpetuate the ancestral line.
The idea of healing ancestral stuff fascinates me. Many will think it completely crazy and every so slightly batty, but it was a notion introduced to me by a German yoga teacher and massage therapist and somatic healer many years ago now. She had a sense that the German people very much lived with the weight of two world wars in their genetic make up. They took on a seriousness, and their bodies very much told the story, and so it was passed from one generation down to the next and will continue until healing takes place.
I have a sense that there’s many a women carrying the trauma of the witch hunting’s. Lisa Lister might have talked about this in her book ‘Witches’ about the deep mistrust that women often have for one another still to this day, based on the fact that back in the day, they were often forced to tell on their fellow witchery friends to protect their own lives. I always remember a Guernsey wiccan lady who lives in Australia, telling me that she used to get shivers down her spine and feel desperately uncomfortable walking past certain areas in town and she was convinced this was from the witch hunts and hangings.
I’ve always questioned the reason my Mum and I always over cater. It’s probably partly learned behaviour, but I’ve always wondered if it might be because my Grandmother lived in Guernsey during the Occupation when food was so scarce, and my Grandfather in the military police serving in Europe. For ever after my Grandparents would stockpile tins of food at their home, the cupboards were always overflowing, and they would both always over-eat and over-cater, as if to counter the scarcity they had previously experienced, and so that fear has transferred itself down the ancestral line. My Mum and I both have a fear of not having enough food in the house!
So ancestry aside, healing becomes key and leads me back to my original questioning. It is very easy to get caught up in the notion of healing for healing’s sake. There is also perhaps – dare I say – a narcissistic undertone sometimes, in that we can get so caught up in our need for healing and self-care (whatever that actually means) that we overlook the needs of others in our lives and put ourselves on our own little (or big!) healing pedestal. Furthermore, ‘healing’ work and ‘self-care’ (whatever that actually means, I’ll repeat that again) can just be an excuse to bypass from the world – to avoid taking responsibility.
Which leads me right back to sort of where I started, well sort of, in my questioning of healing and the point to it all really. The word that keeps coming up is responsibility. Healing has the potential to help us to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. It means trying to understand the reason behind the dis-ease or the ailment. It means looking beyond the symptoms and trying to make changes that might support that underlying reason.
It’s about trying to get to the root, and weeding that out. This might involve a change in the way that we’re living our life, whether that be the food that we put into our mouths, the job that we do, the thoughts that we think, the relationships we keep, or the trauma that we hold on to from our childhood, or from our ancestral line before you. I’m continuously reminded of my favourite quote, “if we always do what we do, then we’ll always get what we always got”.
However awful pain may be, it is often (but maybe not always) a messenger to show us that change is needed, at least if we want a different outcome in the future. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect change. It’s us who need to make the change. Healing work can facilitate this. It can shift the energy, that might shift the emotion, that might shift the behaviour pattern, that might shift the physical sensation or ailment. Or perhaps you start with the physical, and this shifts things for you on every other level.
It doesn’t matter how you approach it, but it does require responsibility. Responsibility for our own health and wellbeing and for getting to the bottom of things. It does require that we let go of blame and the victimhood mentality and stop making excuses, “but I can’t…because I don’t want to give up…”. The buck stops with us ultimately. This realisation, and embodiment can often be the healing that is needed to make the change, and to begin experiencing greater health, wellbeing and an empowered way of living.
I am aware by the way, that healing doesn’t always mean getting better. But it does mean easing our pain and suffering, whether that is to continue living in this world as we know it, or to pass on more peacefully to another one.
I also don’t claim to be an expert incidentally, or right necessarily, I just started questioning. I’ve spoken to a few people in the healing field, but it wasn’t until tonight, when I noticed this quote staring out at me in the Earth Pathways diary that my Mum bought me from Chalice Wells, that I got the answer I had been seeking…
"To focus on healing in this climate is an act of powerful, political rebellion. It is an act of spiritual revolution. To heal is to be a conscientious objector to the culture of war we inhabit as normality. To heal is to bring more life force to our planet. To deepen your understanding of our connection to the earth and other people. To inhabit your body more fully. To look life and death squarely in the eye. To get out of the denial and silence and shame and invisibility that you have been taught makes you good. To embody the feminine more fully and reject the toxic masculinity to dominate. This is anything but selfish. To heal is to offer a profound act of service - one which will ripple up and down your family lineage, out into your community and into the world beyond you." Healing Revolution by Lucy Pearce.