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I began this Curing or Healing post one sleepless night a few blurry weeks ago, tugged by the swell of activation energy in my physical and emotional body. After much editing, I’m sharing what was my stream-of-consciousness-style writing in a series of posts that expand on an earlier blog about revolutionary healing. Ultimately this series stems from my lived experience healing myself and catalyzing healing for and with others. It is a beginning attempt at pulling it all together for you. No two healing stories are the same, and as such, there is no definitive “how-to” for healing. This, rather, is a framework, with boundaries to guide you. You are your best healer. I hope that it fuels your inner healing fire.

Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.

Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

I’m experiencing a revolution within. I’ve known it for some time, but it feels more intense with my deeper dive into trauma-healing, my transition into perimenopause, and my homeopathic training. This revolution often looks like dis-ease, or symptoms, in my body and mind as my nervous system reprocesses the past and reorganizes itself. It feels simultaneously mysterious and sensical; invigorating and challenging; so soft and so very hard. This duality lives in the symptoms themselves, too: they are uncomfortable and they are full of gifts when I’m open to receiving them.

Cycles

I know that dis-ease, or symptoms, and my response to those symptoms illuminate the patterns and beliefs that I’m embodying at any given time. As I scribbled about my dis-ease and my healing that night, the words “I’m not OK” whispered their way onto the page…again. These words represent a very old, very deep belief that I carried within me for much of my life, one that’s transformed in so many ways now. But the transformation of embodied beliefs has no endpoint. The belief that I’m not OK expresses itself in various ways, but that night I recognized it through my resistance to feeling and being with my symptoms, through my need to fix them, and through my mental chatter that, despite my ever-increasing levels of self-awareness and knowledge of my nervous system, just reinforced the belief that I am not OK.

Historically, the resistance, the fixing, the thinking led to more dysregulation in my nervous system and diminished resilience, which fueled more dis-ease. Now, I’m realizing that my “not OK” place looks very different than it did in the past. I recognize and move through my old patterns of resistance and fixing more quickly. More and more, I’m able to turn toward my symptoms (and myself) with greater trust and allowance for feeling. When I focused my awareness on the ways I’m evolving, I could see all of the healing behind and in front of me. I felt more ease, resilience, and OK-ness.

Curing or Healing

“I’m not OK” is one of many beliefs that resonate with an inner orientation to curing rather than healing. Understanding the difference between the two is imperative so that we can break the cycles and patterns of our past and shift more and more into the cycle of revolutionary healing.

Curing

We tend to seek cure when we’re oriented toward dis-ease, and our focus lands on eliminating symptoms. This may be a desirable goal; however, when we focus on curing alone, we can easily be consumed with suppressing, fixing, fighting, or resisting. We are a culture that fights against disease and avoids pain at all costs. This is a defensive approach that resonates with brokenness or incapacity. As Dr. Remen states, this is the work of the ego. In this space, we measure our success, or our wellness, by results rather than by our (r)evolution and our process. Here we lose sight of our inherent capacity for healing and may feel disconnected from the deeper work of the soul.

Healing

When we orient toward healing we turn toward our process and our evolution rather than an endpoint. Our success, or wellness, is measured by our learning or growth and through our awareness. Symptoms are messengers to be heard and dis-ease is a calling to honor. Orienting toward healing is proactive as it invites us to strengthen our embodied awareness and our wholeness (more on this in part 2 of the blog). A healing orientation softens us into feeling and allowing, and it engenders self-trust. This is the work of the soul. In this place we feel connected to our inherent healing capacity. To be clear, the actual healing part can be really f-ing hard (more on this later in the series).

Consider this example from a potential client who wondered out loud with me what it could be like to stop the all-consuming pursuit of fixing her chronic pain after years of doing so, and instead, start living and learning alongside the pain. Notice the empowering distinction she made between curing/fixing and healing/evolving.

Whether self-healing or catalyzing healing for and with others, discernment of our orientation matters.

What I’ve noticed: When we orient to healing and wholeness more than curing and dis-ease, cure often (but not always) comes. Healing always precedes lasting cure.

P.S. I’ve noticed this pattern of resistance and the “I’m not OK” belief in other womxn, too (it’s a collective as well as personal theme in a patriarchal culture). Its pervasiveness shows itself in our culture of suppression and chronic disease, especially autoimmune disease for womxn. As you begin or continue orienting toward healing, remember you are not alone.

Questions to Ponder

First and foremost, Part 1 of this series is an invitation to notice your orientation to healing or curing…no judgement. Future parts of this series will support you in experimenting more with orienting toward and embodying healing.

I invite you to ask yourself the question that continues to shift my awareness and experience in so many moments:

Am I orienting toward curing or am I oriented toward healing?

I also invite you to consider:

What belief(s) would I have to embody to orient more toward healing?

What would I have to let go of to orient more toward healing?

What would I need more of to orient more toward healing?

What is one question I have about all this? (Feel free to drop your question in the comments or e-mail me)!

This post is not intended to be medical advice, and I am by no means suggesting that you IGNORE concerning symptoms. Healing involves learning our bodies and discerning her messages. In this way we can be more aware of when to seek help and support. Due diligence is always advised.