I think healing - when it starts properly and moves from mere catharsis (the blast of unintegrated emotion flooding the system feels like we are awake a little more, and for a moment we are, but we don’t integrate and thus fall back asleep soon after) is a long ongoing process. It’s a decision and a commitment to live with a broken open heart. It’s the bringing to consciousness and embodiment of what was lurking beneath the emotions, in the felt senses. The emotions are the shiny wrapper if you like. Something like that.

I find healing when after an upset, without words or analysis my love reaches for my hand as we drive, when I know she wants to run and instead stays, when she bring me tea in my favourite mug just because, or I put a blanket over her when she’s fallen asleep on the sofa, book fallen on the floor, head and hair making curious shapes - and I am fully present to these ‘events’ - that I am acutely aware in the moment of the other person being uniquely an other person. I know it’s close but not arrived quite yet when my love is eaten and swallowed whole by a brooding silence and I want to run, but stay even though I know I’m about to be allocated a part in a play, usually a high drama, I didn’t consciously audition for.

I’ve heard people say ‘it’s too much, I can’t hold it’ - because the idea of Healing as it’s often spoken about is too big; a masquerading childish fantasy - a failure in waiting. So, we often get overwhelmed by the idea of healing. It implies something is amis...rather than a part of us is missing. Many can’t even say the word without some kind of nervous reaction. It is a word thrown about by so many as if it’s some kind of heroic god like achievement, which of course it is, but it’s not a singular spectacular event and then we are done. Healing is the quiet steady accumulation of many silent victories. Often defined by what we didn’t do as much as we we did. Healing is a moment by moment choice to enjoy what there is...and know there is more to enjoy.

In short, healing is the work we do, the inner and outer effort’s bound together in honour of our unique and precious lives to make our wildest dreams come true.

Im my practice, be that out in the wilds guiding a vision quest or sat in my chair opposite someone recovering from PTSD, addiction or coaching in board rooms....etc I see very clear patterns in those who heal and grow and those those who for whatever reason elect to live life as the zombie nations walking wounded, stuck in a wasteland.  

Healing in a choice. It requires courage to undergo radical changes to your fundamental sense of identity. The enchanting Disney like notions of the hero and heroines journey are in fact a  

Or if you are one of those who likes a snappy mantra for when it is too much, ‘healing is the work I do to make my dreams come true.’ May the force be with you.

I never get tired of saying that.

Image - Desert Rose - Joshua Tree NP. Paul J Howell - 2018.


Copyright - Paul J Howell