From Elizabeth:

 

I’ve been giving a fair amount of time to the contemplation of what many of us might call ‘healing.’  It is a term used often without a great deal of specificity; the kind of word we all think we understand when we hear it used, by someone else, or by ourselves.  It is a notion, a longing, and a word that is currently very much in vogue: we variously want to heal our bodies, our hearts, our souls, our relationships, our communities, the planet.

 

Inherent in any thinking about healing lies both the promise that when we achieve it things will improve, and the acknowledgement that some injury or illness or distress currently exists.  There is no need to heal that which is already perfect or healthy, right?  It stands to reason, then, that it is important and attractive as both a concept and  a pursuit.  It makes sense that healers have historically held a special place in society.  Not only do they keep death at bay, but they carry that promise of a life somehow better, enhanced, easier, more pleasurable or at very least, more comfortable.

 

And who wouldn’t want all those things for themselves and those they love?

 

It was a year ago this week that my (then) 8 year-old daughter, Cybèle, lay unconscious in an ICU bed, all her bodily functions undertaken by machines.   She came through and her body is vibrant and healthy now, for which my gratitude as her mother is both deep and vast.

 

The pneumonia which threatened her life is gone.  There is likely some minor damage to one of her lungs, but she ran a 5K in the fall and she dances and rides her bike and is for all intents and purposes ‘back to normal.’

 

So I wonder: did she heal? What does that really mean?  In the case of her physical being, the fluid in her chest is cleared, the alveoli in her lungs are working properly, her blood is oxygenated and her body is much as it was before the bacteria took hold.

 

This is usually what we mean when we talk of healing the body.  When you cut your finger, it is healed when the skin has knit together as it had been prior to the moment when you slipped with the knife.   There is a return to that which was deemed optimal in terms of status or function–perhaps the removal of something that caused imbalance or disease, but always: a definitive movement back to the conditions which existed before imbalance.

 

Medicines—pharmacological, homeopathic and herbal, surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture, most modalities of body work all endeavor, with different degrees of success, to achieve this return to well-being.  Obviously there are approaches to healing the body that are more complex, those that are more mechanistic, some that are more holistic, and others more nuanced. Taking into consideration many factors, including the illness or injury itself, the healing modality, the practitioner, the patient, the culture—results vary, but a significant portion of the healing goal is always to take the sick or diminished body back to the most optimal function that is possible.

 

That did, thank God, happen for Cybèle. I was a lucky mom, and she a lucky girl in that regard.  But then I wonder: what about the trauma that was visited on her psyche, her soul, as her poor little body was flooded with toxic drugs, her lungs were subjected to invasive tubes and pumping, her chest wall opened in several places for therapeutic purposes?  What about the trauma of going into septic shock?   How is all of this processed?

 

That, of course, is when we come to ‘healing’ of a slightly different sort.  We use the same word, but do we really mean the same thing?  All of Cybèle went through that traumatic experience and though her body now enjoys the same good health it did before she got sick, there is a new and dark place in her, a fear, an experience of coming within a hairs’ breadth of death.  And that knowing will never go away.  The bacteria went away.  The fluid in her lungs went away.   But we do not have the capacity to wipe away her experience.

 

We all have our own versions—losses, abuse, grievous emotional wounds, abandonment—and it is our personal stew of these injuries that set before us our emotional or spiritual healing work.  Ultimately, it is this work that compels and fascinates and motivates me, and which the Guides speak to.

 

A person who was sexually abused as a child may well want to heal from that trauma.  But unlike the cut finger (forgive the difference in scale) or the life-threatening fluid-filled lungs, the experience and the memory and the need to have some sort of reaction or relationship with them will never go away.  It is not possible to return, to go back to the state of being that existed before that abuse took place.

 

So healing here has a very different meaning.  Rather than going backwards, toward an optimal precursor, one must go forward, one must learn new ways of seeing, being and acting.  Environment, circumstance or event cause us to suffer and the ‘fix’ for the emotional injury or trauma, such as it is, lies in moving toward something new, into territory that has not been explored.  It requires us to grow into someone we have not yet been, someone we do not yet know.

 

This can be quite frightening.  We are asked to deal with the unknown and we must take on responsibility for it.  My daughter’s body was managed impeccably and with incredible precision by a team of doctors and nurses.  Her will to live was at play, but the manipulation of her body’s function was formidable.  Things were done to those bacteria, to that fluid, to her lungs that resulted in her return to physical health.

 

It is not so when we want to take on a dark place within us.  We may seek out guides, facilitators, hand-holders to support us, and often that is a very important part of the process.  But ultimately we must engage fully if we really want movement, if we are truly interested in changing the status quo.  It will not happen because we swallow a pill or a potion, chant a mantra or obediently follow directions based on someone else’s idea about what is wrong and how to make it right.

 

Healing, then, in an emotional or spiritual sense, seems to me to lie in a choice to grow, the courage to make that choice and following the process which it initiates.  The sexual abuse some of us have suffered, for instance, won’t go away.  We cannot return to the pristine state of our hearts before they were betrayed, but if we are willing, it is possible to have endured that betrayal, and yet to enjoy a peaceful and open-hearted relationship with ourselves and others.  We do not need to be maimed by it, and in fact, the very process of coming to terms with our traumas obliges us to become bigger and stronger and more aware, often wiser and more loving.

 

Healing?   I would call it evolution.

 

It may seem a small distinction, and the semantics nitpicky, but for me, it is hugely important to be clear about where I am going in a given circumstance.  If my intent lies in returning to a state in the past, my expectations and my actions will help me get there.  If, alternatively, I want to move forward into a new experience of myself and a new way of being—big or small—then I have to approach this with the appropriate awareness.  I cannot expect the familiar or the comfortable to be the end result.  And I cannot expect to be as I was before.  I have to be ready to become all that and something much more as well.

 

I am excited to be working with this idea–of emotional and spiritual evolution–to be holding it more consciously.  And I would love to hear from any of you about how it strikes you—the idea and the terminology, and how it has worked in your life.

 

The book, LOVE IS THE WAY: Daily Offerings from the Guides for Living Luminously, seems likely to be available before the month is out.  I am crossing my fingers and will let you know as I do.  It includes 365 days’ worth of evolutionary guidance!

 

Much love,

Elizabeth

www.loveslonging.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-West/574142832631228

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 3, 2013

From Elizabeth:

The Guides have been quiet for a long time, it is true.  Actually they have been speaking to each of us in our own ways, in whatever language we understand the best.  But it is hard and it is sometimes lonely to try to hear the guidance that is always there for us.

And yet, that is what I think they want for us–that we move toward freedom, always toward greater consciousness and liberation.  But as we move that way, they have been here, happy to nudge us, to point us in the right direction when we get turned around, when we get lost.

They have directed me to put together a book of their guidance–offered in daily doses, to be used as each of us might need it.  This book, LOVE IS THE WAY: Daily Offerings from The Guides for Living Luminously will be available very soon, in both print and digital versions.  I suspect–though I don’t know for sure–that this is the conduit they want to use right now for their advice to us.  I have a sense that we are being given this cycle of guidance with the proviso that if we want it we must pick it up and work with it.

Of course they never fail to remind me that each and every one of us will follow our own path and do exactly as we are meant to, as our highest good dictates.  So heed me only with a large pinch of salt!

I will make sure that notice of LOVE IS THE WAY, as well as access to it, is posted here as soon as it becomes available.  And needless to say, when the Guides have a reading for us, I will receive it and pass it along with great joy.

Please don’t forget that there is an archive of readings, links below, and I encourage new readers and old to check them out if you want to connect with the love and wisdom of The Guides.

Until then, I am sending all my love and gratitude out to all of you.