Healing Belongs to Everyone
There I was again. Having a perfectly lovely conversation with a well-meaning woman discussing the pitfalls of relaying ominous fear-inspiring predictions, when she said it.
“That’s why I don’t want any of that negativity, because it can create disease.”
I could have stayed quiet. I’d heard this opinion many (many) times. In fact, it’s these kinds of statements in the face of having a legally blind mom, friends who survived sexual violation, family living with chronic pain or anxiety and beloveds dealing with fertility issues that has propelled me towards a different conception of healing for the past 20 years.
But frankly, I’d had it. In the last few weeks I’ve heard about at least four different families dealing with cancer. These people are beloved mothers and fathers and children and sisters and brothers and best friends. And while we might wish to separate ourselves from the yoke of life-threatening or chronic illness so we can feel safe, the truth is, there are no guarantees.
Yet because I didn’t want to blast this woman with my she-wolf fury at the current injustice of life, I took a deep breath, gentled my voice and said, “I hear you. And while certain things we do can impact our health, sometimes life throws us a curve ball. Last year my teenage daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Thankfully, she’s okay now. But I don’t believe we did anything to create that reality.”
Clearly mortified, she said, “Oh my God, no, of course not. I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I’m so glad she’s okay.” Back-pedal, back-pedal, back-pedal. At that point, I shifted the conversation in a more comfortable direction.
Days later, I’m still feeling the reverberations. To those who believe we create our entire reality, the next time you feel a need to share your truth, can you please pause for a moment and consider whom you’re speaking to? And for all of us committed to supporting healing whether we be doctors, psychologists, spiritual teachers, energy workers or holistic practitioners, how can we hold our truth with compassion and respect for what we may not know so we don’t inadvertently inject fear, blame and shame into other people’s reality?
I guess this is my first official rant, or maybe I’m just allowing my inner she-wolf a moment to howl. When my daughter was given a green light on her health, I was eternally grateful. But I was not about to forget my friends whose children weren’t getting better so quickly. Or my beloveds living with chronic pain. My fierce mama self, not just the mama-to-my-kids self, but that bigger part, the one that’s connected to everything, rose up inside and clearly told me: none of us are free until we are all free.
I’m still living into what this message means for my life. I’m sitting with how we can each experience freedom even if we’re dealing with a hellish reality. I don’t know. My instinct is to create room so we can develop our own sense of freedom. For me, healing may not only be a certain positive outcome, but also a beautiful moment, a quality or relationship we grow over time. Healing is a unique intimate journey, as well as a destination. Perhaps that’s what all of us being free means to me. Regardless of outcome, healing isn’t only for the fortunate. Healing belongs to everyone.