“If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against. He lives in the “House of the Gathering.” Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.”
~ Carl Jung
What is this thing called healing? Is it a remedy for melancholy, a solution to dis-ease, a repair for the broken? Does it take unwellness to find what makes us well, is it personal-internal-individual? Does it do us any good to heal when we are feeling powerful, alert, awake, aware, and joyful? Or do we save our healing for our lost moments of bewilderment when our upside falls downside and we’re seeing the world sideways and backwards? Do we wait and partition our healing off from our daily doings, convincingly ourselves and everyone around us that healing only happens in private. How do we know when we’re better, and when is one level of better enough? Is it enough? Is that a valid question?
The past several…whatever increments of time you care to use as measure….I have been absorbed into the question of healing. I have attended graduate school with these questions burning inside as I scribble notes and nod with ‘ah hmmm’ and ‘waaa..yes yes’. In that time, I’ve found answers and the lost them in couch cushions or crumpled them in the washer- as if something so profound could be so small…misplacable. I have felt I’m in my skin then lost myself in thought, floating far off from my skin, forgetting my humanness.
Then, most recently, as I wrestled with my wounding in the unwinnable fight of self against self, something of an answer became me. It didn’t dawn on me. It wasn’t a thought that changed my worldview or a position of my body that was new and unfamiliar. It became me as a nervous system that rests completely. As a belly that softens onto the Earth without thought, reservation, or intention that traps me in language. It became me as ears that listened to the music of the crickets the way I’ve listened to so many songs that move me to tears because…because in the listening they are me.
In this moment I became healing. Note – this is not “healed” – a word that promotes a fallacy of thought for to heal is a process ever unfolding and not a static place to which we finally arrive. But I became the process, and the beauty of healing showed me its simplicity. To rest. To truly rest is to heal. Not to sleep or dream. Not to zone out or decompress. Not to self care or self love yourself into a stupor. No. To heal is to rest. Rest your mind from thought. Rest you body from doing. Rest your emotions from containment or control. Rest from convincing yourself or others you deserve rest.
Rest into your skin as it is. Into your senses that show you the world you are a part of and all it’s busy doings. Rest into your breath as the world breaths you. Rest from the effort of healing. Rest from the effort of being wounded.
I won’t speak to where we may go from there, let alone attempt to answer all the questions I hold. To do such a thing would be in vain, for without meeting in rest, we cannot hear the answers let alone become them. First, we must get into rest…become rest… for that is a profound act in and of itself.
Slow down – and rest. You should need to. I certainly need to. And need you to.
We’ll meet again from there. From our rested selves. And start again.
Heal Her Daughters.
Looking over the cracks in the pavement
Sheltering broken bones
From broken homes
Where children once believed in being children,
There’s grass bursting out concrete
From root to end
Coming back again and again
Against all odds of this oddity we call human.
This place once stood wild and free
Just as we did
With our souls fed
By the women who held all the secrets of life.
And perhaps that was the start of it
The magic and art of it
Deep in the heart of it
Was a battle for all the ancient truth.
Glancing down at our speckled landscape
With trees trapped in cages
And stones from all ages
Resisting our futile attempts to make them lines.
There are vines scaling crumbling walls
That hold out
Shame and doubt
For people who have forgotten how to know it.
I’m looking out at all that pavement
And the ants keep marching on
And the birds still know their songs
It seems the only ones questioning life in this living world…