Healing. What a scary word, don’t you think?
I wanted to spend some time reflecting on this word and its meaning to me, in relation to the life break I have been engaging in. I know that I keep going on and on about this break that I’m having, which is really more of an ongoing breakthrough, hence why I keep talking about it. I’m still very much in it. Once you say yes to a process, you never really know how long it will take to complete.
Chained to the Rhythm
What is this process about, as I currently see it? (I say, currently, because in a few months I might have a very different perspective on it.)
I found myself staring at a wall that I couldn’t figure out how to get past: an emotional, spiritual, intellectual wall. Nothing I could think about, or feel through, or meditate on, seemed to work. I could see that through the years, I focused on some things and not on others. These other things I neglected were: my spirituality, my emotional wellbeing, my creativity, my talents, my motivations. I’m not judging myself actually: I’m very clear that a person can only work with what they know. And that’s what I did. I finished a Master’s degree and what I knew was: find work, get money, pay the bills, pay debt, have (familiar) fun, complain a bit here and there, find a relationship, go on dates, exercise, eat healthily, continue to learn. It’s what I learned, what I was taught, what I witnessed others do.
But I could always feel a lack of something and I’ve been feeling this lack for many years. I keep doing what I need to do, according to the world around me, but there has always been a deep feeling that something else needed to be done. And I think the wall I mentioned above is related to this. All my decisions brought me to a place where I could no longer keep doing the same things, chained to a rhythm that was hollow, trapped to a wheel of (nothing) merry-go-round.
Old and New Ways of Being
I am writing this now, straight after watching a good friend’s video on his own current journey of moving from old through to new ways of being.
(Check the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h1tc4pQf1c&feature=youtu.be and his page here: http://www.edwardpike.net/).
We’ve talked at length about these things for months, even years! Our understanding of it keeps both deepening and expanding, which sounds paradoxical, but I hope that you understand. Our journeys through to a new system have been different, but similar, just like yours, I’m sure. Life is a constant paradox: we’re all different, but all similar; we’re all individuals, but actually all one soul; to receive, you need to give; to keep, you have to let go; we strive for logic, but nothing is logical; everyone wants a magical solution to life, but everyone refuses to believe in magic; people think they have to see it to believe it, but they will only see it when they believe it; we want quick fixes for things that took years and decades to manifest… You get the point.
What do I mean by old and new ways of being?
Not to put labels on people’s experiences, but millions of people around the world have been waking up to some of these things for many years now: look at the boom in awareness and engagement with alternative and holistic medicine and therapies, and spiritual practices! Also, consider the near collapse of several institutions around the world in the past decade, and how irrationally power structures keep trying to hold on to their last breath: the rise in extreme ideologies is just a collective, global manifestation of this. Something old is dying, and something new is being born.
And this is the thing: no one knows what the new world order might look like, but I would say that the choice is very clear: fear or love. Those of us who are on both sides of the various healing practices around the world – as active participants and practitioners – can feel this transition acutely, for we cannot authentically guide others, when we have not gone through the process ourselves. Those of us who truly understand this process know that in order to get to “Love & Light”, one must go through quite a lot of darkness. It’s the most basic duality of life: Light & Shadow. Everything else derives from it. That’s why life is actually simple: every single choice goes back to this – Light or Shadow. What then turns life difficult is that we keep mistaking one for the other. We think we have many choices, but we really actually don’t: Light or Shadow. That’s it! Don’t believe me? Spend some time paying attention to your life choices, and even your daily choices, and try to look at them from this perspective. Peel back each situation to its core choice/conflict. The more you do it, the easier it gets to discern.
Thus, for millions of people around the world in recent years, this clarity has become more obvious and present, and people have been actively looking for answers! I mean, was there any kind of large scale awareness about terms and notions such as past lives, inner child, heart space, astrological charts, flow, alignment, life’s purpose, consciousness, energy etc., even 6 or 7 years ago? The more people awaken, the more they realise that awakening really means some kind of proactive work on the self. This has triggered further awareness of the countless ways in which to do this with practices that have been around for thousands of years, but which had been relegated to the margins of societies and cultures.
For example, the spiritual practice that I follow, Kabbalah. Here’s a practice that has been around for the most part of 4000 years, but which historically had been placed under strict restrictions of study for married Jewish men over the age of 40, until a woman – Karen Berg – in the 1970s asked her husband: if I can and have learned this, why can’t the whole world? Simple choice? Yes! Easy? Not at all: they were persecuted for decades! Can you see the difference between simple and easy?
Another interesting example is my very unconscious choice to study Dramatherapy. Here is a practice, which “clinically” belongs in the family of psychotherapies, but which practically breaks with so many conventions of the very scholarly traditions of psychology, that it sometimes bears no resemblance. I was trained in rituals, myths, storytelling, being in the body, following instincts. That’s why I always say Dramatherapy is closer to Jung’s school of thought, than Freud’s, because Jung was incredibly spiritual. The adoption of shadow and collective unconscious as psychological terms come from him. Jung was also keenly aware of the relationship between self and the world around, saying that “whatever is rejected in the self, appears in the world as an event.” In Kabbalah, we call this sort of thing a “message” or a “sign” that there’s something we need to change. Jung called it “synchronicity” and the world of psychology has used it ever since. The concept is exactly the same! I always tell my clients in therapy: “whatever you deal with here in the room, will inevitably appear in your life outside the room.” There is no escaping the interconnectedness of life.
In my Dramatherapy training, because it was based on ritual, I was able to learn about and explore several ancient and current healing traditions from all over the world. Gabrielle Roth – founder of 5Rhythms – once said:
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?”
So, when did YOU stop doing these in your life?
Alternative Therapy and Healing
I, as well as millions of people around the world, have stopped doing all these things to an almost deadly extent. Look around any mainstream education system and the arts are always the most disposable disciplines. We have stopped valuing that which enables us to connect more with each other. The arts are what connects us to the heart space and the body. Not rational and scientific thinking. And even though I studied, trained, and lived Dramatherapy for the past 5 years of my life, I actually forgot this myself.
I found myself trying to be a “clinician”, often speaking in clinical jargon, wanting to belong to a community of practitioners who did not want me there, for my practice represented, and still does, a new way of being and relating. And I tried to belong very hard, because that’s what I knew how to do. “I must belong!”, “I must adapt!”. How much more adaptation can I make if Dramatherapy is already based on all the art forms, various ritual and spiritual practices of healing, and at least 5 formal schools of psychotherapeutic thought? I was choosing Shadow, thinking that I was choosing Light. It’s obvious that it had to come to a halt.
And so, one of the biggest parts of the process I’m currently going through is about embracing the alternative and holistic aspect of what I actually do and know, of what I have learned, of what I feel my purpose is. And within that, is about embracing the term healing.
I know exactly why people roll their eyes at the sound of that word, because I have done it countless times. Where is this rejection coming from, though? Well, in order to accept and receive the Light, we need to accept and receive the Shadow. What does healing really imply? That’s right! Healing implies that there is something to heal. That we are wounded, in pain, suffering. Who wants to admit that?
By admitting we need healing, or practice healing, we need to admit that there is a wound.
So, here’s to healing each other, by expanding and deepening our connections to Self, which will automatically expand and deepen our connections to each other, world, and universe.