“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen
I’ve experienced so much loss this last year on so many fronts, both inner and outer. The accumulation of grief often leaves me feeling like a walking wound in desperate need of healing. I find myself searching high and low for some healing modality, some new approach to how to be in this world, some new way to find answers to help me get better. While I’ve found some small bits of healing, mostly what I’ve encountered has simply been more loss.
And yet, if Rachel Naomi Remen is right in her quote above, perhaps more loss is exactly what I need—just not in the way that I’ve been thinking.
I tend to get so focused on healing as something that will make me better in some way. Something that will fix what is broken in me. But what if there is nothing wrong with me? This has been a hard idea for me to accept because it would mean that this kind of pain is something simply have to live with. There’s nothing I can do to change it if there’s nothing for me to fix, and this possibility is the most hopeless thing I can imagine. So I have always needed to believe that I am broken somehow in order to have any hope that improvement is possible.
However, I think I may have my focus slightly off. What if the pain is not a result of something that is wrong with me but is instead a result of all this I carry with me that isn’t me? Perhaps it’s not ME that needs to be fixed; it’s all the baggage I carry around with me that needs to be left behind that needs fixing in the form of letting it go. This idea gives me the opening to have hope that there is a way to stop (or at least lessen) the pain my wounds have given me, while at the same time affirming that I am not fundamentally flawed or broken. (Even if it does often feel like I am.)
This agrees at a deep level with I have been hearing from the local shaman with whom I have been working. She believes that all of us have a Higher Self that is directly connected to the luminous (or the divine) and that it is only the non-luminous stuff (baggage) we carry around in our energy fields that keep us from experiencing that connection to the luminous and being able to live a life fully sourced from that place.
If I can accept the idea that I am not broken but that I only need to let go of those things that aren’t me, I can see how this could radically change my approach to finding healing. Healing is then about finding better ways to let go of that which is not me so that I can more fully be the me that I truly am rather than being about fixing something that is broken or flawed. This has the potential to completely change my approach to finding healing.
For one thing, this means that any attempt at healing that starts with the premise that something is wrong with me is one that will not provide the healing I need. This will make the search and evaluation process much easier.
For another, it helps strengthen my ability to stop taking on the blame, expectations, and judgments that other people attempt to load me down with. If their judgment starts with the premise that I am defective in some way, then I don’t have to accept it as is. Now, this doesn’t mean that the observations of others may not have some truth in them, but I can stop taking it on as condemnation of who I am and instead use it to evaluate whether they are identifying something I am carrying around that may not be helpful and should be released.
Most importantly, it is a get-out-of-jail-free card for escaping my constant self-condemnation. If I can refocus from trying to fix something that is not broken (me) to trying to figure out where I am carrying around baggage that needs to be discarded because it’s not me, I may make much faster progress in true healing than I’ve been making so far.
This probably sounds trivial to most people reading this, but for me the possibility that I can believe that I am whole AND still have hope that my wounds can be healed through something I have some control over is an enlightening moment beyond belief. It is a concept that is nearly too good to be true.