***From Summer 2016***
I spoke with two people in spiritual direction last night about healing. Once was with my supervisor and once was with a seeker.
The fact that I am recovering from surgery was not lost on me as we spoke and listened and attended the movements of the Spirit. I am best friends with a hot water bottle now and just waiting for the miracle of my body’s powers to knit tissues together that have been separated.
Sometimes we spiritual folk talk about healing as “being made whole.” And then we have to talk about wholeness.
What does wholeness mean to someone who does not have, say, part of a limb, whether they were born differently from others or whether they lost that piece of themselves later in life? I don’t know and I can’t speak to it.
What does wholeness mean to me and to those like me, who have mental illness and are likely to for the rest of our lives?
But there are other ways to think of healing, I think. And a strange one comes to mind,
especially for someone like me who is so opposed to and wounded by perfectionism:
There is a passage in the Christian New Testament that is traditionally translated, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Um, yeah, I’ll get right on that.
I have heard, however, that there are other ways of thinking about “perfection” in this passage, or even of translating it. That the Greek is more like, “ripe”—as in a fruit—full, mature, containing all that it has grown to be.
That feels like healing to me.
As in a prayer Thorn Coyle taught me, “I would know myself in all my Parts.”
All my parts. Wounded. Scarred. Taken. Knitting together.
There is something here about how woundedness and healing can come together. How illness (ill-ness?) and disease (dis-ease) can coexist with healing. I’m not sure of it all, but it’s definitely on my mind today.
I know that rest and movement, both, will help my body to be in its fullness. I know that sometimes I experience myself as healed, perfect, mature, ripe, whole, full. And sometimes I so don’t.
I know that healing from sexual assault, especially in the current environment when so many of us survivors are talking about it, is also about being full, being able to choose my vulnerability. To choose with whom I speak and with whom I don’t. It is a journey of experimentation, fear, and growing courage.
I know that healing from the slings and arrows of overculture oppression around fat, womanhood, mental illness, and other issues includes claiming my identities and becoming “ripe,” which is to say, again, being able to choose. Not to control so much the external environment—though working against kyriarchy for sure—but to learn how to respond with care for myself.
What is healing for you? What is it? What is wholeness? What is “perfection” or maturity, ripeness, fullness?
I come to you today in the throes of a big healing, and I hope that all who are wounded (all of us?) may be healed, all may be blessed.
I also come realizing that spiritual practice is a big part of healing for me. It allows my spirit, my soul to grow roots and stretch toward the Sun. One of the spiritual practices that has been tremendously important to me at different times, and tremendously healing in its physicality, is gardening.
I invite you to a free call, ten days from now, on June 20th, Sowing Seeds of Spirit. You don’t have to be a tree-hugging dirt worshiper (one of my favorite phrases!) to benefit from the call. We will be talking in physical and metaphorical ways about the benefit of gardening. Please do join us, and register here. See you then!
I think healing, for me, is the return of the ability to do at full capacity, if I so choose. After my surgery in 2011, I was back to work in a few weeks and most people probably couldn’t tell that I had undergone surgery. I didn’t consider myself to be fully healed until almost a year later, when I could no longer notice being more fatigued than I would have been before the surgery.