A post came in from a reader, a man in his senior years with a a curiosity about my work and an ability to ask questions that make me ponder. Recently he asked, " When you say 'healing work' is that primarily counseling that you're thinking of?"
I've been thinking about his question.
The psychotherapy and counseling I provide my clients is certainly in the service of healing. But is it healing work? In private sessions my client and I experience moments when we both know real healing is happening. We see it, feel it, witness it, acknowledge it, respect it and build on it. That's part of the experience of healing.
Yet healing work is a vast and personal realm. Each person needs to build a lattice of support that contributes to her healing while allowing herself to go into blocked and numbed areas in her psyche. Those areas then awaken and reveal truth, lies, gifts, betrayals and needed energy for powerful and personal healing.
The therapy I provide helps keep a person stable while she is building her support lattice. And yes, the therapy itself and my relationship with her is part of that support lattice structure.
Support for what? is the next question. Support for the healing work is the answer. That brings us back to where we started.
Healing work is the work you do that contributes to your healing. It varies depending on who you are and where you are in terms of your recovery work. Any activity or task, if approached with sincerity and authentic commitment, will help you discover your healing work. However, you can engage in any activity or task without tapping into healing work if you are functioning at a surface level without engaging your genuine curiosity, courage and sense of wonder.
Albert Einstein wrote, "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." I like this and adapt it for our conversation.
My version, Healing work is what awakens your ability to experience joy in creative expression and knowledge.
So ultimately healing work is what you do to plough through your obstacles, reach and honor your treasures and bring genuine joy into your life.
Eating disorders are incompatible with joy.
Last week I finally got around to reading Kurt Vonnegut. I read Bluebeard, Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle. I read for pleasure and a sense of duty. I couldn't go through life without actually reading Kurt Vonnegut!
Healing snuck up on me. Vonnegut begins a sentence or a thought or a bit of character development in an ordinary way so I believe I know where he is going and what is going to happen. Then he takes the path I'm on and lifts it up to the moon and around mountains under the sea and through cubby holes of the mind leaving me astounded, delighted and with a shake up of my preconceptions.
It is more of a ride than a read. And shaking up preconceptions, getting rid of rigidity I don't know is there, is part of my healing work.
What is your healing work? Have you discovered what you do that helps you heal on your path to recovery? Write in and tell us.