To Heal, Or Not to Heal? Part 1

Shakespeare could write! Hamlet’s existential bent is best captured by that—“To be, or not to be”—and the thoughts that follow in his soliloquy. Today, we use this enduring phrase—and his phrasing—in all manner of ways.

But when it comes to healing, it’s maybe not so precise a question to ask. Because we are at all times healing, trying to heal; our bodies are, even if we are not consciously aware. They compensate for pains, physical and emotional, and do the best they can with the tools they have.

That’s why the depth and breadth of healing may depend on just how consciously aware someone is of the process. Energy follows attention. People attentive to their health can make incredible progress in a short amount of time toward reaching equilibrium. One of my teachers, Bob Clickner, used to say a person can go 75 percent of the way toward wellness in 25 percent of the time. But the remaining 25 percent requires 75 percent of their time. It’s stubborn, in other words. Or maybe we are.

In Ecuador, where I spent a couple of weeks in February on a plant trip, I questioned whether I was being stubborn. Our major healing ceremony was with two curanderos who met us in Vilcabamba. We were to take San Pedro cactus. It’s a relative of peyote. As one who has never taken plants that work on a psychic level, I didn’t know what to expect and made a point to have no preconceived notions.

Still, I wondered, what sort of intention do I need to bring to this? The intention to heal, of course. But heal what? Migraines? When it came right down to it, I began to question whether the migraines and the accompanying nausea and purging actually were not the best thing my body could do for itself—for me, too.

In between the first and second parts of our ceremony in Vilcabamba, I went to that quiet place inside of me. The guidance I received said that I needed to step up, exert better boundaries toward and with myself. Until I did, the migraines would persist, because my body would continue to take the lead. This came across as fact, not judgment. No finger-wagging. As for the San Pedro, our minute dose was not the vision-inducing kind. It left me with stomach cramps the likes of which I’ve never experienced. It took them a few days to fully pass and gave me an opportunity to “step up”…to not go out, even when others were, to visit historic areas of Cuenca, and to act more lovingly toward myself.

Check back tomorrow for “To Heal, Or Not To Heal? Part 2.”

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