Tuesday, 31 July 2012 00:00

Seeds of Healing

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“Sometimes in the darkness of my own shadow I know that I could not see at all were it not for this old injury of love andgrief, this little flickering lamp that I watched beside for allthese years”. (Wendell Berry)

 I have been reading Jean Houston’s book ‘The Search for the Beloved’. She writes that such an injury can eventually lead to a time when “new questions begin to be asked about who we are in our depths.” Her words remind me of what lies at the centre of my work as a psychotherapist: that the woundings you have endured “may contain the seeds of healing and transformation”.

Many people think that working with a psychotherapist is a path to healing, as in being ‘fixed’. It is a path to healing but not in the way that the science of medicine has taught us to think of being mended. The events and relationships that have hurt us have left their mark and that mark, that wound, will always be a part of us now. It is possible to see the wound, however, as a choice point, a watershed, when healing equates with transformation and adds something to your life instead of taking something away. Hard to believe, I know. We may think of it as a path to ‘whole-ing’ rather than healing. You are probably familiar with the term “hale and hearty” which we use to describe someone in excellent health. In Old English the word ‘hale’ meant ‘whole’. To strive for wholeness is a good way to live a life, I think.

Often the choices we make as a result of such wounds paradoxically lead us into further self-harm and even to harm others. This may be seen as the effect of a wound that has not been recognized and attended to. You may feel it as anger, loneliness, grief, sadness, the need for revenge. The way to psychological, emotional, spiritual healing has as its goal the ability to transcend the wound, to no longer allow it to dominate our choices. It can be a way to a new flowering in your life, a way out of winter into spring, the “renaissance” or new dawn that Jean Houston beckons us towards.

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