Wouldn’t it be great if we could make other people heal? Then that insecure, paranoid co-worker would quit blaming you for their foul-ups. The woman in your coven with the victim complex would become a helpful, functioning member of the group. Your father-in-law would stop bullying the male members of the family for not being ‘real men.’ Funny how we can always find something to fix in other people when, so often, we’re sure we’re fine ourselves.
The fact is, you can’t make anyone heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve been an herbalist and spiritworker since the early 1990’s, and then I became a naturopath and a Reiki master in an effort to be a more effective healer. I was so bent on getting people to heal, no matter what, that I forgot to back off and look at the process, at how it really works. Albert Schweitzer is reputed to have said, “It’s a trade secret but I’ll tell you anyway: all healing is self-healing.” That pretty much sums it up, but the concept might be easier to understand if we use an analogy.
Let’s say that healing is a journey down a path. That’s pretty easy to envision, right? The person in need of healing is standing at the beginning of the path, which might be a fairly straight road or a long and twisted one, depending on their life situation. They will attain the state of being healed when they reach the end of the journey.
Let’s also say that in front of the person, blocking their way down the path, is a pile of stones. Or maybe just one huge boulder. Or perhaps a brick wall. Regardless of the nature of the obstacle, it keeps the person from being able to move down the path. What the healer – the doctor, the herbalist, the spiritworker, the counselor – does is remove the obstacle, hopefully with help from the person in need of healing. So yay, the obstacle is gone! But it’s still up to the person to walk down that path. No healer, no matter how skilled, can make the journey for them. And that’s the big thing, the lead-a-horse-to-water part of the process, that we so often fail to notice. It’s frustrating to watch a person stand there at the head of the path, refusing to move, but it’s their journey, and I have to respect the fact that they get to choose when and how to take it.
Of course, it’s much easier to decide how other people ought to heal than it is to admit our own need to put the pieces back together. When I was having trouble getting pregnant with my second child, it took two people whose opinions I trusted, telling me that my womb was still full, metaphorically speaking, with my daughter who had passed away, before I got the message. So after a lot of stubbornness and grumbling, I did the healing work necessary to empty that space, and I got pregnant in short order.
The interesting thing about that situation was that, during the time I was trying to get pregnant but couldn’t, I was surrounded by people who were refusing to heal and move forward. None of them were in my exact situation; there was a woman who was in denial about losing her vision to retinitis pigmentosa, a man with a deteriorating heart condition whose anger had built up a wall around a huge emotional wound, and several others. I could see quite clearly that they were all stuck, refusing to move forward emotionally and psychologically, and that stuckness was keeping them from healing physically. What I couldn’t see, until several people pointed it out to me, was a process called ‘mirroring’: the universe was trying to show me what my problem was and, therefore, how to solve it. It’s that old dust mote in someone else’s eye and log in your own eye situation.
I wasn’t ready to see what was really there, what my problem really was. Then, once I understood the issue, it took me a while to work myself around to dealing with it. In other words, even after I saw the boulder blocking my path, I had to work my way up to removing it and then traveling down the path. No amount of help from the healers around me could budge me until I was ready to move.
That’s the hard lesson I’ve learned over the years, and I have yet to find an exception to it. Until a person is ready to heal, nothing will help them, at least not for very long. Once a person is ready to heal, nothing can stop them.
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