This blog is about healing. The coaching work I do with people is about healing. I call myself “The Self-Healing Coach”. And yet, I have never addressed the frequent and fundamental confusion regarding the word “heal.”
“Healing” often gets confused for “curing.” But these are not the same thing. While they are used interchangeably quite often, they are, in fact, galaxies apart.
A person can be “cured” of their illness and still need healing. And a person can be “healed” but still be symptomatic and “sick” by medical standards.
I know that everyone wants to be symptom-free. You want a cure. So do I. I get it. And maybe right now you’re saying to me, in your head, or out loud at your computer screen, “Heal me, cure me, whatever! Just make me not sick already!”
I understand. I do. This sentiment has been the primary driver motivating me for the last sixteen years. Just make me not sick already.
But I call this blog The Self-Healing Coach, not The Self-Curing Coach, because the hard truth is, sometimes a cure is not available or possible. And what then? Are we just supposed to give up and resign ourselves to a life of suffering?
Here’s what I mean…
Suffering, according to Buddhist thought, is when you desire things to be any way other than how they are. Illness is a fact of life. So is death and aging. If we decide that we are only capable of being okay if we are cured, what will happen if a cure does not come to pass?
Will we fall apart?
As I tell my daughter whenever she gets frustrated and cries because she is sick or hurt, “You live in a body. Bodies are sometimes uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable sometimes is the price you pay for getting to have a body to move around this world and enjoy being alive.”
If I could cure all of you – if I could make it so that you didn’t have MS, or whatever chronic illness you’re challenged by, I would. But I don’t have the power to do that. Curing is not always possible. But the good news is, healing always is.
What I can do, then, are what I see as the two most essential elements of helping people who are living with chronic illness:
1. I can obtain as much information as possible from my own experience and the experience of others to help advise you of ways to improve your health and become less symptomatic.
2. I can help you learn how to FEEL okay and BE okay no matter what the condition of your physical state.
Our physical suffering is real. Sometimes, our bodies are uncomfortable. But the overwhelming cause of our suffering is not the physical sensations we feel so much as the desire for it to be some way other than how it is.
There is the physical sensation, and there are all the emotions and reactions we cultivate in response to it: fear, anxiety, frustration, desperation, anger, envy. These emotions are the true cause of our suffering.
So, my sincerest and deepest wish for you is twofold: I want to inspire hope and possibility and confidence in your ability to heal your body and I want you to not need anything to change for you to be okay, right now.
This is no easy feat. In fact, practicing this way of being all the time in all areas of life is nothing short of being a fully realized and enlightened master. I certainly haven’t accomplished it.
But I get that this is the only skill, the only practice that will ever lead to genuine happiness. And the more we are able to integrate this ability to be okay no matter our circumstances, the happier we will be, regardless of our symptoms.
I felt it was really important to write this post, because I spend a lot of time and attention on this blog inspiring you to believe you can cure yourself of your illness. And that’s great, and I believe that you can. But this also sets you up to believe that if you don’t achieve a cure, you can’t heal. And that’s not true.
You are okay, right now. If you are unable to walk, you are okay. If you are unable to see correctly, you are okay. If you are experiencing physical pain, you are okay. (And embracing the experience of being okay does not mean that you’re not also going to do everything in your power to get healthier.)
Nothing needs to happen or change for you to be okay, right now. You don’t need to be cured to be healed.
Take a deep breath. Tell yourself that you are okay, exactly as you are, right now. Feel the release in your body as you fully accept this truth. There is nothing that you need to do, or change. You are okay. And being okay no matter what is true healing.
Please share with me and our community in the comments below what you experience when you breathe into this truth.