For years now I’ve said that my top three values are love, humor, and justice. I liked the simplicity of that, and at times I would even say that humor and justice are just different flavors of love, so really it’s just one value. Then at the beginning of this year I took part in a 12-week training called Ignite, in which I was encouraged to make a list of up to seven of my top values. I appreciated the opportunity to flesh out my “code.” Because to be honest, there have been many times in life when I felt uncertain of how exactly to live by my values. Anyone can be loving on a good day, but what about on a stressful day? In this blog post, I’ll discuss my fourth value, which is essential when love feels out of reach: healing.
As a holistic health practitioner, I view healing and wholeness as our natural birth right. Life is designed to move towards health when it has what it needs. Therefore, it follows that if health is not present, there must be a need that isn’t being met. One challenge that we often face when in a state of dis-ease is that we don’t know what we need to get back into wholeness, and our state of poor health can then compromise our ability to get our needs met. This can cause us to enter a reactive state of frantically grasping and clinging, desperately looking for a “cure.” If we aren’t careful, we can completely lose our presence of mind, which can result in our reactive behaviors being more destructive than helpful. What started as one injury (one deviation from wholeness) becomes ground zero for a series of injuries rippling outwards in time and space, even affecting other people.
It follows from all of this that a basic foundation of health and healing is an awareness of one’s own needs, and that the absence of this awareness impacts more than just the individual in question. I believe that love is a basic need for all people—to give it and to receive it—which makes love intimately connected with health and healing. A healthy person gives and receives love freely. This means that any situation in which love is blocked is a situation in which needs (beyond just love) are not being met.
As I’ve discussed before, mindfulness and embodiment practices are necessary for building the awareness that we have entered a suffering state that is preventing us from loving. Once we are aware that we are in a suffering state, we must also remember that, as counterintuitive as it may seem, the healing starts inside us. Our reactivity is designed to find a solution outside of ourselves. Maybe we just need to push the source of the pain away. Or maybe we need to distract ourselves with something pleasurable. Both of these strategies ultimately backfire, and only a self-love grounded in faith will give us the strength to stay with the pain and look inward for what it’s telling us that we need.
No moment in human history has called more loudly for a return to love than the one we are currently living in. When we find love difficult to access, we must learn to see this as a warning sign of unmet needs. To help you learn these skills and why they are so important, see below for information about my upcoming 6-week course on the connection between personal work and social change.
Upcoming Course – Thursdays, 12-1pm PST, May 6 – June 10, 2021: “Befriend the Change – A 6-week course uncovering the connection between personal work and social change”
Are you distressed by all the division and conflict that exists between people today? Do you find yourself avoiding “touchy subjects” like COVID, systemic racism, and climate change with certain family members or friends? Does all this leave you feeling hopeless for humanity’s future? On May 1, 1992, Rodney King asked, “Can we all get along?” Today, 29 years later, it seems like the answer is no. But what if the solution to humanity’s problems were actually simpler than you thought? On May 6, 2021, join us for a six-week online course on how personal growth and healthy relationship skills can save the world. Befriend the Change. Click here for more info.
Nauser Bear is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California (LMFT#123099; licensed with the BBS as Nicholas Jon Reynolds). To work with Nauser, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call (510) 394-5373, or schedule a free 20-minute consultation by clicking here.
Disclaimer: This blog and comments on it do not constitute medical or mental health advice. If you are in need of support and live in California, contact me to set up a consult to see if working together is a fit. Otherwise, seek mental health support in your area. If you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention hotline, which is available 24/7, at 800-273-8255.