About three weeks ago, I spent a few days in the hospital after having emergency surgery for a fractured wrist. As the physician’s assistant reviewed the x-ray’s with me before my discharge, I mentioned that this would be a time of learning about how hands and wrists work. I am yoga teacher, and know that sometimes this is how we learn the best, through healing, through putting it all back in order. He responded that he was glad I was approaching the process this way. Some folks just want to be fixed and other folks are prepared to do the work. For each there is a path. Hatha Yoga, traditional healing practices, to me fall in the path of work. A Muslim client of mine once told me that Allah, God, could heal through any path she chose. I believe this to be true. I also believe that we are responsible for consciously aligning with and choosing our path and our healing team. I have received much spontaneous healing, and much healing work in which my role was to receive. But in all cases, my healing required that I show up and do the work of healing, whether that meant changing my lifestyle, my attitudes, forgiveness, practicing, getting up and taking a walk every day, or just plain old deciding that I don’t want to feel bad anymore and I’m willing to change.
The healing narrative that I live and share is that empowerment and healing comes through self-mastery, responsibility, and surrender. It’s a working path.
So in this narrative, what is the place of rest? What is the place of receiving? For me it’s being spacious around my willingness to change. Much of that is about being willing to soften my opinions and resistances and expectations, allowing them to be transformed. Much of that is about accepting things I may not be able to change and allowing myself to accept what is. Sometimes it’s about accepting discomfort. But my ability to do that well, arises from the work that I do. The surrender and the work are inseparable. The work of yoga, of healing, trains me to step beyond my habitual ways of doing things. Beyond those habits, those ruts of thinking I have created, is the inner teacher. Like a wisdom field behind a stone wall, the practices are the gate. So maybe the surrender piece, is, once I’ve opened the door, to be willing to lay down in the wisdom field and let the light shine over me. Or maybe the effort is the knocking on the door, and the surrender piece is the willingness to step through the gate whenever it opens and waiting until it does. Either way, as we walk down our paths it’s good to be conscious about our choices, bearing in mind the use of the particular tools we have access to, and what they are for and who to find to help us use them.
Our outer teachers train us to use the tools, so we might have the tool when we need it. I’ve found my outer teachers were always spot on in identifying my major obstacles. That often hurt. I find my inner teacher steps in and speaks the loudest when I’m trying to fix the television by banging on it with a hammer. (stop! stop!) We need the right tool for the job. That hurts sometimes too. But it’s like a surgery. I’m very grateful they cleaned out and rebuilt my wrist. I couldn’t have done that myself. I find the inner teacher is the quiet voice which directs me to the right tool, the right person, if I’m listening. Sometimes they aren’t what is the most comfortable for me. But if I’m spacious sometimes I find I’m being shown a new way I’d never considered before, or sometimes one’s I have rejected.
In a way the healing narrative comes down to whatever is needed for you, or me, or whoever, to change the story line which is not in alignment with our highest best mode of living and loving. And to change that narrative requires that we let go of the story our personality has created about who we are, and be open to becoming an expression of our true nature, and the gifts that we are here to share with the world. Those gifts are like the sun, sometimes hidden behind clouds. In this sense healing is not a fixing but a growing, an allowing, a fulfillment of promise.
So what is the action step? Know our healing narratives. Explore the stories we tell ourselves. Start out creating the willingness to live a different story, if we want a different result. That is all. A little bit of willingness goes a long way.