Caty Shannon
The Work of Healing
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I like to think of the work of healing as a celebration of ones individuation. It is a intimate journey, where becoming more conscious is not so much a means to an end as it is a practice of inner growing. From this perspective, the challenges we take on are gifts to bring about unscripted expansion, outside the box of our conditioned existence.Once undertaken, the journey to becoming more conscious has its own way of taking over, and as a bonus, so does the learning that emanates from it. Life becomes filled with essence and soulfulness expressed in the mindfulness of self and others. Through our inner growing, we journey back to what seems to have always been right in there waiting for us: we get to touch our essential self. This ‘coming home’ opens up the spectrum for myriad possibilities, and invites us to experience a creative flow inherent to life.

In my experience, it has been helpful to embrace the poetical perspective whereas the movement toward healing is hard-wired within each one of us. From the moment we can sense this possibility deep in our heart, we have hope as a blessing to accompany us. The blessing is sorely needed because any path to becoming more conscious is fraught with self-doubt and uncertainty, even as it is interspaced with glimpses of bliss to keep us going.

When all goes well, and for each one of us, well being and its faithful companion, suffering, compose around each other in rhythm, fostering a life balanced by an experiential blend of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. We have our good, better, bad, and worse days, and there is always tomorrow to look forward to. We compose the melody of our existence through a dynamic interplay between opposites. Everyone’s life is completely unique, just as a snowflake resembles no other in its structure, or a forest bears the markings of its history in eternally evolving ways. Yet life is not a scenario that we can control. Inevitably, events happen that may throw us off our balance. It is as if life were saying, ‘enough already with all this ‘goody goodness’; time for a bit of expansion.’ In the experience of being thrown off our balance, disturbances typically become polarized into the one sidedness of symptoms and suffering.

This is when the opportunity presents itself as to whether we can make sense of what happens as a challenge to grow or if, needing some more time before this opening to new possibilities, we find ourselves folding under the weight of that which seems too much to bear. There are so many ways and degrees by which we fold. We may find ourselves paralyzed by the consequences of painful events, often very much outside of our influence. We may become weighed down by psychological scars inherited through the legacy of complicated family histories that echo through our own behavior. We may simply not know any better for lack of a healthy template. Sometimes, and for all these reasons, we surrender to the numbing of negative habits, living a life of self-deception, lost in the confusion of just keeping up, or we become engrossed in the fundamentalism of religious or political institution.

All the same, what these ways of folding have in common is how they rob us of our life force and, instead, bring on the confusion of anxiety and depression. They take away our capacity to think independently and most importantly, our capacity to be connected to our own heart, and when this connection to our own heart is not there, neither is the possibility for connecting to other people’s heart.

Striving for harmony and balance is for each of us a responsibility as much as it is a legacy, regardless of personal belief or social strata. In doing our work toward wholeness we become active participants in everybody else’s wholeness. In this way, we become true-to-life activists. Anxiety and depression are no longer one-way streets but multi-dimensional channels for self-development and a deeper life.