The No. 1 reason why we don’t heal is actually a simple one. It’s something we can change with intention and awareness.
About fifteen years ago, I had a pain in my gut that just refused to go away. It was a case of bad acidity. It kept me from enjoying the foods I loved, and made my gut very sensitive.
I tried ignoring it, medicating it, praying about it, and waiting for a miracle. Nothing helped. Until I went to an Ayurvedic physician who lived ten minutes away from my house. He gave me a jar of black herbal paste that smelled like an apothecary’s home. I was ready to try anything so I gladly accepted the jar and promised to take the dosage as prescribed.
I thought we were done, but the doctor stopped me. “Are you angry with anyone?” he asked me.
I looked away. I didn’t want to talk about my anger with this man whom I hardly knew. So I fidgeted and searched for words, wondering how to respond.
“The herbal paste I have given you is not going to work all by itself. We need to know what is going on with your emotions that is affecting your body,” he explained.
Okay, I guess I have to tell you now, I thought to myself.
“My brother and I have not spoken to each other for many years,” I started. “I’m angry, very angry about what happened with him.” I sat up straight in my chair, ready to start my well-worn narrative. The doctor wasn’t interested in my story, the details, my long list of what my brother had done and how hurt I was.
“You need to let go of your anger,” he said calmly.
Whaat??!! That’s not possible! You don’t even know my brother and what he did and… My ego mind was terrified to let go and give up its well-constructed defenses.
He read the resistance on my face. “That is what is standing in the way of your cure.”
I thought about all the nights I’d wake up in the middle of the night. The cramps, the trips to the bathroom, not being able to eat out at restaurants, having to say no to party foods…
So I made a decision. I would let go and learn to make peace. My pain was keeping me from enjoying and living my life, and I was ready to heal it. I wasn’t about to let my anger win anymore.
Within days, my body started to heal. My gut was once more welcoming to a variety of foods I loved to eat. Spicy Indian curries, tart chutneys, and citrus-drenched broths.
Now I tell my clients the truth about healing. The first step to healing anything is the willingness to heal. The willingness to heal means the willingness to let go of anything that stands in the way. Emotions like anger, grief, guilt, resentment and jealousy. Owning up to your wounds instead of blaming and shaming others. Forcing yourself to quit your home in victim land and taking responsibility for what you’re creating in your life.
“Healing is one of the most threatening journeys in life — because becoming whole is threatening,” says Caroline Myss, author and spiritual teacher.
We say we’re willing to heal and we try a variety of healing modalities. But when nothing works and we’re still in physical or emotional pain, it’s useful to ask:
- Am I really, truly ready and willing to heal?
- Am I really, truly ready and willing to own up to everything in my life?
- Am I really, truly ready and willing to surrender it?
Take these questions to your journal pages. Or your quiet meditation space. The answers will come. The clarity will arrive when you ask really honest questions of your soul.
Nobody else lives in you except you. Nobody’s body suffers through the consequences but yours. You may cling to the story of how your past has disadvantaged you, but no one in your past is going to pay the price biologically. Only you will.
Make the decision not to stay wounded. Make a decision to release the power of your wounds. And find your path to true healing, the kind that liberates you.