Why healing is never a single story


When I first started studying craniosacral therapy, I knew everything. Feeling a restriction in someone’s psoas, a pull up that brought their legs towards their belly, I would tell them that this is because of held fear, that their body wants to protect their vulnerable organs. I saw images and felt emotions and then told people what they meant as though this were fact. I knew so many things and now, 16 years later, I cringe at that memory (oh, and folks who get bodywork with me these days - if I do this to you, you have the absolute right to call me on it). There is no such thing as a single story, however comforting they might be. As a politicized person, I have done the same thing with whiteness and white supremacy, with poverty and pain. There are many times when I have been part of a complex moment with real people in real time and have only seen how racial or gender or class power is operating in the room. Only seeing this is different from strategically naming something or calling out something as part of shifting power. But only seeing this, when the lives in the room are as complex as any other life, no matter where they sit in the power spectrum, is about pain. It’s one of the ongoing contradictions between healing work and political work. If I sit with you in a healing context, I have to be open to the whole of your life and experience and not reflect on your struggle through a single frame. It’s why healing practitioners who only focus on an individual life outside of the context of history and systems and the truth of collective violence can be dangerous. Why something is happening right now is about evolution as well as systems and past wounds. Transformation is always complex.

Our lives are the cross point of so many forces, seen and unseen. We are part of evolution and evolution emerges as a result of everything and more meeting, moving, changing, remaking. Why am I tired today?Which particular reason, which story rings true? Is it because I didn’t get enough sleep, because I haven’t drunk enough water, because I arrived three days ago from an international flight, because we have family staying with us in our apartment and more to come, because I am feeling emotional but haven’t found a chance to express it so I feel a bit clogged, because the planet is shifting and changing with a low grade fever and it is impacting, stressing, being stressed by all of us, because a number of people I love have died or lost people they love over the last year, because right now the country that I live in is terrorizing immigrant families and there are people I know and don’t know who are impacted by this and I live in the midst of immigrant communities geographically as my partner is an immigrant although she has a green card and still there is that worry, because I live in a city and long deeply for the silence of woods, because I often hear police sirens and sometimes gunshots and this makes me worry for the people being pulled over, especially in this city for the Black and indigenous people, for the people being shot, for the possibility of many being shot, because there is some relationship between sugars and how my body processes that sugar which is about the histories of my people and what we carry, because I was raised in a culture that is confused about rest and so I override my own tiredness a lot of the time, because of Trump, Bolsinaro, Brexit, because there are things in the air in the water in the ground that were not meant to be there and they enter my bloodstream when I breathe, eat or drink, because there is a general tension in the air, a constriction and sadness, which means that the energetic fields of others are impacting mine and so we share that feeling of tension and struggle even when we don’t share the experience, because I have done things in recent year out of alignment with my own values and haven’t had a chance to repair them and this is a drain, because of Line 3 and Mauna Kea and the generations upon generations of Native disappearance, because my daughter will be moving out in about a year and I want to skip everything and just poke my nose into the crook of her neck and stay there, because I am 56 and often live in movement spaces created and managed by people in their 20s and 30s and oh there is such a different kind of energy or pattern of living between where I am now and where I was then, because I have family who won’t talk with family and this makes me deeply sad,  because I sometimes get confused about the relationship between boundaries and privilege, because there are still past ghosts that sometimes visit me even though their real bodies died a long time ago, because because because…. and within all of this, I live a life that is more protected than many, I am loved and respected and cared about and truly, there is nourishment all around me, even when I can’t see it, I get to sleep without external interruption, my close up family is safe, my hunger is sated, my home without attack so really, why am I tired? 

There is never a single story. Early on and sometimes still I became glamored by this or that theory and decided that I knew exactly why your hamstring or heart were tight instead of soft. 

I am going to be writing a series of blog posts that are looking at the work of healing, of shifting the trauma of disconnection towards the connection that is transformational change. I am writing these like a layering, the geological sediment that trees need to support their roots, looking at  pack psychology, race and whiteness and white supremacy, the impact of plastics on our biological life, the relational field and energy work, the way that trees recognize us, the cellular truth of skin and its powerful loveliness, the relationship between self care and personal integrity, the medical industrial complex, historical trauma, class and money and healing, and so on. I am doing this like a discipline for myself. I have noticed over the last few years that I have been tired; a different kind of tired. Tired as in having a harder time feeling love as a superpower. And when I get tired like this, I make mistakes. I don’t stand in my dignity in the same way. I start looking for a single story. I get lost. This writing will be its own form of remembering. And because I like writing and am an almost 56 year old Leo (with Taurus rising and Sag moon, in case you are interested), I am gonna share it and you can decide what to do with it.

Telling you this is a kind of accountability. I like accountability checks, so much easier than trying to hold things on your own. So here we go. I’ll post the first one in a few days.