Word Roots: Healing
From the Old English word ‘hale,’ meaning ‘wholeness, being whole, sound or well.’
In English, the words heal and whole have a common origin (stemming from Proto-Germanic *hailaz), along with the verb hail “greet”. The Croatian adjective cio (cijeli in its definite form) “whole” is the root of iscijeliti “to heal” (also the dated cjelovati “to kiss”, from cjelov “kiss”, which comes from the belief that kissing has healing properties).
Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?”
~Henri J. M. Nouwen
It is no measure of health to be profoundly adjusted to a sick society.
Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of.
~Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.
You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.
We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.
If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that God has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is wrong and what is ugly in the world, then it is you yourself that needs repair.
I knew I was healing when:
I started responding rather than reacting;
I enjoyed time alone;
I saw my parents as people with their own unresolved trauma;
I set boundaries + when people didn’t respect them,
I knew they were clearing space for those who did,
I was ok with being misunderstood.
(Curated and adapted for KUF from the 2020 Soul Matters materials for the theme ‘Healing’ by Rev. Beckett Coppola.)