the cure

In adoption land, people are always talking about healing.  Prior to moving here, it was in nearly every send-off, “I hope you find healing. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”  Recently my always hugely negative reaction to the word healing came up in an adoption conversation that was a preamble to some interview to be published later, and I always get the same shocked response to my reaction.  And that is it makes me want to scream and punch things.  And I have no good explanation for this, so I’m going to use you as guinea pigs to try and articulate that better…

As background, I’ll explain how when I was a child in elementary school, in my all-white, red-neck, strip-mall town, I dreamed of enlightenment.  I read Sidhartha, and Kafka and Dostoyevsky, (seriously.  in elementary school) and spent all my money on esoteric art magazines and art supplies.  I spent all my free time in the public library in the 700 stacks.  I also dreamed of being all-natural and organic and repeatedly checked out The Whole Earth Catalog so much I practically owned it.  I subscribed to Whole Earth magazine and occasionally bought Mother Jones.   I was a weird kid, a kid who cried when her mother forced her to get fitted for her first bra:  not because the experience was traumatic (which it was), but because bras aren’t natural.  I only wore all cotton, mostly gauze from India, and sent away for things from California, like feather roach clips which I put in my hair, and I may have been the only person in my town to this day who owned birkenstocks.  (they kill my feet – first and last time)  I became a vegetarian, even though I couldn’t cook myself the proper foods and nearly became malnourished because of it.  I was going to become a homesteader one day and began collecting used books on self-sufficient living skills.  By the time I was seventeen I had two boxes full and knew how to neuter goats, or determine the age of eggs, or extract water from the ground and build my own batteries.

And then I moved to the west coast and met  philosopher/artists and new-agey types.

And then I moved to the Pacific Northwest and met real hippies and neuvo hippies and pseudo hippies and punk philosophers, anarchists, and artists.

And then I wished I’d practiced corporate law and retired early and could afford to move far far away from them all.  And one of the major reasons was because they all talked about healing all the time.  Giving new meaning to the term, ad nauseum.

It’s like this mass spiritual hypochondria, the identification of, the stressing out over, the constant trials of this therapy or that therapy, the endless search for a new method of healing, this eastern medicine or that natural herb, the endless proselytizing over what I should or shouldn’t do, the scary caffeinated rapturous overtures about the way or the law of attraction or whatever the new cult of the day was, and how I should try this ritual or how I should read that self-help book or try this shrink.  Each and every person wanting me to try their new thing as if it was the greatest discovery on earth, as if they’d found the answer and the cure and they knew, but I was stupid.  Always patronizing.  Often condescending.  Very annoying.

Never mind that the new thing was sitting on a stack of old, dispensed things.  Never mind that none of these people were in any way, shape, or form, evolved and enlightened creatures any more capable than myself.  Never mind that they spent all their money, time and energy on this.

I’m not discounting doing therapeutic things, but I don’t delude myself that they are some magic pill, either.  I think we just need to find comfort and to learn to live with our physical and emotional ailments, and that this searching for healing should not become our raison d’etre.

It seemed pretty obvious to me that all this was about needing other people and validation.

And it seems to me that we are not meant to be healed or cured;  that there isn’t and shouldn’t be an end to whatever it is that we suffer from.  That all this pursuit of healing is self-indulgence and the opposite of growth and essentially negative, no matter how exciting the new “cure” is. It’s a huge waste of energy that could be put into something more positive, like being amazed by something, wanting to learn something, getting to know someone.

Back in the day of telnet and BBS I spoke to a man on an architecture board about handicap accessibility, and he told me that it wasn’t really important to him that the world accommodates his wheelchair.  When there was a place he didn’t have access to, he said it was an opportunity to people watch or ruminate, and that he was often blessed by his affliction and as a result his world was a little slower and calmer than others who expected to by at x place in y minutes.

I, for one, don’t want to be healed. I just want to be wiser and content comfortable.  And to be able to accommodate these pains.   And have some people in my life that are interested in life instead of pathology.

9 thoughts on “the cure

  1. I can relate. I have yelled at people, and it’s a scary thing when I yell, that I do not want to be fixed.

    I have a strong affinity for the struggle of others. But that attraction is in the awe I experience trying to understand what they did for themselves. What their path is. it is the essence of being a human being for me.

  2. well good for you. i need to do that more often, for sure.

    the poet let me have one of his wooden sake cups, because it felt good and I never stopped touching it. but what i really wanted was the little dried thistle he’d found, that had grown around a rock. so much more interesting, the twists and turns and tangles.

  3. This has nothing to do with this post but I thought you might be interested in some well paying part-time jobs. Check this: I have following her blog for some time and she is going back home to Canada with her Korean husband.

  4. I was a hippie too with hair down to my shoulder. Sidhartha, and Kafka and Dostoyevsky in elementary school. No wonder you are such an eloquent writer. I spent good part of my childhood in southeast asia in a buddhist monestary listening to my abbot about the epic story of ramayana. I long for the good old days…

  5. Thanks, David!

    I sent her a line. One Saturday a month would be great…

    It’s embarrassing, but I really haven’t read much since then.

    What a cool childhood you had!

  6. Thank you for this. Life became easier when I gave up trying to heal (me or my kids) in an absolute sense. For one, it assumes that we are somehow sick or broken. We’re not; they’re not.

  7. Exactly! We are just humans. Just normal and sometimes under extraordinary circumstances.

  8. This is so well said. Great post. I loved this:

    “I think we just need to find comfort and to learn to live with our physical and emotional ailments, and that this searching for healing should not become our raison d’etre.”

    Just so well said. :-)

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