A few years ago, shortly after I began exploring spirituality, I read the book “Sacred Contracts” by Carolyn Myss. I was trying to figure out why I was sick – the spiritual reason. I was searching for answers as to why I was here living this life. This book seemed to offer some clues.
In the book the author describes a way to identify your spiritual purpose by looking at the archetypes that play out in your life. One that I strongly related to was that of the Wounded Healer. Carolyn explains this archetype as follows:
The Wounded Healer is initiated into the art of healing through some form of personal hardship–anything from an actual physical injury or illness to the loss of all one’s earthly possessions. Regardless of the shape of the wound, the challenge inherent in this initiation process is that one is unable to turn to others for help beyond a certain degree of support. Only the initiate can ultimately heal the wound; if it is an illness or accident, it will frequently be one for which there is no conventional cure. The Wounded Healer archetype emerges in your psyche with the demand that you push yourself to a level of inner effort that becomes more a process of transformation than an attempt to heal an illness. If you have successfully completed the initiation, you inevitably experience an exceptional healing, and a path of service seems to be divinely provided shortly after the initiation is complete.
This described me to a “T.” I had a mysterious physical symptom that nobody could figure out. I had also begun turning inward and healing old parts of myself and I knew I was going through a transformation process. I was overjoyed at having found something that explained the purpose of my illness. But as I continued reading, I balked at the words on the page. My joy turned to anger and fear.
Are you kidding me? How the hell was I supposed to heal myself?
At that point in time, a part of me believed I could never heal. I had already been sick for four years and this wasn’t my first bout with a mysterious illness. It seemed like an insurmountable obstacle, a mountain that would not move. This part of me believed I was forever doomed to be sick.
What I didn’t know then was that it’s all about perception. Self-healing is completely possible, in fact, I had done it before. The younger version of myself reading that passage couldn’t see that she had healed herself from that same symptom two times before in her life. She was so lost in a fog of despair and hopelessness that she forgot about her previous experiences of self-healing. She hadn’t given herself any credit.
When I was 14, I came down with a strange dizziness. My parents took me to my regular pediatrician and then to a specialist for some further testing. They could see that I was experiencing dizziness but they couldn’t find the cause. The doctors said it was a virus, that there was nothing they could do about it and it would go away shortly. My parents followed the doctors advice and we did nothing. About 8 months later, it was gone.
At 18, the dizziness came back but this time it was a slightly different sensation and much stronger. We went to more doctors this time, but it was the same conclusion. Nobody could figure out what was wrong. I tried various treatments which didn’t help so we again followed the doctors advice – let it go and it will get better in time. I had limited resources as a sophomore in college. I had to let it go and keep living my life. A year and a half later, it was gone.
Both those times I believed the dizziness had gone away by itself. I thought I was the lucky recipient of the whims of some benevolent Gods. Well, not really, but I knew for sure it wasn’t me that did it.
When the dizziness came back again at 26, it was stronger and more uncomfortable than ever before. Now that I had my own job and my own resources, I was free to pursue all the healing I wanted, and I did. I followed every hunch and healing whim my internet obsessed mind could come up with. This time, I wasn’t going to let it go. I was determined to find healing and I was going to do it until it killed me or I was cured.
I believed that I had to do something to be healed. In the more recent years of my illness, I did know better. I knew deep down that leaving my body alone would bring the healing I wanted, like it did before, but I didn’t want to listen to that knowingness. I was incredibly determined and a bit stubborn about continuing my healing quest. I thought I had to be the one to figure it out. I thought I had to be the one to do it.
I never could do it. I never figured it out. Now, for the third time in my life, I’ve given up on trying to fix myself. But this time it’s not for a lack of trying. I’m letting go because I remembered that my body knows what it’s doing. I’m giving it the credit for healing itself twice before. I’m letting go of trying to control the healing process and figure out how to do it.
I see now that I can trust my body to balance itself out when I leave it alone and not inflict treatments on it. It’s working. I can feel myself healing in a way I never could while I was trying so hard to figure it out. I can feel the energy shifting in different parts of my body, especially in my neck where I believe the dizziness is coming from. I see now that I am healing myself, just like I did before.