Healing in a Hurt World

Beyond broken bones & common colds, is “healing” even possible when there is so much injustice & pain in the world & in our bodies? 

It’s true- nobody escapes capitalism completely unscathed and people can be the worst and there is seemingly endless oppression & suffering. Some of us bear the brunt of these worldly illnesses more than others. People hold in their bodies injuries born of white supremacy & nationalism, of transphobia, racism, abelism, and lack of access to the land or resource. Others may carry abuse, neglect, family dysfunction, invisibility, erasure, assault, and other harms within us. Even when it’s not a narrative we consciously live from, harm & hurt can persist, making home in our cells & fascia & sadly, internalized even in our stories about ourselves. Sigh. 

Given all that, is healing truly possible? If by healing one is hoping that a person can resolve any suffering from them to be completely resolved, then no. Humans are interdependent beings, with each other and with our environments, so it’s not functionally possible for an individual organism to fully be rid of the living harms that pulse through our communities until we resolve them more globally.  I think we’d have to somehow systemically address todays ignorance, fear, and hate that compounds all our ancestors harms. The past & the present have us tangled in a knotted fireball of confusion & hurt and we are only *just* starting to have this conversation on a societal level. Meanwhile, some of our beloved community members are living under & dying in this blaze daily. So no- I don’t believe any combination of well thought out hashtags or workshops or healers or yoga poses or plants or evidence based research can absolutely extinguish such sparks in any one person so long as the flames are alive in our world. 

On another hand, there is also the deeply abelist ‘be better, faster, stronger, optimized, maximized’ white-washed pressure to “fix” ourselves…that narrative is often not so subtly encased in images & discussions of ‘self-care’ and just NO to all that sneaky put-down pressure to change (we aren’t broken and don’t need fixing, thanks). And on another other hand, there is some deep whisper that there is an authentic and balanced perspective that doesn’t seek to throw out our hurts but knows that the harms of the world are actively shaping what feels possible… Thats the hand that seeks to bolster and not slap me down or pull me around and it tells me that if I can get out from the bullshit notions of ‘healing and wellness” that either insist I am not enough as I am or pretend that the world isn’t on fire & that personal liberation can happen without addressing systemic injustice…..that hand suggests that healing might be possible.

So, what if we remove the insidious pressures & romanticized promises of healing? What if we build off of the understanding that given the hurt in our worlds, it makes sense that it will play out in our bodies one way or another? What if we contextualize our hard times in light of all this instead of beating ourselves up for not getting it more together or having fully actualized into the most vibrant woke healed version of ourselves? What if we stop thinking that healing is a destination where we wont be affected by our hurt world? What if we let it be okay to find relief in our precious embodiments even though we know others are hurting and there is so much work for justice & healing needed? What if nothing in us is broken and nothing needs to be fixed- how can we hold that & pride in our embodiments alongside a desire to change what is feeling stuck or not possible in our embodiments? What if we keep engaging with hard big questions while tending to the soft small creatures that we are? Can we both/and about it please!?

Healing Justice movements are profoundly important to our collective healing & as that work happens through organizing & policy changes & day to day conversations between people- we also need to help transform the trauma in our own beings because as Tabitha Mpamira-Kaguri shared “Trauma not transformed is trauma transferred.” Arguably, we must seek healing in our own cells & beings not only for our own alleviation of suffering, but so that we do not perpetuate it.

If healing means naming, addressing, struggling, softening, building, getting curious about, crying, raging, laughing, resisting, organizing, *living* in the face of the suffering… well then, yes: healing is possible- and happening right now. If healing means finding symptom resolve so you can send your bandwidth & capacity to something other than tending to the wounds, yes: healing is possible- and happening right now. If healing means addressing where the root causes of such oppressive forces live in our body, even if you can’t resolve the root causes globally today or even in your lifetime- Yes, healing is possible– and happening right now.

This is what healing strikes me as in this season of my life- as possible & important- as perpetual & happening right now. What does healing in a hurt world mean to you?