Mainstream healthcare shapes our concept of healing by programming us to seek chemical cures for all ills. Once we pop a pill, we expect to feel better instantly. We think of healing as repair of damage, but true healing is so much more: It’s a transformative process that unites body, mind and spirit… and therefore, takes time. The old adage that time heals all wounds holds a profound wisdom for me. Applying this wisdom is a monumental lesson, and my attempts to master it –both as a nurse and as an individual—are ongoing.
Honor the Healing Process
As a nurse, I help others allow time for healing by encouraging them to take the healing process seriously. When we honor the body’s innate desire to return to a homeostatic state of wellness, we heal more naturally and fully. I educate patients on this principle at the holistic clinic where I work by referencing a study of professional athletes with the common cold. The study showed that it took 30 days after symptoms abated for the athletes to return to peak performance. Based on this information, I encourage patients to return to full pre-illness schedules within these guidelines: Return to 25% of usual activities the first week post-illness; 50% the second week; and 75% the third with a return to 100% only after the fourth week post-illness. This idea runs counter to how most of us do things in our culture today. We return to work/school as soon as possible after an illness, or worse yet, we work right through the illness without allowing time for healing at all.
Allowing a minimum of four weeks’ recovery time after an illness is easy to say and hard to do. Not only does it take time to give yourself permission to slow down and honor the body’s wisdom, but sometimes it’s difficult to acknowledge that emotional or spiritual healing is needed as well, so that even admitting to a need for healing takes time. But once we recognize the need, be it physical, emotional or spiritual, we must support and encourage the healing process by allowing time for healing to happen.
Reframe the Concept of Healing
My own healing process was supported by my willingness to reframe the concept of healing as an act of surrender rather than an act of repair. Simply seeing the concept of healing a different way provided a shift in perspective that bolstered my personal renaissance. As part of her “21-Days of Letting Go” eBook, blogger Jenny Griffin of “The Power of Change” interviewed Bodytalk practitioner Fiona Mayhill, who noted that viewing healing as surrender allows us to accept a new, authentic, sense of self. My ah-ha moment came when I realized that viewing healing-as-surrender could lead me closer to my own re-birth. This was precisely the kind of mental connection I’d been looking for!
I received further clarification on the idea of healing-as-surrender from Eckart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now. Tolle points out that when we surrender in the name of healing, we are NOT surrendering to the illness or the injury itself, we are surrendering to the NOW—the present conscious moment in which suffering exists. This act of surrendering (to the Now) forces us into the present moment and creates a state of intense conscious presence that can be used for enlightenment—the ultimate form of transformation… and deep holistic healing. Tolle sums it up by saying, “Surrender does not transform what is… surrender transforms you.” (The Power of Now, p. 181)
Fully integrating this new perspective into my being is not quick or easy, but by allowing time for healing, I can stop worrying about when the process will be complete, and focus instead on expressing gratitude for my transformation. I am getting better in every now of my conscious being. The healing process takes time. And time really does heal all wounds. I am comforted by the thought that I’ll be able to look back at my journey and know that the time I spent on healing was time well spent.