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Talbot Michaels

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[A Cauldron Full of Stars] A note on pain and healing

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UK Pagan
Pain serves a purpose in our bodies.  It lets us know that something is wrong.  There are many types of physical pain, and each uses a specific set of nerve cells and brain cells to drive home the point that we need to fix things.  Stick your hand on something hot, and your brain uses that information to get your hand moved away from danger.  Step on something sharp and your brain tries to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Very useful to survival, right?

When it comes to psychological and spiritual pain, the process is quite similar, but it is also influenced heavily by our cultural norms and personalities.  Pain creates strong memories to keep us from repeating trauma, but those memories are sometimes problematic.  Our brains are so good at what they do sometimes that they bring up painful memories at inopportune times.  This can keep us from moving on, and it requires a great deal of healing to get past it.

Humans are learning, in recent centuries, about how very complex our brains are.  We are learning how trauma and pain change us at many levels, including at the cellular level. We can pass on trauma, and it has huge implications for who we can be as a species. Many people, from doctors to spiritual leaders to psychologists are trying to help people heal, and that is admirable, necessary work for all of us as humans and our societies.

Some people, on the other hand, will misuse the things we have learned about pain and healing to take advantage of others.  They lure in their prey and use the promise of healing to cause harm.  They come in every faith and every discipline. Wolves in sheep's clothing.  They are to be watched for and avoided, but they are not the only people to be wary of.  I find the more troublesome people to watch for on our journeys to healing are the bumblers, the fools who don't realize how little they know.  Like the wolves in sheep's clothing, they can be incredibly harmful, but they lack malice.  They cause harm by not fully understanding the concepts they try to apply, by not finding ways to understand other people's pain, and by intellectual and spiritual laziness and rigidity.  Their answers are too simple, too easy. they rely mostly on other people's views of themselves. They claim success for things that are very lucky, and they lack depth.  Beware of these well-meaning fools. They know not what damage they do.

I've written before about this, and I remind all of us, myself included, that we are responsible for looking out for ourselves and each other.  Don't follow those who don't understand you and don't seem to want to. Be cautious with your money and your energies.  Trust your gut when it tells you something is off, it often knows things your brain hasn't let you in on.  Do your own research. be unafraid of curiosity, and never give up believing that you are worthy of healing and capable of it.  Pain is purposeful, but you are not required to live in forever. Accept that you have been injured and wronged. Take responsibility for your actions and your desire for healing, and seek out those who can help you, whether professional or spiritual or best yet, working together with you (this is the most important piece of your healing, you know) as a team.

I wish you the strength to begin healing if you have only just begun, and I wish you perseverance if you are well on your path.  If you are a true healer, I commend you on your work and thank you for it.  May you be blessed with what you need to be the best version of yourself possible in this life and all others.

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