It is Valentine’s day. The day to celebrate love. And I suppose in some small way I want to put the word ‘love’ back in healing. I am all for science and I am all for modern medicine, but when we are talking about healing from trauma we are talking about healing trust and healing attachment and connection. We are talking about people trusting and connecting with other people and we are talking about people trusting and connecting with themselves.
For people who have been badly hurt, love seems a long way away. A country too far away to reach. A homeland one longs for.
I know there are lots of good treatments for much of what ails us physically and emotionally, but to that list or alongside that list we should add love.
The word ‘love’ gets tangled with romantic love and that is not what I am talking about, even if it is Valentine’s Day. Strong affection, attachment, devotion, enthusiasm for, fondness, tenderness, caring. Love isn’t the cure to trauma, but without it, it is hard to imagine healing. Love is what wraps what was wounded. Love is the cast that can hold that broken bone of the psyche steady as it knits back together. Love is what gets absorbed to rebuild what needs to be rebuilt. Love isn’t healing, but it is the raw materials needed to create it. Love is what is needed to, as Galway Kinnell states, “to reteach a thing its loveliness, to put a hand on its brow, of the flower, and retell it in words and touch, it is lovely, until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.”
For now, you don't need to do anything different except maybe alter your stance-- allow the word 'love' to hang out with all the other healing words you use. Allow yourself to imagine the possibility that love can support your healing. It is both the way in, and the the goal, all at the same time. Play with it. Wonder about it. Explore it. You may even learn to love it...