I took a drive yesterday. My destination was a plant nursery in Seneca, South Carolina. I had heard from a gardenia-loving friend this was the place to find gardenia plants. Not just any gardenias, rather, amazing gardenias.
It’s a pretty straight-forward drive from here to there. Basically two turns from Clayton, GA, to Seneca. About an hour.
Not so when using the Google Maps app. Instead of an expected direct drive, I ended up on a country road driving adventure. What a beautiful day it was to drive country roads.
I listened to an episode of the podcast, On Being, with Krista Tippet as I drove. It was an interview with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, titled The Difference between Curing and Healing. Rachel, Krista and I traveled roads of transportation and roads of words this day.
Remen spoke about looking at the art of healing from the perspective of sharing woundedness. Shared wounds let us all be healers. We are able to connect through the wisdom we have gained and the personal growth that has happened to us as we traversed our own hurts and loss.
Remen says “the way we deal with loss shapes our capacity to be present to love more than anything else, and each of us – with our wounds and flaws- has exactly what’s needed to help repair the part of the world that we see and touch.”
We receive healing through a shared experience with one who has had the wound of loss with the one now facing a loss. I also believe shared joy goes a long way toward healing.
We often may feel we are not enough to make a difference. We feel we need to be more- to be a different person than we are. Remen says “in fact, we are exactly what is needed; we are the right people just as we are”. She suggests we consider “how would I live if I’m exactly what’s needed to heal the world?”
Much of healing occurs through the telling of stories of our lives, telling us about who we are, what is possible for us. We make sense out of life through our stories.
Life is full of losses and disappointments and the art of living is to make of these something that can nourish others. Our own stories of loss and disappointments when shared with others, remind us we’re not alone with whatever faces us.
There is a power of presence in story-telling, in listening, in shared joys and sorrows.
Remen’s teachings are reshaping the art of healing. Science cannot cure everything she says, but healing can take place by each of us, for each of us.
May Sarton in Gestalt at Sixty, writes
“I worked out anguish in a garden.
Without the flowers,
The shadow of trees on snow, their punctuation,
I might not have survived.
I came here to create a world
As strong, renewable, fertile. As the world of nature all around me.
Learned to clear myself as I have cleared the pasture,
Learned to wait,
Learned that change is always in the making
(Inner and outer) if one can be patient,
Learned to trust myself.”
I returned home with an amazing Gardenia –Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frostproof’. But wait, there’s more – Mandevilla, Begonia, Podocarpus, Hibiscus. Today I worked out my anguish in my garden, anticipating a bounty of blooms to come.
I’m grateful my maps app took me on such a glorious road trip of images and words, and with a story to tell when I returned home.