Healing is an Act of Beauty

In 2002, I was reeling from the still-born death of my son, Quinn.  As a result of that experience my partner, Quinn’s amazing mother, and I decided to go to Sedona, Arizona, to do a small memorial service for him on the Sacred lands of one of the most Beautiful places on earth. Quinn’s death was, to say the least, one of the most devastating experiences I have ever been through.

At 16, I held my father’s hand as he died; in June 2008 my mother died as well and in 2010 one of my brothers died from cancer, which went untreated due to his chronic mental illness.

When I write about healing, I do so with deep reverence and humility, while fingering my scars, (both spiritual and literal) for writing about healing is like standing on Holy Ground, the bush burning brightly in front of me. And although Quinn’s mother and I did not stay together after that experience, I can now write with transparency and say that our life together, and Quinn’s death, were and still are blessings in disguise, and a beautiful blessing at that.

While in Sedona, I was reading a book about the Navajo Nation and came upon a chapter that spoke of one of the Navajo words for healing. It is a word that is translated to mean “healing is to return to Beauty,” – the Beauty of the Creator to be precise.

When I read that something inside of me clicked; I had the sense that I had just come across the perfect use of language to describe healing…returning to Beauty.  How amazing.  How delightful.

Rather than see healing as something done to us or merely as the process of “curing” and “fixing,” healing becomes a sort of homecoming, a returning to the original Beauty placed within us as children created in the image of a loving Creator.  This concept of healing as a return to Beauty embraces the wisdom that in coming into healing and wholeness, we must rediscover, cherish, and honor the Beauty of God, ourselves, each other, of the Earth and the world around us.

I have been doing a great deal of learning (and un-learning) about healing, about what it is and what it is not. And the Navajo understanding of healing affirms the notions I have about Life, healing and the spiritual journey, that it’s not so much about “finding something,” or necessarily about losing something (although it is, but much more).  I am learning that healing is more about unfolding, like roses in bloom.

And we are all little roses of God; beautiful, succulent thorny roses.

You see roses already are the beauty of their blooms even when they are seedlings, or empty thorny stems pruned for greater growth. And so too it is with us: we already are the Beauty of God as much in our darkness and woundedness as we are when we are in full bloom: brilliant, scented and full of wonder.

We already are everything God has ever wanted us to be. I don’t see a need for “fixing” or self-improvement; but rather for self-awareness and self-acceptance.  I see it the “goal” of being growing in our awareness of the God who dwells within and fully embracing the person God has made us.  In a growing self-awareness and self-acceptance, we are simply continually unfolding, like roses, growing into the Fullness of who we are: the fullness of our humanity.  John Powell said that the glory of God is a human being fully alive.  That truth is what beauty is; what our unfolding is, into a life with God.

When we are living in the fullness of our humanity, we are indeed dynamic expressions of God taking place right here and right NOW.

Maybe I’m off here or maybe people will disagree with this concept, thinking we all need to “fix” ourselves and find a cure, or attend some New Age or religious seminar, or find the next “How To” book that holds the answer to taking away all my pain, all my struggles and increasing my material wealth.

Or maybe, just maybe, this sense that Healing is as much an Unfolding like a Rose and a “Returning to Beauty” somehow fulfills my need to believe and know that every struggle, every painful moment, every joyful blink, every wondrous second I engage in deeply, is meaningful. That ALL moments are THE moment when God and I are one, when you and I are one, and healing is no longer about time, space and location, but about Truth, Awe, and Beauty.

The longer I live (I’m 48 years old now), the more I am afforded the chance to see so many people around me unfolding into Beauty right before my eyes and that truth alone fills me with gratitude, amazement, and hope – and heals my painted soul.

And even as I see the fabric of my life unraveling, as much as it is unfolding, I still hold to the hope that all is not lost, that pain will not last forever, that brokenness will not be the last word. Yes, I still hold hope that in our Unfolding, Divine Love and Beauty will indeed prevail and embrace all.

 

 

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God Not God

“[W]hen you say God, you don’t really mean God.  You mean your idea of God, or, to put it another way, you mean God as not-God.  I say that because whatever we say about God is more unlike who God is than saying nothing.  And so, where do you begin?  Well, all that words do, all that dogmas do, all that doctrines and rituals can do for us is to point in the direction of the mystery, of the super-meaning of God…

It’s a mystery, and a reality at one and the same time, and so this warns us that we have to be prepared to expand our idea of God in ways that are more and more inclusive but less and less articulate. … So, nothing could be more elusive … and yet nothing is more present or fundamental.”

Thomas Keating

Excerpted from “Who is God?” audio recording