Sunday, August 23, 2009


This is my first post on what Manfred Max-Neef calls leisure needs and I am calling leisure/rest/recovery needs. I think we basically need leisure time/down time/recovery time to renew ourselves. In fact, perhaps everything in this section is about healing.

I have already covered a lot about physical healing in my sections on Emergency Medical Care (5/22/09) and Regular Medical Care (6/3/09), so while I think that physical stuff is an important part of healing, I want to focus on emotional healing here.

The two are intimately connected. I worked for a while in the admissions area of a psychiatric hospital (not directly part of a medical hospital) and one of the first things that they did was a full medical assessment, since many symptoms of emotional problems can be caused by physical problems. In the same way, emotional difficulties can lead to physical difficulties. We are vastly interconnected people.

Trauma is also intimately connected with healing, since many of us are healing from some type of trauma (a word that comes from the Greek term for a wound). There are many forms of trauma, even confining the term to psychological trauma. Another related type of healing concerns recovery from addictions. What ties this all together is a view of healing as a movement away from a state of dis-ease and toward health.

I can't imagine a future where there will be no trauma and no problems, therefore healing will always be a need for us.

Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal--A classic book on recovery from childhood sexual abuse
David Burns, Feeling Good--A basic book on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a respected method of emotional healing; while this book focuses on dealing with depression it gives good information about the cognitive distortions that cause a lot of psychological problems and outlines how to deal with them
Eugene Gendlin, Focusing--A method of going inward and getting in touch with what's going on within us as a method of healing
Stephen Levine, Healing into Life and Death--A Buddhist teacher who works with the dying, looks at what dying can teach us about healing and living
Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, The Twelve Wild Swans--A book on witchcraft that has a whole track devoted to personal healing online connection to an amazing variety of resources built around the Twelve Steps, a spiritually based self-help program that has done wonders for people trying to heal from addictions; they also include links to 'anti-12-step programs' and secular programs attempting to help others heal from addictions

Also see the Resources in my posts on Emergency Medical Care (5/22/09) and Regular Medical Care (6/3/09)

Quote of the Day: "...healing means more than seeking relief for a symptom or illness or family problem, although it may include all of these. Healing means becoming whole, a unique, powerful, aware, fulfilled person. ... It means living passionately, creatively, and joyfully.
"Healing also means becoming part of a whole, comfortable, connected, and intimate with other people and with nature." - Hilary Valentine


ethicalsusan said...

Thanks for this post. One interesting alternative to 12 step programs is the 16 step recovery program developed some years ago by Charlotte Kasl. There's info about it at and other places on the web. I don't think there are many groups that meet in person, but I like some of the concepts. I especially think you and your readers would resonate with an approach which is more holistic and empowering and looks at the influence of things such as societal conditioning and gender.

I like Step 16 a lot: We grow in awareness that we are sacred beings,interrelated with all living things, and we contribute to restoring peace and balance on the planet.

I think that is a lot of what your blog and your life is about.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you, Susan, for your sweet comments. I do try to live up to that--and I think you do as well.

I did check out the site with the 16 Steps and I was really taken with them. Besides Step 16, I was amazed at the clarity of Step 4: "We examine our beliefs, addictions, and dependent behavior in the context of living in a hierarchal, patriarchal culture."

She's not pulling any punches and is neither letting the person in recovery nor *this society* off the hook. The whole thing is great. Thank you for pointing it out.