Chameleon PlaidSome of the common wisdom floating around out there that has dubious value is the notion that absolutely everyone is a healer for someone else. So the notion of being a healer transforms from a career with ethics, morals, best practices, and specialized skills into something casual and almost without meaning. It is well-meaning, I believe, and meant to focus our thoughts onto the positive effects that our actions can have and that we are unable to see or even know how far the chain of cause and effect can extend, how far reaching the ripples from our actions can be.

However, the truth is that not everyone is a healer and not all actions are healing. Some people are healers, some actions can have healing effects whether intentional or otherwise, and some people cause others to need healing.  While it is possible that Stalin, within his lifetime, was helpful to someone and actions that he took helped some to heal at some point, the overwhelming majority of his actions were not healing and disqualify him for the title of healer. So too Pol Pot of the Khmer Rouge. There are many abusers in people’s lives who may at times be able to be supportive of some people, but this does not negate the immense damage they do as they abuse people, causing them to need healing, sometimes a lifetimes worth of it.

When people use these anecdotes I tend to transpose them into different situations. Like the Warner Brothers cartoon of the chameleon who is asked to match the background color. When he gets to plaid he just can’t do it and breaks down because it’s impossible. If everyone is a healer, then the coyotes who are taking money to bring refugees from Turkey to Greece are healers? No, pretty plaid. The people selling refugees fake life vests? No, that’s plaid too.  What’s great though is that it leads to better questions like, “If not everyone is a healer, then who is?” Which leads to, “What does it mean to be a healer?” And seeking out the answers to those questions can lead to some practical wisdom. 🙂

1 Comment

  1. I am vigorously working on that question for myself, so this is a perfect message for me…as was your email today, as are your podcasts. Thank you.

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