What is the true meaning of healing? Healing is movement toward wholeness.
Healing is different from curing. A cure is a medical treatment that ends a disease process. Healing can take place at any point in our lives. It can manifest physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually.
Heal the body—What is your body asking for? Your body may feel better with better food, more movement, relaxation, or other healing practices. Listen to your body.
Heal the heart—Great loss can bring immense waves of feelings. We may go into shock. It may take time before we allow ourselves to feel. That’s where friends, counselors, support groups, therapists and other places to share feelings can help. We may find better ways to face grief, anxiety or depression. We may heal old relationships. We may allow relationships that no longer serve us to end. We may find new friends and loves. We may even learn to love ourselves. Love is the greatest healer. Love transforms us. It is never too late to love.
Heal the mind—Our beliefs shape us. We can change them. We can heal our stories about ourselves and the world. We can let go of old ways of thinking that hinder healing. You might believe your cancer is a punishment. You might believe you are not worthy of love. You might believe you have no power to change what is happening. None of these beliefs is true. We can heal our minds and find better ways to see ourselves and the world.
Discover spirit—Spirit seeks us. Whatever your beliefs—religious, spiritual, or secular, the human spirit is our birthright. We need only to remember it. Spirit speaks to each of us in different ways. No need to believe in God to discover spirit. Call it a sense of meaning or purpose. Call it what you love most. Spirit, like love, is one of the ultimate sources of healing. Many believe spirit and love are actually one.
There are common paths to healing with cancer like our 7 Healing Practices—Exploring What Matters Now, Eating Well, Moving More, Managing Stress, Sleeping Well, Creating a Healing Environment, and Sharing Love and Support. They reinforce each other to strengthen physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.
There are also paths unique to you. You may need healing from childhood trauma, the loss of a family member, a bad relationship, or some other disappointment. You may also find healing with a pet, a child, a new love, or time in nature.
A cancer diagnosis may open the gates to inner powers of healing we never imagined in ordinary life.
Wishing you well,
Michael Lerner is co-founder of Commonweal and co-founder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, Healing Circles, The New School at Commonweal, and CancerChoices. He has led more than 200 Commonweal Cancer Help Program retreats to date. His book Choices In Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer was the first book on integrative cancer care to be well received by prominent medical journals as well as by the patient and integrative cancer care community.
Your choices in healing with cancer
Curing cancer is what we are all aiming for. We at CancerChoices offer insights on how to have the best chance at either curing or controlling cancer through the Your Choices section.
Yet even as you are hoping for a cure, you will have opportunities to heal with cancer. When you explore what needs healing, and address it, the dynamics that underlie what is needed for a cure may change in your favor.
If you find that curing is not possible, healing still is. Healing is a return to wholeness. It’s innate in each of us. It is always possible whether or not your cancer can be cured.
Explore your choices
Choices in treatment