A Return to the Root: Cursory Reflections on Integrated Healing


The deeper I get into my own healing, the more I am convinced that healing must necessarily push past the surface of the seen. There is a notion, particularly in the West, that has, perhaps in alignment with the unbridled growth of our capitalist society, promoted the idea that being well looks a certain a way. Depending on your interest and price point wellness may look like cosmetic surgery, cross fit, luxury candles and perfumes, crystals, designer tarot decks, designer vitamins, and/or super foods.

In my experience, and in the experience of my colleagues, friends, and clients, it is none of those things. I’ll be the first to admit, I love tarot and crystals, and I use them regularly. I take a CBD tincture, which is expensive, but it works wonders. I also love a luxury candle, particularly if the scent is Oud. However, no one of those things are a solution. In fact, no combination of those things constitutes a solution either because none of them involve a deep dive into the issues that cause imbalance in human beings. All of those accoutrements are designed to bring momentary relief, a coping mechanism. They do not, and can not, halt and prevent the trauma from passing biologically or spiritually into the next generation.

Healing, on the other hand, is about resolution. It is a series of processes through which imbalances are identified, investigated, isolated, unrooted, and sent away. Depending on the modalities employed to jump start the healing, once the issues are sent away, the healer will replace that previous imbalance with a protective or generative energy that can support the person’s growth and development. These processes may focus first on one of the body, mind, and spirit; however, to achieve the highest possible efficacy these processes must eventually target body, mind, and spirit. The body can not sustain what the mind has not affirmed. The spirit will not seek abundance if the mind and the body are not already in alignment towards that goal. The mind will falter if the body and spirit are not nourished.

But what kind of imbalance are we looking for to begin with? Human problems are vast and numerous. When a priest or shaman accepts the task of supporting a person to realign him or herself with an energy of economic abundance, as an example, the shaman must first be able to identify why there is no abundance, when the abundance first disappeared, and then devise a plan to reestablish it in the person’s life. This process may necessitate looking backwards into past lives and, if necessary, journeying into those past lives with the person to undo or reinterpret the scenario that first established the imbalance. Once the imbalance has been resolved, the person can begin to sustain an energy of abundance in their lives.

Beyond all the physical and emotional illness with which we are all too familiar, there is also social illness such as poverty, racism, sexism, and patriarchy that carry a certain energy that inserts itself into the lives of people and become, over time, ailments. These are no less debilitating than physical and emotional illness, and contribute disproportionately to certain kinds of physical and emotional conditions namely autoimmune disease, anxiety, depression, sociopathy, and psychopathy.

Also, I believe we must reassess our understandings of indigeneity and realize that at one point in time we were all indigenous to somewhere regardless of contemporary geographic realities. Our original lands supported environments that allowed our bodies and minds and spirits optimal chances to thrive in good concert. We lived a life closer to the bone so to speak. We ate our ancestral foods. We maintained a lifestyle that required an equitable, mutually beneficial relationship between ourselves and the natural environment.

The forced migrations of mass numbers of people caused by colonialism, slavery, wars, and dire economic events changed, and continue to change, our ability to understand ourselves as indigenous people. Let me say here, that this is an issue that affects white people as much as it does people of color. The journey towards whiteness, particularly in the United States, has been a journey that has taken whites away from their original Celtic, Gaul, Nordic, and/or Slavic roots (pre-Abrahamic peoples indigenous to the European continent who practiced nature based spiritual traditions). In becoming unrooted, there was a disconnection from kinship, shared beliefs, and values, but also a rupture that tore them from their unique way of interacting with the natural environment. This knowledge system was supplanted with a mantra of brute force, and power, which required violence for its maintenance.

The casting off of ethnic European identities in favor of an alleged unified singularity has had and continues to have grave consequences for whites in the United States. This severing from their root has offered a perception of superiority and exceptionalism, which with each failure of the overall system becomes more fragile and volatile. Because healing modalities are oft connecting to broader spiritual traditions and belief systems, a return to indigeneity will be helpful in that it can truly be a compass for charting a path to healing that resonates with one’s mind, body, and spirit.

Negarra A. Kudumu

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