Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Healing vs. Curing

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

mesaBreast Cancer Awareness month is October, and so this month I’ll be focusing on how any of us facing illness can take steps to explore more than repairs and curing. We want healing as well!

Allopathic medicine focuses on repairing what is broken and on fixing symptoms and altering structures that cause disease. I am very grateful for our advances in these areas, since I feel that allopathic medicine is responsible for at least half the reasons why I’m alive today after my two bouts with breast cancer.

And, I’m grateful for my training and experience in the other half of the story, which is about healing. The word “heal” means to make whole again. (And my birth name, Hale, comes from the same root as “heal,” and means strong and hearty. This is why I use that name as my author and professional name. I am becoming more and more “Hale.”)

When we “get” or “have” an illness, there are some steps we can take to make ourselves feel whole again.

 We can remember that it’s “both…and.”

On one hand it’s horrible, frightening, evil, a bad sign, and all the other things we could say along those lines. And, it’s still true that the way the shadows of the mesquite trees are dancing on the wall outside my window is beautiful. Can I hold both the horrifying and the beautiful? Actually, I can. And so, I’ll bet, can you.

We can feed the white wolf.

Remember the story about the man who is followed by a black wolf and a white wolf? He visits the village shaman and tells him how these two wolves fight and follow him, and asks which one will win. “The one you feed,” is the answer. How can you feed the white wolf of beauty, truth and meaning right now?

We can decide to be the well ones.

There is plenty of toxic, sick, fearful, angry energy in our world. We are all tempted to join in, and when we do, we feed that black wolf. So we can decide to say Yes to life, even with its pain and imperfection. We can decide to be healthy emotionally and spiritually even when our body is suffering, and to have well-being.

How do we accomplish these three things? I think we draw on the creative energy within us. For creativity isn’t limited to art; it refers to the ability we have to decide, to make choices, to change and shift things in ways that affect our destiny.

The Divine One isn’t the only Creator; we are co-creators.

Healing involves our claiming our role as co-creators.

We stepped into a world that was already formed, but we create our own experience every day. We create the world within. We create the lens we use to see ourselves and our lives.

How will you create wellness and wholeness for yourself today?


This post was adapted from the original, which appeared as Creativity & Healing on

A New Window on the World

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

My Window on the World

I’m writing you from my bed. I’ve been here a good deal since my surgery six days ago. I do get around on my scooter walker, and also have a wheel chair we used today for my first post-op visit to the doctor. Things are going well on the whole–and this land out the window is an important spot for the healing I still have ahead.

The Sutherland Valley where I live is a beautiful, unspoiled place on the edge of the wild, and has been my healing sanctuary ever since we moved here 14 years ago. Then, I was in the middle of chemo treatment for my first round of breast cancer. These mountains and this land have been a comfort and source of beauty and inspiration for what seems like too many physical challenges.

And yet, I keep recovering, keep learning, keep being inspired, keep finding that life still holds magic and mystery and unanswered questions and unexplored territory that compels me to answer a call.

The view out the window beckons me to enter the majesty of life, even when I am trapped in pain or limitations. Look at all there is! The endless, ever-changing play of light, the land moving from parched to green and back. The line of shadow that seems to be an impassible boundary but is not. Shadow and light. Beauty.

Beauty is my medicine, and I am graced with it all around me. Even in this season that I’ve always proclaimed to hate I find wonders.

So I will write to you from here, musing about the view outside this window, showing you some of its moods, and sharing some of mine. I’m not sure what to expect on this next journey of healing, but I’m on it. Committed. On the way. What will be revealed–in the landscape, in my own nature? How will my foot and the rest of my being respond to this surgery? How will I begin to walk when the time comes?

It is way too soon to know. This is a time for quiet. For being, not doing. For resting, not working. And yet writing is part of my solace and my reaching outside these four walls for contact, for dialogue.

Questions for you to ponder:

  • What do you do and how do you respond when you are sequestered and limited?
  • What is your part in the journey of healing? How do you work with your body? Your emotions?
  • How does the land around you participate in your process? Do you feel energy from the mountains, or water sources or land features nearby?
  • How do you make larger meaning out of an illness or surgical procedure, even if chosen? How do you turn it into an opportunity?

These are questions I’ll be pondering in coming weeks. Let me know your thoughts!


A Tribute to Lives Cut Short

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013


Ninety-five years ago this man, James Struthers Lochhead, was born.

I took this snapshot of my Dad in the late ‘80’s when I was an adult with my own children, He was visiting us in our house, and so it seemed like the moment for a photo. I didn’t think about it much.

But today, in the turbulent wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, I’m thinking about him.

My Dad became my Dad when I was 6 ½, having been without my biological father for 4 years. Robert Hale was a bomber pilot shot down over Germany in 1945, just before World War II ended. He left my mother bereft, saddled with a mysteriously troubled mind (many years later she was diagnosed bipolar) and unprepared for either the world of work or full time mothering.

My Daddy Jim adopted me, and my name was changed from Hale to Lochhead. He treated me as his own, equal to the son he and my mother would have together. I can’t imagine what my life and my mother’s life would have been like without him.

Dad was the rock. A classic optimist, his mantra was that we could be whatever we wanted to be. He worked hard, and provided us with a wonderful education. He barbequed the best ribs in the world, loved corny jokes, and cried at Lassie on TV. He drove old cars and saved his money, leaving me with enough to allow me to follow the work that is my calling.

After my mother died of cancer in 1990, Dad married one of her best friends. After I got over the shock, I saw them free to have fun together, to be equals, to harvest. But two months after their wedding, Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. He lived for 9 months. Life was cut short at 74.

So maybe I’m thinking of Dad because of all the lives that either got cut off way too soon, or altered forever by the pressure cooker bomb at the finish line in Boston. For a sporting event, this was not fair.

I see in this photo of my Dad his open and friendly manner, his love for me, and also I see tension in his jaw and a sadness around the eyes that speaks now of the disappointments he would never have mentioned then.

I changed my name back from Lochhead to Hale because of a circle I got to complete by getting to know my biological roots. And, the word “Hale” means “whole,” “healthy” and “hardy,” encouraging words for a two-time cancer survivor.

But today I raise my imaginary glass to the legacy my Daddy Jim gave me. He always said that he wanted to live in such a way that any day would be a good day to die. I feel him still, giving me that encouraging look about my journey.

I pray today that the spirits of those lost and injured in Boston live on so strongly that when their loved ones look at their photos, they will do more than remember. I hope they will feel the spirit of their precious one and know they are not alone.

My Daddy tells me he is held in strong arms, that he flies with the stars, and that he knows his smile can still be felt, even in the midst of troubled times.