Vitality In Healing : “We Want Our Healing To Have A Positive Impact On The World” | By Mary Gavin

Last Updated: July 12, 2024By

“What’s the point of healing?” I’ve asked myself this question on many occasions over the past decade. I still find myself questioning my decision to dive into this whole “healing journey” thing. I question it most on the challenging days. I question it when I feel like the whole world is doused in pain.

During the summer of 2020 I found myself in a conversation with a man at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis. We ended up talking for over an hour as his music filled the empty rectangle of space surrounded by flowers where Mr. Floyd took his final breaths. Growing up in Minneapolis, Timothy had to navigate life as a Black man carefully and deliberately. He and I were born in the same city just months apart. Though we discovered we are both survivors of childhood trauma, our experiences are very different. Admittedly, I will never grasp the racialized components of his life experience.

Timothy and I agreed that, while very different, our healing is intertwined. We both vowed the cycle of trauma to stop with us, and that our healing would have a positive impact on the world. We realized that healing reunites us with our sense of vitality and purpose. It gives us the power to alchemize our pain in order to create change. We recognized the importance of healing; both individually and collectively.

My decision to heal was born out of not knowing what to do with my pain. I didn’t know how to deal with it or what to do about it. I did know that I would need to face difficult truths and emotions to get to the “other side”. Timothy understood this dilemma. “The old way wasn’t working,” he chuckled with a knowing smirk. We swapped stories of failed relationships and unhealthy coping mechanisms. It comes to a point eventually when you realize that running isn’t a solution. “When problems are ignored, they build up until you deal with them,” he shared. “We can’t keep pushing things under the rug. Like what happened on this corner to George Floyd; Pandora’s box is open and there’s no closing it. You can’t unsee it.”

In his book My Grandmother’s Hands, Black psychotherapist and trauma specialist Resmaa Menakem says, “When we don’t address our trauma, we may pass it onto future generations.” His approach to healing racialized trauma begins with the physical body. We all react from subconscious messages from our bodies until we become aware of how our bodies respond to people and situations. Scientific research supports that trauma can be passed down physically through DNA. “When we heal and make more room for growth in our nervous systems, we have a better chance of spreading emotional health to our descendants, via healthy DNA expression,” Menakem explains.

Timothy went on to share his experience navigating and healing the effects of trauma on his nervous system. He saw it as essential to becoming a more connected, embodied version of himself. “Hurt people hurt people,” he added. What we don’t know can hurt us. And it can hurt others, too. Deeply imbedded negative bias projected on BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) communities continues to manifest as displaced fear and aggression toward already marginalized people.

The purpose of healing may be to reclaim ourselves, our bodies and our lives. Choosing to heal is a consistent process of curiosity, insight and integration. It’s not easy and it doesn’t mean that we are exempt from pain. It means that we know our pain very well and can implement sustainable practices to care for it when it arises. It means that we can seek to recognize the pain of others, or at least not participate in harming them. Through consistent attention and action, we can cultivate the changes necessary for progress. Healing as a collective movement has the potential to uplift the course of history one moment at a time.

Photo by Aron Blanco Tejedor.

Mary Gavin is is an intuitive activist, teacher and Certified Reiki Master. Her passion for healing is rooted in her own experience living with post traumatic stress and dissociation. As a trauma survivor, she feels proud to share her experiences as a source of inspiration for others. She aims to elevate marginalized voices and inspire healing by sharing bits of her soul through writing.




Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2021 issue


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