In 1902 Finley Peter Dunne wrote, “The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Let’s just replace the word “newspaper” with “healer”. Let’s just do that.

Because as the world grapples with dismantling ongoing systemic racism…

As we transition out of the patriarchal, over-worked, under-nourished culture we have ingested and normalized…

As we stare down a world contracting in its grief…

As we make choices for how best to keep our families alive and safe…

I choose for myself that it’s not enough to just send love and light.

Choose that it’s no longer appropriate to stay (mostly) out of the fray.

Choose to answer the call to lend my voice to the perennially voiceless, because it’s possible to take the high road and still steer ourselves straight into the heart of things.

It’s possible to take the high road and still steer ourselves straight toward the heart of things.

As healers, we know there healing can’t be complete until we look at what caused the wound. When the wound is the stew we’ve been swimming in all our lives — systemic racism, institutional failure, patriarchy out-of-balance, widening gaps of all sorts — we need to count ourselves among the wounded, and the wounders, and do our part to heal outside of our small circles.

We don’t have to harm in order to fix things, but neither should we shy away. We can heal and call our legislators. We can hold space for our clients and write letters. We can show up for our clients and show up in the streets. We can believe in the highest good and do our part to create it alongside others.

Otherwise, we risk clinging to the language of vulnerability and healing while using it as a mask to get out of accountability. We need to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, even if the comfortable one is ourself.

I’m not claiming to be perfect, nor am I mandating that every healer take this same tack. This is just how I’m choosing to approach how I think of myself as a healer, what that title means to me, and I invite you to explore it for yourself if it resonates.