The Me-First School of Global Healing
Many of my students are familiar with what I call the “Me-First School of Global Healing.” For those of you who have never heard this phrase before, what does it mean?
The Me-First School of Global Healing is two things. First, it is an embodied set of principles which I will detail at greater length below. Second, it is an actual healing school which I hope to be able to offer to serious students beginning in 2022. I’d like to begin this blog series with a good look at both the principles and the practicalities of a Me-First School of Global Healing, because that is the framework for everything that I say, and everything that I do, with my life.
The Me-First School of Global Healing is a practice of what I call Perennial Medicine. Perennial Medicine is a type of healing that includes many traditional healing modalities with certain beliefs, structures and characteristics in common. For a fuller exploration of the principles of Perennial Medicine, please enjoy either the audio version, or the written transcript:
What does “me first” mean, in the context of global healing? Let me first say what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that I spend hours or days or years just working on myself before I pitch in and start helping the world to become a healthier place for everyone.
Me-first global healing is a practice of connectedness. How I am, how I live, and even how I am feeling in a given moment affects everything and everyone around me—and vice versa. It’s a feedback loop that is operative all the time. It’s the basis of ethics and ecology: the awareness of impact, and the willingness to be impacted.
This may actually be a new practice for many of us! We live in a culture that is reductionistic, which means that we are adept at studying the differences between things, rather than the connections and commonalities between them. We may live in a habit of separation and compartmentalization, such that we don’t even think about the impact of our simplest moments, such as throwing out a plastic bottle or smiling at a cashier.
This is unfortunate, because when we realize how profoundly impactful we are, we can be intentional and deliberate about becoming a source of healing all the time—on a me-first basis—so that it is nourishing and fulfilling rather than draining and depleting.
Did you know that, just standing on line at the supermarket, we can ground, open, breathe, and affect the health and well-being others in line around us? Using simple practices, not only can we personally get a re-charge and re-alignment by the time we reach the checkout counter; by resonance, those around us can heal, too. This is just a tiny, easily understood example of practices that can affect whole groups in simple ways.
Gan Ying is the Chinese term for this; it’s translated as “resonance.” It refers to the way that we affect each other, just by our state of being. Settled nervous systems offer an invitation to other nervous systems that may have even forgotten that settledness was possible, whether on line at the grocery store, or in the treatment room, or on the front lines of a civil rights initiative. Entrainment, which we see when birds flock up or fish form schools, is also how humans form basketball teams and jazz bands. Information is shared through the “Group Heart,” a place where resonance is magnified.
Whole Heart Connection work (click to visit the WHC Archive) is a foundational example of me-first healing through Gan Ying and entrainment in the Group Heart. It is a me-first practice. This means that the practitioner does not do anything “to” any other person. The practitioner embodies the note or vibration of healing in their own body, and makes heart connects with the other person, leaving them free to respond naturally. When healing is offered, it is most natural for others to respond with a “yes,” but there is no force, no dominance, no colonization involved.
If it’s a “no,” that’s an opportunity for the healer to re-consider what they were offering. For instance, in the Living the Elements work (click to visit the 5E Archive), which is based on the Five Elements, we learn how to “sound the note” of each Element. We make each energetic offer, and we see which offer may be uninteresting to the other person, and which offer is medicine. Because we have done nothing more than set an example and offer an invitation, there is no possibility of injury or transgression; we are interacting from the highest level of personal integrity and not asking anything of the other person without their active consent.
And yet, as WHC and LTE students can attest, the results are profound. When we have practices that allow us to “sound the note” of health in very specific ways in various life situations, we make a difference while also nourishing and healing ourselves.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be posting more about my latest explorations and discoveries in all of the domains relevant to the Me-First School of Global Healing, such as:
Chinese Medicine (and other Perennial Medicines)
Living the Elements
Whole Heart Connection
Social and Ecological “Justice”
…and the many ways that they are all connected by deep roots in changing times.