When you’re helping someone heal, it’s 100% about them and 0% about you

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

August 18th, 2010 • Mind-Body MedicinePrint Print

My mother has incredible healing powers, and she has used them to help me recover instantaneously from various aches and pains, through distance energy healing. But recently she’s become a pain herself, insisting on inquiring into the exact nature of where I feel what and when, so that she can determine the precise impact of her various energy healing techniques.

What do I look like, a lab rat?

It seems I have become my mother’s science experiment. I have suggested to her that if she wants to test out her methods, she ought to go and find someone else, thank you very much. “But I can’t do it on anyone else,” she has protested in reposnse.


Mind you, I have no problem with the theoretical idea of giving my mom feedback about whether I am feeling better or not. But her invasive, detailed inquiries make the “name that number” on the 1-10 pain scale seem like heaps of fun.

Let me tell you about pain: It hurts. Period, end of issue. I’ll tell you if it’s mild or intense, and I’ll tell you if I’m feeling better or worse, but that’s as far as I’m going. Don’t ask me to peg it to a number on a chart or ask me to tell you the percentage of pain reduction I’ve experienced since you started your voo-doo magic. Doing so gives me a headache.

Plus, check this out: Doing so keeps me focused on pain. And the more I’m focused on pain – trying to figure out if I still have it, and if so, where and in what dose – the more I’m sensing, ie, feeling, pain. When I’m self healing, to the contrary, I’m specifically not focusing on pain. I’m focusing on healing.

I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass if it’s the anti-inflammatory diet or the healthy sleep habits or the exercise or the dancing or the energy healing or the positive affirmations or the whatever that is making me better. All I give a shit about is that I am getting better. And If I am getting better, and if the methods I’m utilizing promote overall healthy living as well, then heck, I’m just gonna keep on doing what I’m doing.

I also don’t have the diagnostic ability to determine which of the myriad of synergistic methods are doing the trick. That, in fact, is why complementary and alternative medicine is such a bad match for gold standard scientific studies: How the hell can you make a control group for all the different factors that go into organically healthy living? Must one group eat M&Ms all day long, while another eats organic vegan this-or-that?

Lastly, what I don’t think my mom is aware of is that when I have told her repeatedly that all I need is for her to send me love and healing, and that I’ll inform her if she needs to know about something; and when she keeps trying to talk about her latest approach and find out how it impacted me – or, as she did yesterday and today – when I can tell she’s dying to talk about it, but instead she talks around it, implying the desperate question she’s not spelling out – she’s making my healing be all about her.

And that’s exactly what practitioner after practitioner was busy doing when they “accidentally” injured me: They weren’t listening. They were busy trying to fit me into their method, instead of exploring if/how their method could fit me. Because that’s how they wanted the method to work. Or they were busy getting ego-bruised when I told them I needed gentler touch, instead of just reducing the pressure on my sensitive body. A number of them even tried to convince me that the pain was good and part of my healing.

Get this straight: When it comes to working with me on healing, it’s my way or the highway. Becuase It’s. My. Body.

A few months ago, I interviewed James Dillard, MD, for an article on how doctors can work effectively with chronic pain patients. I love one thing he said very clearly: “When you’re in the room with that patient, it is 100% about them and 0% about you.”

Amen brother.

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