A Healer’s Manifesto
We are in need of deep healing on an individual, community, and planetary level.
We are sickened by a focus on material consumption which has distracted us from meaningful, health enhancing relationships and sense of purpose while adversely impacting life sustaining ecosystems for future generations.
In a globalized, connected world, we are socially isolated and lonely, disconnected from life-supporting nature, social connections and weakened skills for healthy dialogue and connection.
We are struggling with shocking disparities in wealth and access to essential needs of food, shelter and health care.
We are significantly stressed, distracted, and over-medicated and have lost sight of what gives us our well-being and humanness on a living planet: joy, sorrow, grief, awe, agency, community, connection, relationship and the mystery of life and death itself.
At a time when the voice of the healer is urgently needed,
As healers working within the healthcare system, we are stressed, exhausted, over-worked and struggling to medically “manage” the far down-stream effects of living in a culture that fuels the chronic disease epidemic.
We are struggling to stay well while practicing in a system that asks more of us in less time, when health and healing requires relationship, thus more time. We recognize the very real risk we run of harming people when hurriedly addressing symptoms within complex systems and the exquisite, uniqueness of human beings.
We are demoralized by a system which emphasizes disease and pharmaceutical medicine rather than healing the wholeness of mind, body, spirit and emotion. We recognize the harm caused by remaining complicit within a system that commodifies the management of chronic disease without addressing the underlying causes of unwellness in our patients and our communities.
We are distressed by healthcare’s significant ecological footprint and resulting negative impact on health and well-being.
At a time when our precious, life-sustaining planet is in peril and our species may well face extinction, it is time for healers to speak the truth to those in power, to partner with community, to advocate for healing on a personal, societal and planetary level and to offer our wisdom and knowledge to support the co-creation of new models of health and care delivery.
It is time to build a movement within health and medicine that articulates and advocates for an ecology of healing within healthcare and communities, and for a medicine that is ecologically regenerative and restorative.
We believe that our health systems should support conditions of health and wellness, in which patients are heard and partnered with, clinicians are given time to listen to the patient’s story, to thoughtfully consider the diagnosis, and to effectively educate and partner with patients on caring for themselves.
We understand that health is dynamic and is a function of mind, body, spirit and emotion, and our beings have an inherent capacity to heal.
Healers seek first and foremost to guide the patient back into balance with foundational, natural, least invasive approaches and procedures, and draw upon the medicine of social connection, the relaxation response, of nature connection, of meaning and wonder, and of nourishing food and healing plants.
We believe that healers must partner with communities to reclaim agency over their healing, and limit their encounters with a system not designed to give what is theirs to create for themselves, individually and collectively: their health and well-being.
We believe in leveraging community as medicine, weaving interpersonal connections that can be harnessed in support of behavior change and in service of increasing resilience in individuals and communities.
We believe that reconnecting people to nature is an essential aspect of healing for humans, and for the Earth. Awe and wonder, connection with something greater than ourselves, and cultivation of kinship with all forms of life are natural effects of being connected to nature. Remembering that we are woven into a local ecosystem can serve as motivation to bring ourselves into a healthy balance with all life.
We believe that it is time for the healer’s voice, unfettered by healthcare system or corporate constraints, to be heard on issues of social justice, cultural and societal wellbeing, climate change, and the policy decisions that impact these issues.
We believe that medicine should not harm people or the planet. We have caused harm to people who, in their vulnerable need for medical counsel, have been rushed, had their intuitions or research efforts dismissed or invalidated, or have not been listened to.
We believe there are many healers and that physician healers do not have sufficient wisdom alone.
We believe we must put into right relationship our focus on life and end of life and embrace the cycle of life and death as part of our healing journey.
We believe that a new model of medicine is emerging as a best practice within medicine; a Medicine that is empowering and ecological, that takes a “whole systems” approach, and that supports the well-being of the patient, the healer, the community and the planet.