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A Difference Between Healing and Cure

by Andy Mort Julkaistu alunperin: Andy Mort's Notes From A Slow Coach 16.7.2023

A cure restores normality by eradicating a problem. Healing helps the thing become whole.

This idea has come up in several recent conversations I’ve had with people about overwhelm and burnout. How does this distinction impact our relationship with creativity in recovery?

We might use the words ‘cure’ and ‘healing’ interchangeably. But they hold unique characteristics. I’ve heard it said that to cure is to restore and to heal is to transform. Where a cure is something that happens to us and healing happens with us.

When I worked in funeral care, I was regularly reminded of this difference. There is no cure for grief but you will start to heal as you come to terms with the loss alongside the void it leaves behind. You don’t “get over” the loss, but over time it becomes integrated into your story. This hole-ness (the presence of an absence) gives structure to your whole being.

Photo: Unsplash, Karsten Winegeart

Creativity and Healing

Photoyoga For Your Mind emerged from this spirit. My friend Tuula built it by merging a journey of personal healing from burnout and a need to take action rather than falling into a overthinking spirals and information hoarding. The course combines these elements beautifully, using simple photography prompts alongside a rich array of resources to inspire, support, and assist participants to creatively engage with their unique story.

I spoke with Tuula about it for a recent episode of The Gentle Rebel Podcast , and we’re running the course in The Haven again this summer.

Completion and Expectation

Fear of permanence can stop us letting go. This is true of creative endeavours, but it can also be true of ourselves.

It can be scary to feel seen (even by ourselves). It might lead us to hide parts of who we are or to downplay our deeper hopes, dreams, and way of seeing the world. We might have created filters, built walls, and honed mechanisms to avoid looking beneath the surface.

But without coming to terms with (having the courage to turn and see what’s there), healing can’t occur. We remain dis-integrated. And those parts which we don’t allow ourselves to look at still find ways (not always helpful or healthy ways) to speak.

Photoyoga takes us through a gently-paced journey of self-discovery alongside others. It asks how we feel when we take a photo and what goes on within us when we look at it. The course helps us begin to notice what we notice, connect with how WE see the world, and start to find ourselves in the beautiful messiness of our unique creative process.

Taking photos, especially in the digital age, gives us a low-stakes entry point to creative self-awareness. It helps us practice thinking less, letting go, and seeing more of what’s really there between life’s lines.

Photoyoga is not ‘the cure’. Rather, it’s an invitation to join a small group of fellow travellers as we journey along this road of healing. It doesn’t set co-ordinates on a destination. It is about letting go and moving forwards into an adventure. Releasing those obstacles that can leave us stuck in time, holding onto a version of us that is no longer truly there.

Creative Hole-Ness

Creativity and healing come hand in hand because wholeness comes through creative hole-ness. It emerges when we pour our creative spirit into the void. This spirit is not like concrete that fills the chasm and prevents us from entering it. It’s like fresh water, that flows through the cracks and into the caves inside us, showing us new parts of ourselves waiting to be explored.

The point of the creative act is that it comes to life in the here and now. It tells of who and how we are in the present, helping us process and proceed. It’s never completed and it can never fully capture everything about who we are and who we are becoming.

Every photo is a marker on the road. It’s a memory and a reminder, not just of where we’ve been, but of the fact that we’re still trekking on. We’re not done writing the story.

This is one reason people do Photoyoga For Your Mind multiple times. The photograph you take today is not the same as the one you would take next year. The things you see in a photograph today are not the same as the things you would have observed, interpreted, and taken from the same photograph twelve months ago.

We are constantly writing, editing, and re-imagining the story we tell with our lives.

What happens next with yours? ___ Andy Mort, UK Sound Artist, Songwriter and Slow Coach |


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