The call to the healing arts

Angeles Arrien, PhD is a cultural anthropologist whose work crosses disciplines of psychology, and comparative religion, focusing on beliefs shared by all of humanity. Her books include The Four-Fold Way, The Second Half of Life, and Living in Gratitude. Consider her reflection on our call to the healing arts:


Consider her reflection on our call to the healing arts:

Every individual who carries a call to healing is a person who carries a great heart and generosity of spirit. So how do I as a healer, or a health care professional, renew myself?  What sustains me, what regenerates me, what heals me? You may think of yourself as a doctor, nurse, health professional- and yet in many traditional societies, you would be called a medicine person, a shaman. You would be called a shaman because you have the privilege to steward the Mysteries, and one of the Mysteries is illness, which is an initiation to coming home again to a deeper sense of self and well-being. The greatest healing force on the planet is love, and all the arms of love- gratitude, acknowledgement, appreciation, forgiveness, laughter, play. Which of these do I bring when I’m asked for help? Where can I trust the healing presence that I bring?

I’m reminded of an old healing prayer that comes from the Central American indigenous peoples:

Do all the good that you can,

In all the ways that you can,

By all the means that you can,

To all the people that you can,

In all the places that you can,

For as long as ever you can.

Healing does not take place in the fast lane, nor does it take place as only stewarding the technical. For anyone who is called to the medical profession or the healing arts, the true calling is to access the deeper healing gifts that we carry within. So my hope and wish is that you do all the good that you can, in all the ways that you can, for as long as ever you can.

Angeles Arriens, PhD


For reflection alone or together: 

How were you called to the healing arts? 

How were you a healer long before you had the professional title? 

Next week: Built for kindness

Supportive Care Coalition