Dangerous Compassions

regulating vs healing

Ming sleeping with Bunny, healing and regulating

Hello, reader.  How are you?  I’ve been thinking about regulating vs healing.  Do you make a distinction?

Is “regulating” part of your vocabulary?  Maybe regulating is a therapy word or seems clinical.  It makes the think of machines.  I’m not a machine.  But sometimes I see myself as a system that can get out of whack.  Sometimes I do feel like a collection of erring organs with a unifying soul, and my chi gets scrambled.  Then I need to bring myself back to center and get grounded.  I really feel that way.  Sorry if I’m a hippie or what have you.

If this is therapy-speak, I admit that I’ve been in some kind of therapy for about 20 years.  Thank goodness for chill intentional spaces to reflect and focus on my inner life.  I need ways to figure out how to do relationships and love myself better.

Therapy is not the end-all, be-all, and I won’t hand my power over to anyone.  But I’ve had some good therapists–maybe therapists who’ve saved my life?  And I enjoy having many supports in my wellness.

what healing is

Is using the word “healing” for emotional and inner life work ableist?  Hmm, good question.  No, I think it’s a neutral metaphor.  I think of healing a wound.  Some injury happens, and I notice over the days with joy as the wound gets less red, shrinks, and returns to regular skin.

How fortunate I am, that my body works this way.  I don’t want to take it for granted.  Maybe one day I’ll have trouble healing bodily wounds.  For now, that aspect of my body works great.

Inner life can feel similar.  I used to hate myself–what a wound.  Now I love myself unconditionally.  I used to believe I was a fuckup and bad.  Now I know my differences are a gift, and the world needs me.  Normal is nothing to be aspired toward.  I’m valuable exactly as I am, no questions asked.

No need to change myself to please another person, fit in, or work a paid job to be pertinent.  I can show up as the Laura-Marie I am, and I matter automatically.  Everyone matters automatically.

That’s a huge change from what I believed before–I’m so grateful I healed all that pain.  Thank you, if you’re a person who helped me heal that.  I can conceptualize the change as healing, learning, growing, leaving behind fucked values I was taught by a broken culture.

Thank goodness I create my own culture these days.  Thank you, if you’re a person who supports me in that work.  Healing is all that.

what’s regulating vs healing

Regulating is too often self-soothing to get me back to baseline, so I can act normal enough to show up for more harm.  Regulating can include touch, distraction, dissociation.  That’s fine for when there’s a crisis and I need to get back to work.  But I can’t live like that.

Regulating is how I lived in Las Vegas.  The sandcastle of my needs and true self was constantly being kicked down.  I was working all the time to build it back up again.  It was a constant return to baseline over and over again, after countless setbacks.

Healing is more than returning to baseline for more harm.  Healing is feeling what I need to feel, accessing the truth so I can speak it, feeling the emotions that were stuck inside me with the unsaid truth, and shedding what I no longer need.  It’s movement forward.

Then I figure out the new person I am now, with this new knowledge and steadiness.  When I’m partly new, the world is a new place too.  A change in who I am changes how I experience everything.

Regulating feels like sedation, while healing feels like excavation.  I reach into myself to find truth and sort out what to keep and what to get rid of.


In community we can do different work.  I wish sometimes I could heal alone.  Being around people feels too risky–I’ve been hurt so badly.

But because I’ve been hurt in community, maybe I need to heal in community.  When I’m accessing new truths, I need to be around people who care about truth too.  Unfortunately, I’ve often found myself surrounded by people who want to glide on what was true before, live on appearances, and do what’s easy.  Truth is not easy.

Too often I’ve encountered people who are anesthetizing themselves.  Or else they’re like old math teachers who are coasting toward retirement, burned out and doing as little work as possible until they can get the CalPERS money and be left alone.  I’m sorry for them.  But they did not help me learn math.

“Shut up and do the homework,” is not a mentality that helps anyone.  It reminds me of, “Shut up and take your medicine.”  I won’t be sedated back into shame.

Parent Earth

As for the earth, I believe Parent Earth can accept any feelings that I don’t need anymore.  The earth is where my feelings came from, and where they can return.  Movement can help me give my feelings back to Parent Earth.  I like dancing, walking, riding trike, and touch.

I’m grateful to Parent Earth every day for giving me everything I need.  Parent Earth heals me.  Well, ki regulates me too.  Parent Earth does it all.


Healing happens with love–self love, and from others.  I like therapy as love–a rigid, defined form of love.  This person is caring for me somehow, professionally, getting paid.

Still, a nurture or help is there.  They are helping me on my path.  If it’s not helping, I don’t go back.  Love is what I show up for.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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