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GUEST OPINION: Components of healing

Adrian Smith, a P.E.I. counsellor, suggests during a COVID-19 second wave, the true challenge for society will be living a culture of radical loving care.
Jim Day/Guardian file
Adrian Smith, a P.E.I. counsellor, suggests during a COVID-19 second wave, the true challenge for society will be living a culture of radical loving care. - Jim Day/Guardian file

Adrian Smith
Guest opinion


A recognized U.K. nursing program recently identified three components of healing: a healing environment, appreciation for science and a culture of radical loving care. As I read the list, I found myself reflecting on my own health history as well as our current global health crisis.

In my recent book, which I wrote long before I had read this article, I had unknowingly identified these same three components as being central to my own healing. First of all, I had to physically remove myself from a chemically toxic work environment and retreat to living my days in the countryside surrounded by nature, salt water and clean, fresh air. I respected science — I travelled off-Island to a specialist clinic and adhered to the medical advice that I was given: routine treatments of magnesium injections, drastically restricted diet, daily exercise, nine hours of sleep each night and tried to avoid stress. As for radical loving care, the comfort of animals continuously surrounded me, I had the support of family and friends, and I finally learned to let others help me.

Then I looked at my life during COVID-19. Healing environment: seeking a balance that addresses mind, body and soul. Continuing to respect science: wash hands, socially distance, wear a mask in public places and quarantine when necessary… while trying to maintain a life of loving care.

When the second wave comes upon us, I believe the true challenge for society will be living a culture of radical loving care. As far as physical demands, we now know better as what to expect; however, a second wave will be mentally and emotionally exhausting; it will be easy to allow ourselves to become frustrated, fatigued and fearful — and, when that happens, we are at risk — we are at risk of becoming judgemental, paranoid and critical of others. We are at risk of isolating and locking ourselves away — physically and emotionally. We are at risk of forgetting about others.

Climates of fear and anger weaken our immune systems. To stay healthy and heal, as individuals or as a society, we require loving care.

This is not New Age or self-help literature.

This is science.

It is also philosophy, psychology, religion and spirituality.

It is humanity.

It is evolution — it’s really not survival of the fittest individual; it’s the most cooperative community of species that endures.

Loving care will help save us.

In the second wave,

We will need to find acceptance of the situation and find it early …

We will need to learn to live with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning ...

We will need to be physically mindful, but emotionally and spiritually as well ...

We will need to support and care for each other.

And we mustn’t get hung up on the word "radical," for the truth is that most of what heals us is right in front of us.

It’s the extraordinary in the ordinary.

It’s comforting your child, hugging your pet, checking in on your neighbours, respecting the earth.

It’s laughter and simple pleasures.

It’s mindful living.

It’s gratitude.

It’s being authentic—saying you’re sorry, choosing forgiveness, telling people that you love them.

It’s changing perceptions.

It’s choosing not to live in fear.

What was most intriguing about the U.K. nursing article detailing the three components of healing was that “a culture of radical loving care” was regarded as the most essential.

That’s science.

I wish you well.

Adrian Smith is a P.E.I. counsellor and author who lives in St. Catherines, P.E.I.

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