Healing. I personally like the sound of the word, but what does it really mean? Many believe healing is synonymous with curing and it certainly can be, but it’s possible to be cured and not to have healed. Returning to wholeness is one definition of healing, and I like that one best. I interpret it as a return to our core essence, that pure part of us that, as children, believed in dreams and miracles, the part of us that somehow compromised or deflated or even gave up along the way as we took in less-than-healthy messages from our families, peers, schools, the media, communities, society at large.

Writing a blog forces me to examine what healing means to me because I’m not here to provide health advice. While I’ve been exploring the natural health field for over 15 years as a host/reporter/producer/writer, I’m not a practitioner.

So why is this world of alternative therapies so intriguing to me? A fellow producer asked me this question recently after viewing a sizzle reel I’d put together for a potential new series about extreme forms of healing.

In the reel, I spoke about my interest in this poorly understood world, but she wanted to know more. “Why do you care about this so much?” she asked, provocatively. “What are you trying to heal?”

I think it’s a good question, since I’m not – fortunately – dealing with any major health problems. Sure, my cholesterol was high once and I lowered it through a combination of carrot juice, lecithin, B vitamins, and other supplements recommended by my acupuncturist. I went to a chiropractor when I had hip pain; I sought out a craniosacral therapist when I was dealing with adrenal burnout; a nutritional counselor suggested a strict no-sugar diet to kill the candida he believed was preventing me from dropping the few pounds I’d been trying so hard to lose. Always more comfortable with a natural vs. a pharmaceutical approach, I’ve certainly turned to alternative medicine when dealing with physical issues, and I’ve often been pleased with the results.

But what really drives my interest in healing? I suspect that on a deeper level, I’m looking to return to wholeness. Like a lot of us, I have insecure parts, cynical parts, sad parts. I have parts that are judgmental, parts that are selfish, parts that are frightened and faithless. I know there’s a big bright world out there filled to the brim with possibilities aplenty, and yet I know there are ways I keep myself from living life to the fullest, ways that I hold myself back.

This quest for my essence, for the “me” that is pure energy, pure creativity, pure wisdom –- the quest to live a rich life without regrets or excuses — is what drives my interest in healing. Having sat in many a therapist’s office, I know I require a more comprehensive approach to healing than I’ve been able to find through language and insight alone. I require that not only my mind and emotions, not only my family history (my “story”) be explored, but that my beliefs, breath, body, spirit, energy field, home environment, astrological chart, ancestry, even my past lives (which I know raises more than a few eyebrows) be put into the equation. I’m much more than the unrelenting stream of thoughts and feelings coursing through me, much more than this body even, much more. We all are. All of our parts – body, mind, and spirit – are connected. I’m convinced of this. You can’t treat one really effectively without including the others.

We all have a core essence and a reason for being here. And to uncover those priceless treasures, it’s sometimes necessary to take the road less traveled. I’m interested in alternative approaches to healing because they take all of me – even parts I’m unaware of, influences I’m unaware of — into consideration. I long to fulfill my potential in this life, to live on purpose, and to do that, I need help. I guess that’s what drives my quest. Simple as that.

Portland is the creator, host, and executive producer of “What’s the Alternative?” on the former Veria Living TV. She also writes for Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.