Symptoms are ways home. They are our routes, our passages, our betaking of ourselves. A symptom is a kind of sigh, a sort of relief in a routine of life, a letting go of the unfamiliar and entering the unfamiliar. It is not a dangling part, but rather a striking, integrated expression of self. In the system of interpretation of traditional acupuncture, the symptom acts as a leitmotif, a main theme of a persons’ life that has been called up to be dealt with, to be completed. The symptom is not for the sake of itself. It is, rather, an instrument for wholing, healing, coming home.
The symptom sits in the person’s history. It is a request for support; not support for simply getting rid of, of fixing it; but support for bearing it; for suffering it as an expression of life; support for seeing the wisdom and embrace ability of the symptom. It may even be said that a symptom, no matter how awesome or terrible, is life requesting to be embraced in all its manifestations. . . . A symptom is a way to the whole, to the person’s story, to her history, to her “storied” life. Like any opening, anyway in, there are things that come into view right away; so the symptom acts as an opening to vision and relationships beyond the ordinary, beyond the suffering (All Sickness is Homesickness, Connelly, 1993)