How to be a “Healer”

Without a doubt, the world needs healing now more than ever before. Whether you are a doctor, nurse, therapist, masseuse, reiki practitioner, shaman, witch doctor, or ANY sort of human being, here are some important principles to follow in order to do your part to heal the world.

1. Understand that you are not really a “healer”. 

The first and most important step to becoming a “healer” is understanding that you are NOT a “healer”. You are a FACILITATOR of healing. You don’t heal people. People heal themselves; you just give them the tools and the framework with which to do so.

 2. Do no harm to any living creature. 

Not even spiders! In order to be the most effective facilitator of healing possible, you need to value all life. It is important to realize that it is not for you to decide what life is valuable and worthy of love and what life is not. Honor all life and life will begin to honor you.

3. Learn to love yourself, unconditionally. 

Easier said than done. Learning self-love has been a challenge during my own journey. What worked best for me was sitting down and clearly defining my values, goals, accomplishments, shortcomings, needs, etc. I took stock of myself and I took responsibility for my life. I then came to a conclusion regarding the way I wanted my life to be and made a commitment to taking care of myself so I could make it happen. When I find myself tempted to engage in self destructive actions I ask myself: Is what I am about to do going to help me reach my goals? What do I really need right now that I am not getting? How can I meet those needs in ways that align with my values? Self love starts with listening to ourselves, even to the parts we try to ignore and don’t approve of, and working to find healthy ways to meet our own needs.

4. Learn to love others, unconditionally. 

What is unconditional love? It is love for the pure sake of loving because everyone deserves love. Just as hate begets hate, kindness begets kindness and kindness for the sake of kindness is a practice of unconditional love. It is critical to understand, when people are hateful, when they hurt one another, it is because they are suffering in some way and do not know how to cope. Somewhere along the way, they were hurt, misguided, or didn’t get something they truly needed. Loving people unconditionally does not mean tolerating abuse. If someone abuses you, respectfully exit their life. You do not have to be with a person to love them; love transcends space and time. It has been my experience that, when genuinely loved and respected, even the most abused individuals will remember those few who were truly kind to them and make an effort to get better to keep those people in their lives. It’s a long process, but I have seen first hand that love can heal all wounds.

5. Find the lesson in everything so that you can help others do the same. 

Life is full of lessons and, as the human experience is highly subjective, the interpretation of those lessons can vary. When negative things happen to us, it is so easy to walk away thinking things like: Well I guess I shouldn’t trust people. I shouldn’t have taken a risk and tried something new. The world is out to get me so I should just stay home. Sometimes, bad things have to happen to get people to see important things about themselves that they were avoiding, neglecting, or denying. Even the most tragic events can serve as a call to action, teaching us that we need to wake up and take better care of each other and ensure the respect, dignity, and safety of our fellow mankind. It is during the most difficult and challenging moments of life that we have the greatest potential for personal growth. Often, suffering is our greatest teacher.

6. Understand that every single moment of your life is precious. 

Absolutely everything that you think, do, and say is important. You never know when you might make a difference or save someone’s life simply by smiling and saying “hello”. You may even make the greatest positive impact when you feel you are at your weakest and most vulnerable.

 7. Be grateful for everything that you have. 

Practice gratitude to teach gratitude for gratitude is the seed of abundance. Keep in mind, The Universe will work to confirm whatever it is you harbor within you. If you see the world pessimistically, it will continue to appear to be so until you decide to change your perception. If you practice gratitude, you will begin to attract more to be grateful for. This is the Law of Attraction and it begins its work in your own mind.

 8. Be patient. 

The healing of others does not happen on your time. As a reiki practitioner, one of the most valuable things I’ve learned has been to separate myself from the outcome of each session. It is important to do this regardless of the type of “healer” you are. We are all on our own unique journey and we each have our own wounds to heal from. In order to be the most effective facilitator of healing possible, one has to detach from any expectations towards the outcome. This isn’t always easy to do but it is necessary. Obviously, we want others to get better but sometimes things have to get worse first. Often, the old has to be completely destroyed for the new to be built. If we don’t detach from expectations we can easily become displeased with any lack of progress and things may quickly become about our own egos instead of the person who has sought our help. Then, our ability to be effective facilitators of the healing process is impeded.

The last and more important thing to always keep in mind, whether you are a “healer” or on your own journey of healing, is this: LIVE BETTER, LOVE BETTER, GET BETTER. 

Hidden Heart

Come, my love.

Lay down your sword.

Fall into my arms;

Take refuge in my hidden heart.

 

Don’t cry, my love.

Show me your wounds

That I may kiss them clean

And heal you with my hidden heart.

 

Be still, my love.

Surrender your fears

And I will set them ablaze

In the fire of my hidden heart.

 

Don’t hide, my love.

Admit to me your sins

So I can bury them deep;

I’ll lock them in my hidden heart.

 

Doubt not, my love.

Tell me your dreams;

I will send you soaring to them

And bathe you in my hidden heart.

 

Be strong, my love.

Keep on moving;

Your legs won’t fail you.

They’ll take you to my hidden heart.

 

Breathe deep, my love.

Sleep sweet, my love.

You’ll always be my hidden heart.

The Shadow

If you have ever taken a psychology class or stumbled across the work of C.G. Jung, you have most likely heard the term “shadow” or “shadow-self”. The connotation of  “shadow” often leads people into misunderstanding its psychological significance.

In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem).[1]

As you can tell from the technical definition, the function of the shadow is transcendent of the concept of good vs. bad; it really only serves to house the parts of ourselves that we cannot consciously accept. It just so happens that, often, these are things that we reject about ourselves or that society does not accept but are truly qualities within us, and within each person for that matter. The ability to do both good and evil rests in us all. In my own case, when I was waist deep in the behavioral patterns of BPD and using drugs, my shadow contained the positive parts of myself that I could not express. At the time, I was not aware that I could be strong, reliable, responsible, patient, giving, loyal, faithful etc, because my conscious mind was too immersed in my vices and wounds to perceive such things.

Now that my frame of consciousness has shifted, I have been able to bring to the surface the positive facets of my personality. As all things must be balanced, that means my darker parts have shifted inward, into my shadow. I am fortunate to have been able to remain mindful during this shift, as many people choose to ignore the contents of the shadow and, if we ignore any part of ourselves, it will make itself heard in one way or another. When that happens, you have situations where you might feel shock and awe after seeing someone you looked up to or admired exhibiting uncharacteristically bad behavior.

The real challenge is to integrate the higher self with the shadow and, in fact, all the parts of our psyche to stop the seesaw effect their often conflicting dynamics have on our lives. It’s not as simple as refusing to let the shadow affect you. Of course it affects you, it is a part of you.  The key is to open a dialogue so that all parties feel heard and somewhat satisfied. How do we do this?

First, be sure to understand that the shadow isn’t necessarily bad or negative. It’s just different than the conscious part of you and, thus, has different needs. Using my own experience as an example, these days my shadow is often trying to get me to do things my conscious self views as “bad” or “wrong” such as having casual sex or smoking and having a drink after work. It would be easy for me to fall into the trap of siding with my conscious self, utterly rejecting such desires only to be totally stunned and ashamed when I finally broke down and did something I might regret. Instead, I try to listen to what my shadow is saying from the context of my higher consciousness.

From the things I mentioned, I understand that my shadow is reminding me that intimacy and physical touch as well as making time for relaxation and recreation are important to me in some way. It is my job to then take what I have learned from the shadow and find ways to satisfy its needs while still staying in line with my higher goals and values. If I manage to do that, everyone wins and I feel balanced with nothing to regret. Any person who is overly influenced by their shadow is simply heavily repressing or ignoring its attempts to communicate its needs in the only way it knows how: by sneaking in the back door because it gets booted swiftly out the front without getting a word in. The shadow is one of the several important constituents of our psyche. Without it, we cannot be whole.