Healing is a journey of transformation. Healing is the process of changing from one condition into another. It is alchemical. Healing carries mystery with it. Healing is an act of faith: a willingness to receive the unknown moment and its gifts. Healing has a kind of grace about it.
My Aunt had a grand love affair with her second husband. He took her on adventures around the world that she had never dreamt of. He gave her his joy of nature. I remember being awestruck by a small clearing of wild violets sheltered by a ring of maples one spring. She took me to this beautiful place. He had shown her this place first. She in turn gentled him. Gave him the comforts of a home. Taught him to cook. Unfortunately they both drank.
Alcohol changed their love into a kind of hunger that has a bottomless pit. They tore each other apart with hungry words. It was ugly. One night he broke her arm and she left.
Years later my aunt was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. They thought perhaps it had started in her cervix. She died 6 months later. Four month before she died, he arrived at her door. Hundreds of miles away, he had by chance been in the same restaurant as my uncle who was on holidays.
The last four months of my aunt’s life was spend with her ex-husband. He cooked for her, bathed her, warmed her blankets, held her and read to her. In illness their hungry words fell away, and gentleness returned to their love. The bitterness and anger they carried fell away. A healing occurred. Then she died and became another defeated statistic in the fight against cancer. Healing is not curing.
Healing is like a thread that sews us whole. The gifts of the plant medicine, the wholeness of the person seeking healing and the healer’s ability to be present bring livingness to the healing thread. The thread over time weaves resolution and newness for every person (and I suspect every plant) touched by the healing.
When considering the numerous synchronistic meetings I know that have occurred to create the right alchemy for a healing to take place makes my mind turns to the conversation between the chemist and shaman deep in the amazon forest. The shaman explains the plant medicine and the chemist takes notes and a sample of the plant. Then the shaman says, “But it is only when the energy of the healer is present that the plant heals.” Or at least that is what the chemist hears as it is he who tells us the story with a scientist disregard for the mystery of livingness of the healing thread.
I suspect the shaman was trying to tell the chemist something quite different. Having worked with plant medicine for some time now I have noticed, the more I ask the medicine to help me, the more profound the healing and transformation. I have also noticed the more willing the person taking the medicine is, the deeper the healing. I have watched many lives transform over a period of several years while healing is taking place. When involved in a healing I have experienced the healing thread weaving us, the plant medicine, the person seeking healing and me the healer, together. I have often felt the healing tread has a life, an intelligence of its own. The thread over time stitches together a new life for all of us. Just as the person who is being healed changes, so does the healer. It is impossible to participate in healing and not be transformed in someway.
I suspect that is true of the plant medicine as well. Indigenousness people say that if a plants medicine is not regularly used with respect and gratitude, the plant goes away. Perhaps somehow the plant’s spirit, as it dances between the healer and the one seeking healing, is transformed.
If it is true that the healing thread weaves its power of transformation between the plant, the healer and the one seeking is healing, then the healer needs to let go the ways she asks her client too. The she needs to change as the plant does.
Let’s for a moment go back to the word “gifts”. Remember a couple paragraphs back, “The gifts of the plant medicine, the wholeness of the person seeking healing and the healer’s ability to be present brings a livingness to the healing thread.” Gifts twist the individual fibers of the healing thread, making it strong.
When a healer sits with confidence in her gifts, it is very possible a healing will take place. When she is able to evoke the gifts of the person seeking healing, there is an even greater possibility that the healing will take place. When she has appreciation and gratitude for the gifts of healing plants, I am certain a healing will take place.
We heal from our gifts. It is our weaknesses, sorrows, fears, anger and illnesses that are healed. Our gifts do the work of healing.
So often when healing is needed we turn our focus on the challenges we are struggling with and try to fix them. When what we need to do is discover our gifts and offer them to the challenges we face. It is our gifts that open us to the grace of healing.
In this lesson, let’s explore your gifts.
Gifts are not talents. Talents are things you can do well, like cooking, singing, gardening, etc. Gifts are much more intangible. Gifts are qualities or even more vague, feeling tones. Our gifts are so familiar to us that they are almost impossible to realize. Understanding your gifts is like fish knowing the water they swim in, or human’s noticing the air they are breathing. This is how gifts are.
To begin understanding the gifts think about times during the day when you are content. Happy. Peaceful. Joyful. Curious. Playful. If you can’t think of a time like this during your day, then set an intention to discover these feelings during the day. Perhaps you will notice contentment when you are driving along on a country road singing to a song on the radio while your eyes dance across the open landscape. Perhaps you feel playful as your child’s face becomes animated with funny story about school. Find the moment of these feelings during your day. These feelings are pleasurable.
Once you have found the moment of pleasure, think: what I am bringing to this moment. This is one of your gifts. Write it down and try to describe in your Healing Journal.
Perhaps a note on one your gifts will look like this in your healing journal. August 25. To day I notice the pleasure I feel when warm water from shower slides down my back. I felt sensuously present. There was openness to the moment, like a pause. My body felt whole and awake. I noticed it later as I climb the stairs to put the laundry away and the later afternoon light poured through the window. The stairway suddenly became bathed in golden light. I stopped and felt the same openness to the moment. It was like a refreshing pause even though my arms will full of laundry. My body felt whole and awake. I call this gift, sensuous warmth of being.
Begin to explore different types of moments during the day when you feel present just being you. Not planning the next the moment or fretting a moment past, just being here now. I promise you there are many of these moments in your day; you just need to practice noticing them. You may find yourself present for a friend who is sad, or you may find yourself becoming aware of a vigorous moment when you rise to a challenge. The contents of the moment are not as important as the feeling of being present. These are the moments when you feel present as you are. Not whom you think you should be. Again consider what you bring to those moments. These are your gifts. Write them down and try to describe them, giving them names like: generous presence or still confidence or willingness to accept.
Play with this exercise for a couple of weeks. Don’t take it too seriously.
Once you have discovered a few of your gifts, image you are putting on like a piece of clothing. For example in the morning you may think today I will wear “gentle touch”. The next day you decide to put on “laughing heartily at myself”. At the end of the day, write a paragraph or two about what the day was like when you walk in awareness of your gifts. Become very familiar with the feeling tone of your gifts.
In this way you will become a confident and skillful healer who can change and adapt reflecting the needs of each healing.