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The Alchemy of Healing: From Wounded to Warrior

I was nine years old. It was a lazy summer day. The afternoon heat simmered with the salty tang of ocean air and the moist, earthy smell that only flowers well kissed by the rain can have.

The doorbell rang. Curiosity piqued, I padded to the stairs to lean over the railing to see who it was. There was something different about her, my mother’s friend. Through the lens of my child’s eyes, I felt inextricably drawn to a radiance, light, and calm that this woman possessed.

I played near the couch facing the ocean; one ear piqued towards the soft lilt of feminine voices in the background. She sat down next to me, giving me her presence and undivided attention. I felt seen in a way I had never experienced before.

Somewhere, in the depth of my being, I knew that she had something important to impart to me, something that would drastically alter the course of my life.

We talked about healing and the light that exists within each in every one of us. I watched in wonder as she brought her hands together cupping the air as if she held something precious and delicate between them.

She invited me to place my hand within the space between her hands. I felt gentle waves of tingling and warmth dancing up my fingers, radiating into my palms. She explained to me that I too could be a healer.

It would be many years until I would begin to unravel what that meant.

At the age of 16, I committed to deepening my understanding of healing arts through formal training in Reiki. Having become conscious of my clairvoyant gifts and abilities at an early age, I desired to have a framework so that I could continue to grow and hone my craft while helping others.

The art of Reiki healing would be the first of many contexts and modalities I would encounter on my journey of awakening to the inner healer. It was the first modality that showed me what it meant to have a healing presence. During a healing session, it wasn’t my job to fix or change anything.

My only duty was to become a conduit of awareness, becoming profoundly present and attuned, and allow my client’s body to guide me to where the healing was most needed.

Cultivating a spiritual practice and nurturing the belief that I had the power to self-heal and in turn, heal others, gave me strength and purpose during a time of life that I felt helpless and lost. It saved my life.

It set me on a path of empowerment, radical self-acceptance, and self-liberation, that would ignite a fierce devotion to supporting others in recognizing that they already held the keys to their inherent empowerment and freedom.

As an adolescent, I was struggling to come to grips and learn how to befriend my highly sensitive and deeply feeling nature. I felt at constant war with the intensity of my emotions, and my body that was continuously inundated with chronic pain and illness.

There was something about immersing myself in the act of service and being present for others that helped me to alchemize and channel my pain and suffering.

It was as if the act of healing others was also helping me heal. As I learned to be with other people’s suffering and cultivate compassion for their pain, I was able to soften towards myself and nurture self-compassion and understanding.

The most important thing that I came to learn on the journey of becoming a healer was that it wasn’t my power, special gifts, or abilities that catalyzed healing to happen.

More than anything else, it was my presence, capacity to listen and willingness to create a space to welcome and invite all that yearned to be witnessed and expressed.

I learned that the most significant transformation happened when I committed to showing up in full presence. The more embodied and anchored into the ground of awareness I became, the more clearly my clients could see themselves. The shape of their body would tell a story, the line of their face, the furrow of the brow.

The way their lips would quiver and shoulders would hunch in opposition to the parts of themselves they were working so hard to avoid and disown were priceless gifts beyond compare. These very movements and gestures were a map and bridge, unveiling with achingly beautiful clarity what longed to be whole.

As healers, our only job is to become radically present to what is already naturally wanting to emerge. Radical presence is the only gift that we give, to be the mirror, to reflect the seen and the unseen. We nurture the awareness that is present, the awareness that already recognizes that it is whole.

We become champions of the neglected and forsaken. With fierce love and gentleness, we coax and nurture the parts belittled by criticism, shame, and judgment, sowing the seeds for faith and trust to take root once again.

We rebuild the foundation of the inner home, a sanctuary that could only be forged from the sweat, blood, and tears, of facing and embracing our most secret desires, fears, and inner demons. We witness a rebirthing, rejoicing as layer by layer is stripped away to reveal the true self.

This is what process of healing is really about.

To say that healing can be ugly, messy, and painful would be a gross understatement. Healing can test our limits and shatter what we think we know about ourselves. It can bring us to our knees, humbled, tenderized, and cracked open in reverence for the gift of our aliveness.

To walk the path of healing and healer is to become intimate with surrender.

As healers, we are asked to relinquish what we think we know. We pledge ourselves to the service of the wisdom and symmetry of what is already unfolding. We learn to embrace, inhabit, and embody all that arises with our whole selves. We discover that we cannot negate any part of our journey and that our wounds are not only our allies but are our greatest teachers.

Many years ago, I embarked on a journey of healing. I naively thought that one day I would arrive at a destination, a definitive marker that denoted, now, you are healed, now you are whole.

I have come to realize that there is no ending point.

As we surrender our notion of being healed and becoming whole, we begin to occupy a larger awareness. We are able to release the illusions of scarcity, separation, and limitation that have held us captive. We become a beacon of remembrance, for those who have forgotten that a boundless, innate wisdom already exists within them.

We are no longer dedicated servants to our own fulfillment; we are fulfilled through the act of being in service to something greater than ourselves.

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  1. Janet

    Thank you for sharing ways to be healed. And to heal. These are great insights, having a positive impact on my life and by extension on others.

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