God bless Martha Beck. A Ph.D. from Harvard, she freely uses M-words like "magic," "mysticism" and "miracles." Beck is a life coach who writes for Oprah magazine, who happens to be a lesbian with serious balls. In her book, Steering by Starlight, she's not afraid to admit, "I think we may be living in the middle of a shaman population explosion."
I wholeheartedly agree.
A shaman is often referred to as a healer. They have the ability to "see" visions, travel between physical and spiritual realms, and transform energy. As children, shamans often suffered serious trauma or illnesses that they had to overcome. As an intuitive healer and coach, I have noticed a meteoric rise in the healing arts. It's as if all the current-day shamans are stepping out of the closet and saying "Here I am. I have a calling, and I'm ready to get to it!" An exorbitant amount of people are realizing that they are naturally interested in healing, or have special gifts in helping people.
Energy healing, once considered a new-age practice, is becoming a mainstream concept. In healing, people often refer to channeling "chi" or "universal energy" to help people clear energetic blocks. Many people associate this practice with Reiki, a system of natural healing that uses universal energy and the laying of hands to help people alleviate spiritual, physical or mental suffering. There are many forms of healing, however, ranging from shamanism to Chinese and ayurveda medicine. Alternative methods of healing are finally being recognized by institutions as an effective way to improve health. At UCLA, hospitals now offer mindfulness, meditation and qigong. Healing has become new medicine.
What is healing, exactly? Like trying to describe God or love, it's hard to talk about, and better to have a personal experience of it. When you experience it, it feels deeply nurturing and peaceful. The first time I experienced healing, it felt like coming home. The basic definition of healing is the process of becoming whole. People use different words to describe healing, like: presence, love and consciousness. Healing is less about fixing yourself than it is a practice of letting go. It helps you release blocks -- physical, emotional, and mental blocks and behaviors that keep you limited in your potential and true health. For example, you might suddenly realize that certain people in your life don't make sense any more, or you may lose interest in certain foods or activities you used to enjoy. In healing you often receive clarity and insight about your life path.
Healing moves you closer to your true, authentic self. It helps you experience greater peace, balance and freedom. It is also instrumental in helping you live your true potential.
How do you know you're a healer?
Here a few signs that you could be a modern-day shaman:
1) You're sensitive. This includes being sensitive to your environment such as sounds, energy and the people in your surroundings. You can be easily overwhelmed. You prefer nature, as well as quiet and calm spaces.
2) You like being alone. You're introverted by nature. Being in large crowds is draining and overwhelming for you. When you're alone, you feel like you can charge up your batteries and regain your energy.
3) You're intuitive. You have a good sense of how things will turn out, and people often to turn to you when they have a problem. You can easily anticipate people needs and wants. You often have dreams and visions.
4) You have a big heart. You're empathic and compassionate. You can easily feel other people's pain. People often feel better or comforted in your presence, and feel safe in sharing their life secrets with you.
5) You are aware of energy. You see and sense the world through a different lens. You know that the world is more than just what you see, and you're able to look beyond the surface level of situations and exchanges. Your abilities can also make you sensitive to negative and positive energy.
6) You enjoy helping others. You genuinely enjoy being of service to other people. You may already be in a role of helping others as a practitioner, such as a nurse, chaplain or therapist. It brings you deep meaning and joy to help others.
7) The word "healing" excites you. You don't know why, but you're attracted to healing and want to learn more. You know you have a calling and have a feeling that healing can help you explore more deeply your gifts and talents.
And if you're reading this blog post, you're probably a healer, or possibly a reluctant one at that. If you're wondering where to start, here are a few suggestions:
1) Try healing practices to help you cultivate and develop your gifts. This includes gentle yoga, qigong and meditation.
2) Experience healing. Explore different healing methodologies and healers in your area. Find a healer who resonates with you, and speak to him/her about how you can learn more.
3) Read a few books on healing. Caroline Myss, Martha Beck and Barbara Brennan all have great books on healing, intuition and life coaching.
Welcome to the realm of the unknown where the m-words are happily accepted and normal. With healing, you will often experience more flow, synchronicity and miracles. But let me not mislead you, the healing path is not an easy one. It is often deeply arduous, unearthing pain and wounds that keep you from being free. Through healing, you can often experience emotional upheaval, exhaustion and life changes. Healing is a never-ending journey of self-discovery.
Rumi said, "The wound is the place where the Light enters you." Healing allows light to come through you and be a light unto the world. When you heal, you help the whole world heal.
If you're in LA, come join us at the Hill St. Center in Santa Monica. Every Monday evening at 7 p.m. we practice Sura Flow, healing and intuitive prayer.
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For more on the spirit, click here.