At fifteen years sober, I thought I hit the jackpot, when I landed a director’s position at a treatment center, making more money than I made in my entire life. For a woman in her fifties, I was in great shape, drinking green juices, doing yoga and hiking whenever I could. Although my deepest desire was to write a book, I found myself way too busy to actually sit down and do it. When out of nowhere, I started having disturbing neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and severe anxiety.
Afraid I may have a brain tumor, I rushed to my doctor, a Filipino woman, who looked like she had just graduated from high school.
“It’s probably nothing but I’ll order an MRI of the brain just in case,” she said.
Two weeks later, I was back in her exam room when she came in, her brow creased, as she studied the pages of my chart. I was imagining worse case scenarios and my stomach was all tied up in knots. I shifted nervously on the exam table.
“Well, Wendy, you should be grateful all your tests came back normal,” she said, with a dismissive tone.
I paused and looked at her. What was she saying exactly? That since nothing could be found in the MRI then nothing was wrong with me?
“Maybe I’d be more grateful if it didn’t feel like I was being stabbed in the head with an icepick,” I countered.
“I can put you on some antidepressants…” she said, “that’s been known to help.”
For the record, I don’t object to antidepressants, in fact, I was working at a place that gave them out like candy; however, I had come to rely on my intuition and it was telling me I needed to stay present. The only problem was when it came to my health, my head got louder than my intuition.
“No thanks, I don’t want any of your pills,” I said, matching her tone.
After months of searching the web for answers, doing radical cleanses, talking to friends, changing my diet, I was frustrated because nothing seemed to alleviate the symptoms. That’s about the time I made an appointment to see an energy worker, by the name of Shari Geitzenauer. However, as soon as I did, I started having second thoughts. What could a healer possibly do for me? I need conclusive diagnostic testing, not some woo-woo, new age crap. But I was desperate and kept my appointment.
As I walked up the dirt driveway, I was met by Shari who is not at all what you would expect. She was beautiful with, exotic features, olive skin and a curvy, voluptuous figure.
“Why don’t we have some tea first?” She said, leading me inside her small home nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Sitting down in an oversized chair, I was greeted by her friendly black cat.
“Oh, that’s Nuni,” Shari said, handing me a cup of herbal tea.
After small talk I asked Shari how she started doing this kind of work.
“I never thought I would be a healer but it chose me,” she said.
Shari explained, that when she was in her twenties, she had a successful modeling career that took her all over the world. Later, she moved to L.A to try acting, but things didn’t go exactly as she planned, when she found herself in the grips of her own intense, emotional breakdown.
It was during this time that Shari heard about a man called Papa Joe, a Maori healer who would come to the United States to work on people. The Maoris, natives of New Zealand, use deep bodywork to heal what they refer to as a spiritual sickness.
“When I first met Papa Joe,” Shari said. “I knew immediately I was in the presence of a highly evolved human being. He knew just by looking at me that my energy was blocked.”
After Shari’s first session with Papa Joe she was a believer, and soon began an apprenticeship studying the Maori’s ancient method of healing until he passed away in 2006.
“Shall we get started?” Shari asked, suddenly standing up.
I followed her into a small room in the back where I laid down on a massage table. Water trickled from a small fountain, while chimes clinked softly in the breeze outside.
Shari turned on soothing flute music while I closed my eyes and willed myself to keep an open mind.
“Breathe,” Shari said, placing her hands on my feet. “Just take a deep, deep breath.”
Although skeptical, I could feel my body start to relax.
After a few moments Shari came along side me and put one hand on my stomach, the other on my heart.
“Your heart is broken,” she said. “It feels like it’s encased inside a hard shell.”
OK, so I suppose I should tell you that besides having a traumatic childhood, I don’t think I ever got over my husband leaving me after twenty years. But who does? You just learn to live with it, right?
Shari pressed firmly on my sternum and her hands seemed really hot, like they just came straight out of an oven.
I squirmed a bit and thought my fight or flight response would get the best of me, but in spite of myself, I didn’t run. After, a few minutes, I started to feel a blackness erupting across my entire chest and I started to cry. Softly at first but before long I was sobbing and moaning as tears felt like they were being pulled out of my sockets by the fistfuls.
“Breathe all the way into your heart,” Shari said, softly.
As I did this, it just made me cry even more.
“What’s wrong with me? I asked.
“Deep seated fear is being released,” Shari said, comforting me.
Yup. That’s right folks, this tough girl has been afraid most of her life and without alcohol, all my emotions were coming to the surface, but this time I had nothing to numb them out.
What I believe now is that while my soul was trying to speak to me, it got louder when fear blocked its flow. I had tried talk therapy but that only went so far. I needed to release childhood trauma that was locked inside my body.
To quote Rumi, a poet and a scholar of the 13th Century, who said, “Our task is not to seek love, but merely find the barriers within ourselves that we have built up against it”. And while I am still a work in progress, Shari was able to facilitate a healing, so profound in nature, that I was able to let some of my barriers go.