The Healer's Job

I've long resisted the epitaph, "healer".

Maybe it comes closer to describing what I do than say, "truck driver", or "bank teller", but it's always felt a bit presumptuous and misleading to me. I mean, I do stuff that I suppose can be described as a healing art, but honestly..? I don't really know how much credit I can or should take, if any, for whatever positive effects come out of my sessions with people.

And even though shiatsu, like other modalities, is taught as a thing we do on another person's body in order to effect a certain change, we do so with the understanding that the real healing power is already within that body. It's just a matter of coaxing it into action.

In my three and a half years of practice, I've pondered this from a variety of angles, as I've tried to really get a sense of what it is I'm doing, how and where to set my intentions, and define for myself what exactly my role is in all of this.

Even though I have a proficiency in knowing what points and meridians to press on for what issue, as helpful as that is, I'm still constantly searching for what the bigger picture is.

I've written previously about my ideas on the healing power of communication ... that being the heart of what we really do as 'healers'. Add to that some thoughts along the lines of 'we never really are ill, or imbalanced', or 'to see ourselves, or in a 'healer's' case, to see our clients as already whole and perfect' ... our job then, merely, is to remind the body of its perfection.

This perspective fascinated me, as it implies so much about the way our 'stories' effect us and our well-being... our stories about our physical, mental and emotional states... all of which can be rewritten. Whether or not I really understood how and if shiatsu does what it says it does mattered less than whether I could see this body under my hands living a different story, and then somehow impart this knowledge to the receiver. I get more comfortable with that role for myself all the time.

And then, over the weekend, I came across this quote:

"The healer's job has always been to release something not understood, to remove obstructions (demons, germs, despair) between the sick patient and the force of life driving obscurely toward wholeness."~ "The Body Electric", Robert O. Becker, MD

...resulting in a lovely "Aha!" moment.

As I understand it, I, we, serve the purpose of removing obstructions... the blocks, the blind spots, the tensions.. whatever it is that we can see through our given professional lens that the receiver cannot ... that which is keeping them from experiencing their own wholeness and perfection.

Because sometimes.. most of the time, really... we just cannot see those things for ourselves. We need a mirror, a sounding board, a means of seeing through our own stories, bringing awareness to our stuck places, and ideally, dispelling them, or at least making peace with them.

All humans have the capacity for doing this. We do it all the time. For those of us in a healing profession, we just deliberately develop this skill (complete with certification)-- choosing a particular type of mirror (modality) and honing our ability to interpret the story we hear into information about the 'stuckness', which we then address.

But most important, and this is what's hitting me now, is our responsibility to cultivate clearness and self-awareness ...  being able to discern what's their story and what's our own, recognizing that our clients' path is theirs alone, and it's our job to remain compassionate, yet detached from the outcome.

Okay, so that gives me a more palatable role I can identify with .. that of 'illuminator', or 'facilitator', rather than 'healer'. It also motivates me more to grow as a more effective conduit for grace and compassion.. to make my own well-being a higher priority so I can better serve my clients without all my own crap getting in the way.

But wait.... here's the punchline:

The very belief that there is anything 'wrong' with my clients, and that I have any control over that is the bottom-line baggage I carry, and quite possibly the ultimate disservice I do for them.

And this, my friends, will be the subject of my next post.

Care for more?

The Heart of Bodywork

Discomfort Creates Awareness

Perfect as We Are