As healers, our roles are pretty clear: offer tools and light the way so clients can step into their own path of healing. Sometimes that is very easy to do, but not always. There are times when we find ourselves working with people who are in the middle of the real meat and bones of it – perhaps it is a client who is entering the death cycle or someone who has a close friend or family member doing the same. Sometimes we are working with people who need an extraordinary amount of support because the path they are currently navigating is anything but smooth.
It is in those times, with those clients that we healers need to remember the most important rule, that of detachment. It is the clients’ job to do the work; we are merely facilitators and space holders. In short, we are not on the path, we are merely companions along the way.
Ok, that’s a deep lesson for a healer to learn, and hopefully we learn it early in our practice so we don’t take on that which is not ours to own. This lesson is one stop along the way of what I’ve come to call “The Healer’s Path.”
What does the Healer’s path look like? Is it straight, crooked, wide, or narrow? Does it have impediments requiring a creative approach to move forward? Does it have company along the way or is it a solitary trek through the dark night of the soul? Is it some combination of all of that and more? Certainly it is personal, meaning that it is different for each of us. Teachers will appear from time to time to guide and inform us. What happens if we are firmly on the path but find ourselves bogged down for some reason? Where do Healers go to re-group, rejuvenate, renew? We have a fabulous toolbox to offer our clients, but what do we offer ourselves?
Worst of all, sometimes we can get so mired that there’s not enough objectivity to remember everything in our toolbox. It’s one of the reasons physicians do not treat themselves or family members – it is nearly impossible to be detached enough to assess ourselves when we are in a crisis state.
It is in those moments that I advocate removing one’s self from whatever situation is causing the stress, even for a few days, so that one has a chance to step back, take a deep breath and regroup. If time away isn’t possible for budgetary or logistical reasons, there are other tools we can use, such as meditation, for at least a mental break.
If meditation isn’t working, remember that it is almost impossible to make a cup of tea and not have that be an active meditative practice. Mindfully selecting the herbs, preparing the water, selecting which cup to drink from and sitting quietly for a few moments can be a brief but necessary oasis in an otherwise chaotic and stressful day. Select whichever heart/mind herbs speak to you – those herbs that help integrate what our heart is telling us with what our mind is saying. Wood betony (Stachys officinalis), Gotu kola (Centella asiactica), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and Mimosa (Albizzia julibrissin) are a few examples that come to mind.
Having a network of fellow healers to call is also imperative. A fellow healer who is also a dear friend can often serve as a guiding light through our own dark passage. They can and will bring their objectivity and knowledge into play when circumstances are too stressful to allow one to heal one’s self. This is why communities like Herbstalk are so crucial to the Healer on his/her path.
But most importantly, we need to remember that we are lighting the way for others’ journeys. We are not on those journeys ourselves. Their burdens are not ours, and what a relief that reminder can be!
Join us this June 1st and 2nd for the next fabulous Herbstalk event so you can re-visit your Healer tribe!