DIY Shamanic Healing On The Couch
Shamans say stuck emotional patterns can contribute to illness. This is a story about something that happened recently to me or something I made happen. I’m sharing it because it felt so healing, and really, anyone can do it, as long as you have an open mind, and a couch. I have Lyme disease. There is no cure for Lyme, so this means I spend a fair amount of time resting and reading about healing modalities. Lately, I have been reading Power up your Brain, by David Perlmutter (neuroscientist) and Alberto Villoldo (Shamanic healer).
The book describes how emotional patterns, if unprocessed, can get stuck in a person’s “light body”, or brain circuitry. Held, unconscious patterns make our brains less functional, and our bodies less capable of healing. Traditional Shamans enter a dream-like state where they are able to see peoples’ light bodies. The Shamans extract these held patterns, freeing up the person’s capacity to self-heal. Why can’t I just do that myself, I thought, after reading about a Shamanic session. What the heck? I had been feeling very symptomatic and needed something to distract me anyway.
Winging It: My Home Shamanic Journey
I laid down on my couch and began to relax. I am a long time meditator, so it is easy for me to slip into a very relaxed and open state, where dream-like imagery will arise and pass away without my actually falling asleep.
I could feel a heaviness around my eyes and through my heart. Instead of labeling the feelings Lyme, I wondered if they were perhaps an old emotional pattern, bogging down my system. As I observed the energy, it took a shape – a grey cloud with tentacles extending into my head and my heart. It looked like a monster, and it felt like fear and grief.
I allowed myself to drop into the cloud. Imagery began to pour through me, memories. I saw my parents’ house where I grew up; the back deck, the cherry tree. I felt the summer air, smelled the flowers blooming. I was about 20 years old. My mom was sitting on the deck, my old cat was roaming around with her tail in the air. It was a period of time, one summer, when I was very happy, and felt supremely safe, without even knowing such a thing could be lost.
I let myself bathe in the beautiful memory of this time. It was as though I were right there again. I could breathe the warm air, feel the trees and flowers around me, feel my mother’s easy presence. More than anything, I could feel the happiness and safety that permeated my body; a buoyancy, a joy, and confidence.
Feeling is Healing
A few seasons after this lovely summer, my boyfriend of the time and I split, my parents sold that house and moved, and I moved away as well, to a much more urban environment. Starting a new life was lonely and difficult. I was surrounded by concrete. I missed my family, I missed that house, I missed the trees I had grown up with, the greenery and flowers. But at the time I was too stubborn to let myself feel all that.
Lying on my couch at age 44, I let myself cry for the first time over the loss of my childhood home. As I laid there and cried, I was able to peel the monstrous grey tentacles out of my eyes, out of my heart. The cloud slowly came out, turned hard and solid. I dropped it on the floor. It looked like part of an auto body. “I don’t need you anymore,” I told it. I cried for a good hour, and when I got up my symptoms were gone. I won’t be so bold as to say Lyme can be cured this way. But I will say that the Shamans are right, that we do store emotion in our bodies, over years and years, until we are ready to feel them. After my DIY Shamanic experience, I feel freer – as though I can better inhabit the present moment.
We are All Healers
I wish this kind of emotional intelligence were taught in school. I wish the mystery of our dreams, and our brains’ power, were explored starting in preschool when we are in a dream-like state most of the time anyway. Healing is our birthright. It is not just the province of doctors and experts. We carry tremendous healing power within us all the time, it is only as far away as the couch.
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