If you’ve worked with me in private sessions over the last two decades, this article is a huge thank you and a sharing of all you’ve taught me. I’m deeply honored by each person who has graced my treatment table and assisted my learning. My clients have always been my greatest teachers, giving me passion to teach others how to heal their lives. The profound and life changing experiences we’ve shared is the reason for this blog and podcast.
Working with clients in private sessions helped me discover how healing really happens in a way that all the classes and certification programs in the world couldn’t have taught me. Direct experience is always the best teacher.
There is a Mayan saying, En Lakesh, that means, “I am another you.” This saying makes me think of my connection to those I’ve been fortunate to work with over the years.
Each client’s transformative process has been a shared journey where we’ve grown together. Now with twenty-three years of private practice under my belt, I’m ready to share my personal healing stories along with the triumphant success stories of my clients. I can’t think of many professions that are as co-creative and symbiotic as mine, which is why I love sharing this work. If therapeutic massage and energy healing is something you’ve been thinking about getting into, I can honestly say that this kind of work continues to be a great joy in my life, keeping me healthy and happy. Not only do I highly recommend a career in hands-on healing, I’m developing online courses and support forums to help healers thrive.
I’ve always strived to make massage therapy and energy healing sessions full of effective and practical ways to enhance daily life. Now, I’m holding the same intention for these online offerings. My heart’s desire is to give you relevant tools and resources that you can take away from each podcast or blog that will make your life better. In this article, I’m going to share some valuable lessons that my clients have taught me over the years…
Lesson #1: Even though I’m a “healer”, I’ve never healed anyone other than myself….
I’ve held the space for others to heal and supported thousands of people to step into their own healing power. We all need external support to move forward in life and we also have to claim responsibility for our own well being.
Here’s one of many paradoxes in the healing world: no one can heal us but ourselves and yet we need each other in order to heal. This may sound contradictory, but it’s true.
No human being on the planet can heal you of any sort of affliction or illness, destructive thought pattern, habit, genetic mutation or dis-ease other than YOU. While you must do your own work, you can also summon the right people, experiences and community to support your unique healing process.
I empower my clients by making sure they understand that they are in the driver’s seat of their healing experience.
All I’m doing during a session is simply facilitating the “homecoming,” when a person is ready to come home to themselves and pay attention to what’s going on inside. Once you have the right support and resources, your body knows what to do and will take it from there.
The right help will fall into your lap at the right time in the oddest ways, if you are open to it. I’ve seen it happen a million times. You will connect with just the right massage therapist, stumble on to the perfect life coach or pick up just the right book at the right time to equip you with the tools you need to assist your body/mind/energy field.
The best thing I can do as a healing practitioner is take good care of myself and lead the way for others to do the same. I make sure to receive regular healing sessions for myself, recharging my own batteries so that I stay well. Since I can’t do my job if I don’t feel good, choosing this career path holds you accountable to your own well being in a powerful way. By focusing my energy on feeling good, I can provide a sacred space and safe environment for those who are brave enough to make positive changes themselves. We each have to do our own healing work.
I felt so happy the day one of my clients said to me, “I need you fix my shoulder…no, wait”, she paused, “I need you to help ME fix my shoulder.” When she said this, I smiled so big because I knew she was really getting it! She was empowered to heal herself and even though she could benefit from my assistance, ultimately she knew that she was the one that would make a difference in how her shoulder felt. I truly believe that the more each person learns, grows and heals their own life, they contribute to the collective healing of the planet. We are way more connected than it may seem. Your healing is my healing and vice versa. Every small thing you do helps us all.
Lesson #2: Self healing at home and seeking professional help from therapists/practitioners are equally important.
Self care at home is the day to day maintenance required for feeling good. Self care and daily energy work are the “brushing and flossing” of spiritual hygiene. Taking care of your body/mind/ emotions/energy field on a daily basis is extremely important. Even though professional healing sessions have great benefit, it’s not sustainable or realistic to think that one energy healing or massage session per month is going to keep you well, if you’re doing nothing on your own in between sessions. The more self care (self massage, energy maintenance, clearing, stress reduction, grounding, nutrition, breathing, stretching, etc), my clients are empowered to do on their own, the more they accomplish during their sessions with me. Taking care of themselves gives them more “bang for their buck” when they pay for professional support, making better use of their time and money. If I waited for someone else to work on me and never did any energy work on myself, I can’t imagine how poorly I would feel. It is up to me every single day to clean myself energetically from all the environmental debris and interactions with other people. Waiting to see an energy healer before you can feel good would be like never brushing or flossing your teeth and having only the dentist clean them on occasion. Can you imagine how yucky and disempowering that would feel? Think of self energy healing the same! My clients utilize me for blind spots, minor touch ups and energetic support, especially if they are undergoing emotional challenges that make it hard to stay clear enough to self heal. But they know that the day to day maintenance is up to them and it’s their job to keep themselves energetically clear and charge their energy “batteries” every day. Clearing your own energy field can become a natural part of your day, like taking a shower.
The more we learn to self heal, the more effective we become for each other and for the world. So contrary to what some may think, teaching clients how to be sustainable with their own healing only creates more loyalty and trust in the therapeutic relationship. Empowering clients to work on themselves gives me a stronger client base of the kind of individuals I want to work with-those who are healing their families at home and making a difference in the world. This teaching process has blessed me with a clientele of strong, powerful, abundant people who know what they want and how to ask for it. Because we humans are not meant to be islands all alone, I find that clients still want to see their healing professionals on a regular basis but it’s because they feel so good, not because they feel bad. A therapist who shows his or her clients how to take care of themselves is priceless. Want to learn more about self healing? I’m working on a course called Be Your Own Healer that will take your self care practice to the next level, so stay tuned for updates!
What Exactly is Healing, Anyway?
Healing is certainly a buzzword and it’s used frequently in our culture. Here’s some of the definitions I’ve found:
Healing: the process of making or becoming healthy, whole or sound again, to make free of injury or disease.
To free from ailment, to bring an end or conclusion, as conflicts between people or groups, usually with the strong implication of restoring former amity. To settle, reconcile.
A Biblical perspective on healing: to make whole or well, forgiveness, purification of an offense.
These are my thoughts on what healing is and what it isn’t, which brings me to Lesson #3…
Lesson #3: My definition of healing has changed.
To me, healing is not some destination or outcome. It is not about conquering or beating a dis-ease. Rather, healing is about achieving a state of empowered understanding about one’s self. Healing can happen when there is a reconciliation or harmonious outcome that results in heightened awareness, responsibility and acceptance.
Throughout my career, I’ve seen illnesses manifest as an opportunity for a wake up call, a relationship reconciliation or a major catalyst for positive change. Because the reasons for illness can be so varied and run the gamut from blessing to curse, healing has a specific meaning for each individual. Even if we utilize a disease to transition to the next phase of our existence (death), that doesn’t mean a healing experience didn’t occur. There are no definitive, black and white explanations for healing.
There’s no set formulas or time lines anyone can use for a specific healing outcome. There are too many variables for healing to make linear sense. I liken the process of healing to a spiral shape, rather than a healing experience being like a straight line where you have a beginning (pain or dis-ease) and an ending (health and well being). There’s no finish line when it comes to healing because it’s all about learning ourselves and figuring out what feeling good means to us personally. In order to become more aware of ourselves and why we have our habits and motives, life takes us in many different directions, teaching us through experiences. We have one of two choices: to be actively involved in re-creating and regenerating ourselves or to succumb to continual degeneration through destructive habits and avoidance. Once you’ve achieved a certain health goal, there’s always another level to attain.The healing process is more about coming to a better understanding of why things are the way they are versus alleviating symptoms.
“You never get it done and you can’t get it wrong.”-Abraham Hicks
We never really get “done” healing ourselves; we just go deeper and discover more aspects of ourselves to love, understand and forgive.
We always have the potential to feel even better and reach new levels of well being and vibrancy. We just have to ask ourselves…how good do we want to feel? Don’t let it discourage you that you will always have more to heal and work on but let it excite you that life will always be interesting. You’ll always have room to grow and discover even greater potential to understand yourself.
Success in terms of healing is all about being empowering ourselves to achieve a state of awareness and enjoy our bodies to the fullest until it is time for a new experience where we no longer have use for our physical body. There’s no need for any of us to feel like we’ve done something “wrong” if we have an illness or pain. Our bodies are complex ecosystems and it is part of nature to have violent upheavals in any ecosystem. All you have to do is to listen and pay attention (without judgement) to what your body’s trying to tell you. As messages from your body are relayed to you through pain or discomfort, stay open to what you can learn about how you’re responding to your environment.
Don’t try to make linear sense out of how and why some people heal and why others don’t because it’s a multilayered, complex and holographic process. Positive results can come from gradual changes over long periods of time OR our body/mind/field can rapidly transform in a very short period of time, if all the variables align. Since we are multi-layered beings, any positive change we make in one area of life will affect every other level (including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual).
I have also learned about what healing is NOT.
True healing isn’t about always feeling good and everything in life being perfect. Sometimes the process of inner conflict must be experienced. The process of healing can be ugly and messy and in some instances, one must go through a “dark night of the soul” before any type of resolution can be achieved. Look around at the conflicts we see on a national and global scale. Our bodies are the microcosm level of that macrocosm.
Sometimes there is turmoil and unrest inside of us as well as in our external world. Inner conflict doesn’t mean we did anything wrong, it’s a natural part of life. We are not designed to always experience one way of being. In this world of duality, we are here to experience positive and negative feelings and situations. Healing does not come from an end result, but rather through acceptance, finding peace with what is. The next time you feel conflict or unrest inside of you, simply be with that feeling so that it can dissipate with acceptance.
Healing is all about having the awareness to KNOW OURSELVES and why we feel the way we do. Understanding ourselves takes time, patience and courage. We must be brave to look within and observe our feelings, reactions and responses in different situations. When you pay attention to how you respond to people and environments, you uncover destructive patterns, thoughts and habits that affect your well being. By simply paying attention to this kind of behavior, we bring old patterns to light and empower natural positive change.
And I have found that we are all way too hard on ourselves when it comes to letting go of old patterns or trying to make a change. The best thing any of us can do is focus more on what makes us feel good and the rest will sort itself out IF we keep showing up to do the work and don’t run away from things that are good for us.
I encourage you to find out what healing means for you. Write down your own definition and create some measurable and attainable healing goals to move you forward.
It’s Never Just Physical. Our Minds and Emotions Affect Our Physical Bodies.
I’ve learned when it comes to pain and dis-ease, it’s rarely just about a certain body part. There are always mental and emotional aspects associated with anything going on in the physical body.
I began my career in massage therapy when I was 21 years old, wide eyed and innocent, in a chiropractic clinic in North Carolina. I came to that job with a very narrow and limited set of beliefs about how life works. The chiropractor would bring me in the room with the patient and explain to me what part of the spine she was treating, directing me as to what parts of the body to focus on during the massage session. Then, she would look up a body part, where the patient had pain, in a little blue book called Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. Over and over again, I was astounded as she would read the emotional and mental correlations that were associated with the particular body part the patient was having trouble with; it was like she was reading that particular person’s life story out of this strange little book. And I really knew what was going on with these patients emotionally and mentally because they would tell me about their lives during their massage session. This was my introduction into Mind/Body Healing. Since then, I’ve made it my life’s work to understand the connection between how our bodies feel and what’s going on with our minds and emotions.
Resources for Mind/Body/Emotional Healing:
Heal Your Body by Louise Hay
Messages From The Body by Michael Lincoln, PhD.
Lesson #4: Emotions aren’t negative and they weren’t meant to be removed.
We all hold emotions in certain parts of our body. I’ve always been able to discern and feel the energy pattern where clients hold emotions in their bodies. Even though I have this gift of high sense perception during my sessions, my approach to working with emotions was misguided. I got the concept of emotional release wrong for a long time. I would work tirelessly to clear certain emotions out of their body. My attempts to help clients “release” anger, fear, grief or shame from their bodies were unsuccessful.
I’ve since learned that these emotions are an important part of who we are and they aren’t meant to be eradicated; they belong with us. These emotions are alive, aware and responsive parts that want to serve us. They have the opportunity to grow up and evolve, just like we do. If our emotions are to work with us and assist us, they must be communicated with so they can learn to become more helpful.
During many sessions, I do medical intuitive work where I communicate directly with a specific organ. Since each organ is aware and responsive as I mentioned, sometimes I’m able to communicate with the consciousness of that particular organ during a healing session.
I will never forget the session where my client’s organs taught me how to be more effective in working with emotions. I could see that this client had a great deal of anger in and around her liver area. She also held a lot of fear in the energy field surrounding her kidneys. As I tried to remove the emotions from those particular areas of her body, something extraordinary happened: her liver and her kidneys spoke to me and taught me something new. First of all, her liver communicated to me that the anger wanted to become personal power and that it did not need to be removed. I was astounded and humbled. Her kidneys later expressed that the energy of fear wanted to transform into intuition, if I could just explain to the client that she could work with these emotions and organs to evolve herself.
After that, I approached the emotions stored in the body with much respect and consideration. These parts of us are just waiting to grow up and be worked with whenever we are ready to develop a connection.
What confirmation I have received after all these years of looking at Louise Hay’s little blue book. My work has transcended from simply looking at the emotional and mental root cause of the organ’s dis-ease to developing a higher thought pattern and emotional response for that area of the body. Rather than emotional release, this becomes mental and emotional development. It’s so exciting that we have the opportunity to continue to grow and reach new levels of awareness. In healing work, you never stop learning and that keeps me coming back for more.
Lesson #5: Healing is All About Relationships.
Our state of well being is directly affected by our relationships and how we process the events in our lives. We can all trace physical problems to a lack of ease in some relationship in our lives. Whether it’s our relationship to our own body, to nature, to our Divine Source (God), or to each other, money, etc., blockages and pain manifest in our body when one or more of our relationships is not in harmony.
Our relationships are the root of dis-ease because thoughts and are emotions are triggered by relationships. In ancient Hawaii, healers called Kahunas would treat someone who was ill or in pain by bringing in the entire family together for healing work. They understood that each individuals’s overall state of health was affected by the collective group, the people that person hung around the most. In many cases, Hawaiian healers would work with the entire family in order for the dis-ease of one family member to resolve. These advanced healers would also address the sick person’s finances because they knew that each person’s financial health was directly related to their physical health.
Consider the word: dis-ease. When someone receives a massage or energy healing session, the most beneficial part of the session is assisting the client’s body and mind into a state of ease. Imagine working with an entire family to bring a state of harmony into home life the way ancient Hawaiians did. This approach could alleviate so much chronic strain and tension! I can attest to the fact that many of my clients have brought profound healing into their relationships and families by simply working on healing themselves. If one person shifts his or her vibration and begins to work on self healing, the entire family changes whether they realize it or not. We only need to work on healing our own lives in order to affect big change. It’s truly miraculous what can be accomplished when one person decides to wake up and make positive changes that affect everyone around them.
Lesson #6: Clients heal faster when they pay attention and tune in to their bodies.
I see three consistent traits in people who heal their lives: they take time for self care, they have faith in something bigger than themselves and they communicate with their bodies. In my practice, clients who talk to and check in with their organs, acting as their own medical intuitive, are typically able to resolve physical issues quicker and their healing turnaround times have been much faster. I teach my clients how to be their own medical intuitive but many of them knew how to do so naturally and intuitively on their own before working with me. I’m currently developing an online course that will support do-it-yourself medical intuitive work.
People who are looking for someone else to heal them typically don’t get well or find a solution to their dis-ease or problem. It may not seem like it, but every time you are mindful about your body and energy field, every time you visualize feeling better or changing a certain part of your body, every affirmation you say, every positive thought you think, every time you express kindness toward yourself or another, you accelerate not only your own personal healing process, but the collective healing process of mankind.
Lesson #7: Miracles happen all the time, in and out of the healing room.
I’ve seen lots of miracles and I’m talking about real, legit healing miracles. Profound transformation is just one breath or stretch away for us all, waiting to liberate us. These healing miracles are hiding in the simplest moments of our lives. Precious experiences await in the spaces of time we claim for self care, the places where we allow ourselves to just be quiet and pay attention to what’s going on inside. This is the greatest gift of being on the treatment table. There’s nothing you have to “do” at that moment and that’s when the good stuff happens. I’ve been blessed to witness to healing miracles that have stretched my limits of what I believed was possible. I’ve watched clients find freedom, forgiveness and peace simply by letting go of things they’d been holding onto for a long time that they didn’t even know were there. I’ve seen chronic conditions disappear right in front of my eyes. I’ve seen men and women drop incredible amounts of weight in short periods of time when they discovered how to feel safe and free in their own bodies. I’ve seen forgiveness happen that changed the course of entire families. These miracles often occurred on the massage table in moments of stillness when the client could FEEL forgiveness in his or her body, instead of just thinking about what forgiveness is like. What I’ve seen first hand has given me a lot of hope for what’s possible for all of us. I’m working on compiling a collection of my client’s healing stories because I think they will inspire others to see what’s possible.
Lesson #8: None of us will make a positive change until we’re darn good and ready.
None of us will change a habit or pattern (no matter how bad it makes us feel) until we are ready on all levels, from the inside. Nothing anyone does or says will make that change happen quicker or faster in someone else. We can be aware of it, talk about it, read about it, think about it, but until it’s your time to heal something or if you’re holding on to a destructive pattern for some reason, anyone can tell you until they are blue in the face but you’re not going to change it. If you want to help someone, you can share what works for you, but then you have to be willing to let go and allow them to have their space to resolve it in their own time frame.
I have had clients that would come to me for years feeling awful, in lots of pain, and didn’t want to listen about changing what they were eating or trying some different strategies in their relationships. Sometimes it would take decades before something would be said to them in just the right way that they could actually wake up and hear it or something that they read or watched would just spark them and light them up to change. It could be all the same things I’d been saying to them for years, but the difference was THEY WERE FINALLY READY TO HEAR IT and they could make a change.
One day you might be on the massage table, just enjoying massage or energy work and all of a sudden, you’re transported to a memory in your childhood or somewhere deep in your past. Never discount these moments as trivial because the body is letting go of old files and programs. Realize that these things that have been stored in your body can be cleared when the time is right and it just might be time to let these old patterns go.
I’ve learned that we each have our aha moments at our own pace and it doesn’t matter how much we hear it from someone else, we get it when it is time to get it. This freed me up to share information with my clients and love ones but not be attached to the outcome of what they do with that information.
Lesson #9: We are still recovering from our conditioning that someone else is in control of our well being.
We are finally starting to release that old destructive program that there’s someone else responsible for our well being, whether it’s a therapist, a physician or a priest. I share with the people I work with how they can be their own best healer while still benefiting from sessions with me or anyone else. I could never be as good a healer to them as they can be to themselves. Being your own best healer requires hard work-practicing awareness and taking time to get to know your own body. It’s not a quick fix by any means. Health care professionals are so important and we need them but they were never meant to do it all for us. They are not with us every day to manage us and make sure we eat good, get exercise, nurture our thoughts and emotions, etc. so they certainly can’t fix it all when the accumulation of no self care catches up. I want to teach people how to have their own thriving self care practice. Your body/mind/energy field is your very own kingdom that must be managed and governed. So…without further ado, allow me to coronate YOU as sovereign over the kingdom that consists of your physical body, your energy body, your mind, your heart, your emotions, your DNA, your dreams, your thoughts…yes, all of this belongs to you and you are in control. You have been entrusted to rule this kingdom. What kind of a ruler have you been so far? When you really get this concept, things in your life and body begin to change in a big way.
Lesson #10: Unconditional Love On Treatment Table Is Real.
Something really sacred happens when the healing session begins. When a client completely lets go of the roles they typically play in the world, they become the best version of themselves with no masks. It’s vulnerable and raw and scary to fully surrender on the table but that’s where the healing happens. At this point in my career, I have put my hands on thousands of people, from celebrities to homeless people, from vibrantly healthy triathletes and bodybuilders to those in the final stages of AIDS and cancer, priests and prisoners alike, all precious and sacred to me. The massage table is a great equalizer. There’s no barriers or differences, there’s only unconditional positive regard. I get to see people at their very best because I see how beautiful they can be when the walls of protection come down and they don’t need to play a role for me. This is why I love bodywork and energy work so much. I love how revealing and transformative it is to truly meet ourselves on the table. Having time and permission to just breathe and be aware of what’s going on inside is so valuable. Even with people I didn’t really care about from a personality perspective, I can’t help but love them when they’re on my table. I think back to a really difficult landlord I once had. Everything about how I felt toward her changed the minute I put my hands on her. If you want to shift how you feel about someone, lay hands on them and open your heart. You’ll be amazed at how you can see them with fresh eyes because you can witness the beauty of their soul, even if all the layers of conditioning, fear and defense have made them not so attractive on the surface. Massage gets you into what I call “the real,” which is where I like to be when I interact with people. In this line of work, sometimes you end up knowing your clients better than anyone else knows them in the entire world. Each one of them is beautiful to me.
Every session is unique, which is why healing work never gets boring. Each person’s body is always teaching us both something new in each session.
I still love this work so much and I’ll always want to do it.
I like the shared benefit of bodywork and energy work. It’s not like one person is depleted and one is refreshed at the end; both parties have received a healing experience. I think this work has kept me young and feeling good and that’s why I want to teach others how to thrive while serving in this way. I’m ready to take this work into homes and communities so that every individual can feel empowered to take their healing into their own hands.
My work is to:
- empower everyone to heal themselves on a daily basis in simple and effective ways
- provide resources, support and professional development for healers of every kind.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope you’ll check out the podcast, too!
So now I want to hear from you..do you have a healing story to tell? What’s been your experience of bodywork and energy work, whether on my table or someone else’s? If you’ve had a profound healing experience related to massage or energy work, I want to hear about it! Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below.