So many of the healers, coaches, and elders around me knew what was coming. They knew what I had in me. They thought I was more talented than I believed. They knew me before I knew myself.
Every coach and healer I have met on my healing journey believed in me more than I believed in myself. I didn't know what I had, who I was but they knew. And they helped me to believe that I too was a healer. That I could not only support others in their healing but I could also heal myself as well. I need that, I needed people to love me more than I loved myself and to see me more than I saw myself.
I needed people who could witness my past trauma and history and not judge me. I needed to be held without conditions or people wanting something in return especially when I couldn't hold myself. I needed to see myself in them when my story made me feel invisible. I needed the affirmation, the healing, the holding of hands, even the destruction and co-dependency that happens when hurt people try to heal together. I needed that safe space to feel the hurt and pain and heartbreak only little girls know without the shame and blame. I needed to lose it all and I need them to help me find it all back. I needed the pep talks and I needed the accountability, I needed the truth and I also needed the compassion that comes from healing with people who have been where you have been. I needed the, you got this sis, I am proud of you, you can have it all, you are not your past, you can get through this, it's okay, you're almost there, remember who you are, we got your back. I needed everything they gave me and more because I was afraid of the healer in me.
I was so afraid of the dark and the light. I was fcking scared to death of healing things I didn't even know needed healing in me. But more importantly, I didn't know it but I was more scared of myself.
Healing is not something that the human mind understands it is in fact something that you are.
When I became a spiritual organizer and social justice healer I was just a kid that was heartbroken. In fact, all the sisters I have encountered since 1999 made a connection through the same pain. When your gut is born out of trauma so is your healing. We didn't know it then but we had so much courage. It took everything we had to create sisterhood and healing, trust and love where none existed.
The healers in our lives knew us before we knew ourselves.
She knew me. Her haunting words sent me on a journey deep into myself. I have had many mentors and elders cross my spiritual path. They have come and gone from my birth to their death I have met angels upon angels in my travels. Each one has offered me an opportunity for healing, truth, reconciliation, justice, magic, and ritual. They offered me belonging. Belonging to something, a tribe, a spiritual clandestine community, a sacred circle. For the most part, they have held me, protected, and guided me. But some I outgrew, some made me question this whole thing called healing and spirituality. Our egos battled, spirits lost. To some, I am a disappointment to others I m their perfect masterpiece.
Sojourner, however, was special. As my coach, she knew me before I knew myself.
There were days as a spiritual organizer and healer that I said to myself I would not participate in another ritual or another invocation I didn't want to be a part of another sisterhood or healing circle. I was exhausted of so much healing, so much self-love, and self-reflection, so much taking responsibility for myself when the people and world around me were so inauthentic and out of integrity. No one was taking responsibility for their actions, no one was being held accountable. In my healing, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. What am I doing here, trying to be a healer and a coach for what, for who? Why am I trying to make my way in a spiritual tradition whose roots are in an ancestral burial ground I have to die and bury myself to uncover?
"You know", were the last words Sojourner said to me before she passed away. She was my spiritual teacher, coach, and friend for over 20 years. "You are ready - stop looking outside of yourself for the answers". A couple of weeks before she passed I was rubbing her feet. They smelled of rotten flesh but I didn't care. I had done this before, many times before to all the elders, mentors, and women I have supported in their healing. Many had come through my professional life, many of whom came through my home that I don't talk to today and many my mother took care of and showed me how to honor no matter what they did or how they treated me.
But Sojourner, it was an honor to clean her feet. To kneel and be at her service She never gave up on me, she wanted me to become who I am. She knew something I didn't,. She knew that I was ready to know.
To know me, to discern for myself. That has been my journey through COVID. Those words are the building blocks for my future as a healer, for my next steps as a coach this 2022. I didn't know it then but those words were going to be my healing and salvation through social isolation, quarantine, uprisings, and revolutions.
In retrospect, what I have learned about healing in the past two years is that it's painful and isolating. Healing is not for the faint of hearts or for pendejas.
Healing needs an elders circle, a protection circle, a recovery circle. Healing from organizational traumas and crises, leadership gone ego, oppressive mentorships, and power over, straight-on violent and abusive collective, movements, and sisterhoods needs sacred circles around them to hold, recover, and transform.
But during social isolation, as a healer, I had to learn and my community had to learn to be extra creative in our spirituality and healing when we couldn't access our elders, coaches, healing, or sacred circles. When we couldn't access our healing supplies at local stores or botanicas during a pandemic. I had to look back to everyone that I learned from, that taught me. I gave reverence, I forgave, and let go.
I know, these are the most powerful and scariest words I have ever heard in my spiritual training. Still, as a healer and coach, those words haunt me. They paralyze me at night when I face my fears in the dark by myself when I want to call a friend that is no longer available or get counsel from a mentor/coach I no longer have access to.
I know - I know who you are is what everyone who hires a healer or coach needs to hear. I see you, I know who you are.
I know, are the words that she constantly whispered in my ear through COVID and up to this very moment as I struggle to write this piece. Get back to your altar and you will know your next steps she tells me from the oceans and heavens and through other angels she sends my way.
But do I know? when I still struggle to not look outside myself for acknowledgment or affirmation?
Never forget your altar she said. Always come back to your altar. There is where the answers will come from. At the altar is where you will know.
Your coach and healer is your altar.
I wish she could have met me now, she who I have become. The She, who she knew I was always going to be.
When I was given her holy sacrament and told that it would now be on my altar and be my responsibility after being with her in ritual for over 30 years; I knew exactly what I needed to do. All of a sudden I became she who knows. I started to see what she saw in me.
My offering to you this summer: YOU KNOW!
My affirmation for you this summer: I know. I am my own altar. I have everything I need within myself.
As we struggle to come up for air after social isolation and quarantine. WE KNOW!
As we go back to offices, our roles in families and try to resume a "normal" life or go back to routine. WE KNOW!
As we start to remember who we were before the pandemic and think about what we want to keep or let go of about ourselves. I KNOW
Your Traveling Healer,
P.S. I don't know about you but this article has left me asking myself
What do I want in a healer or coach that I never thought about before?
What about me do they need to know before they meet me?
What healing do I need that a healer or coach has never offered me before?
What needs do I have now that no healer or coach is addressing?
I'm looking forward to reading your answers.....
|Dedicated to SoJourner McCauley