New Energetic Pathways to Healing
New Energetic Pathways to Healing
“The virtue of the universe is wholeness. It regards all things as equal.” -Tao Te Ching
One of the greatest insights I have learned in studying Somatic Experiencing, a naturalistic, trauma resolution method came when my teacher reminded us to trust in peoples’ innate capacities to heal, that this was, in fact, essential to the healing process. His suggestion has deeply influenced my work with survivors of sexual violence and trauma, whether through yoga or Somatic Experiencing, additionally, it bolstered my faith in my own capacity to transform my own trauma:
“A fundamental key to this work is recognizing your clients already know how to heal. The body knows how to make its own protective scars in order to safeguard the integrity of the physical body. The mind does this as well. Hold this knowing for your clients until they believe it themselves, from within.” (Joshua Sylvae)
What changes when healing arts practitioners apply this line of thinking to their interactions with their clients? What in-built resources become available for the client? What (impossible) pressure to “heal” another person may the practitioner finally be released from? In this empowering space, how and where does the presence and trust of the healer meet the unique skills and sensitivities of the client to co-create the natural resolution of trauma?
Reiki practitioner, Hypnotist, and The Breathe Network Board member, Rachel Durchslag, highlights for us the gentle way a practitioner might reveal the resilience that their clients hold inside by simply believing in and mirroring their capacity to be free from the residue of trauma. When we approach survivors, and truly all people this way, with a level of confidence in their own ability to direct, participate in and even guide the healing process, we restore the self-direction and self-trust that trauma attempts to steal. This is a reframe on healing where the healer re-directs the client to look within for their own resources. Symbolically, this is a reminder that despite what a person has suffered, they are inherently whole, they are infinitely wise, their intuition may be invited to return as a guide – and it becomes increasingly safe again, to go searching inside.
The woman who came into my office displayed a beautiful strength in her energy field, yet I could also sense a lot of sadness there. It was clear that her life had been filled with mountains to climb, and though she shone with determination she also looked incredibly tired. “I’ve really been looking forward to this appointment” she told me. “Not much good has ever happened in my life up until this point, and I am ready for change.”
Feeling safe in my office, this woman started to share pieces of her life story, many of which contained stories of sexual trauma. The words felt like rivers as they poured out of her, lining the floor of my office with a pool of old wounds.
“So I do not know what you can do for me” she concluded after disclosing pieces of her life’s story. “All I want is to feel better. To feel connected to myself. To feel more whole.”
In moments where people come to my office with such a beautiful vulnerability, I deeply understand how privileged I am to do the work that I do. I am not a healer. I believe that we can only facilitate healing, and that ultimately people heal themselves. But I do work with the energy body on multiple levels, and though I do not believe in “curing” I do believe in facilitating deep change. Each and every time I am able to work with someone to lighten a burden or make room for more brightness in their lives, I understand what an honor it is to be a part of people’s journeys towards healing.
I asked this woman if a goal of our work together could be welcoming in feelings of being nourished and safe, so that we could create space for those energetic pathways to take root and blossom. Having experienced so much sexual trauma from a very young age, this woman had clearly been taught that the world is not a safe place. My hope was to bring in some bright energy with the intention of fostering safety to help heal that wound.
We decided on using hypnosis to help the subconscious connect to the concept of safety, and then fortifying that work with Reiki. At the end of our work together the woman had such a strong and visible sense of integration and calm. It was as if her eyes had a layer of film removed from them so that they could shine with true inner brightness. Though I know I did not help her completely overcome cumulative trauma in our one session together, I do know that I was able to work with her to create a new reference point of feeling safe, calm, and supported in the world. This is the gift of energy healing. To help create new energetic memories and pathways so that current and future healing may be facilitated and held. It is the planting of a seed for future growth. A small act with a true potential for transformational change.
Rachel’s reflection here on her work demonstrates the tremendous benefits to a survivor’s recovery process when they feel that their healer, clinician, or doctor, truthfully believes in their capacity to recover. We have to hold out this belief for people who are wounded, until it is safe enough for them to travel into the deepest parts of their story to discover that truth for themselves. This affirming lens must reach beyond the healing arts realm, since it could positively influence the way advocates, supporters, loved ones, and friends interact with and relate to a survivor throughout their recovery.
Remembering that healing is nonlinear, combined with this deep trust in the process, creates an environment where survivors can be released from the heavy and uninformed social burden to “get over it” or “move on”. Instead, they will feel well supported throughout the cyclical and wide spaces that exist between trauma and resolution – spaces that are riddled with grappling, discovery, letting go, grieving, meaning making, and beginning, again and again. It is in this ever expanding space that the roots of post-traumatic growth can be nourished from the inside out and the survivor’s psyche can reach down into the nutrient-rich soil of their own resilient soul.
Learn more about Rachel Durchslag’s holistic healing arts practice in Asheville, North Carolina by visiting her practitioner page. Find out more about Molly’s work as a yoga instructor integrating principals of Somatic Experiencing by visiting her practitioner page.