The Power to Self Identify

“What we are is made up of what we have been; and what we have been also shapes the future, without definitely giving line and substance to every thought and action. The present is a movement of the past to the future.” J. Krishnamurti

I often start any class or talk I'm leading by asking the group what it means to be a healer. Ultimately, my goal is to articulate the difference between providing a service and providing a space. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received push-back on asking those around me to identify as a healer. Denmo I’m not a healer, I’m a helper. I’m an artist, a therapist, a coach, a dancer. My work may be healing but I am not a healer.


Please stop right now. Just stop. Take a deep breath with me. Seriously. We are not actually talking about your profession. Just relax and repeat after me. I am safe. I am loved. I belong. (If you’d like you could just stop reading for a minute – I won’t go anywhere – and say that phrase a few more times until you feel more at peace with all that is. Go on. I’ll wait for you. As a matter fact, I’ll do it with you. I am safe. I am loved. I belong).


Now first things first. You don’t have to be anyone or do anything you don’t want to be. But there are some things that are inherent. Being human is inherent to having a human experience. And being human is also inherent to being a healer. When you trip and fall and hurt your knee, your body immediately signals to repair the area. When an emergency arises and you need to move quickly, your body cues you to act now. Maybe you’ve never realized that there is a healer within you. No worries. This is the perfect time to awaken the healer within. Your life needs healing. Your friends and family need healing. The world needs healing. You are being called to heal. You can identify as a healer --- and you must ---because you too are a healer.

Healing comes as a dialogue to an aspect of life that is injured. For many of us, we try to run as far from the cause or feeling of it as possible. We revise the story, forget the details, move out of the country, change our name. And while this is one way of coping with the pain, it doesn’t heal the wound.

What is healing? Healing is the process of becoming whole again. Healing is our birthright. It is not reserved for shamans or holy people. It is for us.  So how do we begin? And how do we continue?

I don’t have answers. But I can share what has been helpful for me. Here are a few of the reminders I have for myself whenever I feel I need to strengthen the ties to the healer within.

1)    Create time to be alone.
There are a million other things I could be doing than sitting still in silence. But this practice proves again and again, the power of nothing, the resilience in me.

2)    Connect authentically with someone you don’t know each day.
We’re so used to scrolling through email, scanning our social media, exchanging brief pleasantries that it can be easy to overlook the opportunity for real connection with a fellow human being.

3)   Read a book that will give you words for the questions that trouble you most.
I am currently reading Martin Luther King’s Strength to Love, David Brooks’ A Road to Character, and Parker Palmer’s Healing the Heart of Democracy  -- these three books are everything right now.

4)    Prioritize friendships
We need each other more than ever. Be with the friends that make you feel good. Choose an acquaintance you’ve always wanted to get to know better and make it happen. Learn how to create family on the spot

What are practices or reminders you have to awaken the healer within?

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