I can feel your pain as surely as if it were my own. When I place my hand on yours, it is fear I feel gnawing at your bones. Your pulse beats your story and your eyes tell a tale I am not sure I am strong enough to hear.
I see a little boy, unguarded and pure. I imagine rubber boots, fists full of rocks, dirt-encrusted fingernails, and holes in your socks. There was light in your eyes, once upon a time. You were light. I wish you could know this, hold on to this and let it carry you through the dark and scary nights. I wish you could remember.
I am on the verge of tears, but I know I need to get a grip. I am here to touch you in a way that is loving and safe, to honour your goodness and to help you move through those energetic knots that have you feeling so stuck and defeated. I am here to listen. I am here to care. I am so sorry.
Thank you for braving the blizzard and coming here today; for allowing me the privilege of playing a part in your healing journey. I am new at this, you know. I have only just begun and my heart is probably beating faster than yours is. Thank you for trusting me.
I am not a healer now, nor will I ever be. Those who claim to be healers have chosen to ignore one crucial piece of information: We can only heal ourselves. But I can be a tunnel, a conduct for healing energy to pass through me and into you. I can be the middlewoman that guides the energy, and perhaps even strengthens its curative properties, if my intentions are good and my vessel uncluttered. I am happy to be the intermediary between the heavens and your beautiful but broken spirit. I have prepared myself for this. I am ready.
I am not ready at all.
What can give can also receive. If energy can travel through me and into you, it can also travel through you and into me. And in this clear vessel that I have carefully primed for healing work, a tempest can take place.
It is taking place. As I make my way from school to home, hours later, my mind is racing with angry thoughts. I find it difficult to walk, not because of the snow on the ground but because there is a heaviness inside of me trying to pull me down. Everywhere I look, I see suffering. My throat is tight and I am overcome with feelings of frustration and annoyance. I want to stand up on the streetcar and scream “Nobody understands!”
This angry person is so far removed from the girl I was this morning, I know that something is not quite right. The realization comes as a shooting pain in my head: these strong emotions are yours, not mine. They have squeezed their way into my psyche and are wreaking havoc on my mind. They are spreading their claws and ripping through the fabric of my perfectly good day.
I teeter on the edge of panic. What do I do now?
I hear a voice - thick as smoke and smooth as honey. I have heard it before; it is the voice of the man who spends his days singing to strangers on the street. He never asks for money, never holds up a sign, but just sits there, crooning old favourites. I reach into my jacket pocket, dig out a looney, and drop it into his empty coffee cup. He says, “Thank you. God bless” and gives me a lopsided grin. I feel the irritated voices inside quiet down for a second and this reassures me a little.
I arrive home and know I need to be alone. I am in a toxic state and ready to spew venom on anybody who gets close. I give myself permission to feel the hurt - your hurt - which is now mine too. I allow the waves of sadness to lap at my feet, my knees, my waist, but I do not allow them to swallow me up. I fight against the undertow, digging my heels in the sand, clinging to the solid ground which is anything but solid.
I embrace my aloneness and wait for the waves to recede, the sadness to pass, the bitterness to lose its bite. I carve out a space for myself - a hollow haven amid the density of the human condition. I fall into it, as easily as I fall into bed, and I let go of everything about today: you and your troubled eyes, me and my naiveté, Old Man Winter’s gruff farewell, the street singer’s velvety voice.
I clean out my vessel, yet again, chipping away at the unnecessary bits. I remove particles of you, particles of me, particles of both of us that cover my insides with dust. I vow to do a better job of protecting this little heart of mine; it is the only one I’ve got. I am of no use to you, or to anybody, if I allow the weight of the world to press down on my shoulders and obstruct my energetic flow. I am of no use to you, or to anybody, if I allow anger and resentment to dictate the way. If I lose myself, I am of no use to even me.
I look up at the night sky and pray for you. I imagine a string of stars reaching down deep inside of you and uprooting your pain, your loss, your fear, and catapulting them past the moon, into the darkest black hole of the cosmos. I see the little boy that still lives inside you - he is wounded but not destroyed. I ask the stars to lead you back to that boy and his light. Back to you, back to hope. Back to health.