It took me a few years to really get it, really get it, that I can use my healing for myself.
It shouldn’t be that big of a leap, really. Oh, I’d do it once in a while if I remembered, or if I was desperate or “if all else failed.” And then I’d go, “Oh, well, huh, that feels better . . . I should do this more often . . .” And maybe for a while I’d be doing more self-treatment, but it usually didn’t last very long.
And it surprised the hell out of me to realize that I was not, in fact, the only one. Far from it. Many of my healer-friends will stay up all night to make an infusion for a sick friend, but when it comes to themselves, they stay up all night suffering.
What the actual hell, people?
Used to be a convention in some Witchcraft circles that you weren’t allowed to use magic for yourself at all. This got amended, quite sensibly, to an admonishment against using magic selfishly, for example casting a spell to get a million dollars just because you wanted it.* Or to make somebody fall in love with you, or to cause harm to your rivals. Bad form.
Most Witches these days understand that it’s really quite okay to ask for money when you need it, but it’s even more effective to ask for the things you need instead of the money to pay for them. And if you are asking for things that will allow you to do good in the world, well, abra ca-frickin’-dabra, it’s delivered straight to your door next day and no messin’. Give or take.
So slowly metaphysical people in general and healers specifically are starting to understand that if they aren’t healthy, they aren’t able to do the work they signed up to do, and that isn’t good for anybody. And sometimes, you just have to lay your own hands on your own fevered brow and make your own miracles.
But there are alarming numbers of people who pay good money to learn a healing technique or be initiated into a specific kind of magical working, who go home from their weekend retreat and never, ever use what they have learned except maybe once or twice if that, and it has nothing to do with selfishness at all. I’m amazed at the number of people who come to me for Reiki who have Level 2 attunements, who don’t use their own Reiki because they can’t remember how to use it, or are afraid they’re “doin’ it wrong.”
I don’t think it’s laziness. I think it’s about self-worth and feeling like they deserve to receive.
We are too willing listen to that nagging voice of self-doubt inside. “If you’re supposed to be a healer, how come you got sick?” “Oh, you have flu? You must not be practicing what you preach.” “Cancer? You must not be living right, so how can you help anybody else?” “Fibromyalgia? How can you have that if you’re a healer?”
Stop. Breathe. Think.
The flu virus does not know who is a healer and who is not. Yes, if you are a healer, and you are practicing what you preach, your immune system should be strong enough to handle a little flu bug, but even healers can be sleep-deprived, stressed, worried or run-down and thus more vulnerable to cold and flu. Cancer doesn’t just happen to people who smoke too much. It can be triggered by toxins in the water, pollution in the air, chemicals out-gassing from the buildings we live and work in. Fibromyalgia is, in fact, the classic Wounded Healer’s disease. It strikes people who have endured long-term stress or adversity, usually long after the stressors are gone.
This stuff is not your fault. You didn’t get sick because you deserved to. You got sick because the world is a sick place.
There are some healers who are a little too comfortable with their shadow sides, sure. Some of them are crazy gifted. But we’re not talking about them; we’re talking about you and me and our reluctance to use our skills, power and passion on our own behalf. I read a brand new book over the weekend by a friend of mine, Nils Salzgeber, called Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Hacking Laziness, Building Self-Discipline, and Overcoming Procrastination. Nils asks us to think back to times in our lives when we have been coached or mentored by someone; were they encouraging or critical? Bullying or kind? Generous or stingy with their praise? Most of us learn more, have more confidence and feel more empowered to do what we desire to do when we have the encouraging, kind, generous type of coaching. The other just shuts us down.
So why are we so eager to bully ourselves? Do we really have to toughen ourselves up? Does what doesn’t kill us actually make us stronger, or does it make us weaker in the long run and we just choose to ignore it until we have actual organ failure?
You don’t have to prove anything to yourself. You deserve your own love, honestly more than anybody else deserves it. You deserve to share the gift of Reiki or Healing Touch or herbs with yourself when you are sick.
And that is precisely the example we need to be setting for others; that is grace under pressure, strength in adversity.
When we love ourselves enough to show ourselves the kindness and passionate concern that we show our clients, we create a culture of self-love and self-reliance. We develop the habit of self-care and carry it on when we are feeling good, to enhance our overall well-being, boost our immune system and keep the body humming like it is supposed to. We don’t have to justify spending twenty minutes every morning doing Reiki self-treatment, or making tea or meditating or doing Yoga or whatever it is that keeps us healthy. We can just do it, because if we don’t, we’re not as effective at doing what we love. And that’s justification enough.
*There used to be a time when money magic actually worked, but then the richest 1% sucked so much money out of the world that money is no longer a valid source of energy for anything – because most of it just sits and never circulates.