The first time I tried it I was about eight years old. My father had had a heart attack after World War II had ended and I was about six. We were living in Holland. In those days, people with heart disease were put in bed rest for months on end. My father used to get angina pains in his chest, and besides a nitroglycerine pill, he used the services of a woman to do laying-on of hands on him and take the pain away. It seemed to give him relief.
A couple of years later, because of all kinds of complicated circumstances, we emigrated to Argentina. There was no woman there to lay her hands on my Dad when he had chest pains. One day he was really suffering, and I felt really bad for him, so I decided to try. I put my hands on his chest and concentrated, wishing the pain away. Soon enough I began to feel a nasty pain creeping up my arms. “Ah,“ I thought, “so this is what it feels like.“ When it got to my elbows I did what I had seen the woman in Holland do — I shook my hands to get it out, and lo and behold, the pain left me. My father said he felt better.
After that, I decided to use this new skill with great care, only when needed. I used it for my father, and occasionally for my brother when he had a headache. But then, when I was nineteen, my father died in my arms, and I decided that I wasn’t very good at this healing business, so I quit using it.
Years went by. During the 1970’s, interest in “energy healing“ or “therapeutic touch“ surfaced, and I paid some attention, because of my earlier experiences. Then one time when my children were about 6 and 9, they were playing with friends on their bunk beds. At the time they had a hamster, called Hamlet or Hami, and in the midst of their youthful exuberance they dropped the hamster from the top bunk. The fall broke his back, and he was walking around dragging his body with his little hind legs paralyzed. I remembered reading about Dolores Krieger and her experiments with healing mice. As I was not able to spend any money on health care for the hamster, and I certainly didn’t want to have him “put away,” I decided on an easier and cheaper alternative.
“All right, children,“ I said, “now that you‘ve hurt Hami, you‘re going to have to heal him.“ I made them take turns holding the hamster and wishing him well, visualizing him walking. We did that every day. Well, whaddaya know, in a few days Hami was walking on all four paws again, a little crooked but well enough.
Over the years I did energy healing on occasion, just for friends and family. It seemed to be a very comfortable thing for me to do. I hardly talked about it, as I had decided to use it only when really necessary. It seemed to have some effect on both physical and emotional issues.
Sometime in 1999, I took a course with Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., author ofShaman, Healer, Sage, who has been teaching shamanic healing for many years. I was interested in his work because he had studied with the Qero indians in Peru. As I had spent two months hitchhiking through Peru in 1961 (just before coming to the US), I felt a real affinity with that system. Then three years later I decided to take his two-year course on “Healing the Light Body.“ This course teaches how to deal with energy obstructions and blockages in the auric field, how to do chakra illuminations, soul retrievals, energy extractions, and various other techniques for energy healing. (See www.thefourwinds.com for more information.)
As I got involved in the work, I realized I was picking up on a lifelong interest. This time, however, I was getting some actual training. It seems to fit right into my life, and also connect to my view of what a human being is. For the past 30 years, I have focused on the physical aspects of healing, specifically with food, and did most of my work in that field, as my readers well know. Meanwhile, I kept the spiritual aspect of human beings well in mind, and as time has gone on it has been commanding more and more of my attention. Now I am beginning to apply this interest in my consultation work with individuals, and I can see that it can be increasingly helpful.
Food is a marvelous tool for healing. However it is, on its own, not quite enough. We all know people who eat junk and are well, and others who eat very carefully and are not. I see it in many who should be a wreck according to their habits and their past, and yet they do just fine. Often I can see how the strength of their spirit overrides the damaging effects of their lifestyle. More often than not they are passionately engaged by life, busy and focusing on work and activities they are really interested in and excited about.
Health is sometimes more a function of how we focus on our lives than of what we eat. Being sick sometimes can brings lots of benefits, in the form of attention from others; in some cases people are not willing to get well, because they are not willing to give up all that attention — generally an unconscious attitude. On the other hand, there are those who are so enjoying their lives that they don’t take time out. I‘m sure we‘ve all heard the expression, “I‘m too busy to be sick.“This can be literally true.
How, then, should we find our own path to healing?
These are the steps that seem the most logical to me:
- Identify the basic nature of the problem that needs healing: physical, mental-emotional, spiritual.
- Switch to a good basic whole foods diet.
- Take care of the physical structure: exercise, see a chiropractor, get some bodywork done.
- To deal with function, see an acupuncturist or homeopath.
- To deal with the emotions, find a good therapist who does short-term therapy.
- To deal with what is left over, try aura healing, energy healing, soul retrieval, or any of the other systems becoming increasingly available. And
- Find work and activities that you truly enjoy, that you are passionate about, and share your gifts with the world around you. That way, as we heal ourselves, we can contribute to healing the world.