You were called at a very young age. You were less than ten when you discovered that the life of another being mattered. Maybe you rescued lizards when the boys were pulling off their tails. Maybe spiders were your friends. Maybe you were the squirrel girl. But your natural healing tendencies weren’t cherished, not in our culture.
Your inner healer drove you to seek out a career in the health care profession. Maybe you’re a nurse practitioner or a midwife or an acupuncturist or a doctor, a therapist or a health or life coach or an energy healer or a physical therapist. You figured your innate healing gifts would be welcomed within the health care profession, that you would be given the opportunity to fulfill your calling, to serve out your purpose, to help others thrive.
But it didn’t quite work out that way. Your training in medicine robbed you of your joie de vivre, or becoming a therapist carved you into such a rigid box that you felt stifled in your earnest desire to help others find their phoenix wings. You felt abused by others in your profession, especially those who didn’t understand the profundity of your healing gift and left you feeling like you were somehow less than enough because you wanted to touch patients not only with your hands, but with your heart. You knew there was something more to health than you were taught, and having the heart of a healer - and often the experience of being a patient that perhaps stemmed from your thwarted gift - you yearn to fully express this innate ability you know you have.
Maybe you’re still slogging away in a career that doesn’t feel quite right, or maybe you’ve even left already, because you feel like you’re selling out your soul’s integrity when you compromise your gifts as a true healer. You know you’re being called to something more, but you’re not sure what it is. Your soul is calling you - stronger and stronger, like the pull of the moon on the ocean, arising waves within you that disturb but also awaken you. Mother Gaia is reaching out for you, pulling you into her mysterious rhythm, pulsing you like the heartbeat of Africa, yearning to initiate you.
But what would it mean to be an initiated healer?
You are called into ceremony with the others who are like you. You might have never met, yet on some soul level, when you are all in the same physical space, you recognize one another instantly. You sense a resonance, like a core vibration that entrains you into a frequency of Mother Gaia, deep and pulsing and vastly feminine, the mother, the healer, the goddess, the priestess. She has been there all along, this part of you that is being called forth. She is as familiar to you as your breath, and yet, you have forsaken her. But she has never abandoned you. She has been waiting for you all along, ready for you to call her back home, when you’re finally ready.
You feel her like a drumbeat, reverberating from your chest to your pelvis, drawing you forth from somewhere you’ve never been but have always remembered. She is the young healer, chosen as the village shaman by the leopard who gazes at you with gold-green eyes and calls you forth. You are recognized for who you are, and you know the leopard is right - but you weren’t sure the others noticed. Yet now they are noticing. You were not mistaken. It really was YOU.
Upon this recognition, something bursts to Life within you, and you are called into their ceremony with those who have gone before you - the tribal elders and senior priestesses who recognize the vibration of you and make music with the harmonic of you, creating a symphony of resonance, thrumming with the pulse of Mother Gaia’s bass note. Something changes in you right away when you feel yourself called into the music. A part of you feels the dance and begins to sway, your hips swaying, your nourishing breasts heaving under the weight of the calling that is birthing from you yet again, remembered like a forgotten dream that wakes again into consciousness.
You feel the ceremony rise within you, like an erotic prayer, moving you towards that which you don’t know, but which feels more right than anything before. You hear the voices of the priestesses and know you have come home. You may have suffered. Your heart may have been broken by the calling you thought abandoned you. And yet, here, in the pulse of this ceremony of initiation, you know you were never forsaken. And still you rise.
The call is deeper this time. More is being asked of you. It is no longer enough to play the victim, to settle for being frustrated for what isn’t working, to blame others, to bow out. Your presence is requested at the fire in the center of the ceremony. Your place in the dance is necessary to the thriving of the whole, as all the others who are like you are drawn to the same core, thrumming to the same vibration through their own individual notes, like bees in a hive, tuning up.
At the center are the Ones Who Have Been There. Like you, they were once called to the initiation, feeling hesitant, shy, like a young bride who knows her wild nature will be called forth, but isn’t sure what will emerge when she is undone by love. There is no certainty in this place. In fact, certainty is banished. Fear must be faced. The caterpillar enters the cocoon and the chrysalis is formed. It becomes bug soup, and may even lose its way. And yet, this is an inevitable part of the initiation. The caterpillar may fear dissolving, but it knows it is the only way to become the butterfly.
The ceremony leads the healer straight into the vastness of the uncertainty. The mystical mystery ensues. The magic unfolds, but not without a few surprises. The healer who is being initiated learns that the flip side of the fear of uncertainty is the excitement of possibility. What will come next? What is on the other side of the chrysalis? What will emerge when the cocoon busts open?
The priestesses sense what will unfold, but they know better than to speak such things. It is better to hold the initiate with love and to let her discover such things for herself as she is held in the heart of the feminine and begins to unfold from her true nature within.
The rest cannot be spoken of because it is beyond words. But when the initiate dies from the small self, leaving behind that which no longer serves the true healer, she finds within her something previously unknown. She enters through a one way portal and emerges with a gift she never knew she yearned for because it arose from a place she didn’t realize she had within her. What arises in her rebirth is delicate and precious, new and tender, worthy of cherishing and also of nurturing, because of its simultaneous strength and fragility. Her wings are sprouting but they are wet still. She is a bit frightened. What has she become? Who is she now? Who is she not? To become what you must, you must give up who you are. What will you lose? What will you gain? Only Mother Gaia truly knows, but she knows with a smile in a way that goes beyond knowing.
You look up with your wings wet and you look around, blinking, your heart beating a bit fast, thrumming still to the drumbeat, but now drumming a new rhythm, one that is just yours, only now you share it with all the others whose wings are also wet, who have just been initiated like you and are part of your soul tribe. You sense each other, with respect and appreciation for what you have gone through together. You know you have deepened not only in your sense of self, but also in your commitment to your calling. You have become the initiated healer, one who is not healing from the wound but has become a vessel for Divine work in the world. Your new mission is about to begin. You are breathless and ready. You know you will be given your orders for this yet undetermined mission, when you’re finally ready. You are almost ready. You can feel it. So can the priestesses.
It is right there, in the symphony of the calling, vibrating with the richness of the shaman’s womb, inviting you to come forth. Because you are needed. It is time. You have been initiated.
If you feel you’re ready to become an initiated healer, consider joining us for the next round of the Whole Health Medicine Institute. To learn more and register, sign up here.
Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, and the host of the hit National Public Television special Heal Yourself: Mind Over Medicine (link). Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com, teaches teleclasses (link) with luminaries like Martha Beck, Rachel Naomi Remen, Amy Ahlers, and Tosha Silver, and has sparked a movement to revolutionize health care at HealHealthCareNow.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, a lover of dancing, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
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