I have spent the last few years coming up with all the ways in which I was not good enough to be a healer.
I had a picture in my mind of what a healer was, and I just didn’t fit the bill.
The healer in my mind was a middle-aged woman, soft voiced, strong in her knowledge and wisdom, sitting in a chair in the middle of her beautiful but simply decorated therapy room.
She probably wears all-white cotton and has Tibetan prayer beads dangling from her neck, along with a tree of life incorporating all the chakra colours.
She describes everything as beautiful, blessed and abundant and talks a lot about divine timing and angels and spirit guides. She is incredibly in tune (whatever that means).
She doesn’t swear.
No one knows if she is sexually active or not, or if she actually has a vagina because sex is a sacred and super-spiritual intimate connection between two soul-mates and is not to be spoken about. Euphemisms, sexual innuendo or any discussion of sex is strictly forbidden and will earn you a cursory pursed lip.
I am not this woman.
I am 21 years old. I have bright pink hair. I am an ex sex-worker, with absolutely no shame in having been involved in such an industry and no interest in hiding the fact.
I swear like a sailor, in fact possibly more than a sailor. I am engaged to one and even he is horrified by my tongue at times! I swear in our garden that backs onto that of a lovely older couple in the next street. I swear at dinner parties. I swear when I am chatting to potential clients, during sessions with current clients. I swear in-front of my fiancé’s parents and at yoga practice in the quiet little village we live in. And I certainly don’t plan on stopping any time soon!
For a while I tried to change myself to become something that seemed safer, more trustworthy and more respectable for other people. I grew my natural hair colour out, started wearing more sophisticated clothes and making less risqué jokes on my social media accounts. I wanted to seem soft and dependable, like a bare chalk board for clients to write their worries and fears on.
Ever since I made the decision to become a healer, I’ve encountered wall after wall of deep-rooted resistance in myself about what it takes to be one.
I have no such concerns anymore.
This image we have crafted of the perfect therapist, the ultra spiritual guru who drinks green juices every morning with avocado toast and who is so brimming with white light she probably has her shaman personally bleach her hoo-ha with Reiki healing energy once a month—she doesn’t exist.
She is an outdated idea we have made up in our own heads to make us feel less than, and to give us an excuse to stay small and procrastinate stepping into our fullest potential.
What makes a healer?
What kind of woman do you have to be to work with people working on themselves?
Healing has been going on since the beginning of time. Healers were around long before white-washed therapy rooms, lilac chaise lounges and binaural beats were available for us as tools to define ourselves by.
Healers have worked in the mud and dirt of war, and still healed the wounded. We did not need clean shiny walls, thousands of followers on Facebook or crystals dangling from our ears. We were dirty, gritty, old, young, fresh and not-so-fresh. Some of us had tools and others had only our hands, our minds and our hearts.
We were not always a “safe place” for people to go to for spiritual growth. Sometimes we were the ones holding men’s hands as they crossed over to the other side. We were the one’s making sure they sat still whilst we pulled a tooth that would have become infected had we not. We were the ones with a knowledge of herbs, flowers and plants. We knew the earth and we knew the body because we were intrinsically connected to both. We were the ones who heard the call and answered it.
We were the ones burned at the stake for witchcraft, both young and old—misunderstood and even feared. Younger women were temptresses, seducing men with their magic and leading them astray with their beauty. Older women were hags, calling forth evil spirits and poisoning the minds of people who should have been turning to God and not the earth for healing.
It’s not the tools or the clothes or the spaces that make a true healer. She can be pulled from her perfectly organised domain and thrown into a place of darkness and pain and fear and she will do her work no matter what, because it is her calling.
There is no perfect therapist or perfect therapy. There is no box to fit ourselves into. We must, by all means, strive to learn as much as possible and become the most confident and competent versions of ourselves so we can give everything to our service of others—however, that shouldn’t mean sacrificing the things that make us who we are.
When we embrace our full selves with fearless authenticity, the people who most need us are able to see that clearly. When we hide and disguise ourselves in order to please, those who most need our authentic selves are unable to see us and will end up passing us by.
I am open and ready and willing. I am constantly in a state of learning and growing so that I am able to serve and help more people in more ways. I am passionate about this process. However I am also passionate about low-cut tops, heavy eye make-up, whisky-drinking and cake-eating and I will always be sex-positive.
I am a healer yes, and a therapist and a writer, but first and foremost I am a woman.
I have learnt recently that I do not need to change myself to become more for other people—I am already more. My biggest and brightest self is enough: cuss words, cleavage and all. I am no longer afraid of the things that make me strong, vibrant and alive.
The truer we are to ourselves, the better we can serve. We do no good if we do not let people know we are here.
A healer is simply someone who has answered the call to heal—nothing more.
Everything else comes with practice.
Author: Esther De La Ford
Image: Mike Lay/ Flickr
Editors: Khara-Jade Warren; Travis May