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Wellness

Choose Your Healer

How do we heal in a world where "wellness" has become just another capitalist trope that leaves you open to scammers?

By Sharmadean Reid

9 July 2023
W

e understand that no personal growth can be achieved without a teacher. Knowledge is passed down from experienced humans to learning humans and as infinite learners, we seek wisdom from others. Healing is not linear or singular, so we choose a roster of support, from physical to mental to spiritual to playful that can help us on our journey. While we seek out the sages, we remember that no one person is our guru and we strive to maintain a sense of autonomy and faculty of mind. While the healing process will open some wounds and at times be painful, it should not destroy us beyond repair. We seek healers who centre us, lift us and make us stronger.

Things changed when I decided to heal. They changed at the point when I consciously realised that if I did not work to heal, I would never truly be able to reach my highest potential. I would not be focussed on my Important Work, if I was drowning in anxiety and anger. I would not be able to be the best leader when I was carrying so much resentment and rage. I would not be the best mother and partner if I let my fears become insecurities which become repression.

Having compassion for myself, I like to believe that it is crucial to honour your own timing and readiness for growth. I was often brought to the water, but not ready to drink.

Healing is a slow and delicate spider web of transformation that occurs physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Over many years, I worked to identify and resolve the wounds and traumas that hindered my overall well-being. Healing in my late 20s and early 30s seemed like an all-consuming activity, and it most definitely was not instant.

Not only do you not have to do this alone, but it is almost impossible to do so. Working on healing your whole self requires a plethora of treatments and teachers. I spent my childhood years playing the 80s computer game, Streetfighter, and now the phrase “Choose Your Fighter” has reappeared in the internet lexicon. But what if, instead of selecting a character to destroy your opponent, you selected a character to heal yourself? The New Method of Choose Your Healer means finding out who and what you need to regain your contentment and balance. Who’s energy and wisdom do you need to absorb?

My own healing journey took a series of false starts. I remember distinctly when healers would try to impart their wisdom, but my eyes and ears were closed and I was too inwards and despairing to hear anything. Upon reflection, I know they could see I was in dire need, but was not ready to learn. Having compassion for myself, I like to believe that it is crucial to honour your own timing and readiness for growth. I was often brought to the water, but not ready to drink. I had to get really thirsty first.

After a decade of data collection, I now know that journeys and travel are really important to me, especially when I can call on my ancestors.

Taking yourself on a journey is one of the most ancient ways of healing and what kickstarted my healing journey proper was my first-ever trip to Jamaica aged 28. I had never been to my homeland before, and with a two-year-old child who was a mix of four different ethnicities, I wanted him to know this part of his culture. But if I am really truthful - I was broken - it was really about me connecting to myself. Roman and I went on a two-week road trip to Jamaica and I was never the same again. I immediately felt that the cord that had been cut, that made me feel untethered in the world, was reconnected and I was home. The wild nature, the Ital food, the music, all reminded me who I was. In Jamaica, there are healers everywhere. Everyone from my taxi driver to a herbalist doctor would impart varying forms of wisdom every single day, peppering my trip with new mantras and thought processes. Nuh worry yuself being my favourite.

I had planned to go to Jamaica and then India that year, connecting with both my ethnicities, but I was so taken with Jamaica, I went six times in two years, each time deepening my relationship with its history and culture. I stayed in different parts of the island, meeting different teachers on the way. This little green jewel in the sea was the first thing that saved me. If my people can survive their violent history, I can survive too.

Back in England, I continued the journey. Using the Methods of Minimising Toxicity, I sought healers and experiences that would help me come to terms with the root causes of my anxiety and pain. I tried everything from Columbian cacao drinking ceremonies to celebrating the Sikh festival Vaisakhi and singing devotional prayer songs. I took herbal baths at home in the style of medieval monks and vibrated my internal waters with sound baths in the desert in Joshua Tree. I collected healing experiences like one might collect shoes, trying a bit of everything to see what really made a difference for me.

After a decade of data collection, I now know that journeys and travel are really important to me, especially when I can call on my ancestors. Weekly therapy doesn’t have an impact on my thinking but intense 8-12 week executive coaching or self-development bootcamp help me reach new heights of peace. Hypnotherapy was the most expensive, but game-changing form of therapy I tried - only recommended when you have done a good deal of healing already and want to reinforce it in your subconscious. The gift that is 12-Step Programs are global, frequent and free and were absolutely essential to me feeling less anxious on a daily basis. Find the one that works for you. For my body, acupuncture is an instant reliever for when my emotions are bound up in my muscles resulting in panic attacks and spasms. Jivamukti Yoga once a week is like going to church. The combination of singing, chanting and movement leaves me feeling lighter. Daily, I practice Transcendental Meditation, I read Stoicism, I bathe and I walk.

I collected healing experiences like one might collect shoes, trying a bit of everything to see what really made a difference for me.

Choosing Your Healer means knowing what you need to restore yourself in the big moments of pain, as well as the daily practices that keep you balanced. If you are wandering through life, lost and in pain, like I was, now is the time to start a practice to help you get to your Highest Vibration.

Some forms of healing you might want to explore;

1. Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote physical and emotional healing. It is often used to address pain, stress, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances.

2. Meditation: Meditation involves training the mind to focus and redirect thoughts, leading to a state of clarity and relaxation. It can be practised in various forms, such as mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, or transcendental meditation.

3. Reiki: Reiki is an energy healing technique that originated in Japan. It involves the practitioner placing their hands on or near the recipient's body to channel universal life force energy. Reiki aims to promote balance, relaxation, and healing on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.

4. Hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that uses hypnosis as a tool to facilitate healing, personal growth, and behaviour change. It involves guiding individuals into a relaxed and focused state of consciousness, often referred to as a trance, where they can access their subconscious mind and explore and address various issues.

5. Forest Bathing: Forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku, is a practice that involves immersing oneself in nature, particularly forests, to promote physical and mental well-being. It originated in Japan and has gained recognition worldwide as a form of healing and relaxation.

6. Sound Healing: Sound healing utilizes the vibrations and frequencies of sound to promote relaxation and healing. Techniques such as using singing bowls, tuning forks, or guided sound meditations can help release tension.

7. Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies involve using plants and their extracts for healing purposes. Herbal teas, tinctures, or supplements may be utilized to support emotional well-being, reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and promote relaxation.

8. Ancestral Healing: Engaging in rituals and ceremonies that honor and connect with ancestors is a powerful way to facilitate healing. This can include setting up ancestral altars, making offerings, lighting candles, saying prayers, or participating in culturally specific ceremonies that recognize and honor ancestral presence.

9 Breathwork: Breathwork is a practice that involves intentionally and consciously manipulating the breath to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It encompasses a variety of techniques and approaches, but the central focus is on using the breath as a tool for healing and self-exploration.

10: Trauma Specific Therapy: This therapy is particularly valuable for addressing and healing trauma. Trauma-focused therapy modalities, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), can help individuals process traumatic experiences, reduce symptoms, and regain a sense of safety and empowerment.

You should never feel pressured to spend a lot of money on your healing journey or to be exclusive to one modality. Heal within your financial means.

These are just the start and there are many more healing practices to discover but one thing I want to touch on is how healing - an ancient and spiritual practice - has evolved into a capitalist wellness industry as well as a space for cult leaders to thrive. When you are at your most broken, is when you are most vulnerable. You should never feel pressured to spend a lot of money on your healing journey or to be exclusive to one modality. Heal within your financial means. Most of the best healing is free anyway, and true spiritual guides will take whatever you can afford. If any supposed healer aims to control you, silence you, drain your finances or break you, they are not for you. I have met a surprising number of young women who have been involved in cults, believing that their leaders were the only voice of reason, which is why I urge you to build a roster of healing practices so that no single source is your gospel. Your intuition will start to sound the alarm when something does not feel right. Listen to it. Eventually, your goal is to connect so deeply to yourself that it is your own inner voice that is guiding you when things get difficult. You can begin to heal yourself.

But when you are early in your journey, try to remember healing is not linear and it shouldn’t be lonely. Without falling into the trap of trauma bonding, connect with others who are headed in the same direction as you. Build a small community or group around your journey and support each other on the way. Meet consistently to check in on your progress and don’t be disheartened if you are way ahead or way behind others. Remember that healing is a multifaceted process, unique to each individual. Your paths may intersect, providing opportunities for shared insights and growth. Yet, they may also diverge, as you navigate the intricate labyrinth of your personal healing. Despite this, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Through community and collective healing, we can find solace, understanding, and strength. We can break intergenerational traumas and be the best humans for ourselves and for others.

The Short Stack

Choose from a roster of healer and stay within your budget.

By Sharmadean Reid

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