Monday, October 5, 2009

Group Healing:A Word to Wise


            My eyes were closed.  I’d been laying on the table for over an hour. I could hear voices around me. Nine energy workers, some certified in multiple healing modalities, others with years of experience, all with good intentions, at least, as far as I knew. Yet, my heart wanted nothing to do with them. It had placed a force field around my body, as if it were trying to protect me from something.

            But what? 

            My body knew, in that moment it just wasn’t telling me.  I could hear them talking: You’re not letting us in.  She’s blocking.  It’s not working we should break for lunch. Lunch won. The healing session had stalled out. I agreed; they couldn’t do what they’d come to do. So they left. I laid on the table feeling as though a team of surgeons had taken my heart out and sewn me back up.

A cloud of shame engulfed me as, one by one, I listened to them leave. I felt awful.  I felt guilty and worthless.  Somehow, it felt as though I had disappointed them even more than I had disappointed myself.

            Later, I realized that a group ego had emerged during the healing session, overshadowing the will of its individual participants, and it radiated anger, frustration, even, disgust. My friends and fellow energy workers could not read my energy, my body-consciousness was not allowing them access, but I could read theirs, individually and collectively. Each and every one of them had surrendered their personal will to this collective ego, which was being fueled by some strange combination of compassion, control, and competition. 

             Depleted. Defeated. Unable to move, my spirit did not deem this situation safe enough to surrender to the vulnerability that such a healing would require.  And what was my role here? Had I disassociated? I didn’t think so, I simply felt to awful, and I had set an intention not to abandon myself, not to leave my body. I was there, with my eyes closed, fully present to the pain.

A few minutes after they left the room I heard footsteps circling back to the table.  “Are you okay?” A familiar voice asked. A friend.

Reflexively, I nodded but like the healing session, my heart wasn’t in it. They had given up on me. They had abandoned me. The thought ran through my head that perhaps I was beyond healing. That’s what it felt like.

It felt as though someone had broken an unspoken contract, was it me or them?

One of my greatest fears has always been that I may be too damaged to heal? And, in that moment, the firing pins in my brain began to bombard me with a freight train full of negative thoughts. Was it them that wanted me to die or was it only that damn debilitating sense of shame and failure I had carried with me my entire life? I’d done enough healing work to know that sometimes you feel worse before you feel better but if I were to describe the feeling I had as I lie there on that table, I would say it was akin to having been energetically gang-raped.

            What the hell was going on? What had triggered this overpowering sense of self-hatred? These were my friends, fellow healers, light workers, I loved them all, but I had no words for the intense sense of violation and betrayal that vibrated through my body.

In Alice Miller’s book “The Drama of the Gifted Child,” she explains that people who have suffered trauma or abuse as a child often have a difficult time discerning “safe” situations as adults, hence a child who was victimized will grow up to recreate the same imbalance of power in her adult relationships.  She will unwittingly invite more opportunities to be victimized, and she may even believe that this is love.  But, for adults who want to heal these wounds and patterns she says we must learn to trusty our bodies for our bodies never lie.

And my body wanted nothing to do with this group of healers, friends or not.

But why? 

It took me weeks of introspective prayer, meditation, and intense discussions with other healing practitioners to figure it out, but I did. Whether my friends had formed a group with “no leader” to avoid contamination of any one person’s individual ego or to tap into the higher vibration of a well-intentioned collective or for some other purpose it no longer mattered because what I experienced was perfect illustration of how a healing can go awry when the collective ego overpowers and obscures the goal of the greatest good and healing for the person who is on the table.

So a final word to the wise, before you bare your heart and soul to any group, friends, colleagues, even seasoned professionals, no matter how well-intentioned, make sure there is someone there, someone you trust, someone who will sit with you, stay with you, advocate for you.  Because if something does go wrong, you will want to know ahead of time who is willing to skip lunch.



1 comment:

Karen said...

Ouch. What a powerful ending.