I believe that most of us humans are equipped with natural, unique talents and abilities that enable us to help others and can reveal to us how to be a healer. Through embracing the lessons we learn from our life experiences and sharing them with others, we become teachers and guides for each other. Our lived experiences are our most valuable training for helping others heal. Surviving a challenging or even traumatic event gives us compassion and empathy for others who have been through similar experiences.
Are you one of these people? Are you like the young woman who walks into my office with a big, open heart, wanting guidance on how to leave her corporate job and make her career spreading love? Are you like the man who so desperately wants create change in his community but lives in fear of not doing it “right” or what others will think of him? Do you know that you have lots of helpful strategies to share but are uncertain how to get your voice out there?
If so, there are some simple things you can do to start offering positive healing energy to your community and beyond. It’s absolutely possible to release whatever blocks and fears you are having about being in service and start helping others now. Here are three ways you can get started.
1. Focus on Healing Yourself
First, let go of the idea that one day you will be completely healed, your work finished, and rewarded with an eternal, blissful utopia of enlightenment. Whoever sold you that bullshit is a charlatan.
We fall and scrape a knee, a friend passes away, we crash our car, and so on. Regardless of how much healing work we’ve done on ourselves, we must continue to do the ongoing maintenance of cleansing, balancing, and returning to our wholeness after these normal types of difficulties.
As a full-time coach and healer, I have to continually be clear and present for my clients. If I’m bogged down with a physical or emotional imbalance, it’s challenging to do my work in a sound and effective way. Knowing this, I have an amazing team of healers and coaches I work with to help me stay healed and whole. I exercise, do yoga, and meditate regularly to help myself find equanimity and continue with my healing work.
Through engaging in your own healing process, you also become an example for those around you. Your friends, family, and co-workers will notice the changes in you and become inspired to pursue their own transformational work. When I first started practicing kundalini yoga many years ago, I was still working full-time in a corporate setting. I didn’t tell people what I was up to outside of work, but my coworkers noticed and began commenting on the changes they could see me going through. They could see and feel the light I was cultivating in my newfound practice. When you shift to be in balance and feeling well, your energetic state is palpably different. You have more patience and kindness with others, and they will feel different around you. In this way, committing to healing yourself as an ongoing journey automatically helps others heal. It’s like magic!
Your negative ego may tell you that you need to be at a certain place in your healing process to help others. If you listen to this voice within, you may never feel good enough to lend a hand. Be honest with yourself about what you’re excited to share and give. A smile, a hug, or a listening ear can do a lot for someone else. The most important thing is to be honest about who you are and where you are in your process. Authenticity and honesty are refreshing for people and build trust. Being a true ally for someone is immensely healing.
As I prepare for a healer training program I’ll be leading this year at Namaste, I’ve been thinking a lot about why it’s so important to work on healing yourself if you want to help others. The main reason is: integrity. As healers, we need to be in integrity with what we offer others. This means we must always be paying attention to what in ourselves is ready to be healed next, rather than preaching or teaching one thing and doing something else in our personal lives. Taking your own healing work seriously is key to helping others. This is the most fundamental value I hold in my work and encourage in those I mentor as well.
2. Be Present and Listen Well
Think back to a time when you felt witnessed and acknowledged by another human. I’m guessing that person took the time to listen to everything you had to say without interrupting. They were likely curious, patient, and kind as you shared your experience. They refrained from giving you advice or telling you what to do and instead inquired about the wisdom you gained from the situation. Chances are this experience, whether with an elder, friend, or counselor, helped you remember who you are at your core and reminded you that you are important, wise, and strong.
You don’t have to be a trained professional to offer this to someone else. Being present and listening well should also not be reserved for only our closest friends and family members. Offering this kind of service to someone you barely know or only see casually can be life-changing for them. Why? Because most of us do not get enough of this quality of interaction. There are so many people feeling alone in their struggle; receiving the care of another human reminds someone they are connected to something bigger and aren’t alone.
My first experience of learning what it felt like to be present was through yoga and meditation, and it didn’t happen until I was 23. My energy at that time was untethered and I was self-destructing. While that was many years ago, I see similar patterns in the clients who come to me for 1:1 transformational work today. There are so many addictions that can get in the way of just being, from an obsession with our thoughts, plans, and ego narratives, to a reliance on substances like alcohol or stimulants to manage our internal experience. All of this makes it challenging to pay attention and listen deeply enough to help another person.
You can start helping others heal now by slowing down when you’re interacting with someone. Focus your attention not just outside yourself, but also inside yourself. Take some deep breaths to center yourself in the moment. Feel your feet on the ground and look into the person’s eyes. Consciously open your heart and feel into bringing loving, positive regard to this person. Practice simply being with them. Next, listen to what they have to say. They might say things you don’t agree with. Allow yourself to breathe through the impulse to interrupt and debate. When they finish speaking, ask questions to learn more. If you do have advice for them, ask their permission to give it. You can say something like, “I have an idea about how you can work that out. Are you open to hearing it?” This way of interacting shows the person that you respect their boundaries and what they are and are not open to hearing.
You don’t need to give advice to be helpful to someone. Each person contains so much wisdom within themselves; just being super present with them and giving them the space to slow down and hear themselves can help them to see things differently.
3. Be Radically Generous, to Yourself
A lot of people I talk to who are interested in helping others already have a strong and admirable drive to give, but they end up forgetting about themselves in the process. We need more radical generosity in our world and as healers, we cannot forget ourselves when we consider who to care for.
The truth is that most people are very scared! Fear is a nervous system response meant to let you know that you’re in danger and must do something to protect and survive. It’s very common to be making decisions from a place of fear and survival instinct and not even know it. But we don’t have to move through the world in survival mode.
Look at self-generosity as the practice of taking excellent care of yourself. Freely give yourself what you need to feel at ease in your mind, body, and spirit. Being generous with yourself might look like carving out the time to relax and rest, taking a long walk in nature amidst the beauty there that is so abundant, or getting yourself a treat that feels luxurious. It might mean saying no to socializing, or it might mean giving yourself a night out dancing with friends. It does not need to be expensive in time or money; even ten minutes of deep care for yourself can make a difference in a busy week. It’s up to you to pay attention to what brings you ease, joy, energy, and helps you unlock from the survival mode that is so easy to fall into today.
Fundamentally, I believe that everybody has the potential to be a healer, and that part of how we’ll need to survive on this earth is to empower and support each other. The more we can move towards a mode where we notice the interconnectedness between all of us that already exists, and use that to help each other, the better.
If any of this resonates with you, I’d love to connect more. Now is the time to wake up to your ability to heal yourself, and be the guru, mystic, healer, and being of light that you choose to be. As you heal yourself and share your gifts and love with others, you create a space for expansion and connection, and in doing that, you change the world.
This post was originally published by Sariah Sizemore on Ritual Work.