Towards a non-professional healing ethic
When I first started doing energetic healing work, “professionals” in the field said to me, “You will need a massage table. You will need liability insurance. Don’t be afraid to charge money, your time is valuable. You need to be careful about professional boundaries, you have to be careful not to take on your clients’ stuff.” Let me tell you something about professionalism. I was once a professional. I worked on Park Avenue in a tall office building with a wall full of windows. I had a degree and a state issued license hanging on the wall. I wore suits and heels that have caused physical damage I’ll now have to spend my time undoing. I made small talk, I turned my personal experiences into short, acceptable sentences, I swallowed my frustration. I learned this: professionalism is the social practice of pretending you don’t have a body. It is hiding all signs of your own humanity, so that you can feed the client’s fantasy that to be expert, confident, trustworthy, is to be separate from being a person. You create a façade so that you look nothing like the parts of the client that they themselves despise. They want a two dimensional poster to take advice from. They don’t trust themselves and need you to play the very specific role of tidying up so much that you won’t remind them that you’re just like them.
I WILL NOT use a massage table, cowering over someone, able to circle them, as they lay open and vulnerable in front of me. We work on the floor. This is important. We’re always, in part, healing our connection to the earth. Before we begin and after we finish, we talk sitting eye to eye. We are always on the same level.
I WILL NOT purchase liability insurance, thank you. Let me be clear about what is happening. Who/whatever does the divine ordering of things specifically put someone and I in the same place at the same time with the same information such that we wound up on the floor together for a healing session. None of it is random. Someone finds or hears about me exactly when they need to, and they come in the exact order that is useful for me to learn. I believe it to be arranged. And of all the vessels for healing around, all the ways to get the message across, the divine ordering chose me to be the means of delivering that message, based on my specific personal experiences that will inform how I translate the sensory information I receive into digestible words. Knowing full well of my humanness and biases and capacity for error. And the activity itself is that we are near each other, relaxing and connecting. No one is suing me.
On money. If you have an affliction your entire life, and one day, after years of experiences that have helped you see it in new lights, asked you to flip it around and experiment with it and chip away at it, one day you are ready to release that affliction and you choose to commemorate the occasion by having someone sit with you and hold space and witness this grand cracking open, and you are not yet in the practice of seeing your own power, and so you attribute the credit to the healer who is merely humbled to be in your presence as it happens…how much money do you pay them? The question doesn’t make any sense. There are larger economies at play, ones that are not zero sum. It heals me too, every time I do a session. Not just because it feeds into the health of the collective which feeds me, but because it feels good to have divine energy run through my body. And it feels good to be useful. And it feels good to connect. Each session I do heals me too. And so what do you owe me? To be really really honest, you owe me the same dedication to your own guiding intuition, to finding your own path, to pursuing your own healing, as I have done to get me to this point. The best thing you could do to pay me back is to push yourself to take the risks, to follow the fear, to keep cracking open. To find your way in. That is what I need from you most.
I WILL NOT limit my sessions to an hour. I will not look at the clock. If we begin as strangers, we leave as family.
On boundaries. Man. Listen. I believe we are all parts of a whole. Fractals. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. We know this most immediately because hurt people hurt people. Because no matter how tuned in you are, the health of those around us directly affects us. This obsession with separation, on insisting that we’re all separate individuals, of drawing the boundaries of where I end and you begin, over and over and over…it’s obsessive and unhealthy. To pretend that the “stuff” of someone near me isn’t already affecting me, as though we aren’t already all feeling the effects of each other’s choices, is too untruthful for me to entertain. I WILL NOT keep my personal experience off the table. I will practice in a community where my clients are not strangers, where I know their grandmothers, and that knowing necessarily improves my work. Their grandmothers are relevant. And I would like them to know my grandmothers. My grandmothers are relevant. PLEASE know that I am fallible and expert, both at once. Please let it remind you that you are too, that your weaknesses don’t undermine your strengths. I will be forever barefoot and learning and vulnerable before you, as you are before me. I will be forever “untrained”, forever opting out of the systems that have bottled knowledge for the sake of profit, turning expertise into a status that can be bought and sold by those in power.
I will never again be a professional.