Burning Man – on being a healer and our responsibility to Self

One of the Practicum Assignments I ask practitioner candidates to complete is an essay that poses the following questions: “What does it mean to you to be a healer? How has your understanding of this role changed throughout the course? What responsibilities do you believe you have to yourself and to each of your clients as a healer?”
I ask this question because it’s important to get clarity about the roles the ego and the Heart might be playing as we begin to work with others. It is important to realize that our personal healing work is not complete and that in fact, the practice of healing we are about to embark upon is one of the biggest Mirrors we will face in our lives.
When I first started working with others in my healing practice, I was a different person than I am now. I took too much responsibility and in all of the wrong areas. I assumed too much. I spoke a lot of things at people and I didn’t ask enough questions. Subconsciously, I created goals for each of my clients. “They should be X instead of Y for optimal living and we have to get them there.”
I didn’t see that I was working from an immature perspective. I couldn’t see that truth because I hadn’t yet burned myself up – not enough anyway. Because make no mistake, I’ll never be done burning.
healing healer
Being a candle is not easy; in order to give light one must burn first.
~ Rumi
My candle was still fairly new looking.
I have experienced Grace through many experiences over the years. These experiences have shown me that healing isn’t about performance. There are no benchmarks to success. Healing isn’t a simplistic cause-and-effect, one-and-done experience. Healing is a process of becoming more and more familiar with the self, bringing forth all of our difference aspects, including what we might label the “shadows,” with gentle compassion and inviting each into the Light. Sometimes to be integrated. Sometimes to be released – to burn. Not having done enough of that in the early years myself, there was no way I could offer myself as a witness holding a space of compassion for others in their own burning.
That’s not to say it was all for naught. How else do we learn but by being in the experience? In each session, with each client, there was a give and take: each of us learned something from the other and in so doing, learned something about ourselves so that we might bring an aspect of ourselves into the Light. So that we might sit down with that aspect and look it fully in the face and say, “Hi, I see you. It’s nice to meet you. I’d love to know more about you – to truly see you so that you might be integrated more fully into my experiences, in a healthier way.” 
“Love and Light” is a phrase often used. And it can have tremendous potency when uttered by a person who is intimately aware of their own capacity for “Hate and Darkness,” as well as all the energies in between. I have since learned that nothing can truly be swept under the rug or warded off with spells or talismans. The energy is present and it wants to be seen. This is the Age of the Mirror. In my brief lifetime, never before has the collective consciousness been so exposed. And we have never been so ripe for our own healing – if we are willing to see ourselves in “the other.” To see ourselves not as separate or above or better than or smarter than – but to see ourselves as a part of our community – the whole, inclusive community.
In our personal work of healing – of Being Deeply with Ourselves – full of Grace and Compassion, we walk into the darkness sometimes. The grace and compassion, which sees and quells the Fear, comes from walking into the darkness, holding our candle with one hand and offering our other hand to our neighbor. (Feel free to bring a backpack of extra candles).
With gratitude,
Tana