Day 14: Eighteen Healers — Part 3

June 2nd, 2015

Joslyn Hamilton, freelance editor and writer, Salt Lake City, Utah

I’m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers.

In Part 1 I told the story of the chiropractor, the weekly shiatsu massage, the charming clairvoyant, the enneagram expert, Landmark Forum, and the molesty rolfer. In Part 2 there was the colonic irrigation, my first acupuncturist, the Ayurvedic consultant, the Solstice workshop I could not make up, the nutritionist, and the biofeedback therapist. Here are the last six. 


The Good Shaman

Cynthia was recommended to me by another healer of mine, and although I initially scoffed at the idea of talking to a shaman over the phone, at a particularly challenging point in my life, I gave in and made an appointment with her. For the sake of this story,  I wish I could say that Cynthia turned out to be a poser and that shamanic healing is a sham. But the truth is, she really helped me. She had a knack for saying exactly what I wanted to hear at any given time. She was probably the most intuitive woman I ever met, and technically, I never even met her. She picked up right away on the fact that I loved it when she swore. She gave up immediately on making me do weird embarrassing things like yodel over the phone to loosen my throat-chakra energy. (I have never even tried karaoke AND NEVER WILL.) Once, she suggested that I concentrate on bringing in “inner strength” through my sacral chakra. She had no way of knowing that when I was in my early twenties, I got the Japanese symbol for “inner strength” tattooed on my sacrum as a breakup fuck you to a boyfriend who had always said he hated tattoos. The next time I ran into him, he showed me the spiral tattoo he had gotten on his calf. 


The Bad Shaman

One of my best friends insisted that I go see her shaman, whose name I promptly forgot, but who I’ll call Crystal for the sake of this story. Crystal lived in a wall-to-wall carpeted condo—one of those places that you’d call a unit. She had done her best to New-Age it with hanging tapestries and animal totems. Crystal saged me. I coughed for days.


My Second Acupuncturist

Rebecca’s clinic was a spare room in her Mission District second-floor apartment. Sequestered from the chaos of the neighborhood by virtue of its location up a cozy side street, her treatment table was an oasis of calm in my life. I met Rebecca at a networking event when I was transitioning from being a yoga teacher to a freelance writer. I was already sold on acupuncture, so she didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to try her services. Rebecca was a big believer in naps. She had books in her office about the healing power of taking daily naps. Treatment on Rebecca’s table always put me into a torpor. Rebecca and I got along famously.


The Silent Retreat

For my 39th birthday I gifted myself a weeklong retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the trendiest Buddhist dive in town. The retreat leader was Noah Levine, the rebel of the Buddhist community whose compulsion to foul language and off-color stories was very endearing to me. When you go to a silent retreat, you bloody well better like the leader, because his is the only voice you are going to hear for one entire week. Thankfully, I did not get sick of hearing Noah Levine swear. I did get sick of oatmeal with stewed prunes. And I got really sick of myself. But in all honesty, silent retreat is a pretty sweet place to be. You don’t have to talk to anyone. You don’t even have to look at anyone. For an introvert, it’s heaven. I could live there.


The Rapist

My friends and I think it’s real hilarious to call our therapists “the rapist.” Get it? Yup. We’re radically mature people. Sometimes we take it a step further and quote Tobias Bluth from Arrested Development, whose business cards read “AnalRapist.” We go to therapy for the stories. Not to tell our stories in therapy, mind you, but for the stories we get out of going to therapy. “And then, the rapist  broke out the DSM-V and we talked about whether or not I have Borderline Personality Disorder for a while, but we decided that my drug habit in college was a direct reflection of my circumstances and not due to mental illness per se.” My friends and I, we’re pretty bored.


The Thai Wellness Center

For my 40th, I treated myself to a five-day retreat at a world-renowned wellness center in Koh Samui, Thailand. Sequestered behind high walls in a remote corner of the island, I spent a week on the beach, reading novels, drinking fresh-pressed wheatgrass, and getting probed by this and that massage therapist and naturopath twice a day. It was fucking lovely. I was the same person afterwards, unfortunately.

In fact, after all of the above treatments, I was discouraged to find that I was, in the end, always still myself. My anxiety always came back. My shoulders always hunched forward again, eventually. Always, my stomach began to naggingly ache after some time had passed.

In the end, I have come to realize, with no small horror, that there is no such thing as a miracle worker. I so badly wanted to find one. But I am only left with myself, and the cold hard truth: if I want to be happy, I better learn to be happy with myself just the way I am. No healer is ever going to “fix” me.


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One Response to “Day 14: Eighteen Healers — Part 3”

  1. Tom says:

    Awesome, lady.

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