Last week I met with a group of young Belizean folks who are doing a museum project about spirituality in Belize. They wanted to talk with me and Jamaul about our backgrounds and the work that we do, and to get more acquainted with some spiritual concepts and traditions as they relate to Belizean culture and history. I hung back a little as Jamaul was talking about his background and his spiritual path, thinking that since I am not from here I didn’t have much to offer the conversation.
Then something interesting happened. As Jamaul and I shared some of our experiences as spiritual practitioners and talked a bit about the work we’ve done together, I started to see my path in a different way. And as I was working my narrative and sharing my experiences with spirituality and healing practices, I felt like I was seeing clearly for the first time the web of my life, and how it has led me to this particular place and time.
One of the things I talked about was how personal and collective healing has been a theme in my life for many years, and is the thread that runs through so much of the work I have done. When I first started practicing Ifa, and ancestral worship in particular, I was trying to heal the wound of my father’s death during my childhood. While I had been introduced to the concepts and cosmology of the religion years earlier, it was when I was struggling with deep sadness and longing in my early twenties that I developed a connection to it as a healing practice. That was the starting point for me in my exploration of healing. Through that entry point, I became a Reiki Master, explored the Voodoo tradition, and began to practice mindfulness through the Vipassana tradition. I have used tarot and crystals, developed rituals, and learned about the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit through Ayurveda. For seventeen years, I have been actively creating a healing practice for myself and in my work with others.
I realized that creating a healing practice using different modalities is what led me to become a therapist but at some point I lost connection with that. I have placed more emphasis on my identity as a clinician for the past ten years, yet I initially sought a degree in counseling psychology to further my work as a healing practitioner. I am remembering this now, as I live in a place where there is not a clear mental health care system for me to just plug myself into, and am connecting with other aspects of my creative and professional identity.
In recent months I have been in a process of seeing more clearly my conditioning around work and earning that I have internalized over the years. Now that I have the time and space to explore how I want to work and what kinds of work connect me with people in Belize, I am becoming more aware of how much I depended on my clinical skills for steady income, and focused less on the other aspects of myself as a healing person. The irony is that by embracing all the ways in which I practice healing, I actually bring money and abundance into my life.
Since I moved to Belize, I have been consciously working through my fears about money and security, and understanding how I have moved away from doing what I really want to do because of a lack of trust. It’s been difficult and at times painful to see how I have created struggle in my life. I’m really seeing the ways I have undermined myself by holding on so tightly to beliefs that are not aligned with who I really am. As I am letting go of so many limiting ideas about myself, I am seeing myself more holistically and more fully embracing the many ways that I connect with others as a healing person.
The impact of this understanding has been immediate. Last week I found myself really talking to people and building relationships, and tapping into a well of creativity I haven’t experienced in a long time. I am more grounded and present in my life. I feel an expansiveness and fuller expression of myself. And rather than feeling worried and anxious about whether I should be more “productive”, I have a more relaxed attitude about how things are coming together. And they are. I am trusting the process. I am weaving my web.