photo: Seattle Municipal Archives on flickr

photo: Seattle Municipal Archives on flickr

When we hear that someone is a “healer,” certain assumptions follow.

We assume they know what they’re doing. We assume they will do their best to heal us.

And we assume their methods will not bring us harm.

But what happens when our assumptions are proven false?

What happens when those who are supposed to heal us cause us harm instead?

Years ago, I had chronic back pain. In order to make the pain go away, I tried a variety of approaches.

One of these approaches was a chiropractor I’ll call Harriet the Healer.

Harriet came to me well-recommended. Several people I knew had gone to her. The friendly guy who ran the health food store told me Harriet was fantastic.

She’s a healer,” he said.

He emphasized the last word with a knowing smile. Like she was one of those people who could not only mend my physical maladies, but align my chakras and deep-clean my aura as well.

do you woo woo too?

So I set up an appointment with Harriet.

The first few sessions went well enough. She cracked my back and turned me onto Bach Flower Essences.

No problems, no concerns.

My back still hurt. And I didn’t think Harriet was the best healer ever, as I’d been told, but I was willing to keep coming back.

I wanted to feel better.

It was after I’d been coming to see Harriet for a month or so that things started to get ever so slightly off.

She began to make a habit of telling me intimate details about her relationship with her boyfriend. This was not the most professional behavior, in and of itself. But there was more.

I sensed that there was an agenda behind these confessions. That she was telling me about her boyfriend to make some kind of point.

And then it came. The day she revealed her bias.

We were talking about my back pain and the degree of healing – or lack thereof – that I had experienced.

She leaned back, crossed her arms, and said,

“When you start to wear more feminine clothing, that’s when I’ll know you’re healed.”

photo: cod_gabriel on flickr

photo: cod_gabriel on flickr

I just sat there, in shock. I was in my early 20’s at the time, and still in the process of accepting and embracing my androgynous gender expression. 

I knew that what she’d said was complete hogwash, but I didn’t know what to do about it.

At least, not at first.

When I left her office that day, her words kept ringing in my head. Indeed, I remember them even decades later.

When you start to wear more feminine clothing. . .

Was that why she’d been telling me about her boyfriend? Did she suspect I was gay? Was she trying to extol the benefits of a straight-and-narrow path? She seemed somewhat androgynous herself – was she trying to “set me straight” in an effort to heal her own issues?

I had no idea.

All I knew was that I couldn’t see her anymore.

A line had been crossed. What was supposed to be helping me had turned into something else, something hurtful.

I eventually found my way out of back pain by the works of Dr. John Sarno.

I also eventually found my way into a full-on, super-charged enthusiasm for my androgynous gender expression.

photo: barbara stafford

photo: barbara stafford

When I look back on my time with Harriet, I am proud of myself for leaving.

I know she was doing her best – we all are. But in my case, her best didn’t work for me.

I recently wrote a post about owning our power. I observed that noticing when we give our power away is the key to taking it back.

In the case of healers, there is an implicit agreement:

I’ll see you as an authority and you will draw upon that authority to heal me.

photo: Larry1732 on flickr

photo: Larry1732 on flickr

Except sometimes, like in the case of Harriet, the healer’s own “stuff” gets in the way.

That’s why it’s important to continually check in with our inner knowing.

Is this person right for me? Is this healing modality working? Am I feeling better, not worse?

From my time with Harriet, I learned about Bach flower essences. I learned that I can walk away from something that doesn’t feel right. I learned that a person can be a healer to some and not to others.

Ultimately, we’re our own healers. We’re made of Divine stuff, and we can tap into that unlimited power to heal ourselves and others.

That unlimited power can also guide us in making decisions about who to ask for help. And who not to.

All these years later, I am grateful for my time with Harriet. She moved me forward in my path toward healing, a path that included leaving her.

She did me the great favor of not meeting my expectations. By offering me something that didn’t work, I had to find something that did. And I had to become strong enough to leave.

The best healers are those who strengthen our own relationship with Source. Intentional or not, that was the result of my time with Harriet.

I guess she was a healer after all.

photo: Wonderlane on flickr

photo: Wonderlane on flickr

Who have been your Harriets? How did you find your power? Share your comments below!

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