Why Your Expectations and Shamanic Healing Experiences Rarely Match Up
I recently saw a client for a soul retrieval, who, a few hours after the session, emailed me to ask why a specific soul fragment that she was expecting to be returned to her wasn’t returned.
The question didn’t make me bristle or anything like that; I completely understood where she was coming from. I thought to myself, ‘she has a good point, why didn’t the Spirits return that part of her soul?’
I wanted to have a wise and intelligent answer for her, something to put her at ease and to make her feel good about her healing session, but the honest answer was, “I don’t know.”
Now my clients are the most beautiful people in the world – I’m quite sure of it – and this client and I fell into a conversation about expectations around healing work.
Expectations and Shamanic Healing
I may not know why the Spirits do what they do, but I do know how hard it is to surrender our expectations of what our healing journey should look like when we work with the Spirits.
I was taught early on that it’s the Spirits who do the work. If you’ve read my blog, you’ve heard this before (you may be sick of hearing me say it!), but I repeat it often because it’s a big distinction with Shamanic work vs. other modalities.
My personal belief is that there are only two parties responsible for a person’s healing: The person and the Spirits. The Spirits will help, empower, support, illuminate, and sometimes even cajole a person on their healing journey, and ultimately, it’s up the person to do what they will with that information. To heal or not to heal. To surrender or not to surrender. To learn from their current experience or their next one, if at all.
My role? It’s really quite small. I hold a safe space for the Spirits to do their work. I parrot back to you anything they tell or show me. I validate your experiences because I’ve learnt that everyone is gifted and that everyone has Spiritual experiences. It’s totally normal. Happens every day.
The Healers Do What The Healers Feel Is Best
Once we acknowledge that it’s the Spirits who are the healers, then it becomes easier to surrender our expectations. Note that I said ‘easier’, not ‘easy’, cause seriously, it’s hard work.
I think of all the times I’ve ever been to see a medicine person at AHT or a non-native practitioner over the last 12 years. Without going into detail, we’re looking at a lot of appointments!
The Spirits are wise, proactive, humorous, kind, and tough when they need to be, but never, ever, are they predictable.
Working with the Spirits – as a client and yes, as a practitioner too – is always an adventure. The advice or visions they show us often feel to us like they are coming out of left field.
Sometimes they’re cryptic, other times they’re hard to believe until a few years later when the Ah-Ha moment arrives. Sometimes they feel super underwhelming, especially if we’re used to dramatic and intense healing sessions or rituals.
But they are always exactly what we need. The beauty of stepping back and surrendering our expectations is that we are better able to accept the true healing the Spirits offer us.
The Spirits are gentle when we need a little TLC, they are cryptic when they want us to figure stuff out for ourselves, and they often know more about our path than we do, which is why things don’t always make sense in the moment.
Our expectations are based on a narrow sliver of knowledge we have about ourselves or the world around us that are coloured by our egos.
But when we let those expectations go and consider what’s being communicated to us, healing happens more peacefully and more powerfully. Perspectives that we would never have considered on our own are presented to us, and important details that we had missed are addressed.
When we are able to move forward with the information the Spirits have shared with us, we are better empowered to deal with our own healing.
A Great Example Of My Forgetting Everything I just Wrote About
For example, my mother died a little less than two years ago. While her passing was peaceful and positive, there were events that happened shortly thereafter that were terribly upsetting. My power was stolen from me in the worst of ways and I was devastated. If there was ever a time for me to experience soul loss, that would have been it.
The first time I saw a practitioner after that period for a soul retrieval, I was happy at some of the soul fragments that were returned, but silently raised an eyebrow that my soul fragment from the specific time was not returned to me.
Then, nine months ago, I volunteered as a case study for a Shamanic student and had yet another soul retrieval. Now this time, I was SURE I would get that part of me back, and I explained this to the practitioner in great detail! (Oh Lord, save me from my own ego!!!)
The part of my soul that was returned to me in that session was powerful and affirming, but it was not the fragment that I felt I had lost at when my mum died.
I wasn’t about to question the practitioner to her face. Thankfully, a set of well-ingrained manners saved me from that cringe-inducing action, but that’s not to say I didn’t inwardly question it; I totally did. I’m ashamed to admit it, but there we have it.
I journeyed to the Spirits to ask what happened, and they reminded me of a few things:
- I was assuming I had suffered soul loss to start with, but I really didn’t know for sure
- I was assuming that, even if I did suffer soul loss, the soul fragment hadn’t naturally returned to me as I healed
- I was assuming that I knew better than they did about what was right for me
It was time to collect myself and remember who was in charge here, and, despite my best efforts, it wasn’t me.
So I chilled out and did my best to, well, I’ll be honest… forget about it. And then a funny thing happened:
As the power from that last soul retrieval began to integrate, I felt so much better about that event when my mum died.
The soul fragments that had been returned to me by those two practitioners grounded me, and I was able to work through my emotions surrounding that event and reclaim my power naturally.
And it was a gentle, lovely, and grounding process. Exactly what I needed.
We Can’t Always Get What We Want, And Sometimes That’s A Good Thing
So to my lovely client who wondered why the Spirits didn’t return that soul fragment she was expecting, I would encourage her to be patient and see whether or not the gifts that were returned to her in our session aren’t exactly what she needs to move forward to empower further healing.
I know it’s easier said than done, and it can be hard to balance surrender with discernment, but navigating these issues is part of the healing process.
When I get frustrated at my perceived lack of progress, I remind myself that we learn our lessons how we are meant to, and at the right time, and that it never – ever- looks how we expected.