Ok, so you’ve decided to become a healer (possibly even a professional one), and you’ve read my last post about making sure you’re coming to healing work from a healthy place (thank you). Great! You’re ready to save the world! YAY US!!!
Annnnnnd, you’ve also probably figured out that ongoing healing work can have some pretty challenging moments. Healers witness a lot of suffering and hold space for people’s problems which can be draining over time.
Not to mention the suffering we put upon ourselves by way of having sky-high internal standards. There are times that if I have a healing session that is anything less than a Lazareth-standing-up-and-walking type event, I can immediately start to doubt myself.
Whatever your practice, it’s essential to make sure you have methods in place to be a healthy healer. Do not create a deficit within yourself in order to do your healing work. Healer burnout is real and can hopefully, with the right precautions, be avoided.
At the BPI we have a few principles we teach to keep you in the ring long-term. These principles apply to anyone who likes to be a “Helper Being” out there in the world—not just the professional healers.
Consent. Have you asked the person if they would actually like your help? This is big. I wasn’t exactly doing this before the BPI because shouldn’t we all help anyone we can? Isn’t this what we’re supposed to do if we’re a “good” person? After some classes, I became more conscious of how jumping in to help people was actually me treading on their personal learning process. I was too busy being a savior to recognize that I was invading other people’s agency.
Transference. Is your energy getting all soupy and commingled with their energy? If you find yourself dwelling on that person hours or days later—you probably need to find ways to separate your energy from theirs. Healings are like a hug—they gotta end at some point, or it gets weird, y’know?
At the BPI we have specific ways to clear transference. What methods do you have for being complete with your contribution to another person’s well-being?
Healings work better when they’re co-created. Is the person you’re helping able to participate in the process? Some people can’t always face their own limitations or actually make changes in the short term. Can they fully integrate all that you are trying to offer? Would you be okay if they could only receive a portion of your help?
One way to tell if you are not including them in the healing process is if you are giving a lot of advice. Inclusion looks like: listening, validating, sharing your perspective, and mindfully giving only to the degree that they can receive or integrate. Advice (which is a close cousin, or possible twin, to lecturing) is when you are making a lot of “you should _______” statements.
Healing work is mutually beneficial. Time, money, and emotional energy are all limited resources. At the BPI, we often say that, “When you give a healing you get a healing!” This means that I benefit in my healing practice because I always set the intention that I will heal just as much, if not more, than the person I’m healing. One way I do this is by finding similarities in myself that my healee is experiencing. This gives me the opportunity to examine and heal that part of myself that I was most likely previously unaware of.
If you are being 100% self-sacrificing, it’s important to be aware of that—can you find ways to help someone out that uplifts you vs. draining you? Are you careful to give only as much as you are willing or able?
Replenish. At the BPI, we often say, “Always leave a healing brighter than you started!” Do you have a routine for replenishing yourself energetically? Are you lovin’ on yourself just as much as you’re giving to the wellness of others?
Take good care, fellow healer. We need you fresh!
Coming soon—Part Three: Do you have a healing container?
Blog post written by Three Brodsky, a student and staff member at The Boulder Psychic Institute.
“Why do I give to other people” is an important question to ask yourself if you find that you can’t help but help others—either as a professional healer or as someone who is often in the role of the nurturer in relationships.
I’ll be honest; until I started classes at the BPI, I didn’t even ask myself this question. I was just unconsciously and compulsively “helping” certain types of people that would come into my life (cute young Queers in distress was my particular poison). Eventually, I managed to burn myself out entirely and ended up angry and resentful towards a lot of people (myself included).
At the time, I had a lot of unresolved trauma around female-bodied people—I was trying to heal myself by helping others.
Mind you, none of these people ever asked me for anything—I fully and wholly cooked up these dysfunctional dynamics myself. I think I was looking for a sense of purpose and grounding. And in hindsight, I would say I was somewhat attracted to the drama these relationships would bring into my life.
I often say that the BPI sobered me up from my addiction to drama, and it’s true. An instructor called me out in no time for being a compulsive healer. “But I SHOULD help other people; I have so much love to give and so many resources!” Did I tho?! When I really took a look at this, I found that I was actually bringing my own unconscious wounds into the dynamic, and it kept me hooked on the validation I was getting. Are those generous and altruistic behaviors? No. I was being emotionally immature and codependent.
When I did the healing work I needed to do for myself and stepped down from my hero’s pedestal, I realized I had to be more conscious of who I was bringing into my life and for what reasons.
Learning how to heal me first and foremost has created a much healthier container for me to be an effective healer.
Are you taking inventory around why you help people and how you’re going about it? It may be time to examine some of the sobering questions I’ve had to answer for myself.
Are you trying to heal your own emotional wounds indirectly through helping others? A good clue is if you have a bunch of people in your life that you feel like you “should” be supporting. Do you feel an intense “need” to be of service to these people? Do these relationships make you feel drained and resentful? I remember a particularly revealing conversation with myself when I started asking who, of all the people in my life, am I actually having fun with? I didn’t love the answer.
Are you trying to fix or save people? Do you see the people you’re going out of your way to show up for as helpless? Do you easily feel sorry for people? If you get honest with yourself, do you really respect these people? This is not healing btw; it’s being in judgment of someone and viewing them as broken—then getting a big ol’ dose of validation when you “help” them. Please don’t repeat this……but I used to feel this way about introverts. I would literally seek them out at a party so they wouldn’t be so “helpless and alone.” I hope you’re laughing right now—because you should be. #sorryquietpeople
Do you love drama?! I do! Which makes sense—drama is defined as an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or circumstances. No wonder so many of us love it! The trick is to find the right kind of drama. Now that I’m more aware of my brain’s desire for an adventure, I intentionally give myself doses of drama in healthy ways by reading juicy novels, creating outrageous art, kickboxing, traveling, watching a movie, listening to podcasts …anything. Literally, ANYTHING is better than letting my brain get bored and restless.
Do you want to matter and be significant? This is the big one. We all want this—humans are altruistic by nature, and we crave a sense of purpose. I want to matter and do my part to bring more healing into the world, but I also want my healing work to be intentional and clean and not leave any party feeling used or drained.
I’m now choosing to do the best I can to be a healer in its truest sense—meticulously conscious of why I heal, who I heal, and how I heal.
Coming soon—Part Two: How to be a healthy healer.
Blog post written by Three Brodsky, a student and staff member at The Boulder Psychic Institute.
Open letter to the families of those lost on March 22, 2021 during the tragedy at King Soopers:
It’s been roughly 3 months since the shooting at King Soopers on table Mesa in Boulder, CO.
Just as part of the Boulder community, our lives are changed. We see signs reminding us of our strength on our neighbor’s lawn #BoulderStrong, there are armed security guards at our grocery stores, and our heart tugs with sadness when we see the fence art on the street near the King Soopers shopping center. These community changes, though, are temporary. They are small, surface-level shifts in the landscape of our community that will—one day—go away. We recognize that the sadness we feel as a community member is nothing in comparison to the grief experienced by those who lost a loved one that day.
So to the families of Denny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Rikki Olds, Tralona Bartkowiak, Suzanne Fountain, Teri Leiker, Officer Eric Talley, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, and Jody Waters:
There is nothing we can do to bring your child, parent, or spouse back into the physical with you. We can’t call them back home. But we do see your grief. Societally, people like to say “time heals all wounds” but at Boulder Psychic Institute, we know from experience that grief can be just as fresh on day 2,431 as it was on day 1. You will love this person your whole life, and you will miss them that long too.
That’s why we wanted to write this letter to you as a standing offer. If you lost someone in your immediate family during the events on March 22, 2021 at the King Soopers grocery store on Table Mesa Road in Boulder, CO, we want you to still feel supported in your grief and your healing no matter when that is.
We offer a number of different services at our school year-round, so we want you to know that whenever (if ever) you’d like to receive some support from your community, we’re here for you.
Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know who you are and what service above you’d like to receive, and we’ll make it happen pro-bono.
You are our community—even if we’ve never met—and communities care about each person who makes us who we are. We care about you. Even if you don’t want to talk about this for another 7 months, for another 5 years, this is open indefinitely.
In the meantime, of course, we’ll keep reminding ourselves of the strength of our community and keep tipping our hats to every grocery store guard. We’ll be keeping you and your loved one in our thoughts and allowing our community’s sadness to inform the way we, collectively, move forward. Stronger and together.
Boulder Psychic Institute