Healing Trip #5 - Tucson, Arizona
“How am I lost?” I muttered to myself as I took in the cacti and the critters lining the walkway. This was at least my fifth time back at this resort, but each and every year I found myself wandering lost on the property somehow – the mazes of trails and passageways never quite making sense.
I had left the conference intending to make a quick run to my room for the heavier sweater I had left behind as I packed up for breakfast a few hours earlier. The whole temperature regulation thing was proving to be a challenge in the combination of hotel air conditioning and temperatures cooler than expected. I was grateful I had packed something so warm at the last minute and made a mental note to carry it with me for the duration of the conference.
The errand was taking far longer than expected as I found my anticipated short-cut taking me clear across the property before dropping me out on the nature trail. My heels were ill suited for the rubbly terrain, but I knew the fastest way back would be down the path and around the pool. As I peered around, getting my bearings before setting off again, I looked up and realized I hadn’t simply been deposited on the nature trail.
I was in the midst of the butterfly garden.
* * *
I have to admit – this trip felt a bit like cheating. I was heading back to Tucson on something of an annual pilgrimage. Every year as March cracks open, I find myself landing in the desert and sleeping among the peaks of Tucson’s desert landscape. Its typically also the beginning of Lent and I’ve always enjoyed the quiet space of the mountains for settling into whatever it is that I have decided to focus on for that 40 day window of life.
But this year – returning to the place where I got the call – it felt different. More significant. Heavier maybe. So I figured, why not take the opportunity to do some healing work while I was back in that place where all of this started?
So that’s what I did.
* * *
“You have an energetic knife wound in your back,” she said after completing what I can best describe as an energetic exfoliation. “Were you betrayed by someone in the recent past?”
If you google “Tucson healers” a ton of stuff comes up. 99% of it seems shady. Tucson was a bit tricky for me because it was the one place where I didn’t really know who I was headed there to find. With every other trip, someone had guided me to my destination or I knew what the work was that I was planning to do. This was wide-open space and I was unsure exactly what I was meant to do there.
Until I stumbled upon a particular Shaman.
On the last day of this incredibly long year, I parked in front of a tiny, sweet home. When she welcomed me, I felt as if I had known her forever already. And I knew I had come to Tucson to find her.
We talked for what felt like forever before we got on with our work – which began with the exfoliating.
Following that process, she performed a soul retrieval ceremony. In a soul retrieval, the Shaman calls the pieces of our soul back home – the pieces we have left with humans we had a significant attachment to or that may have remained in a past life. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony.
When the ceremony was completed, she shared with me that my maternal ancestors had presented themselves to her and shared much about my lineage history that has played a role in the development of this most recent disease. I am going to hold that information close for now, but it was quite truly information that shed incredible light on what the purpose behind all of this has been.
I felt sad leaving her – this new friend I had found in Tucson. But my heart knew so surely that I would see her again.
* * *
As dawn broke over the mountain range, a handful of us gathered. These women had been there the day the phone call came and they were there with me again now, one year later. Despite our best of intentions to welcome in this new year watching the sunrise, the sun failed to show himself – clouds obscuring our view. Nonetheless, we stood together, said a prayer, and took in the morning, reminded that although it may be difficult to see at times, the sun always does rise.
* * *
The next morning, I hopped into my rental car and drove down the mountain to the small clay building that houses Tucson’s Johrei Fellowship. As I pulled into the drive, I found myself facing a small garden. One that houses a butterfly crossing. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Receiving Johrei is a type of energy work. The minster uses Johrei to focus the Light of God in an effort to raise the recipient to a higher state of enlightenment or consciousness. This divine light is believed to help dispel negativity from the spiritual body, which can then impact the physical and mental bodies as well. It is considered a highly purifying process.
I walked into the space and was greeted by two ministers and a volunteer, who invited me to join them in their morning prayer. After this practice, they asked for my story. One of the ministers shared with me that he has worked with several cancer patients – several of whom responded positively to Johrei. After hearing his stories, I am even more convinced that we are onto something with this link between energetic healing and cancer prevention and treatment.
The experience of receiving Johrei was beautiful. The best way I can describe it is as a mutual meditation between myself and the minister working with me. Like most of my experiences with energy work, I was able to feel blockages moving as she focused on various parts of my body, and left feeling opened up and lightened – as if much had been released.
* * *
Although it wasn’t originally on my list of places to heal, I know the healers I encountered in my time in Tucson were meant to play a role in my journey. As with every step of this path, they were not who I would have expected to need, but they were exactly who I needed to find.
Even more significant, though, were the repeated butterfly sightings through my time in Tucson. It was as if God was reminding me that it was time for me to leave the cocoon behind, the time to spread my wings. While my last trip to Tucson had begun the process of transformation, I had returned there changed – no longer the woman who had walked that same terrain just a year ago.
I had made the painful shift into a butterfly.