I think I'm finally getting it.
That is, how to explain what I do. It's so funny when I meet people for the first time, or even when catching up with people, and inevitably the question arises, "What do you do for a living?" or, my favorite, "How is it going... whatever it is that you do?"
One way to answer is the technical way: With a person laying on a massage table, I use my hands in an intentional, heart-centered way, in a series of techniques with hands moving or still, with light touch or no touch, to balance someone's energy.
While completely accurate, this response is not complete. It leaves out the very nature of the work, which is also the greatest cause of its ambiguity -- that fact that it addresses our existence on spiritual, mental, and emotional levels of being -- and importantly, our experiences within them.
In the beginning, I used to shy away from answering the question more fully in this way because honestly, it was a bit ambiguous. It's sometimes difficult to describe something that is so experiential and beyond physical, tangible context. While I wanted to explain my experiences, the logical part of my brain was fully aware of the words leaving my mouth and how crazy it all sounded. Because I didn't want to alienate myself, I would put a filter on my experiences and understandings, perhaps lending to vague generalist statements.
But now, I don't filter myself. I speak from the heart and let the words flow, even if it sounds a little crazy. Or if at times there are no words at all.
The world of healing is a world of poetry and flow. It's not just about getting the techniques right in the sequence of a healing session. It's about dedicating our own lives to continual self-evaluation, deconstruction, and rebuilding.
Committing oneself to the path of a healer is about discovering just how complex and intricate we are -- how we learn and function, and what our principles, beliefs, and perceptions are. It's about being honest with where we need to heal ourselves; what areas are emotionally tender or psychologically frightening. As healing practitioners, we constantly delve into the places most fearful and vulnerable within ourselves. We experience everything viscerally and fully, coming out on the other side of the darkness with greater light, clarity, and awareness.
We do this again and again so that when holding space for others, we can honestly say, "I know what you're going through. I know it's painful. I've been there. And it gets better. I've done it, and you can, too."
I've discovered that the process of healing is about breaking down the barriers we have set up within ourselves. This is what is meant by "dissolving the illusion of separateness."
So, when I am asked, "What do you do for a living?" I answer, "It's not only about what I do, it's who I become."