Awake my soul: the story of shamanic healing

Written by on May 1, 2012 in 30 Life Crisis, Americas, Blog, Utah - 36 Comments

Self. Birth. Transformation. Relationships.

Those four cards stare at me on the animal hide table in the little room of Betina Lindsey, the shaman at Red Mountain Resort.

“Well, this fits,” she says.

I close my eyes. I can only hope she’s right.

Betina is my last resort. She is my little glimmer of hope that, with this shamanic healing session, I can somehow overcome the sadness that has been eeking the energy out of me, leaving me so empty. So exhausted. So dead inside.

When I walk into her office, an old hotel room converted into a place of comfort, complete with crystals, photos of shamans, spiritual paintings and more, I try to let go of the preconceived notions of what I am about to do.

I’ve never been into any of this stuff. The cards. The crystals. It was only yesterday, with my reiki session and utter lack of energy, that I realized there was something out of balance with my body. That my chakras were clogged. I didn’t even know what a chakra was until yesterday when Cynthia told me mine were basically blocked.

The smell of sage permeates the air as she guides me to the little chair which sits in front of a table covered with a golden animal hide.

“Let me get a reading on you,” she says. “Sit and close your eyes.”

I do.

After a moment, she speaks. “You are too accommodating.”

Yes. Yes, I can be that.

“You are at a point in your life where you are on a plank. You can’t walk back, but you also can’t move forward. You don’t believe in yourself enough. You won’t take that jump.”

My eyes well up with tears.

Yes. I am paralyzed. I can’t move because I have nothing but hatred for myself. I can’t stand who I am. I can’t stand the person I have become since I returned from my travels. This is not the life I want. And yet, I can’t break free from it. I can’t heal myself. 

I reach for a tissue and wipe my eyes as she begins to place cards on the tiny table.

She uses six decks of various cards, including tarot.

Then, she does the reading.

Everything she culls from the reading is accurate. Spot. On.

“You don’t like yourself. You won’t be able to do anything until you do.”

I sit and blink.

I’ve been trying to like myself. I’ve been trying to get over this. It’s taken me months, and instead of feeling better, all of those things I have kept bottled up and now have discovered weigh on me more than they did when I was blissfully unaware.

“You won’t move on, you won’t be in a relationship, you won’t have anything until you are able to honor your inner child. You have to find some way to love who you are.”

I don’t know how to do that.

Again, I feel the tears burn. I want to explain to her how hard I have been working. How frustrated I have become. How all I want to do is run. To escape. To go sit with elephants in Thailand and be relived of thinking about myself for a few wonderful moments.

She leaves one card face down on the table as she escorts me to another area in the room.

“Here,” she says, lifting up a plate full of different crystals and rocks. “Pick a stone that speaks to you.”

I reach for the amethyst.

“Now, I want you to take one thing you want to get rid of from your body and focus all of your energy on it. Send it from your body into the stone.”

I squeeze my eyes closed as hard as I can, forcing the one thing I want out of my body more than anything else: the self-hatred.

As she chants, I imagine that feeling of disgust moving its way from my heart, from my mind, through my veins and out my fingertips and into this tiny rock which has become hot in my palm.

Leave my body. Get out. Never come back. 

Then, Betina gently guides me to another area in the room where a bear hide covers the floor.

“Lay down,” she instructs.

I oblige, letting my head sink into the soft fur. She begins placing stones on different points on my body — the places where my (not flowing) chakras are.

“Now, I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are with Little Diana. She’s four or five years old. Imagine being with her. And I want you to sit with her, talk with her, tell her she is beautiful, that you love her, and then I want you to take her with you on a journey through your life. Take her with you to the beautiful places you have seen. Show her all of the amazing things you have experienced. Honor her. Let her know she is with you, always.”

Then, she begins to chant in a language I don’t understand. While she chants and uses the crystal bowls, I find Little Diana.

I see her perfectly. She’s wearing a little blue dress, blonde hair with short bangs. A little nose. Big, brown eyes. Little D is sitting in her bunny wall-papered room on beige carpet. I find her and kneel down to sit with her.

She looks at me and smiles.

I know you.

I smile back and take her hand.

“Hi,” I whisper to her. “How are you?”

She says nothing.

The mournful sound of bowls echos in my ears.

Hand clenched in mind, I touch her soft little face.

“I’m so sorry,” I whisper to her. “I am so, so sorry. I stopped thinking about you somewhere in my life. I got sidetracked. I got angry. I got sad. Really, really sad.”

Little D’s grip tightens in my hand.

I breathe deep as Betina softly chants.

“I love you. You are beautiful. You are wonderful. You are strong. You are everything you ever wanted to be. And, I am sorry for not honoring you a long time ago. I am sorry for not telling you these things.”

Then, as the music from Betina gets louder, I move from my old bedroom with my old self to Portugal.

Little D and I sit together on the golden sand of Lagos, as the sun sinks into the Atlantic Ocean.

“See, look where you are. On the other side of the world!” I say to Little D.

Then, we are in Spain, listening to flamenco music. We are watching F-1 from the stands in Valencia. We are trekking for gorillas. We are sitting on the roof deck of a riad in Morocco, watching as the buildings glow pink and listening to the call for prayer echo throughout the ancient walls. Together, she and I walk with elephants.

At some point, the tunes from the bowl turn into bells in my mind. And, now, the bells signify the death of a part of me. I can feel it leave my body as I take Little D around the world with me.

The hatred flows right out of me.

And, something else comes in. A feeling of calm. Of peace. Of love for myself.

As Betina finishes, I cough. “Sorry,” I murmur.

“It’s normal,” she explains. “You are getting rid of what you need to get rid of.”

I stand up slowly.

“How do you feel?”

“I feel … different.”

She stands me in the center of the room and does a Native American prayer with me, turning me towards different spirit worlds, blessing me. Then, we move back to the table where the last card lays.

I flip it over.

Commitment.

“You know what this means?” She asks me.

We both do.

I hug her and walk back out into the Utah afternoon.

An entirely different person.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2010 she quit her job in PR to go on a solo backpacking adventure and tackle her 30-Life-Crisis. After seven months abroad, journeying throughout Europe and Africa, she returned to America and relocated to Las Vegas. Following a year-long stint back in PR, she once again quit her job to follow her dreams; this time her journey took her to the elephants and Elephant Nature Park where she is involved with raising awareness about responsible elephant tourism. Recently, Diana was named a finalist in the Destinology Travel Bloggy Awards for travel writing. She has been a regular contributor to Viator and recently served as the Las Vegas contributor for OneTravel.com and CheapOair.com. Her work has appeared in print and online, including The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Vegas Seven, World Nomads and more.

36 Comments on "Awake my soul: the story of shamanic healing"

  1. Bobbi Lee Hitchon May 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm · Reply

    This is such a powerful post. You should never feel that way about yourself. No one should. I know we’ve never met but from small interactions we’ve had you seem full of love and energy. I think whatever gets you feeling good about yourself is worth trying.

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Bobbi. Sometimes, even with other people telling you there is nothing wrong with you, doesn’t make it better. Thank you for the sweet words. I am looking forward to meeting you in Thailand!!!

  2. Heathers Harmony May 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm · Reply

    This is a beautiful story! I’ve been wanting to try something like this for a while and I’ve done some acupressure and some Chinese medicine but I feel like maybe I need to try something like this! Thank you for sharing something so personal with your readers!

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm · Reply

      I think trying something like this is a great outlet. Even if you don’t believe, it is worth giving it a shot.

  3. Gaelyn May 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm · Reply

    You have been on an incredible journey to relearn the love of self. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm · Reply

      Of course!

  4. Abby May 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm · Reply

    Awwww “Little D”!! What a beautiful post. I can’t stop wishing and blowing on my stone. No idea how many days it’s been. Obviously more than 28. You have changed your life since meeting Betina. I am so proud. Hopefully someday I will follow in your footsteps, my friend!

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Abby! I set a reminder on my phone to blow on my stone every day. Pretty sure I kept it up until well past the 28 day mark. And look! I have no doubt you will have amazing things in your life!! xoxo

  5. Angela May 2, 2012 at 1:59 am · Reply

    This is very powerful, well done on healing yourself, I wish I could meet someone like Betina too, I was just thinking about doing some yoga next time I go to India, I need to get something out of my chest and I need someone REALLY good to help me ;)

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm · Reply

      Do. It. Absolutely.

  6. Sophie May 2, 2012 at 7:49 am · Reply

    What a sweet story, Diana! Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes – and a good guide.

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm · Reply

      Exactly! I am so happy today.

  7. Jade - OurOyster.com May 2, 2012 at 7:51 am · Reply

    Wow what an intense experience! I’m glad it was a positive one for you, and I hope you are able to move on to better and happier times

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Jade. I have definitely moved on to much happier times!

  8. Bret @ Green Global Travel May 2, 2012 at 8:01 am · Reply

    What a great post, D! So proud of you for taking the necessary steps to confront the issues holding you back from leading the life you were born to lead. I went through a similar experience after some traumatic events in my teens, and it’s almost like you have to bottom out enough to completely let go of the control before you can open yourself up to seeing the new paths that lie before you. I’m glad you were able to tackle this beast, and can’t wait to see what comes next for you!

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Bret! A part of the healing was taking a stone home with me and blowing on it for 28 days, repeating the same thing each day: “I give myself permission to fulfill my destiny.” Needless to say, I let that happen. :) You really do need to bottom out in order to regain control. It sucks. It is incredibly painful. But, you have to feel the need to help yourself before you can take the steps to feel better. I am glad I was able to overcome this and move forward to the beautiful life I live today!!

  9. eileen ludwig May 2, 2012 at 8:13 am · Reply

    Good job! Great work! Shamanic sessions are powerful

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm · Reply

      They really are! I had no idea what to expect. And, I certainly did not expect THAT!

  10. Nora - The Professional Hobo May 2, 2012 at 10:12 am · Reply

    What a beautiful story, and a beautiful experience. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey! And welcome to “the other side”!!! :-)

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Nora. Even earlier, when I wrote it, is was not an easy thing to do. To even think I was able to feel that awful makes me feel bad. But, I am so happy at the point I am at in my life right now, so it makes the hard times worth it to get where I am today.

  11. Bohemian Trails May 2, 2012 at 10:43 am · Reply

    Very moving post Diana! Good for you for finding your inner child :) You are such an awesome person and I know great things will continue coming your way.

    • Diana May 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Megan!!

  12. Shanna Schultz May 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm · Reply

    This is an amazing story. I have taken a couple of classes in Shamanic Journeying and have some training in Shamanic styles of healing that I incorporate into my massage sessions. That other world that we can’t see is real, and there is so much power there for those who have the courage and are willing to make the commitment towards their own healing journeys. Kudos to you for stepping down that path.

    • Diana May 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Shanna! I would love to learn more about your training! After my session, shamanic healing sounds so interesting. She suggested I spend some time in an ashram, too. I haven’t made a decision on that yet … we shall see! I’m of the mindframe that if there is a way to make yourself feel better, even it takes you outside of your comfort zone, it is worth it.

  13. Ali May 5, 2012 at 8:54 am · Reply

    This is really amazing stuff. I can understand that self hatred and depression and not being happy with where you are. It’s a tough thing to battle against. I’m so glad you were able to find something that helped you feel at peace.

    • Diana May 8, 2012 at 12:20 am · Reply

      It is such a hard thing to deal with … weighs you down … eats you up. I am so lucky to have gotten a hold of it. Thanks for the kind words, Ali!

  14. Lisa Smith May 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm · Reply

    What a beautiful journey you experienced. I loved your story and your new connection to yourself! BEAUTIFUL- that is you!

    Always remember your journey to yourself, it will hold you up to the light.

    What an honor to read this.

    Thank you!

    LOVE to you.

    Lisa

    • Diana May 8, 2012 at 12:16 am · Reply

      Lisa, thank you so much!! Your comment means a lot to me! I will always remember the journey. :)

  15. Kent @ NVR May 7, 2012 at 4:01 am · Reply

    Had started a comment and lost it due to crappy Internet overseas :(

    The path to fulfillment can suck at times, but it is far better than doing nothing. Congrats to you on choosing this journey.

    • Diana May 8, 2012 at 12:15 am · Reply

      Thank you so much, Kent!! It wasn’t easy, but worth every moment of work. :)

  16. Krista May 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm · Reply

    Diana, I can’t thank you enough for writing this beautifully honest and real post. I’m still crying after reading it, understanding so much of what you wrote. But I’m smiling too, because I’m finally feeling so of those good things after struggling for so long. I’m very happy you found the courage to visit this place, to open yourself up to strange things you didn’t even understand. I’m so very, very glad you found healing and understanding here. Wishing you much strength and peace and joy as you press on. :-)

    • Diana May 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm · Reply

      Krista, thank you so much for the note. I am so glad the post resonated with readers. It was really important for me to share the story and to let other people who may be going through it know that you CAN get through it. I really appreciate your kind words. <3

  17. Aisleen October 1, 2012 at 9:22 am · Reply

    This post made me well up. Sounds like something I could do with. Thanks for sharing your story Diana x

    • Diana October 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm · Reply

      Of course! It was a hard experience to share, but I think it is important to let people know they aren’t the only ones feeling like that.

  18. Kim February 11, 2013 at 2:29 am · Reply

    Wow, what a powerful and moving experience. As you wrote I thought of myself as a little girl and what she would think of herself today (she is ME, after all). She would be proud, I think, but also she might ask for a little more attention. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Diana February 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm · Reply

      Absolutely!! :)

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