Spiraling into the Center

By Amanda Moreno

The world feels beautiful today. After weeks of dissonance and what felt like too much time too close to the edges of sanity, the world feels beautiful, relaxed and if not sane then at least holding steady, at least in my little bubble.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Photo by Eric Francis.

I’ve been hit many times recently with the dawning awareness that I don’t know what it means to be a healer, and I don’t know in what capacity I’m prepared to fill that role.

I don’t like using the term ‘healer’, especially as a label for myself. It makes me cringe. But sometimes I have to give in to the constructs of language and the fact of the matter is that ‘healing’ is the best label for whatever the hell it is that comes through in my sessions with people.

At this moment, however, I don’t know whether I want to go through what it seems to take to be a healer. Once again, here I hit my own preconceived notions — maybe the path to healing others can be a comfortable process. But is that authentic?

The fact of the matter is that I do believe you have to go deep to get to the gold. Is that one more example of my attachment to crisis? Is there a way to go deep and not participate in the cycle of descent and dismemberment?

Furthermore, am I obligated to pursue this path? Is it an option? When you hear the call of your soul, what happens if you turn it down? I’ve always been open to the process, and the understanding that although I’ve chosen to accept the journey I cannot right now understand what the finished product will look like. This is the first time, however, that I’ve encountered doubts like the ones I’ve been facing.

I’ve started questioning how much I am influenced by outside factors, or energies. I’ve also been getting very clear about just how sensitive I am.

The other day I was hit with a sudden knowing of just how much was filling my energy field that wasn’t mine. ‘Mine’ in the ‘this life, this will, my own personal experiences’ sense. I’ve been aware of this for years, but this time around, in a state where I had enough going on all by myself without anything else clinging on, it pissed me off. I’ve been struggling enough with what is right in front of me, with following through with all of the choices I’ve made that have increased my stress levels — choices that have seemed completely worthy and doable. But you add in the tendency to serve as a channel for other people’s everything, and it can become too much.

I didn’t want what feels like such an involuntary tendency to be some kind of dumping ground. How do you learn to trust your own instincts when your field is so cluttered with other people’s stuff? With the weight of the collective? I felt this rage welling up inside of me — for the repression of my true self, my true voice, which I couldn’t hear over the roar of other people’s pain and strife. Perhaps it was the rage of the repressed feminine welling up inside.

So I made some decisions last week. I decided I want my field to be my own (although I suppose there’s a larger philosophical/spiritual discussion that could happen there, because isn’t it all connected anyway?). I asked for help and I purged and purified and I made a decision: I’m not available for other people’s stuff for now. Maybe for a while.
I will keep my ability to sense, I will honor my ability to feel, but I am not available for emotional dumping, from clients, from friends, from random people on the street, and from any entities or energy bodies hanging around. My inner mama tiger is determined to protect the vulnerable bits that have been exposed in recent months.

Maybe it’s naive of me. But my energy feels more spacious right now. If I lean into it there’s a sigh of relief and glee mixed with a little confusion. I celebrated this new space by attending a little hippie-style kinky brunch and facing down several of my fears head on. And came out shining and glowing and full of love. I can feel other people’s pain and pleasure, and knowing that I don’t have to take it on as my own creates relief.

Boundaries — as in knowing and honoring what you are available for — are a wonderful thing. It feels like all parts are coming back to the center. And although that process is confusing and painful at times, I feel like I can breathe through it.

I think there is such beauty in being a healer. But there are so many ways to do it. And right now I’m thinking that I do want in, but I don’t want to take on other people’s shit and I need to reevaluate how I do this work. I want to honor my ability to feel, to acknowledge what is and is not mine, but have really strong boundaries. I want to put myself first, and then be a guide or support to others, but not a savior. I’d love to help other people to heal themselves. Self-generated healing.

I’m in touch with the parts of me that often just wish someone else would come in and fix me. I get it. Perhaps the myth of salvation is just as destructive as the myth of apocalyptic descent; the one that dictates that in order to navigate initiation, especially into the ‘healing’ realms, one must descend and be dismembered and face turmoil and hell.

Maybe I’m just throwing up another wall, but I feel like I’m in a process of truly overcoming my fears, and specifically the negative, racing cognitive loops that spring up around them, keeping me awake, distorting my vision and using my energy. I’ve been trying to change these patterns for years, and so much is finally budging; perhaps the resulting massive shifts in identity are also behind my need to just keep it clean and clear.

And if initiation into healing work has to happen, I want to see if it can be without dismemberment. Can we get to work on changing that myth? Does there have to be a fall? What about gentle healing that doesn’t serve as a bypass for the raw emotions we get to feel. These are larger questions for more expansive discussions, perhaps. But very much worth pondering.

19 thoughts on “Spiraling into the Center

  1. abc123

    Wow, it sounds like you’ve been experiencing a lot of discomfort and confusion. All I can offer is what I know to be true for me – take what you like and leave the rest.

    – It’s ok to take breaks. In fact, they are necessary. For all good activities: working out, creating art, being super productive, you name it.
    – Re: soul boundaries, Jan Spiller’s “Astrology for the Soul” helped me understand a few things about myself. I also tend to absorb others’ energy.
    – It’s ok to test theories, fail, and test new ones. I’d say, trust your feelings here. Why force anything? If this is something you want to honor and nurture, then honor and nurture it. It doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once. Tiny steps are ok.

    Best of luck!

  2. StrawberryLaughter

    Once again Amanda, you are an inspiration. It’s so thrilling to watch you carve your own path & reject the trappings of this work that aren’t real for you. Healing doesn’t have to be–cannot, if you’re going to be real about it–codependent. Taking on other people’s shit is just extending the codependent model of our culture of relating. Whether we call ourselves healers, empaths, channels, or just sensitive, we get to have boundaries. In fact, if we want to be able to do anyone any good, our boundaries must be utterly clear, to the point of impregnable. It’s not an easy adjustment to make, but definitely a powerful self-healing piece of work. And when you’ve done it, you’ll be able to guide others through it. Congratulations on claiming your space in this world, I wish you the best in not ever backing down from that.

  3. Diana Stelzer

    Thank you beyond words. I have been tuned into your posts thru this cycle and they have been immensely validating. I leaped into a new life of love in Hawaii…fueled by immense passion of creating a new life together and fantasies and illusions around the death of my identity of the healer I have been for 20 years. Believing my new love would understand my process…she, a Leo sun and ascendant with an Aquarius moon and me Scorpio sun, Libra ascendant, and Cancer moon. I desiring depth and harmony with old victim stories eating me alive to the point that self-judgment entangled me in a place of wanting not to be in this physical reality anymore. The realization that what needed to die is the belief that I have EVER done anything wrong as a human seeking to express authenticity and believing in my ability to create the life I desire. It seems to me our sensitivities ruled in a way that we were unable to be present with each other’s deep pain and I held tightly to wanting a safe space for both of us to express, albeit triggers continued to happen. For six months I asked for us to seek help with our communication and it seems that was not available for us, primarily because it did not appear. I do believe this is a time of generational healing of the divine feminine. Internalizing, taking on others pain as our own and caretaking hoping that will create safety for the other to find their way thru whatever their experience is presenting. On the other side of the eclipse I feel the sense of clear boundaries around not internalizing projections and a sense of learning deeper self-care that supports me in trusting we all have processes that are beyond the mind’s understanding. This awakening is truly about if I am not in love with all of me, I will not find that from another or support that in another; there is no purpose in wanting to be rid of things in myself, the alchemy of the heart will integrate these experiences into the gifts of our psychic, intuitive, sensitive skills. We are not alone in this process, learning to open to more than I’ve seen or heard from the unknown and learning to ground in a space where there is not solid earth…the lava is flowing in the area I live currently and reminding me creation is always happening with every thought I feed. Thank you for your posts that have reminded me I am not alone in this desire to create healthy boundaries and relationships. I do believe that this relationship has something yet to emerge by invoking kindness, not living in space with each other to calm the waters, allowing relationship beyond our conditioning to emerge and remembering that we both desire authenticity. Anybody have any input about our astrology we are working with? Am I delusional or fantasizing about our ability to create a new and uplifting relationship beyond codependency?

    Rainbows of love to you…I do believe the Goddess is coming thru us to create a new world.

  4. Mary

    Strawberrylaughter, I couldn’t have said it better. With Neptune conjunct my ascendant in the 1st house and Pisces south node, this is very familiar territory. I have had to work diligently at keeping my boundaries strong. I need periods of solitude, space and the beauty that I feel when I run in the desert to remain whole. The only being that can strong arm me is the cat, ok and maybe the dog

  5. Bette

    A courageous & inspiring piece, Amanda – thank-you.
    Mary, I can relate to your Pisces/Neptune experience – with my Pisces MH, & perhaps my Scorpio moon/Venus, people have often felt somehow comfortable telling me their stories – often information one would not expect a comparative stranger to reveal. Also, as a child & young adult, I was the one who absorbed the family energy (much silent anger & sadness) – & in the way children do, felt responsible for it.

    Yes, firm, clear boundaries are essential! Old patterns do not give way easily, & more than once I’ve caught myself AFTER someone’s stuff has been handed to me. Takes more work sometimes to hand it back than to have prevented the dumping in the first place. That’s where awareness & a subtle but constant vigilance are important. Two steps forward, one back, repeat, is how it feels for me.

    I too wish you the best, & as ABC123 said, tiny steps are okay.

  6. DivaCarla Sanders

    Can initiation happen without dismemberment?
    Ask can orgasm happen without surrender.
    Depends on what you are called to, and who you are called to be, Amanda.
    That you are posing this question in public forum is sign to hang on to your hat. The Divine is waiting for a moment like this to catch you.
    So has been my experience. A year ago, I made a request: to work with the Dark Goddess. I had a plan. It was going to be good. She came for me, all right, but on her terms, not mine.
    Whatever comes next, you have a support system, where you are, and in the wider world. If you wan to talk, I am easy to find.

  7. Greg Macdougall

    “The more we have suffered in the past, the stronger a healer we can become. We can learn to transform our suffering into the kind of insight that will help our friends and society”
    – Thich Nhat Hanh, Touching Peace (1992)


  8. Amanda Moreno

    Thank you all for sharing such beautiful wisdom, personal stories, and heaps of validation.
    ABC – testing theories, failing, encountering new ones, re-shaping – YUP!

    Diana, I don’t think you’re delusional at all – I think learning to create interdependent relationships is absolutely crucial for moving into a paradigm that supports life. Good communication skills are vital for that – and teaching them from a young age. And also – it does indeed seem to be a time for generational healing. My goodness. I look at the cycles running through my family right now, particularly with my mom and grandma, and…well, I’m inspired to be the change I wish to see. 😉

    DivaCarla – I’ve been hanging onto my hat for a while now. Hopefully I can continue to greet what comes my way with hearty doses of full belly laughter, even when fueled by fear. Fascinating, really, how connected pain and laughter are. But that’s another story on it’s own… Thanks for the offer of support. I am indeed very lucky to have a vast and strong support system here in Seattle and elsewhere.

  9. Chad Woodward

    I can completely relate to this, Amanda. As a “healer” myself, I’m often reluctant to use that word, or attach any label to it, but it is a word that conveys so much–for good and ill. My perception of what a healer is has grown quite a bit. A healer is not a savior, that much is true. I’ve come to understand that a healer is an ally, a guide, a middle-person, who leads others toward the resources needed for them to find their own health, holiness and wholeness.

    In order to do that, we (“healers”) must find that health, holiness and wholeness within ourselves. Does it need to be painful to get there? No, but sometimes it is. To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, “We’re here to get torn apart.” It’s a beautiful and horrific world; none of us escapes that duality. Sometimes, dismemberment is necessary, but when the “healing crises” arrives, you have to just embrace the fact that it’s about fucking time.

    Having gone through several very intense experiences of what would be called a “healing crisis”, I’ve come to realize there was no other way for me to wake up to certain things. I look back and think if it could have happened in a more subtle, less compressed form, but I realize nothing else could have pushed me like a good smack across the head. It worked. Lesson learned.

    Some of us have tough lessons to learn in this life. Sometimes those lessons are pretty brutal, but I think the soul/higher self brings them to us because they’re absolutely necessary for our continued evolution. It’s our minds that make it “good” or “bad”. In reality, it just is, and it’s what’s needed, and it’s perfect, absolutely perfect.

    As for boundaries, that’s always a tough one. It was really hard for me at first. I realized, after a very intense healing crisis, actually, that my lack of boundaries stemmed from my need to save others–the savior syndrome. I’m not sure how it happened, how I completely released my desire to save others. Actually, I believe it died when I came very close to death and complete insanity. There were no saviors; I had to drag myself out of hell. After that, after I razed the savior within myself, the desire completely dissipated.

    I work with others with non-attached compassion. I hear their story; I sense their pain; I hold space, but I don’t attach myself to the illusion of their suffering. As a healer, I am a guide, a facilitator. It’s not my job to drag anyone out of hell. That they must do that on their own. We “healers” merely point the way out. We’re there because we care, but we don’t need to take on the burden of their lifetimes of karma. We’ve got plenty of our own to deal with.

    Also–I think the dismemberment thing is just a part of this illusion, this density. For instance, everything here is dying. It’s a fact. “We”, as spiritual beings, don’t belong here. Our bodies, as beautiful and wonderful as they are, are dissipating from the day we’re born. This is a world of decay. The illusion gets in the way, actually. The dismemberment is part of the deal. Sometimes we have to get torn apart to realize what we really are. So, in a way, the dismemberment is freeing us of some suffocating illusion. It’s a truly beautiful thing–in hindsight, of course 😉

    1. chief niwot's son

      ““We”, as spiritual beings, don’t belong here.”

      Chad- perhaps this is the illusion. Since we each went through the effort to incarnate, to embody, this world is in fact the very place we have chosen to be as spiritual beings. To think of this world as less-than-spiritual has been the illusion of that orientation of consciousness which celebrates separation rather than unity.

      We are surrounded by people who believe a book which says we were banished from the Garden. What if we had a teaching that pointed out the simple truth that this world is a garden of unimaginable beauty, and that it is our task to take care of the place in respect for the 7th generation to come?

      Please consider the possibility that dissing Gaia isn’t spiritual.

      1. Chad Woodward

        chief niwot’s son–I don’t think that the world is less-than-spiritual. I mean, what constitutes something as spiritual and something not spiritual? Yes, that is a dualistic concept. I think that everything is inherently a spiritual experience.

        I agree, we chose to incarnate into this existence; it is the spiritual experience we are choosing to have. What I’m trying to say is that what we are experiencing isn’t what we’re looking for, ultimately. There is a unitive state of consciousness beyond separation that we are evolving toward. That is the point of evolution–to constantly move beyond stagnation or complacency.

        I deeply respect this earth and feel it important to preserve and honor it the best we can. I am in no way dissing Gaia. I am simply acknowledging that within us is a being that exists in a state of eternal oneness, beyond duality, separation and suffering. That is our ultimate existence. We’re here for a very good reason and that should be deeply honored and respected as should the earth itself.

    2. Pam

      Hi Chad, do you think it is possible to factor in gentle wake up calls? It might be an age thing but I prefer small adustments and turning on a pin to dismembering/complete physical overhaul? Of course that might be necessary? But all the same just changing your mind about something might be enough and have equal effect?

      1. Chad Woodward

        Yes, I think it’s very possible. I think that is perhaps the ideal way for evolution to proceed. I think that the more conscious we become, and the more awareness we have of our individual path/destiny, the better we can align with it and negate the need for such brutal wake-up calls. Though sometimes, the cataclysmic wake-up calls are warranted for specific reasons, usually when one slips into less-conscious states and succumbs to laziness or complacency. Sometimes, there’s no other way, and it’s perfect either way we choose to experience it.

  10. Gwen

    My experience has brought me to see healing as a continuous process…I may think I have “done the work” but sometimes find myself revisiting painful places that I presumed were forever healed or facing patterns and programming that still show up. I’ve realized that this is not regressing, but rather evolving, progressing upward…like a spiral path…circling back around and seeing it from another vantage point…because really, I am not at all in the same place I was. Perhaps the most difficult part of being a “healer” is remembering to get out of our own way and allow spirit to do the work. We are the human part of the healing equation… and it can be either a blessing or feel like a curse when we don’t honor the times we are fragile, fearful and moving up the spiral ourselves. Taking a time out can be necessary for the healer to heal thyself.

    1. Chad Woodward

      Yes, well said, Gwen. I don’t think we’re ever finished with the work of healing. It is a seemingly endless process–to heal the many wounds which saturate the planet and the collective mind. That is no small task. I like to see that each of us carries a fragment of the greater, cosmic wound. It is our sacred responsibility to transmute it and bring the universe into balance and wholeness.

      “I’ve realized that this is not regressing, but rather evolving, progressing upward…like a spiral path…circling back around and seeing it from another vantage point…because really, I am not at all in the same place I was.”

      Beautifully said, Gwen. Our “set backs” are not forms of regression at all. Sometimes we have to step back to move forward. We have to stop and nurture some part of ourselves to progress. That is perfectly valid and beautiful.

      “Perhaps the most difficult part of being a “healer” is remembering to get out of our own way and allow spirit to do the work.”

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s like life and the universe has its own plan and intention, we’re just along for the ride. Like, the body has far more wisdom than the mind could ever comprehend. Whatever is “wrong” with the body is a part of the healing process and healing plan; we just have to trust it and get out of the way.

  11. Cowboyiam

    This topic of the moment is my reality, tearing myself down – slowly going insane – unable to find community. No one wants to look at the pain. Being close to frazzled I know I am sane but I don’t feel like it matters. Just trying not to take myself too seriously. That goes for the high times also. But I feel soo much and its hard lately the cope.

  12. Lizzy

    Hang on in there, Cowboyiam! This is really tough, challenging energy. it certainly pulled the rug out from under my feet – and every time I think I’ve regained balance and serenity, I lose it again. Take deep slow breaths – ground yourself in your body as much as you can.

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