“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
We all strive to be different, happier, healthier, free from our past traumas and blockages and yet it often seems that we might as well spend our entire life healing ourselves. What if at least a part of us had always been fine? What if it was possible to reconnect to that part of us who has always been perfect and whole?
I was recently invited to speak at the annual Peace and Conflict Studies conference organized by the University of Toronto to talk about trauma and resilience. The other speakers were a former child soldier from Sierra Leone, a colleague who has worked on the trauma experienced by war correspondents and a therapist who works with children and youth in Canada. One of the key elements we all stressed was the importance (and difficulty) for the individuals and communities concerned of no longer be determined by what had happened, of being “free” from the past and in part be able to “forget”. To do that, individuals and communities need to be able to find resources that have not been tainted by the violence, that are intact, that tell them that they are more than what has happened to them. This has been at the core of my past work as a peacebuilder: helping individuals and communities to identify those resources, valorize them and support them so that they can rebuild their life and re-imagine peace.
My two professional “worlds” (one in which I am an expert in conflict resolution and peacebuilding; the other one in which I am a shamanic healer) may sometimes seem far apart but while I was at that conference, I could not help but think how similar the process was in both cases. Indeed, one of the gifts shamanism brings to us is exactly that: allowing us to reconnect with that part in us that is full of life and not determined by our past traumas, limitations or apparent deficiencies; allowing us to get our vital energy and self-confidence back. It does not deny anything about the reality of our issues, whatever they are. It just tells us: “You are not only that issue. You can be something else and you already are. You are already perfect and whole.” Contrary to what one might think, it is indeed when we stop fighting and start accepting ourselves that we open the possibility for some deep inner transformation. And it is so in part because we stop judging ourselves.
As Rumi so wisely and elegantly wrote:
“Out there beyond the ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
Béatrice | Contemporary Shamanic Healer
Allowing The Light