When I was sitting in front of my altar the other morning, I remembered something I hadn’t thought about in a while. And it feels extremely relevant for these times.
When I was in Brazil two years ago, I had a beautiful healing experience. And clearly we are all needing a lot of healing in the world right now.
Here’s how it all started: Unexpectedly, I was offered a ticket to go to Brazil–specifically to go to a Marian center (a place where Mother Mary is honored.) I love Mother Mary and so I was more than happy to accept the gift!
I experienced a lot of beauty at the center. (See my blog “Lessons from the Heart of Brazil” https://www.cynthiagreb.com/lessons-heart-brazil/) And, being there was also quite challenging for me on several levels: 1) I didn’t speak Portuguese. I spoke a bit of Spanish, which got me by. But being immersed somewhere where very few people know your language can be very draining. It also meant there were very few people with whom I could just chat and decompress. 2) The schedule was more intense than I had expected. Because I had been given the gift of this adventure, and because I was one of the very few Americans to ever visit this center, I felt somehow obligated to go to as many activities as I could. This left me only about two hours alone each day. 3) I have been more or less single for about eight years. I’m used to having a lot of alone time. Suddenly, not only was I seldom alone, but, depending on where I was, I could be in the vicinity of anywhere from fifty to 1200 people! I am not an introvert, but I do require a substantial amount of solitude in order to recharge. I had trouble claiming that time for myself. 4) The food was vegan and organic (and included!) It included a lot of starchy food–beans, squash, a grits-type of food, oatmeal, rice, etc. There was a lot of wonderful fruit, but very, very little in the way of non-starchy veggies. Because I often felt so fatigued, I was worried about my blood sugar levels. 5) I had arrived when it was quite hot. I missed my electric fan! But after my two-week stay got extended to two months (long story,) and as the fall began to turn to winter, it got cold. And I hadn’t brought any winter clothes. I was given some sweaters, etc., but there was no heating in any of the buildings, nor fireplaces nor woodstoves. I was also having trouble getting my showers hot. So I was often fighting a chill. 6) Most importantly, and I didn’t even realize this until right this moment, there was a five hour time difference! I wish I had known that!
All of the above meant that I was often exhausted and fatigued mentally, emotionally, and physically.
One morning I was talking with a very nice, young, bilingual Chilean man with whom I talked whenever I could because I was so relieved to speak English once in a while. On this particular day, I was especially tired and everything began to feel like too much. As I was talking to him, I was embarrassed to find myself dissolving into tears. Well, he enfolded me in a hug, and throughout the day, several others (who must have heard of my distress through the grapevine) also offered compassionate embraces. Then this young man told me, “Cindy, you don’t have to do everything!” He encouraged me to not do my assigned chores that morning and to take some time to myself.
Feeling relieved to have someone’s permission to take care of myself, I began walking toward the labyrinth, a place out in nature that felt restorative to me. As I was leaving the building, a slender woman with long straight dark hair (notable because most women in this particular community keep their hair very short) stopped me and asked me, in Spanish, if after I was done at the labyrinth, would I please take a shower and then come to the door “on the other side of the rose garden?” I repeated her instructions because they seemed so unusual. Apparently, I had understood her correctly. So after I spent about an hour at the labyrinth, I did as she asked. I returned to my room and took a shower, and then I found my way down to the entrance on the other side of the beautiful, organic rose garden.
I was surprised to realize that the area I was walking into was like a clinic. I noted several rooms with beds and fresh white sheets, though there were no patients in the rooms. I later found out that part of this community’s mission was to be prepared for the time on Earth when there would be a lot of change, tragedy, fear, and sickness. (Hmm. I suspect that time is drawing nigh.)
What came next surprised me even more. She invited me, again in Spanish and with hand gestures, to remove my clothes and lie down in one of the clean beds. As I did, she began to fill a bathtub in the neighboring room with steaming blissfully hot water over which she scattered beautiful rose petals of many colors. (She later told me that the rose petals would help connect me with the fairy kingdom.) As she was preparing the bath, she sang beautiful mantras. (These were sacred songs sung in a kind of universal language called Irdin.)
When the tub was full and the temperature was just right, she told me she would leave the room and I could get into the tub whenever I was ready.
As I sank into the warm waters, tears sprang to my eyes. It felt so, so good to my chilled body, my exhausted mind, and my somewhat lonely spirit to enter this sacred space. The healer, whose name I don’t remember, sang more mantras from the adjacent room. After a time, she left.
I was so moved by the tenderness with which I was treated. Somehow this woman got word that I was feeling distressed and knew exactly what I needed. I was given the soothing balm of warm waters, the sweetness and beauty of the flower kingdom, and the healing energy of sacred sound. After about an hour she gently called through the door to tell me that she had brought down a plate of lunch for me and that it was in the next room whenever I was ready.
I remember several times thinking that if there were healing centers like this in the United States, they’d put the hospitals out of business.
Later that evening, she also gave me some passionflower tincture to help calm me and soothe any anxiety, and another tincture to help support my liver. I later learned that both of these tinctures were made on the premises.
Can you guess the reason why this memory came back to me?
I absolutely respect and honor all the nurses and doctors who are working so tirelessly, valiantly, and courageously during this pandemic under inconceivably difficult, stressful, and rather terrifying conditions. These people are risking their own health and the health of their families in order to help those of us who are suffering right now. They are truly superheroes in human form. We can never thank them enough for their level of commitment and sacrifice right now.
Western medicine has so much to offer. Most of the population seems to be most comfortable with this model. And thanks to the wonderful care of many clinicians around the country, many who have contracted Covid-19 have recovered. Thank goodness.
And, there are some people, like me, who might choose not to be at a hospital at this time. If I were very, very sick, being separated from all my loved ones would be very painful. Staying in a sterile place, with no access to nature, would be extremely sad. Existing within an atmosphere of great fear and stress would, I know, exacerbate my symptoms.
Perhaps the following has to do with many lifetimes as a healer. Or maybe my ancestors were midwives and medicine women. Or maybe it’s simply how I’m bent in this lifetime. But I think I would prefer the way that indigenous woman took care of me in Brazil — healing me first on a spiritual and mental level, and then addressing my physical needs.
If I had a loved one who was very ill from this virus and if there was no room at the nearest hospital, or if my loved one was afraid to go to the hospital, I’d use lots of essential oils and healing herbs to help clear the lungs and nasal passages and boost the immune system. (One combination of healing oils supposedly helped some people survive the great plague of the 1300’s: https://pureprescriptions.com/product/thieves-essential-oil-blend-young-living/ ) I would have vaporizers emitting mists of calming essential oils, and I’d have large plants in all the rooms. I would put drops of Thieves oil inside my mask so that I, too, would be protected. I would position the patient in such a way as to help drain the heavy phlegm that clogs up the lungs, and I would use various massage techniques to break up that phlegm and mucus. I would also touch the patient with gentle, soothing hands. There would be sweet soft music playing. My loved one would be given many types of healing teas and nourishing soups. If possible, I would have an acupuncturist offering their time-honored skills.
In other words, I would create an atmosphere of healing, just like that woman did at the spiritual center in Brazil.
Of course, absolutely anyone and everyone who wants a hospital bed, and all the modern equipment that can be offered, should have that option. This is what we should strive to achieve–a place for everyone who needs it, and everything each hospital requires to do its job well. But if the hospitals run out of room, or if we make a conscious choice to treat ourselves, then there are healing alternatives.
I just found out today that a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with Covid-19. She had not been feeling well and her doctor suggested she get tested. Nineteen days from the beginning of symptoms, she is feeling and looking quite well. Karen is a well-educated nurse practitioner with a long history in the field of healing. She knows when she needs to go to her primary care provider, when she needs to go to the hospital, and what she can do for herself at home. I recommend you look at her video to find out how she helped support her body in healing itself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFxzJE6_eww&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1oqgoRQPV126TfKD6kWKqTfkZUSQz6A2k3YqeXQ4fadYyMpPORYjPBMTs )
In the United States, we often default to medical doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals, but many people around the world, as well as our own ancestors, were often treated with natural remedies like herbs, massage, sweat baths, etc. So, perhaps we can consider these options at the onset of any symptoms. At the very least they can be a stop-gap measure. Or they can be utilized by those who have the virus but are not critically ill.
Meanwhile, I send great peace and love to everyone who is afraid, everyone who is ill, everyone who is dying, everyone who is grieving, and to all the beautiful and brave healers and clinicians all over this planet.