Standing, waiting in the hallway waiting for the teacher to open the door he towers over me and smiles “Are you a shaman? I’d like to talk to you when you have a chance.” The teacher opens the door and I beeline away from the man; breathless my hands are shaking and I just want to escape.
A powerful presence, Cliff was a tall, strong, kind African American healer I met at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. For a while I did everything in my power to avoid him, which only made the situation worse. He freaked me out and shook me to the core. When he tried to catch up to me on breaks I’d run away. I was being stalked. Finally realizing the craziness of it all I started pulling on the thread of feelings bubbling up using shamanic healing, journaling and collaging helped me find the why.
Spring of ’68, at that crossroad of change, not girl/not woman I was bullied in school by a tall black teenager held back because of grades. It was the year of busing, of race riots and the assassination of Martin Luther King. Boy-man intimated the teacher by shouting her down when he got an F on a test. Nothing was done. Sitting at his desk when the teacher wasn’t looking he’d turn around with laughing eyes and voice a whisper threatening “You watch out girl, I’m gonna take you out in the woods and mess with you at lunch today”. My life was hell in 6th grade.
Cliff reawakened that bully experience.
Once I understood “the why” I had lunch with Cliff. Our conversation turned to power. Working with African elders (shamans) he saw a dark side of shamanism- control and manipulation.
As a healer, Cliff was scared of his shamanic gifts that were opening up. Sharing his mission and movement I started to cry. He was here to heal the rage in African American boys, the experiences that shaped my bully.
Power was stalking us.
When the stars lined up Cliff’s presence woke me up to a deeper truth. That each experience, even bullying, brings with it a gift and a blessing. Every part of this experience fills me with gratitude. Healing comes in layers. Many times we think we’re done, another layer is revealed when we least expect it. Your invitation is to dive deep.
Like a layer on a pearl, you can’t specifically identify the irritant, the moment of the irritant, but at the end of the day, you know you have a pearl.- Ken Burns
Transform. Shed what no longer works for you. What’s bubbling up? What needs attention?
How is power stalking you? Start pulling the threads and own every aspect of your story. Then your life will shift and you’ll weave magic back into the communities you serve.
NOTE: This post was inspired by an NPR interview on Bullying. While driving in the car my stalkers name came bubbling up this morning, so I decided to do a internet search. He’s in jail, had numerous run-ins with the law. Seeing his picture I felt compassion. No charge to it. It is done.
“Children who are bullied are four times more likely to have an anxiety disorder as a young adult, compared with people who were not bullied. Now, that might not surprise some people, but you’ve found, as you just said, that people who both bullied other kids and were victims fared even worse. They were 14 times more likely to develop panic disorders as adults.” Within a year of the trauma I started developing symptoms of PTSD and panic disorder that was healed through shamanism and the soul retrieval process.
Very powerful, Michele. Thank you.