Maybe it’s “energy.” Maybe it’s just human.

When I was seven, I had to have my first blood test. I fasted for the first time and was not scared at all walking into the doctor’s office. A few seconds into the draw, I fainted. When I came to, I was laying on the floor, disoriented and feeling sick with a large bruise on my little forearm. 

After that, I was terrified of needles. My parents took turns holding my hand over the years as I lay down on the table at the lab, all of us panicking that I’d pass out again. Which of course, I usually did because hyperventilating from anxiety often leads to fainting. My mom was studying astrology, crystals, and past life regression at the time, and spoke with a psychic about my phobia. She reported back that I’d likely died in a war, bleeding out after a botched amputation.

This information was meant to explain why I had this weird fear, but it didn’t help. I just had another image in my head at the doctor’s office, another story to tell about how scared I needed to be. The explanation was not the cure.

Entering the shamanic world years later, I asked healers to help me through this phobia with limited success. I went to hypnotherapists. I did past life regression. I worked with power animals and crystals and learned to meditate. And I still freaked out every single time, once having a panic attack so bad I couldn’t get out of my car.

I share this story because what finally did help, after thirty years of phobic nightmares, wasn’t past life regression or mantras or releasing karmic blocks or other “energy” stuff. It was addressing the childhood trauma of being a scared kid and not receiving the comfort and reassurance I needed.  

So I understand when clients come to me and want the esoteric explanation. They want to know what it means to have a kundalini awakening and is that why they can’t sleep? Or do they have past lives with their twin flame and is that why they’re so infuriating? Or should they carry a crystal for protection from the jerk at work?

Sometimes, I do have esoteric answers because the unseen world of energies is powerful and complex, and we’re all part of it. But truly, more often than not, the solutions are very, very human.

Sometimes we want to have an easy energy-work solution to what we perceive as a novel and sophisticated problem. We give our power away to a healer (even one like me) so that they can “fix it” for us.

Sometimes we’re so eager to end our pain that we do anything, believe anything, pick apart a dozen narratives, just to avoid actually feeling it. 

Sure, there may be past life stuff tied up in our confusion. We may indeed have some stuck energy in a chakra (most of us have these issues, and I can help).  But sometimes, we’re just sad and angry. Life happens in ways that disappoint. We love things and lose them, and then we grieve. We aren’t who we thought we should be and neither is our partner, parent, or friend. People let us down or fail to meet our needs.  We have regrets, fears, and misunderstandings.

There’s no big new age mystery here. We are human, and we live messy, human lives. Sometimes that meaning and explanation we’re searching for can only be discovered much later, after the immediacy of pain has passed, after we’ve learned what it had to teach us. After we’ve reached out in our vulnerability and acknowledged that we can’t do it alone. After we’ve surrendered the need to know why.

You’d think I’d tell you that this work can solve everything, that my handy techniques will filter all your problems into step by step solutions for only $299.  But I’d rather be honest. I’d rather tell you what I’ve discovered after spending half my life in study and ceremony to “fix” my own stuff.  I’d rather tell you that your life is astonishing and ordinary both at once, just like everyone else’s, worthy of witness at celebrations and funerals and garden variety Tuesdays. I’d prefer to remind you that you’re exceptional without having to be Cleopatra come again, and hold your hand (literally or figuratively) as you have a good cry because that cry might be the best medicine of all.

We are so fortunate to have this human life. And while past lives, chakras, and karma are fascinating and very real, we also have the rare privilege of witnessing all the fascinating complexities of this basic human life. We have so much to do, so much to learn, from the here and now.

Here’s to today, to you, and to being human together. 

PS: Solution-wise, I’d rather you talked to your boss about that jerk or figured out a way to gently redirect him. And that twin flame? Might just be an a**hole. 😉

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