By Amy Brucker
Years ago, when I was studying shamanism, I did a shamanic journey to meet my inner healer. I didn’t have specific expectations of what I’d find. I thought it would be a wise old woman or a white bearded man. But that’s not what showed up. Instead, I met Death.
Death came to me, cloaked in a ubiquitous black robe, shadows where the face should have been. I looked at him and panicked.
Did this mean I was dying?
Did this mean I was sick?
What did this mean?!
When the journey was over, I met with my teacher and told her I failed the exercise. I saw Death, not my Inner Healer. She looked at me and said, “There are two aspects of the Inner Healer, Death is one of them.”
Death as an Ally
If you don’t make friends with Death, you can’t heal. Instead, you end up carrying your disappointments and disruptions around like heavy baggage, and all it does is weigh you down.
The relationship you thought was going to be “the one” but turned out to be “the biggest betrayal of your life”…
The fast money you made that turned into dust just as quickly…
The diagnoses that hijacked your health and wellness…
Each one is an opportunity to face Death with purpose so you can lay your burdens to rest. It’s an opportunity to let go of that which isn’t working in your life so you can move forward and embrace something that is nurturing and more in alignment with your soul and purpose.
The problem is, Death is scary. It’s shadowed, dark, and fraught with mystery.
When you stand before death, you don’t know what to expect. All you see is a dark void. You don’t know what’s on the other side of death. You don’t know what the path forward looks like.
Because of this, it’s easy to say, “no thank you” to death, but when you do that, you end up carrying each disappointment and disruption around like weights balanced one on top of the other, creating a big, heavy burden.
Ultimately, they hold you back. You can’t experience your full potential, you can’t live life or move forward until you’ve transformed them.
Recognize Death in Your Life
If you’re pining for the “good ol’ days” chances are somewhere along the way, something happened and you never let go. Something in your life died–a relationship, your health, your finances–but when you saw Death, when you saw your opportunity to heal, you felt fear and turned your back on it. Now you’re just carrying around dead weight. The more you do that, the more difficult it becomes to let go. The more you don’t let go, the heavier you will feel.
It’s a vicious cycle.
The good news is that you can end it.
Release the Dead Stuff
Letting go can be as easy as a tree dropping leaves in autumn. All you have to do is let go. The hard part is holding on. But if you’ve been holding on tightly for decades, it can feel difficult to shrug it off.
If your hand has been gripping a hammer for an hour, unclenching the muscles feels awkward at first. There’s stiffness, maybe pain. It takes awhile to readjust to the feeling of having an open hand. Flexibility comes slowly, but the more you work the muscle, opening and closing your fingers, the easier it gets.
The same is true for soul healing. I once did a soul retrieval for a client who’d been carrying around dead weight from a work disaster. Her job had ended more than a decade ago, and she’d dealt with it to the best of her ability, but she was carrying around guilt and shame that had woven its way into her life, impacting every decision.
After the soul retrieval, her life seemed to fall apart. It felt like death after death after death. In reality, she was shedding the things she’d been holding on to that weren’t working. It was scary. Before the soul retrieval, she’d been feeling pretty good, but afterword, she felt awful.
I told her that sometimes healing is like that. It gets worse before it gets better. The best way through it is to be present with what’s happening and to know it’s temporary.
That’s the beauty of life. Nothing is permanent. Everything changes. Sometimes that’s disappointing, but other times impermanence can become a lifeline that lets you sink into your difficult experience and trust that it will get you to more inspiring times.
The more you allow that to happen, the faster the healing happens.
My client trusted my council enough to let herself surrender to her experience. She came out the other end, shining and bright, full of renewed hope and new ideas, ready to catapult herself forward into her purpose.
Holding on to the past keeps you stuck there. Trust yourself. You know how to move forward, and painful as it may be, it’s worth the letting go.
Where is Death lingering in your life, ready to help you release that which you no longer need?
That is an important question to answer.