The first time I was aware of it was almost 20 years ago. I was standing in a friends living room in Georgetown, a hoity toity DC neighborhood. I was visiting from Houston and talking to a woman I knew in college at some friend’s engagement party. While I told her about my experiences as a teacher she told me about becoming a nurse. And in the pit of my stomach I knew. “Yeah…THAT’s what I should have done. That should have been me.” I was flooded suddenly with awareness and knowing–a sense that came from almost nowhere that told me I should have become a healer and with a slight sinking feeling rarely experienced by the young, I felt I may have missed my calling.
As the years went on, this uncomfortable feeling returned in the most unlikely of times and places. Long before I would even consider having a child, I became obsessed with midwifery. While I excelled at my chosen career, while my work felt meaningful and important, while I felt I was making a mark somewhere good and important, I never felt 100% at home. I began to dream of healing of the most ancient kind–the wise women healing of our ancestors.
I read everything there was to read on the subject of birthing babies. I pinned down any midwife who would talk to me for hours while I asked thousands of questions. I searched through catalogs and plotted training and career paths and dreamed in unrealistic and silly ways about how I would one day join the league of those who hold space so something beautiful could be born. I called it my fantasy career–and spoke about it longingly as the thing I would do when I retired or when I was old and grey. I spoke of it as the thing I might try if I could do it all over again.
But it never let me go, the crazy notion that I am meant for something else. It popped up its head in countless ways. Even when I wasn’t taking this life seriously, it was dreaming me.
About 2 years ago I realized that it was less about birthing babies and more about birthing hope. It was about being with people through their dark days of pain and touching them with compassion and giving them permission to heal. As I emerged from the fog of my own divorce and a battle with migraines and what some had called chronic fatigue, I knew it was about witnessing birth of a different kind.
Over the course of years, of healing from my own hurts–both physical, emotional and spiritual, I have explored various modalities. Western medicine is truly miraculous but I am drawn to the old ancient healing traditions, like acupuncture. These have touched my life in ways that feel down right miraculous. I started out going for my migraines. While we have made progress with my beastly headaches, the reality is that something else has shifted in me within that treatment room. I have felt fear drop away. I have let anxiety drift. I have woken up to lessons in my life. I have been able to settle more into the present. I have felt my body and spirit shift together to a place of more wholeness.
As I have witnessed friends and loved ones suffer from pain of all sorts, my hands have itched for needles.
The uneasy disquieting feeling has turned into an alarm. It has become a child tugging on my sleeve relentlessly. I want to be there to help hold the space so others too can let go of their pain, heal their souls and bodies. I want to help women and men alike birth, not babies but their better healthier selves. I want to hold space so something healing can be born.
I know, with all my being, that this healing work, is what I am meant to do. Yes. There. I have said it out loud. Its scary to declare it to the world this way. Especially since it seems so impossible, improbable, impractical.
For the last 10 months or so I have started to adjust my thinking to hold the possibility that maybe I could really do this in some way shape or form. For the most part I sat quietly with these dreams, speaking them outloud only occasionally, only tentatively. I tenderly rocked the vision of me as healer like a sickly newborn babe. I wasn’t sure she would thrive, but I held her close to my heart and nursed her anyway. She has now grown to the point that I know she will be healthy vibrant…and dare I speak it…real.
Standing between me and training as a healer is a mountain range of challenges. The one that looms largest, looking unscalable and impassable is the mountain that represents at least a couple of hundred of thousands of dollars to pay for tuition and to support Max and I while I study. I have no idea how or where these resources will come from as I struggle to make ends meet every month without books and school. Even if I could find the cash for tuition, I have no idea how I will add studying to an already overcrowded life of fulltime work and single parenting. I know major changes will have to occur in my life to make space for this dream but I can’t quite figure them out. I see the path but truth be told, I have no idea how the hell I am going to get on it.
At another time in my life, this lack of clarity may have caused me to give up in despair, resigning myself to my almost good enough life with my good enough career and the choices I have made to this point. I would have held my knees close to my chest and told myself that it is enough and I should be happy with my beautiful child, my lovely community, my meaningful work. But this is now and I am no longer content with resignation. I am feeling fierce and warrior like, even though I am not exactly sure what that really means.
I know I am a healer and that it is only a matter of time before I can acquire the tools of my trade. I am declaring the start of my journey, even though I can’t quite see the path ahead. And somehow, declaring it here feels important for reasons I don’t really understand. But I am trusting this instinct and my need to tell you this story.
How is it going to all turn out? I have no idea. This story is an epic mystery. Will it happen on top of my current career, along side it, in place of it? How will I stitch the resources together? Where will I end up doing this work? What is the Universe going to require of me? What pound of flesh will I be forced to pay? What blessings will find me on the way? What marvelous and scary destinations await me?
I can’t wait to find out.
If you too are curious how this all turns out drop me a note in the comments here or by email at meg at megcasey dot com. As I set off on this journey however slow or rapid it may be, I am seeking a community of fellow travelers who will help me navigate this path and who will hold me accountable to this life that is dreaming me.