As a child, I often walked the fields calling out to the animals that if anyone needed help, I would help them. I would ask the Earth herself and God to guide me to any animals that needed help. I wanted so much to heal. To be a healer.
One day, my prayer was answered. The memory is fuzzy, as I was only around five years old. As I can recall, I came upon a litter of kittens, abandoned in the cold. I scooped them up, put them in a box and rushed them into the house. I was abruptly stopped by Mom. She was not thrilled about her five year old handling possibly diseased feral cats. I'm sure she was imaging fleas and tapeworms and God knows what else. As a mother myself, now, I have a clearer view of my Mom's displeasure.
"Get those kittens out of the house!" She bellowed. I was mortified. Finally, my prayer had been answered. I had envisioned keeping the little babies in my room. I would sleep with them, and cuddle them. I would read them books and brush their fur. How could I possibly heal them if I couldn't bring them in the house? It was cold and they had no Mommy. I wanted to be their Mommy.
I set their little box on the front porch. The porch was covered and screened in, so they would be safe from predators. It was the time of year when thick white frost covers the grass in the mornings, so I knew it would be too cold for them to sleep alone outside. I had to think of a way to keep them warm. I rushed upstairs to the bathroom and found the softest brown washcloth in the stack of washcloths. I ran it under warm water and quickly raced outside. I tucked the warm, cozy washcloth over my babies and told them I loved them and they would be just fine.
I ate my dinner thinking about my kitties. I laid in bed thinking about my kitties. I felt like I barely slept and as soon as the sun was up, I bolted downstairs and flung open the top of their little box. As soon as I touched the washcloth, I knew something terrible had happened. The warm, cozy washcloth was now a stiff frozen board. And so were the kittens. I had killed them.
I stood there, shocked. Horrified. Guilt filled me. I had killed them. I only wanted to help, but I hadn't helped at all. They were dead. They died because I froze them. That day, my whole world shifted. I realized that just wanting to help wasn't enough. If I didn't know how to help, I could do harm.
This event has colored my experience as a healer ever since. I have been gathering healing tools, knowledge, skills, perspectives, etc. ravenously for as long as I can remember. I was trying to prove to myself that I knew enough, that I could help without doing harm. I wanted to be sure that my healing work was safe, that my intention to help would not be twisted into another failure. This fear has created a subtle paralysis in my healing work. I could only move so far ahead and I would encounter this fear. A dread would creep in. I couldn't name it, but I felt it. Being able to see, now, the root of this dread, I finally have the possibility to move beyond it. To glimpse another horizon.
Until we can fearlessly look into our shadow, we will be controlled by what is hiding there. My fear that my healing power will hurt people has been unconsciously causing me to sabotage myself, to step back right when I am stepping into my power. I am allowing myself to feel the guilt and the pain that have been connected to that event so long ago. I am also aware that those kittens would have died that night even without my wet washcloth. Perhaps they felt some compassion from me. Perhaps their death was more painless than what could have awaited them. I am working on forgiveness, and love for the part of myself that did the best she could and whose heart was, and is, so full of love.