When you work with another person, it can be said that certain aspects of your healing work takes place in the zone between you and your partner. Diane Tegtmeier, author of Relationships that Heal: Natural Ethics for Holistic Health Practitioners*, refers to this zone as “interspace.”
As your need to gather more and more new tools and techniques relaxes, and as you evolve something of a personal approach to your work—in short, when you reach a level of confidence that allows you to relax with what you’re doing and be yourself—there comes a point when the healing relationship you have with your partner comes into the foreground. This expresses itself in bodywork in the unspoken, unseen negotiations between you. It shows in the way a new client will check you out—maybe completely unconsciously—before a word is ever said to see if they feel safe with you. When there is true subconscious cooperation between you and your client, the healing process takes on a certain spontaneity.
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I occasionally work with individuals whose energy sensitivity is far more acute than mine. Their ability to take in impressions is both a blessing and a curse for them because, the more impressions they take in, the more they have to process somehow. These highly sensitive persons respond consciously to very small impulses, and they have taught me that nothing is insignificant in energywork.
Conventional bodywork can completely miss areas of need in highly sensitive persons if it ignores the energetic. They won’t feel served. Often it is enough to set the stage, create a trustworthy space for the person to be in, and their process will unfold with only minimal external intervention on your part. The establishment of this safe space or "energetic kiva,"** is what provides them with an environment in which they can walk the three-fold spiritual path, slipping a bit more easily into other states of consciousness and then returning, ready to meet their world again. In many people, this ability is quite developed and all they need is that extra bit of energetic support. The container of the healing relationship between you and your partner is often where that can happen.
A fascinating illustration of the workings of healing relationship is in Nicholas Evan’s book, The Horse Whisperer, in the description of the healing space that grows between Tom Booker, a healer of horses, and Pilgrim, an aptly named horse that has been savagely injured. There is a scene, rendered wonderfully in the Robert Redford film, which contains all the elements of the creation of healing space. In this scene, Pilgrim gets spooked and bolts, and the horse whisperer takes off after him, following but never forcing himself on the frightened animal. Little by little, he skirts the horse’s visual field, keeping a respectful distance. Day turns to evening as the horse whisperer crouches, patient as a tree, across an open meadow from Pilgrim, their eyes trained on each other. A palpable energy moves in the space between them. They wordlessly negotiate their space and, by and by, fear subsides. The zone between them opens and the horse approaches. Finally, Pilgrim is standing in front of the horse whisperer, less than an arm’s length away. Still, the man does nothing until finally, the horse nudges him with his snout. Only then does the horse whisperer reach out and slip the rope over his head and lead him back to the corral where the healing work can continue.
Like the best bodyworkers and healers I know, the horse whisperer moves in a dance between being and doing. His mastery of technique is so seamless that you don’t even notice it. His approach is so uncomplicated as to be virtually invisible, but through it all it is his empathy and ability to be unflinchingly present with Pilgrim that stitches man and horse together into a unified fabric.
There is more than one healing relationship going on when you work with another person. The obvious one is the healing relationship between you and your partner. The other, less obvious one is the relationship both you and your partner have with the wisdom residing deep within each of you. Your effectiveness as a healer depends on the interaction between the healing qualities active in you and that same area of quality that is latent in your partner. This does not happen through words. In fact, it doesn’t even happen between you and your partner without first happening between you and yourself in your own personal inner work. Facilitating a healing process in another, if it is to go beyond a merely technical level, begins with you.
“Developing your abilities in healing is learning about people, not about a technique. . . . the use of healing qualities is really the use of feeling for the other person.”
As the healing relationship grows between you and your own inner world, the healing qualities set free in the process transmit wordlessly to others and stimulate similar qualities in them. They sense it, and they respond spontaneously. If I were to give a name to what makes this possible, it would be compassion, your feeling for the other person. The reason is simple: Whatever you feel your calling to be, its expression into this world involves your Heart Center, and it is the nature of the Heart to reach out and set up an energetic exchange between you and other people and the world around you. When compassion—a feeling for the other person—expresses through your Heart and the way it touches others, it acts as a vehicle for your deeper qualities, the ones associated with your calling, to move outward, into the world. The compassion that fills the space between you and your healing partner is what makes it a healing relationship.
How does this look in your practice? Do you do anything in order to cultivate the "interspace" in the relationship between you and your clients?
Your comments and questions are always welcome. I will continue this series with one more piece and that will be soon. Meanwhile, thank you for being a subscriber!
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*Here is a link to Diane Tegtmeier's website and her book, Relationships That Heal: http://dianetegtmeier.com/
**I explore this idea in a chapter called "The Energy Kiva: Creating an Energetic Healing Environment" in my book Energy Healing: A Pathway to Inner Growth.