From the moment my plane landed in Bali, I felt surrounded in loving energy that makes becoming whole seem possible. There was an overwhelming sense of being surrounded in grace. Inspired by the experience of my yoga teacher, and by Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love, I wanted to see a healer during my time there.
The healer I would see had seen my yoga teacher on several occasions over the years, so he came highly recommended as a powerful force. His space was about a 30 minute drive from where my yoga retreat was being held. My visit would occur 4 days into my journey. Several people from my retreat had visited him early in the week and shared their stories at our dinners together. I felt as prepared as I could be for the experience.
I saw the healer on a Thursday afternoon. The space was part church, part patio, part back yard. Several buildings surrounded an open air center. The air was both sacred and humble. We entered after paying our donation at edge of the building closest to the parking area. A group of people sat around the healer waiting for their opportunity to be seen. There were women and men of a variety of descriptions. Old and young. No one was speaking, so it was impossible to know what languages people spoke. There was a Lhasa Apso with cataracts running around. The healer sat in a simple chair on a large raised platform in the front of the space. I watched intently as person after person approached the healer. One man was experiencing pain to the extent that the touch of the healer made him cry out. Every once in a while, the healer would pause to smoke a cigarette. That was disarmingly charming and wonderful within this holy context.
The crowd cleared, and it was my turn to be seen.
He gestured to me. I moved to him. He smiled and asked where I was from and what I wanted him to do. I told him I was from the United States, and I wanted him to tell me what I needed. He asked me to sit in front of him with my back to him. My heart was pounding so fast I am sure it could be seen under my shirt. I shut my eyes as he ran his fingers through my hair. He touched my left ear and I experienced a pain I have never known. Shooting does not describe it. Throbbing does not describe it. His finger became a needle penetrating my earlobe. I winched and he stopped. He probed my other ear and the same thing occurred. He looked at me and said, “You have problems.” Those words touched my soul. Those words were filled with compassion and love. Those words were truth.
He asked me to lie down on the floor. I moved to the floor and closed my eyes. He began to poke pressure points on the toes of my left foot very slowly with a small stick the size of a chop stick. Each poke was warm and perceptive. It was as if he was listening with his both his ears and his hands. Excruciating pain shot through my body each time he poked my toes. He eventually stopped poking and shook his head with a look of grave concern. He quickly moved to the table and grabbed a large charcoal pencil and returned to me. With the care of a surgeon, he gently moved my pants down toward my belly and my shirt up to just below my bra. He started to draw several inches below my belly button. My eyes were closed so tightly I could not see, I just felt his warm touch and cold charcoal move across my skin. He drew for about 5 minutes, but it felt like an eternity.
When he finished, he spoke a gentle prayer over me in a language I did not understand. He then said, “Today is a new day. You don’t have to carry that pain anymore.” I opened my eyes, looked down and my stomach, and saw the careful circle with deliberate lines pointing outward from the center. He poked my toes again, and I felt no pain. Tears flowed. My heart opened. I slowly sat up.