Alone in this world, each of us carried our personal medicines.
Long ago we came together, and one of us in each tribe carried the medicine. The remedies were in sacks and satchels. The memories of generations of healing wisdom existed in the heart and the mind of the medicine person.
Now, our tribes are too big to hold us together; we are alone again. This is the time to restore the memories of how we heal ourselves. Each of us has the good medicine of wisdom from our own beginnings. Our bodies hold the wisdom of our own health. We are always healing, from our starting moment to our finish line.
I’ve been collecting my remedies, too. The remedies were revealed as my prescription for health for myself and for the ones who work with me. I’ve gathered them together for you in this book.
I found medicine bottles in the doctor’s bag my grandmother carried to her patients’ house calls. The bottles seemed empty at first. They are full of knowing and remembering that I belong to a family who has held the medicine for the tribe.
Take what you need from these pages, refill these bottles, and reclaim your own healing. Maybe you want to carry the medicine, too.
Energy medicine in health care has become more popular since I began my practice. As I prepared to explain this to a new client, Dr. Chase, a leading surgeon in the Boston area, it occurred to me that it was no longer necessary to say this is a healing art “widely received” in health care when many of my clients were medical doctors themselves. My schedule is filled by licensed therapists, health-care practitioners, and registered nurses. In fact, Dr. Chase was recommended to me through her colleague.
“Just so you know,” I told Dr. Chase when we met, “I never diagnose or interfere with medical recommendations.”
“Yes, I read that on your intake page,” she said with no hint of resistance or even skepticism in her voice.
“Humans have written about the subtle energy fields that surround all living beings for thousands of years,” I began. “Historically, human energy has been depicted in many ways—from spinning wheels of light called chakras in Sanskrit, to a cocoon of heat known as the aura. Artistic depictions of halos are inspired by the glow of heightened energy around a person’s crown. The energy field exists in the lexicon of many cultures.”
Dr. Chase nodded.
“When I was first introduced to energy healing, I felt entirely disoriented. No one had ever told me about this stuff as a child,” I explained. “But my job involves connecting with this subtle but powerful field. When I work, my hands feel the warmth and gentle shifts right around the body, like the sensation of a magnet being pulled toward or repelled by an object. Meanwhile, my heart filters waves of joy and grief as well as impressions beyond words.”
Dr. Chase listened.
“I’ll try to communicate what comes through clearly—I mostly focus on the sensation in my hands. There is always useful healing information available,” I said.
I invited Dr. Chase to take her shoes off to recline on the massage table in my office.
“I’m going to be moving my hands about eight inches above the surface of your body, starting at your feet, including your shins, and then your knees, your abdominal area, your neck and forehead and crown area. If you see my hands in the air, I’m balancing, clearing, receiving information . . . it’s hard to describe, I’m just doing the energy work.”
Then I paused, searching for the right words, but the doctor put up her hand playfully as if to say stop.
“You don’t need to explain all this to me,” she smiled. “I’m a surgeon. I witness this energy all the time.”
“You do?” I chimed back.
“Yes. In the operating room, I always sense an undeniable presence. It’s uncanny,” the surgeon explained, “as if my anesthetized patient’s energy is present in the room and around me while I work. It’s very protective. I have no question about this energy stuff. I get it, and I believe in it. That’s why I’m here.”
“Good,” I said, “then let’s get started.”
After that, I was free to do my work.
THE HOUSE CALL
Please say yes to the tea and cookies when you’re offered,” my grandmother instructed as she drove us down Spring Street. “I’ll need you to wait in Mrs. Waverly’s kitchen while I examine her eyes in the living room.”
“But I don’t drink tea,” I reminded her with a smile. “Can I have chocolate milk?” Grammy, who was known in this town as Dr. Hunter, was taking me on a house call in 1978.
“Maybe they’ll have some milk. You can ask. But the tea will already be waiting. I may be with Mrs. Waverly for quite a few minutes. Mr. Waverly called me early this morning. He’s very concerned about her sight. She has glaucoma and is complaining about headaches. I need to rule out a few complications.” She spoke in a way that made me feel grown up. I had no idea what glaucoma was, and to “rule out” sounded like an expression serious enough to stop arguing about tea.
We arrived at the Waverlys’ house. I stood next to my grandmother in my green Izod shirt and red sneakers as she firmly held my left hand while carrying her doctor’s bag in her other hand. Grammy was dressed up, as usual, in a tailored skirt and a silk blouse with sensible heels. She let me ring the doorbell.
Mr. and Mrs. Waverly answered the door together expectantly. My grandmother immediately walked through the room with her patient. I sat down at the kitchen table. Waiting for me was a full pot of tea, a teacup, a pitcher of cream, a bowl of sugar, and a plate of gingersnap cookies. Mr. Waverly asked me about my school vacation and mentioned how much he appreciated these doctor’s visits for his wife. I thought about how this was the best way to spend a vacation. I liked being out of school. I really liked seeing another world beyond my life in third grade.
“I like going to work with my Grammy,” I answered.
A long time passed, and maybe it was all the caffeine and sugar, but I began to feel jittery and didn’t finish the last cookie. Mr. Waverly worked at the sink as I began to wonder if “glaucoma” was even more serious than I imagined. What did she say about complications? I didn’t hear any voices from the next room. Where did they go? I wanted to press my ear to the dining room door, but I thought that would be too childish.
“Could you do me a favor?” Mr. Waverly asked as he slowly brought my empty teacup to the sink. I nodded.
“Pixie is hungry, could you get her food from the breezeway?” Pixie must have known her own name because a gray cat, who I’d mistaken for a life-size figurine, pounced down from the shelf to follow me to her dish.
As I fed the cat, I forgot to watch the clock, and before I knew it the door swung open. I turned with surprise as Mrs. Waverly returned.
“Thank you, Doc,” she smiled, holding the door for Grammy.
“Just keep the compressions on for an hour during the evening, for six nights,” my grandmother instructed as she followed Mrs. Waverly.
I stood by the front door, eager to wave goodbye. But Mr. Waverly offered more tea and my grandmother accepted. We visited for another ten minutes before it was time for the two of us to leave for her office on Main Street.
Back in the car, my grandmother gently thanked me. “It’s good to have you on these house calls. Children bring joy, you know. I like to check on my patients’ health, but also, I get to check in on their whole life.”
Nodding my head at nine years old, I wondered to myself, What’s the difference?
The Good Medicine of Genuine Patience
Medicine Bottle #1
The House Call
When I was only nine years old, I wanted to listen through the Waverlys’ door to hear my grandmother’s voice. But I didn’t dare try for fear it would be too childish.
But what if I had pressed my ear against the door?
What would I hear? And why did the appointment take so much time?
What would happen if you had plenty of time to discuss your health with your provider of care? List three topics you’d want to discuss with your doctor to check up on the whole of you.
This is your prescription for the Good Medicine of Genuine Patience.
May experience a calming sensation and increased listening skills when you allow focus on your own health.