Editor's note: The following essay is part of a new department in the Mind & Body blog called "Gotta Have Faith," where Utne readers of all faiths and spiritual persuasions are invited to share their perspectives on religion and spirituality in a civil and respectful forum. If you'd like to submit a post to this blog, please contact Christian Williams.
I’m a Minnesota farm boy who studied physics (PhD U of MN, 1969) so he could teach. I began my journey as a hard nosed physics professor, with many an unhappy student. By 1979 my wife had left and I was frantic for new pathways. Then I spotted a campus poster which offered marine biology experience at an old US spy base in the Bahamas. I investigated and found dormitories, lab space, rickety vans, and a kitchen staff who could make peanut butter sandwiches. It could work.
As an old scuba diver I knew that such an experience could be life changing for these farm kids. I did my best to promote the trip. Alas, I could not persuade a single soul to spend their Christmas vacation in the middle of an ocean. No way, Jose. After three weeks of coaxing and haranguing, I slunk home after work, prepared Mac ‘n Cheese for my 5th grader son, and went to my bedroom to change. With little hope and much desperation , I sat on the bed and “laid it out” to the Source I now call The Folks Upstairs, “This can mean major growth for my students, but I cannot do it by myself. I Need Your Help!”
Deeply discouraged, I returned to the kitchen to serve our evening meal. Then it happened: I’d scarcely begun to shovel in my supper when the phone rang. April and her friend Gwen were on board! I expressed deep thanks and replaced the phone.Then it rang again, and again. Within an hour I had the core group of students who would join me on the adventure. With it came the gentle “whap upside the head” realization that I was allowed to follow my own star, sans interference. At the same time, Assistance was “on call” when I was forced to ask for help. Score one for Spiritual Guidance. BTW: The trip was a great success!
Fast forwarding 20 years: I was nearing retirement age for my teaching career and again seeking new directions. Daughter Charly and I chose to attend a beekeeping class at a Minnesota university. We found seats at the venue and waited patiently for “Dr. Maria”, the eminent bee researcher who was to teach the class. She arrived, visibly haggard. “I just cannot conduct the class. I’m feeling dreadfully ill. My assistant will teach today, and perhaps I will feel better tomorrow.” As she turned and left, the hopes of the group sagged, for she was respected and loved for her inspirational talks to our local bee organizations. As the class was beginning soon, I left Charly at our seats and hurried to pay my tuition. By chance I passed by Dr. Maria’s open office door; she sat there, looking like Death warmed over. While I’d had no training as a healer, I knocked timidly at her door and said, “Maria, I’d like to try to help you...”. She slowly turned and smiled weakly.
Maria sat quietly while I stood behind her. I was guided to place my hands prayerfully on either side of her head. After two minutes, I seemed led to remove them. She turned to me, astounded, “What did you DO?” I hadn’t the slightest notion, for I’d had no training in healing work. I quickly left and paid my fees. When I returned to the auditorium, Maria was already there, goin’ like a house afire, the chalkboard rapidly filling with bee genetics. After only minutes, she was once again in top form. Score another for Spiritual Guidance.
I was inspired by the unexpected healing success, but unsure of this newfound skill. Could an old physics professor morph into a healer? I enrolled to train with Mietek Wirkus, a well known Polish energy healer who had been well studied by energy researchers at the Menninger Clinic, then of Topeka, KS.
The first clients came slowly, luckily for me. I could treat their minor aches and pains. And I learned the meaning of the word “practice”, for in the beginning I was NOT very good at this healing thing. During the next fourteen years, my classes, clients, colleagues, even the internet would teach me. At the same time, the issues to which I seemed Led became more complex. I gradually became aware that I was being manipulated, in the best sense of that word, again by The Folks Upstairs. The Process was benevolent, for I never seemed to be presented with a healing problem until I was prepared to deal with it. Our first cancer patient came to us five years after our doors opened. Lisa, our first brain cancer patient, appeared in year thirteen. Cases that were similar seemed to come in groups of three.
More manipulation followed: Seeking more expertise, I placed a small ad in the Tracy, MN paper (population 2200), the place of my birth and the chosen locus for the work. A Chinese man called, whose English was limited. I understood only two words: Qigong Master. Qigong masters are highly regarded for their healing skills. Master Wu was taught qigong as a 10 year old in China, and his some 35 years of healing experience were to become invaluable to our group.
Located in an area of low population density, we slowly expanded our service area. Tom was a West River South Dakota rancher whose spinal cord injury from a rollover had given him wheels and an electric motor. I’d repaired electrical cables when doing physics, and thought, “How hard can it be to fix a spinal cord?”
Tom lived 300 miles west, and travel was difficult for him. I had learned the basics of “distance energy healing” from Mietek Wirkus -- it much resembled the offering of a Sunday morning prayer for a loved one in a faraway hospital. When I suggested it, Tom said he’d get back to me after he’d checked things out. His Source accepted the idea, and Tom and I began to work together, he on his small ranch near Phillip and I in our Minnesota farm home. I visualized working on his body as though it were laid out before me. Below is the unedited record of his email after our first distance work:
“The date is 12/30/99 My concept of what transpired between Chuck and myself. The first noticeable sign was a tingling in my right calf then up to my thigh (I don't have feeling below my nipples) In order I can't remember. My left leg had the same sensation twice. My groin felt a strong sensation two times. If it would of been a little stronger it would have been uncomfortable. This morning prior to Chuck’s work, my shoulders and neck ached. After the treatment they seem to be relaxed. Conclusion: I seem to feel some of what you’re sending my way (from 300 miles away). It's wild. Gotta go, excuse my grammar. TOM"
Although Tom is still in his chair, he became more functional, and can now access the kitchen when he needs a beer or a sandwich. I’m still trying to figure out how he could have felt something in a part of his body long divorced from sensations because of his rollover accident.
In fourteen years, we’ve served clients in thirty states. Sometimes we use “EFT”, a tool which uses light finger tapping on energy points instead of the sharp needles of acupuncture. EFT is excellent for resolving emotional issues, even heavy ones such as PTSD. It works well by phone.
We average about a 50/50 mix of patients who have physical issues and those that seem mostly emotional. When a patient presents a physical problem, it’s likely that an emotional issue will walk in alongside it. After we’ve cleared the emotional aspects, the physical issue is more easily dealt with.
Over the years we’ve added to our services, with chelation, herbals, hyperthermia, hypnosis, massage, naturopathy, nutrition, Tai chi and yoga. Whole food diets assist the healing of chronic conditions such as cancer, MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as can herbals such as Protandim.
Do our patients live longer? Not necessarily, but they do seem to live better. Sometimes what’s most important is to simply listen. Appointments can run an hour or more; goodbye hugs are always offered and usually accepted.
Our patients expect to pay “out of pocket”, or by donation, for health insurance seldom covers what we do. (I’ve been paid in garden vegetables, frozen chickens, pasta sauce and a ceremonial sword.) We may be patients’ last refuge, after even well known Minnesota clinics have done their best. Patients come, “when nothing else works”.
Do we have a huge cash flow? No, but we pay our bills and try to charge fairly. If a patient feels financially squeezed, we work it out. Helping To Heal welcomes you with free parking, gentle music, and no traffic lights for thirty miles.
(With thanks to my son Pete for his editing assistance)
Photo by Fotolia/mykeyruna