In my healing and teaching practice, I am fortunate to meet many marvelous people who are choosing to change their lives. Each of them has a different and very personal story that may speak of illness, tragic or abusive beginnings, deep emotional wounding or lack of feeling strong or even worthy of love. Indeed, we have heard stories of truly heinous things human beings have done to one another. The most heart-wrenching stories are the terrors of childhood abuse people have experienced. We have born witness to those who were beaten, burned, humiliated, abandoned, tortured by cults and abused sexually beginning as early as six months of age. And yet, in the face of having such terrifying traumas, these people have the courage to do the work of becoming whole, happy adults. My partner Allie and I have even had the privilege of working with people at the end of their lives who choose to use their last days on Earth to heal their past so that they can move into the next world emotionally and spiritually intact.
How different these people’s lives might have been if, during their childhoods, the adults around them had attended to their own healing?
In the shamanic worldview, a person’s power may be stolen or lost through trauma. It is often the case that those who have had their light diminished through abuse choose to try and steal the light from others. Whether through sexual, physical or emotional abuse, the wounded person seeks to “fill the hole” left inside of them and often perpetrates the same kind of abuse they received in a vain attempt to reclaim their power. Some others perpetrate harm upon themselves in an effort to eradicate their pain. The cycle of suffering continues unabated until one person has the courage to stop it. That person breaks the chain by healing their wounded places inside.
Since people are usually wounded at the hands of other human beings, it is especially necessary to have loving help of professionals who are trained to assist in healing trauma. A good psychotherapist can help their clients understand the nature of their wounds and heal their psyche. However, as a shamanic healer, I also know the critical importance of also restoring a wounded person’s spirit. A person who is whole and feels their intrinsic power and preciousness has no need to steal another person’s light. They have no reason to wound another in a vain attempt to feel stronger. They have confidence. They are able to keep good boundaries. They are those who are able to contribute to the health and wellbeing of other people, creatures and our world.
Indeed, having the courage to dig in and attend to your healing is the greatest gift you can give the world. My primary spirit teacher told me many years ago that the changes we make inside of ourselves change the world around us. Since that time, science has proven that this is indeed true! Who and how we are in the world–much more than what we do–has a profound effect on all living creatures.
We’ve learned that our emotions have a profound effect upon our bodies. Emotional states such as anxiety, fear, anger, rage, blame, shame and apathy contribute to lowering the immune response. They negatively impact the endocrine system by increasing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline while lowering the beneficial hormone DHEA, which contributes to our feelings of wellbeing. However, the effects of our emotions impact us right down to the molecules that make it possible to continue living.
On a molecular level, our genetic material is responsible for such vital processes as regulating cellular function and cell repair. Indeed, during our life the composition of our body changes continuously, as during each second 50,0000 cells are being replaced in our body. Our DNA, is responsible for gene regulation which gives the cells control over all structure and function, and is the basis for cellular differentiation in a developing fetus, the appropriate continuous control of healthy cellular growth in the body and the ultimate versatility and adaptability of any living being. To do its work well, the DNA must continue to function is the way that it is meant to and replicate itself without any “mistakes” in its code.
The energetic and physical environment in which our DNA exists has an enormous impact upon its ability to do its work well and replicate itself correctly. Research has shown that the conformation of our DNA, that is the shape of the molecule itself, affects gene expression. Specialized “Immediate Early Genes” or IEGs have a particularly important role in this gene expression as many of them are regulatory genes which turn on other genes that affect specific aspects of our immune system, such as the production of white blood cells that destroy attacking bacteria and viruses.(1.) The proper function of these IEGs can be altered by changing the shape of the DNA molecule.
The conformation of our DNA is affected by our feelings which, in turn changes the epigenetic environment within our body—that is, the environment in which our genetic material functions. Since our emotions have the ability to change the structure of our DNA they can either enhance or interfere with our genetic material’s ability function properly. “Negative” feelings can cause changes in our immune response, our endocrine system and the ability to regulate cell growth and repair. These changes not only cause us to be sick more often, they also contribute to the onset of severe illnesses such as autoimmune disorders and cancers.
In addition, our feelings do not remain within the container of our bodies. Research has proven that our feelings are radiated from our bodies both as measurable electromagnetic fields and also as quantum, non-local energy fields. These feeling energies have the capacity to affect changes in DNA molecules outside of our bodies. These effects have been measured over a distance of at least a half a mile. This alteration of another’s DNA by our emotional energy is also instantaneous, as our emotional energy is not bound by the limitations of time or space.
That means that the way that we feel about ourselves, other people and our circumstances not only impacts our health and wellbeing, it affects all Life. It is of particular concern that the beings closest to us are constantly bathed in our emotional energy, receiving the measurable electromagnetic energy as well as the non-local quantum energy. If we are conceiving children, the development of their bodies, brains and future potentials are being affected by how we feel. As they grow, our children are directly at the effect of our feelings as much as our actions.
As a result, it seems that we have a moral responsibility to address our emotional states and the underlying perceptions that influence how we feel about ourselves and the world. Plainly put, if we want healthy children, a healthy local environment and a healthy planetary ecosystem, we need to dig in and do the work of alleviating the misperceptions of ourselves and the nature of our lives that originated in our early life.
As we do so, we create a kind of spaciousness within ourselves that allows us to be able to more easily experience the feelings of gratitude, appreciation, compassion and love. These feelings provide the energetic salve that keeps the DNA in “perfect shape” to be able to do its work in a reliable and healthy way. These feelings actually assist our bodies to function at their best and project their healing influence far beyond.
Greater than any “good” actions we take in the world, the way we are and the way that we feel about who we are, creates an enormous impact. Our positive feelings—set free from the old burdensome patterns of thought caused by our early history—are a miraculous, transformational force. No longer trapped by feelings of low self worth, or anxiety, or blame and shame, we are set free to be an agent of positive change and nurturance.
The DNA of the next generation and the ones to follow–of all species on the planet can be transformed by changing yourself NOW. In this springtime, make the commitment and follow through with doing the work of healing your wounded self. Break the cycle of abusive thought and behaviors. Transform the negative perceptions that you hold. As your spirits lift, you elevate those around you on a non-local wave of sustaining energy.
Attend to the health and wellbeing of your spirit, too. By tending the garden of your spirit, you have the ability to create a gift that will keep on giving. Our spirit/consciousness is the aspect of us that continues beyond our physical existence. When finally released from our body, this eternal part of us is set free. If a person has not been able to heal their wounds releasing their anger or pain they risk being trapped in this realm. As a lingering spirit, they may wander the human world as a suffering soul unable to complete the journey to rejoin their loved ones in the Light of All That Is.
On the other hand, when our spirit is healed and whole, we can easily release our hold on the physical world and flow unfettered into the Light. In that place of incredible, loving energy that feeds all life in all places, our spirit is free to merge into the enormous circle of ancestral consciousness that sustains those who are in physical form. Radiating love and compassion, our soul continues to nourish others even after our death. Unbound by time or space, we are able to continue blessing the world and the generations that will follow us.
© 2012 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is http://www.spiritpassages.com.
1. The Genie in your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention by Dawson Church, Ph.D.