one woman’s healing story:
I love reading stories. books saved my life as a little person in some hard times (and lots of sensitives can relate to this), and humans have been learning and growing through stories shared round the fireside for millennia.
when we read a healing story, we’re changed by it. we heal, too.
the healing story below, shared in ‘poppy’s’ own words (not her real name), is the result of deep, regular healing work together over two years. I’d really like to share this work with you, because ongoing healing work in a strong container can change a life.
here is ‘poppy’s’ story, in her own words:
‘I’ve participated in many healings and ceremonies with anna over the years, each of which will always stay with me. whether done as a group in community or out in solitude on the land, the memories of powerful ceremonies from anna are now cellular-level for me. I’ve physically dissolved old grievances in water, played drums in celebration with a circle of friends under the redwoods, and crafted healing mandalas from earth elements beside the ocean and in the forest, to name a few.
in 2020, I had a growing inner voice telling me that I needed to complete a very specific ceremony of my own after my deep work with anna. I grew up in a strict religious community, and the negative lifelong impact of that experience has been multifold. the part that always bothered me most was the feeling of a loss of agency, voice, and choice. more than anything, I wanted to feel free, but I felt frozen by a rigid oppression which had been programmed into my neural pathways for years (formative ones, at that). the words that haunted me most were being told as a child that my religious identity “couldn’t be changed.”
in contrast, I had the visceral experience of being changed at my core by ceremonies anna helped me perform. of taking a step across a threshold – maybe in a labyrinth, maybe through a wall of leaves blindfolded (you really never know with anna!), and of emerging a different person on the other side.
I knew I could change that old story that I grew up in.
in one of our calls, I talked with anna about my vision. and talked, and talked. “you’ve done this before, haven’t you?” I said at some point when anna offered yet another piece of perfect advice to help me name the big picture, and craft the smallest of detail. “once or twice,” she said with the characteristic twinkle in her laugh.
in december 2020 during the pandemic, on the eve of the solstice and coincidentally (or was it?) on the same day I’d been baptized 23 years earlier, I held a Spiritual Freedom Ceremony with 12 close friends witnessing on zoom. anna guided the group through ceremony so gracefully, even though we were remote. it involved water, and candles, and roses, and blessings; but the most powerful aspect to me was being witnessed in loving and supportive presence as I read out the wrongs of the religious community, and made declarations about my freedom on a soul level.
and afterwards? well, ceremony is powerful, and doesn’t always immediately usher in happily ever after – though sometimes it does! this was a lot of stagnant energy to shake up in my life, and I experienced somewhat of a “healing crisis” as relationships, old roles, and my own core identity re-settled around and within me. anna had prepared me that this might happen, in her usual caring and gentle way.
more than a year later, I am so deeply happy to say that the things that once held a charge around this issue for me simply no longer do.
people, places, and thoughts that used to be triggers are no longer able to shake my inner peace and certainty of who I am – who I choose to be.
I feel so lucky that I had anna as my guide through this process. I can recommend no one better to help shape and guide your own personal or collective ceremony and healing, no matter what you are releasing, calling in, or celebrating.’ ~ ‘poppy’
‘poppy’ is a living jewel, and her journey moved me to happy tears more times than I can count. she is a fine living example of what it is to navigate hard life lessons, move through them with grace and skill, and come out the other side happy and well.
‘poppy,’ thank you so much for typing this up, and sharing with our community. your story will inspire many people – in witnessing your journey, there is healing for each of us.
if this speaks to you and you’re on a healing journey of your own, we can explore how working together might look for you. I’m an email away, and would truly love to hear from you.
whether we work together or not, I wish you support and strength on your own healing path.
ps – do you know one or two folks who would benefit from receiving the dreaming otter articles? if yes, please encourage them to subscribe to the email list here. I would be so grateful – thanks, and may that kindness return to you a thousandfold.