These are three of the major ways I see pain or dysfunction showing up in people’s energy. I always believe in teaching folks to understand their own energy body and how it functions, so that you can eventually work to maintain your wellness on your own. Learning about these will help you understand what’s going on in you, and what I’m working to shift or change.
Normally, a human being is like a conduit with fresh, universal energy flowing through like clear water. But life’s troubles can shut the flow off, or can throw a monkey wrench into our delicate internal balance. Have you ever felt the deadening sensation that comes from constant stress, depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, or relationship troubles? Dealing with these chronic issues can be like having a puncture in our energy body: all our vitality just seems to drain away, leaving us exhausted and unable to heal naturally on our own. Sealing up those punctures, opening a flow of fresh energy, and rebalancing the energy body allows an individual to feel revitalized and renewed. It’s like getting a jump to recharge your battery, so you can continue recharging it on your own. But you’ll still need to figure out, and heal, what’s causing your battery to run down in the first place.
People also frequently somatize their emotions, stashing their sorrows and problems in various places in their body, and then wall them off energetically. It’s like when a stream gets diverted to a different course, and the old creekbed turns to mud and swamp muck without water flowing through. These blocked-off places hold more intense and long-lasting issues, in the form of fears, traumas, and troubles we can carry for years, even lifetimes, without ever processing them. Although we often aren’t consciously aware of it, our soul wastes tremendous amounts of energy to keep those walled off things out of sight, like trying to keep a beach ball underwater. Healing these blocks is like opening a dam; all the stagnant, dark energy of our pain is released, and clear energy can flow through and bring healing and wholeness again. This can shift major patterns in our lives and relationships that we may have been holding for a long time, even many lifetimes. We also recover a great deal of our personal energy, that can now be used in service to our highest good.
If we continue to imagine energy like water, trauma is what happens when our soul solidifies even further, becoming frozen in a particular moment, and then shattered by it. This happens in cases of more extreme loss or grief, as well as abuse, sexual assault, violence, accidents, and other painful incidents. When the soul energy confronts something that is too overwhelming for it to process, it takes all the pain and memories of the trauma, puts it all into one part of itself, then splits that part off to protect the rest. This kind of soul fragmenting is actually one of our most intelligent defense mechanisms, because it allows us to keep functioning—however poorly—despite the pain we’re in. It’s a small miracle that we can get up, put food in our mouths, talk to others around us—but the very thing that helps us in the short term makes life difficult in the long term. When you feel deeply numb, hollow, or like you’re watching yourself from the sidelines of your life, soul loss is at work.
From a shamanic perspective, soul loss—from current or past lives—is generally at the root of what the western world refers to as PTSD, depression, and a host of other “mental illnesses”. In a normal healing process, with time, rest, and emotional processing, the parts of our soul that have been split off return and are reabsorbed. But, sometimes, the process gets stuck, or the trauma is too great for us to manage on our own. This is when you go to a specialist: a shamanic practitioner to help retrieve the parts of your soul that haven’t found their way back to you. Retrieving the lost parts of yourself can be deeply emotional and profoundly healing; it’s like coming back to life again, or taking that first breath after a long time underwater.