A Sacred Medicine Case Study: Let’s Combine The Tools From Our Medicine Bags!

Yesterday, I was talking to a mentoring client on the telephone from my bedroom when I heard a blood-curdling scream out my window. Before I even knew what was happening, I told my client there was an emergency and I needed to hang up the phone and call 911. Although I didn’t yet know what was happening, I cried out loud as an emergency prayer, “Help me! I need help!” to whatever invisible forces of love might be listening.

My intuition prodded me to call 911 instantly and get the paramedics on their way while I attended to the emergency. Since I live in a small town far from where ambulances hang out, I didn’t want to waste a minute. When I ran outside with the 911 operator on the phone, I found one of our neighborhood handymen, someone I’ve known for ten years, standing next to a ladder howling in pain. I tried to get him to lie down but he wouldn’t move. I saw cut branches from the top of a tree and a 12 -foot ladder leaning against it with a chain saw lying on the ground. At first I was afraid he had cut himself with the chain saw—a finger or a limb or a slice into his leg—but then I saw him grab his right side. I pulled off his shirt and saw a red mark where he must have fallen off the ladder and made impact on the rock he was pointing to. Looking up at the tree, I saw that he must have fallen far and hard.

By this point, the paramedics were on their way and I had texted my housemate and asked her to get my stethoscope. His breath sounds were shallow but present. His heart rate was very fast and his normally dark skin was pale. The skin around the area of impact felt a bit like Rice Krispies, which can indicate a lung puncture, maybe from a broken rib. In severe instances, such a lung puncture can cause a tension pneumothorax which can tamponade the heart and kill a human very quickly. If the paramedics took too long, I wondered whether I might have to perform one of the scariest emergency medical interventions with a kitchen knife since I didn’t have a chest tube in my home. I prayed I wouldn’t have to.

With an oxycodone in my pocket just in case I had to use it, I closed my eyes and started practicing William Bengston’s “cycling” method, a hands-on healing method I had trained to practice as part of my research for my Sacred Medicine book. While cycling has been most scientifically studied as a cancer cure in mice, people who have used it on humans have reported anecdotes of how it can be used as a life-saving measure in acute emergencies. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and I had already done everything I could do with my Western medical knowledge and no acute trauma/ER equipment. I laid my hands over the handyman’s injuries, closed my eyes, and prayed for whatever help might support me to use me, to ground me, and to fill him with whatever might keep him alive until the paramedics arrived. I felt tingling in my left hand and warm honey moving through my body, as my heart opened in gratitude for this man who tended to the neighborhood’s many thankless tasks.

Thank God For Western Medicine

I don’t know whether the cycling I was doing on our neighborhood handyman helped, and there’s no way for science to prove that it did or it didn’t, but I know he felt my love for him as I touched him and said, “You are so loved.” He kept saying, “Thank you Dr. Lissa. Thank you Dr. Lissa,” and his tenderness moved me deeply. As grateful as I am to have learned all I’ve learned on my seven year Sacred Medicine journey, I cannot express to you how grateful I was when I finally heard the sirens of the ambulance screaming down Highway 1 to the little cul de sac where we live. The paramedics swooped in and I gave them a quick run down of my assessment. They agreed that the skin around the lung felt “crunchy” and worried about the same life-threatening emergency I was concerned about, so they ordered a helicopter, which swooped over to us with a lot of pomp and circumstance and airlifted him off to a trauma center, where the doctors saved his life. He survived the night and is stabilized as of this morning.

Last night, I was reflecting upon the day and using Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT) to treat the PTSD flashbacks I was experiencing as I remembered the only other time I’ve called 911 for personal rather than professional reasons. The traumatic images took me back 13 years ago to Julian, California, where my then husband Matt came screaming down the hill on our seven-acre property, howling, “I’m so fucked! I’m so fucked!” When I saw blood dripping off a work glove that had two amputated fingers floating in it with jagged edges of bone sticking out, I blanched and said, “You’re so fucked” before calling 911. Using the energy psychology trauma method I’ve been co-teaching with AIT founder Asha Clinton to move that traumatic energy out of my system, I used the AIT phrase “Matt’s fingers were cut off and blood was spurting and I felt terrified, frozen, disgusted, nausea, dizziness, and horror” to release the flashback.

I prayed that the handyman would make a full recovery and I could offer to help him use AIT to tend to the trauma of all this once he’s stable enough. I wouldn’t want him to develop a totally preventable case of PTSD once he makes it to the other side of this horrific accident.

All Medicine Is Sacred

This morning, when I heard the good news that he was stabilized, I took some time to feel my gratitude for all the ways medicine can be sacred. Thank goodness for Western medical doctors who save lives in situations like this. This is what modern medicine does best—acute emergency care and trauma. Thank heavens for hands on healing methods that allow us to be conduits for Divine love and healing, which can comfort, support, and bolster the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms through a sort of energy transfusion when someone’s life force is waning. And Hallelujah for trauma clearing modalities like AIT, EFT, IFS, Somatic Experiencing, and other effective trauma release methods. And lest we not forget, a deep bow to the power of prayer, that “Please help!” plea to the invisible forces of love that surround us all the time and rush to our aid when we’re humble enough to acknowledge that we’re in over our heads and need support from realms we can’t see.

Last night, I texted a friend who I knew would relate to my Friday the 13th experience, given that he is an emergency room physician, as well as an energy healer. He is the doctor I called the day I was mauled by a pit bull and knew intuitively that I was going to treat my injury at home and avoid the surgery I knew conventional medicine would try to convince me to undergo. (Read my story of how I used all the tools in the medicine bag to close my wound here.)

In response to the story I told my doctor friend, he texted, “Just got home from my ER shift. Your intervention for that man may indeed have saved his life. My gut feeling is that without it he would have suffered greatly . . . much more. And Western medicine picked up where you left off. I too am grateful for my art and training and get to see its impact first hand, sometimes in the eyes of children and the elderly, my heart’s soft spot. I’m so glad you were home and able to get him help so rapidly. I feel such gratitude that you were there for that man, for me and for the world.”

Today, I feel teary as I write this, moved by how grateful I am to have had my eyes opened to healing tools nobody taught me in medical school, tools I probably wouldn’t have accepted at the time if someone had exposed me to them. I’m feeling grateful to all of my teachers and to the invisible forces of love who showed up to help me help someone I care about yesterday, grateful my friend is stable and in good hands this morning, grateful I got to be used as a vessel of love and healing with all the tools I’ve been trained to use, grateful to see so clearly that they’re all necessary, that no one tool needs to supplant the others. We don’t have to choose whether we’re in the Western medicine camp or the complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) camp or the spiritual healing camp. We can be a voice for no camps. All tools in the medicine bag can be sacred, if applied with love and consciousness.

Please send love, healing energy, and prayers to my friend as well. I do believe in group healing intention, so if you feel moved to do so, please take a moment to offer him what you can.

Today is a full moon, and full moons are supposed to be good for releasing what no longer serves us. Let us harness this full moon energy and let go of the stories that separate us, that make us feel we have to choose between modern medicine and ancient medicines, that make us turn up our noses at what we don’t understand, that divide us from love and limit what is possible. May this be a time of reunion, when we marry ancient healing wisdom with modern technology in service to love, healing, and consciousness. May the forces of love that support us always hear our prayer. I’m a writer, but I feel limited by my words right now. All I can say is thank you. Please join me in lifting up the future of medicine, and please share this with those you love so we can all open our hearts and minds to the cutting edge of what’s possible.

Deep bow,

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