There is a common factor that every warrior knows about themselves and others.  It is so ingrained that we think of it almost as a force of nature.  It’s the need for self-preservation.  People may talk about giving 100% of themselves to a project or activity, but what they actually mean is they are giving 100% of what is expected of them. We are surprised at those who give more, who go above and beyond, not because it’s something we can’t do, but because it’s something we won’t do.  In the calculation of what we can safely expend, their margin of energy reserved for self-preservation is smaller than ours and it stuns us while challenging us to reevaluate our reserves.  This is what makes Berserkers so legendary that their legacy still resonates in cultures around the world. Berserkers went into trance like states where they could simply remove the boundary on that reserve.  They trained in order to use a literal 100% of themselves in battle.  Because this goes against everything we think of a natural in ourselves, because it is practically impossible for us to imagine having no reserve, no need for self-preservation, we can’t defend against someone without it.  This is why the Kamikazes were so effective.  If self-preservation is no longer in the mix, if there is no reserve, then everything changes.  Everything becomes simultaneously more and less.

Healers are prone to this line of thinking as well.  It shows up in a variety of ways.  For some it’s that healing is their path and they should therefore receive all personal and professional gratification and sustenance from their practice.  For others it’s that they need to become a vessel for the healing to flow through them, so they need to remove themselves from the equation entirely therefore work to become absent, to become a hollow tube through which healing flows.  And still others find one modality that works for them and so seek to apply it to everything universally regardless of feedback or consequences.  All of them working tirelessly with the idea that the reserve most people take for granted, the self, the need for self-preservation, shouldn’t apply to them.  That somehow being a healer is all there is.  We know from other professions that being so dedicated is actually counter productive, wrecking the person and twisting their service or product into something destructive.  Unfortunately, unlike Berserkers, most healers are unaware that this is what they are doing.

It is common for healers to have an uncomfortable chuckle over the fact that they often forget or just don’t think of using their own healing abilities for their personal health and benefit.  Unfortunately too common. Healers are amazing people, but often forget the golden rule “Healer heal thyself.”  As a healer it is incumbent that each of us lead by example.  To be what we are attempting to help others achieve.  This means choosing to not be the berserker, to not be an Aztec sacrifice to the health of others, but instead to put ourselves first.  If we are healthy, then we are best able to support others in healing. If we are caring for others, we must first care for ourselves in equal measure.  If we are holding safe space for others, we must first hold safe space for ourselves.  If we are to help breathe beauty and life into the broken spaces, we need to start with our own.