When does a thing truly begin?
by Morgan Vogel Chinnock, h7 student and h2 assistant teacher
Did my healing practice really start when I rented an office in town and set up shop? Or did it begin years earlier when some Tracker friends invited me to join them in the unfamiliar experience of placing our hands on a woman with cancer? Or when, in a mountaintop sit spot, I clearly saw that I will be healed through healing others? Or when, as earnest sixth graders, my friend and I set up a counseling center under a tree during recess and invited our friends to come talk?
When I started healing 1 at wildernessFusion in 2011, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I knew that healings with my friends had moved me. I knew I loved the ways of the earth I had been learning at Tracker School. Until the first h1 class, I never considered that I was attending this healing school to become a “healer.” Much of what called me to wildernessFusion classes moved beneath the surface of my consciousness.
All through h1, h2 and h3, I worked on a few people outside of class, but I felt afraid to go public with this work. I was afraid of what religious folks in my family and community would think. I didn’t know how to communicate what I’d experienced to someone who hadn’t experienced it. And I had many doubts about my value and effectiveness as a healer: perfect territory to explore in h2 and h3.
At the end of healing 3, my desire and the time felt right. Edgy, but right. I “hung up my shingle” and began by offering healing sessions at a local hot springs resort. I eased into making my practice public, but over time, I bought a massage table, rented my own space in town, put up flyers on community bulletin boards, ran a couple of “first-session-free” specials, started a website, got practice insurance, made business cards, participated in community events (offering short sessions in a booth), and joined my small town’s business association.
One of the most difficult decisions in opening my practice was whether I should charge for a healing session. How could I ask anyone for money in return for something I believed was their birthright? That shifted when I realized I could either continue to offer free healings and spend the majority of my time working other jobs, or I could charge for healings and consistently hold space and time for people to come see me. After I began charging, I was surprised to see that it helped most clients invest more in our sessions in non-monetary ways, as well.
Just over a year after I opened my practice, a massive wildfire swept through the communities I live and work in, changing our physical landscape, the demographics, and the landscape of my practice. Since then, other waves have affected my availability: a nausea-filled early pregnancy, and then cocooning away with my little girl for the first few months of her life.
From the beginning, and through all of these dynamics of change, something continues to amaze me: the flow of clients responds directly to my degree of openness to them. I have come to trust the ebb and flow of clients, and to realize the power I have to invite them, simply with my intent and readiness.
Now, with my daughter almost 11 months old, I see clients one day a week. For now, this is the perfect balance with everything else in my life. My practice has become an extension of who I am, not a thing I try to measure against what I think someone else would define as successful.
I’ve gotten to walk with people as they make small choices of great courage, as together we shift autoimmune conditions, anxiety and depression, cancer. I’ve also held people as they’ve chosen to continue their original trajectory or navigate shocking changes, but with new awareness. The work stretches me and challenges me to be more honest, again and again. It requires me to improvise, to connect, and to explore the inner workings of other people. I didn’t even know this sort of healing was a thing ten years ago.
It’s the most fulfilling work I could never have imagined.
Or: did I actually imagine it long ago and more recently choose the steps that walked it into being?
Morgan's healing practice is in Middletown, California. You can find her online at mothmoonhealing.com.