Self. Birth. Transformation. Relationships.
Those four cards stare at me on the animal hide table in the little room of Betina Lindsey, the shaman at Red Mountain Resort.
“Well, this fits,” she says.
I close my eyes. I can only hope she’s right.
Betina is my last resort. She is my little glimmer of hope that, with this shamanic healing session, I can somehow overcome the sadness that has been eeking the energy out of me, leaving me so empty. So exhausted. So dead inside.
When I walk into her office, an old hotel room converted into a place of comfort, complete with crystals, photos of shamans, spiritual paintings and more, I try to let go of the preconceived notions of what I am about to do.
I’ve never been into any of this stuff. The cards. The crystals. It was only yesterday, with my reiki session and utter lack of energy, that I realized there was something out of balance with my body. That my chakras were clogged. I didn’t even know what a chakra was until yesterday when Cynthia told me mine were basically blocked.
The smell of sage permeates the air as she guides me to the little chair which sits in front of a table covered with a golden animal hide.
“Let me get a reading on you,” she says. “Sit and close your eyes.”
After a moment, she speaks. “You are too accommodating.”
Yes. Yes, I can be that.
“You are at a point in your life where you are on a plank. You can’t walk back, but you also can’t move forward. You don’t believe in yourself enough. You won’t take that jump.”
My eyes well up with tears.
Yes. I am paralyzed. I can’t move because I have nothing but hatred for myself. I can’t stand who I am. I can’t stand the person I have become since I returned from my travels. This is not the life I want. And yet, I can’t break free from it. I can’t heal myself.
I reach for a tissue and wipe my eyes as she begins to place cards on the tiny table.
She uses six decks of various cards, including tarot.
Then, she does the reading.
Everything she culls from the reading is accurate. Spot. On.
“You don’t like yourself. You won’t be able to do anything until you do.”
I sit and blink.
I’ve been trying to like myself. I’ve been trying to get over this. It’s taken me months, and instead of feeling better, all of those things I have kept bottled up and now have discovered weigh on me more than they did when I was blissfully unaware.
“You won’t move on, you won’t be in a relationship, you won’t have anything until you are able to honor your inner child. You have to find some way to love who you are.”
I don’t know how to do that.
Again, I feel the tears burn. I want to explain to her how hard I have been working. How frustrated I have become. How all I want to do is run. To escape. To go sit with elephants in Thailand and be relived of thinking about myself for a few wonderful moments.
She leaves one card face down on the table as she escorts me to another area in the room.
“Here,” she says, lifting up a plate full of different crystals and rocks. “Pick a stone that speaks to you.”
I reach for the amethyst.
“Now, I want you to take one thing you want to get rid of from your body and focus all of your energy on it. Send it from your body into the stone.”
I squeeze my eyes closed as hard as I can, forcing the one thing I want out of my body more than anything else: the self-hatred.
As she chants, I imagine that feeling of disgust moving its way from my heart, from my mind, through my veins and out my fingertips and into this tiny rock which has become hot in my palm.
Leave my body. Get out. Never come back.
Then, Betina gently guides me to another area in the room where a bear hide covers the floor.
“Lay down,” she instructs.
I oblige, letting my head sink into the soft fur. She begins placing stones on different points on my body — the places where my (not flowing) chakras are.
“Now, I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are with Little Diana. She’s four or five years old. Imagine being with her. And I want you to sit with her, talk with her, tell her she is beautiful, that you love her, and then I want you to take her with you on a journey through your life. Take her with you to the beautiful places you have seen. Show her all of the amazing things you have experienced. Honor her. Let her know she is with you, always.”
Then, she begins to chant in a language I don’t understand. While she chants and uses the crystal bowls, I find Little Diana.
I see her perfectly. She’s wearing a little blue dress, blonde hair with short bangs. A little nose. Big, brown eyes. Little D is sitting in her bunny wall-papered room on beige carpet. I find her and kneel down to sit with her.
She looks at me and smiles.
I know you.
I smile back and take her hand.
“Hi,” I whisper to her. “How are you?”
She says nothing.
The mournful sound of bowls echos in my ears.
Hand clenched in mind, I touch her soft little face.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper to her. “I am so, so sorry. I stopped thinking about you somewhere in my life. I got sidetracked. I got angry. I got sad. Really, really sad.”
Little D’s grip tightens in my hand.
I breathe deep as Betina softly chants.
“I love you. You are beautiful. You are wonderful. You are strong. You are everything you ever wanted to be. And, I am sorry for not honoring you a long time ago. I am sorry for not telling you these things.”
Then, as the music from Betina gets louder, I move from my old bedroom with my old self to Portugal.
Little D and I sit together on the golden sand of Lagos, as the sun sinks into the Atlantic Ocean.
“See, look where you are. On the other side of the world!” I say to Little D.
Then, we are in Spain, listening to flamenco music. We are watching F-1 from the stands in Valencia. We are trekking for gorillas. We are sitting on the roof deck of a riad in Morocco, watching as the buildings glow pink and listening to the call for prayer echo throughout the ancient walls. Together, she and I walk with elephants.
At some point, the tunes from the bowl turn into bells in my mind. And, now, the bells signify the death of a part of me. I can feel it leave my body as I take Little D around the world with me.
The hatred flows right out of me.
And, something else comes in. A feeling of calm. Of peace. Of love for myself.
As Betina finishes, I cough. “Sorry,” I murmur.
“It’s normal,” she explains. “You are getting rid of what you need to get rid of.”
I stand up slowly.
“How do you feel?”
“I feel … different.”
She stands me in the center of the room and does a Native American prayer with me, turning me towards different spirit worlds, blessing me. Then, we move back to the table where the last card lays.
I flip it over.
“You know what this means?” She asks me.
We both do.
I hug her and walk back out into the Utah afternoon.
An entirely different person.