About a month ago, I left the poetry therapy program. Leaving came after weeks of struggling. I never felt like a healer. My head didn’t have answers, just a lot of questions. Don’t healers have answers? Don’t they heal?
I spoke up and someone in a position to know said, “You’d better figure that out in a hurry.” As usual, it wasn’t hurrying that brought the answer.
Was I not meant to be a healer? I spent several long hours puzzling over, “What is your idea of a healer?” and “What does it take to be a healer?” and “What are you, if not a healer?” Difficult questions. Here’s the best answer that came alive and shimmering:
I’m not your healer,
Not the one who puts a palm
Flat on your erratic heart
To restore your breathing.
Not the one who re-channels your brain,
Repairs the shift in your spine,
Strengthens your stride into your future.
I am the cartographer
Who maps the depth and length of your sorrow
who helps you pick your way onto a path
that may be unfamiliar, but still leads
right through the dislocation of your heart.
I am not your shaman, magic, explainer of the universe.
I am a questioner, intrigued by the dark we make
And live in, savagely, resentful.
If you are looking for the healer who gathers your
Ills into a basket and leaves you flowers of renewal
You’ve made the same mistake I made for years.
I shift your worries into patterns you can recognize
Dig in the soil of your forgotten secrets
Pulling out the rocks that may be precious or just sharp.
That’s what I offer, if you want.
—Quinn McDonald is alive and well and happy to be experienced as a creativity coach. Experience bring light to darkness. Writing brings light to the soul.