by Izzy Swanson
The truth of who I am is not pretty. I didn’t come to be who I am today with years of training as a Shaman. I didn’t travel to another place to have the wisdom of the ancestors handed down to me. The truth is, well there are many truths, and one of them is that I was born this way. The other truth is that I had to dig myself out of a pit of insanity, abuse, trauma, and 16 years of drug addiction. The truth is that my spirit and my body have been battered, demoralized, and broken in ways that hurt me to even speak of. Much of what I have seen, much of what has been done was carried out at the hands of my family or abusive boyfriends but if we are talking about truth so much of what has happened to me I did also to myself.
Why I am here? Why am I telling you this? Because the value of my trauma is that I am who I am today. I need to say this to myself as much as you need to hear it. I need you to know it because I have never believed that anything I said or did was right, or valid. I needed to be defined by the opinions of others and yet even when I started to feel like I was getting it right it was never enough. I still would look to someone else and judge the quality of my work by their definition of what is right and wrong. You need to know it because you need to know that the things you tell yourself and the emotions you feel are not that by which you should define yourself. You need to see that there is a way to feel whole, that there is a path to unbrokenness. You need to trust that the pain that I have broken my body with is the strength by which I will help you heal yourself. This is the truth, of who I am, of who you are, of why we do this work.
I will tell you my story, at least as much of it as I can without breaking others who were part of it, and I will tell you how I came here and maybe if you can stay with me through the story you will find that I can show you a way to survive yourself. I will guide you through the darkness in the pit of your soul and show you how to embrace the balance of the dark and the light. I will guard you in the liminal spaces. I will mother your tears. I will show you the peace of the warrior and I will make you a priestess of your own life.
The time has come to shed the lies, to destroy everything that you know, to make your sorrow your biggest gift, to use your pain to achieve your goals1. We are being called to the front lines of a war that is about redefining who we are as individuals, as a species. Whoever convinced you that this needed to happen peacefully, quietly, and completely in the light has not told you the full truth or maybe you did not see the other half of the message. We will have to first stand at the doorway to change and face our fears. We may even have to break, shatter into a million pieces, before we will know the complete truth and power of who we are. For powerful is what you are. It’s what I am and it is what we are together. Do not be afraid even when the walls fall down and you are overwhelmed. Do not fear. Do not run from the immensity of who you are, of who we are. Warrior Spirit, Queen, Priestess, Guardian, Teacher, Mother, do not run from your soul’s purpose. We are here now for a reason and even if I can’t clearly define it in this moment, I will be here to help you see it. I for one did not come here to run.
Izzy Swanson owns Feileacan Ministry in Austin, Texas. She is a Shamanic Reiki Master, Teacher, and Priestess. She specializes in healing soul wounds and working with PTSD, trauma, and addiction.