True life: I’m a cancer survivor, a recovering shopaholic, and a victim of career burnout. Trauma looks and feels different for everyone, because everyone’s life journey is unique. Even modern-day mystics, like Seeress, Deborah Hanekamp of Mama Medicine has experienced trauma in the form of burnout. “I was working 12-hour days, 6-7 days a week, while supporting my lazy boyfriend. I had to drop almost everything all at once in order to survive… It took me a year to recover.”
Similarly, it took cancer for me to finally open my eyes to see how toxic my lifestyle was for my mind, body, and soul. However, I’m confident and content with the thought that my soul chose this path. “You survived such a toxic energy, yet you needed to have that. It was medicine for you, because something needed to be released. You need to engage with the energy that is naturally within you to heal,” assured Hanekamp — but it’s easier said than done. How do you truly heal? How do you thoroughly cleanse? Where do you begin?
Now that I’m a mindful cancer survivor that strives to embrace a “balanced” lifestyle, I am always looking for remedies, rituals, and modalities to spiritually cleanse my being and my surroundings in order to move forward — even if it’s a quick mental refresh after a long, hard week. I chatted with Mama Medicine herself to inquire how to spiritually cleanse your life post-trauma and heal yourself from the inside-out.
“If (burnout) happens once, you’re more vulnerable to it again,” gently warned Hanekamp. Sure, trauma may change your perspective, but you still may be tethered to the personality traits (your drive to succeed, hunger for knowledge, or love for a fast-paced lifestyle) where your trauma stemmed from in the first place. A conscious check-in question that Hanekamp recommended was,”What does growth look like in authenticity for you, in your true nature? Would this (task, project, partnership etc.) drain my energy or add to my energy?” A mindful awareness of your bandwidth, alignment, and perception of abundance for your own unique self is vital for preventing future traumas that can manifest in the form of disease.
2. Cleanse yourself and your space
Courtesy of @mamamedicine
“The first step in working on yourself spiritually, is to focus on cleansing your energy,” says Hanekamp. “Spiritual healing is broken down into three steps: cleansing, blessing, and protection. Cleansing is the most important step and is often overlooked.” Palo Santo is also a fantastic way to energetically cleanse your space while fostering positive energy. Hanekamp uses this ritual to cleanse the spacial energy before her healing ceremonies. If you scroll through Mama Medicine’s Instagram, you may notice that she loves a good ritual bath — a healing remedy that evolved due to Hanekamp’s personal burnout. “I find baths so supportive and healing and I found that I could do a lot of work on myself in the bath,” she said. She recommends nettle seeds and dandelion seeds for regeneration — I love Flower Power in East Village or Radicle Herb shop in Brooklyn. Book one of her sessions to get your very own prescribed medicinal ritual bath.
3. Embrace alone time
Courtesy of @mamamedicine
Of course, you spend 24/7 with yourself everyday, but how much time are you *really* spending within yourself — as in, in your consciousness. For Hanekamp, her morning routine is paramount to staying grounded and in-flow. “I wake up an hour and a half to two hours before my family, around 5am. That’s when I write down my dreams, meditate, and have my own personal yoga practice.” If your tight on time, don’t stress! Try starting small with a 2-minute meditation or a simple gratitude list in the morning while you brush your teeth or commute to work. In the evening, indulge in a self-care ritual like a 10-minute face mask or body oil rub down. Any short introspective time with yourself can go a long way.
4. Release with Intention
After you physically feel and experience the trauma, then you need to whole-heartedly release it — the past resentment, trauma, disease, everything. “(For cancer survivors), it’s good to tune into that phoenix rising from the ashes energy. All what you knew before has been destroyed, but who are you know and who are you morphing into?” questions Hanekamp. You were given this energy for a reason, so lean into it and engage with it. Mama Medicine recommends releasing in the form of offerings, such as offering a flower to a tree and putting an intention into to the flower. For example, “Please take this resentment I carry for ‘so-and-so’ from 10 years ago and receive it and turn it into love, light, and beauty.” “It’s okay to do the ritual over and over again as that energy reemerges,” assures Mama Medicine. She continues,”You can’t offer a flower to a tree and not feel a massive wave of peace after that.”
5. Spend time in nature
Courtesy of @mamamedicine
“Let nature teach you,” says Hanekamp. “All the tools are right there — the soil, the wind, the water and more.” Personally, I always say traveling is the best way to learn — not only about yourself, but about the universe and mother earth herself. After all, you were brought on to this planet thanks to them, right? When you take your soul back to it’s roots (literally), you feel a deeper connection to your intuition and your inner purpose. “Place your hands on mother earth and ask her to take anything that you’re carrying that no longer serves you and transform it into love and light,” suggests Hanekamp. Currently, Mama Medicine’s favorite healing destination is Orta where Lake Daughter (daughter of Lake Como that is) is located and of course Peru, with the Amazon Jungle and all of it’s sacred creatures like the pink river dolphins — yes, that is indeed a real animal. “Peru is just an incredible place to be awe-struck by the power of life.” Well, there you have it. Travel within yourself and this expansive world to help heal.
If you enjoyed this article and are looking to learn more about healing and how to heal yourself, check out Mama Medicine’s B.Y.O.H., Be Your Own Healer, online rituals.