The Wounded Healer
Among all of the challenges we have all gone through with the pandemic 2020, a few surprise blessings have also surfaced. One of them has been that Shine, one of my three ginger kitties, has discovered that he enjoys being a therapy cat.
Along with the changes my healing practice has gone through because of Covid-19, our area also was hit by Hurricane Sally this past summer. The bridge to my practice was badly damaged by some barges that had been left near the construction of our new bridge. The repair is estimated to take until mid-March 2021. Those of us who commute to work have to take a detour that adds another 1 to 1 ½ hours to my drive twice each day. For the sake of my patients ( and my own ), I made my home available to those who did not want to make the trip across the bay.
The first time Shine jumped up on the treatment table to join my patient, he didn’t want me to take him down. Shine kneaded his back then they both went to sleep as Shine purred. Since then Shine has continued to select certain patients ( not always the same ones ) to participate in their therapy. They were all warned to let me know if they were allergic to cats or simply didn’t want them in the room.
I began to notice that Shine would either knead or lay on a certain area that turned out to be causing discomfort. One patient came in complaining of his left leg bothering him. Shine went directly to it and laid there for most of the session. He also went to the bellies of two women who complained of digestive discomfort. One said all of her discomfort disappeared and has not returned. They all say his presence relaxes them and most drift off into a nap.
I have decided that Shine has joined the ranks of the classic “wounded healer.” The concept of the archetypal wounded healer originated in Grecian mythology with a centaur named Chiron. Chiron was adopted by Apollo and became a teacher of medicine, astrology, and pharmacy. He was accidently wounded by Hercules with a poisoned arrow. Even though he never fully recovered from his wound, he continued to teach. Through his own wound, he also became known for his great healing abilities.
Like all three of my kitties, Shine is a rescue. A litter of kittens about 10 days old were discovered by two women who hand-raised them. Because of severe scoliosis, Shine has never grown to a full-size cat. He is about half the size of his litter mate Sunny. His vet said that it’s a good thing he doesn’t have to go out in the world to work and needs to be an inside cat. Sunny and Skyy have tried to join Shine on the treatment table at times. They love guests, but don’t have the attention and gentleness that Shine offers.
Over this last month Shine has been eating really well, has gained weight, and has become extremely affectionate to everybody. I believe that he is also receiving some healing himself. As a wounded healer myself ( I grew up in an alcoholic home and have had a number of health challenges myself ), I have learned to help others heal. My work also gives me an enhanced sense of well-being.
Now that I have joined an office on this side of the bay, I have to break the news to my patients that I will be treating them elsewhere, and to Shine that means he is out of a job.