Today, a friend and colleague of mine came over for a Lomilomi Ceremony. Although lomilomi is commonly recognized as a massage, to Hawaiians, lomilomi is much more. Lomilomi is a spiritual ceremony that opens up the physical body to allow more of the person’s spirit’s energy to shine through, therefore, increasing their ability to walk out their life’s purpose. Lomilomi is a way of showing reverence for the body by connecting with the spirit of aloha- the breath and unconditional love of Spirit.
I have been practicing this new-to-me modality with friends in order to gain proficiency and am finding that it is helping me to love my body more and to connect with compassion and love from Spirit- along with learning humility and true unity. But that is another article- I think.
Although my friend and I have served as energy workers together for almost two years, I had never talked to her about her spiritual beliefs. I knew from the way she prayed and invoked her Spirit helpers that she was Christian but nothing else. So when she came today for a session, I got the poke from Spirit to change my language when I invoked and prayed during the ceremony. I called to God instead of Great Spirit. It felt right to be inclusive. In the past, because of my own unhealed past with the Catholic Church, I flinched and felt triggered when she addressed God as masculine and prayed to the “Father.” I worked to heal these pieces in myself and today, have a neutral response to her prayers. I recognize that this is the way she connects with the Divine- with the Everything. What does it matter if she calls this presence Father and refers to “HIM”?
Anyhow, after our session, she confided in me that she is Mormon and a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I was not terribly surprised. As I listened and watched, it seemed like a burden had been lifted. She proceeded to tell me that she hid this information from the other energy workers because she felt judged by some of them. I listened some more. Then I got curious. I asked her what attracted her to the Church and her story could have been taken from my own story of how I felt as a child going to Catholic mass every Sunday with my Avo (Grandma in Portuguese); I loved the peaceful feeling I got in church- a feeling I now find out in nature and in places that have been consecrated. As she spoke, I felt a tremendous amount of compassion and love for her- and newfound respect.
She talked about how she got the inner call to the Mormon Church and what it meant in her life. As she spoke, I marveled at how she could be so open to shamanic ways, reiki ways and Christian ways. She dances all these worlds and is a fantastic energy worker to boot! To me, this lady holds the same impeccable space for others’ healing as the sweat lodge does in First Nations traditions. She has this natural Earth Mother energy.
She went on to tell me how she has had a passion for studying world religions since she was a young child and how she took her Scouts to a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple here in Calgary as part of their World Religions Badge. “Wow!” I thought.
She said, “Jen, we are all one.” That whatever we call that Divine presence- Creator, God, Allah, Great Spirit- we are really praying to the source of all life and light. I realized then looking into her slightly misty eyes that this is why she is such an effective healer- she channels this energy and steps out of the way. She lets God do the work.
It was humbling to see that all my fears about her being “stuck” in the Church and “bound” by her religion were mirroring something in me and my own fears and past. And I learned today that my truth is not the only truth out there. Although I did not resonate with a lot of the ways the Mormon Church goes about things, I know now that I can respect this way with an open heart. I understood where these structures came from and why they were created. I send huge gratitude to my friend for this teaching today. I don’t think she knew she was teaching me and perhaps the Lomi Ceremony and the Hawaiian Ancestors I invoked were teaching me too. Either way, Mahalo, Great Spirit, God- You of many names and none. Thank you for the way you move through each of us in unique ways.
“God dwells in me, as me.” – Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love