Identity Crisis and Maile Ngema Lama

I live in the Rocky Mountains. Unless you live in the Rocky Mountains, then I am a flat-lander living on the Front Range of said Rocky Mountains, at only 5000 feet. When I was in high school I lived in the country, unless described by someone in Southern Missouri, then I lived in the city. Which of course was ridiculous to anyone living in St. Louis, to them I was a country hick and therefore unable to claim the status of living in “the city”.

Am I a city girl or country girl? My mind immediately flashes to my country relatives saying, “City Girl.” And then to sleek dressed metropolitan friends lifting their chins and sniding, “Country.” I feel in between.

Many times in my life I have found myself in between places. Even if I aspire to be something, when arrived I feel odd about claiming the credit. Once, my female friend who dates women and has for a long time told me she doesn’t like labels; I had referred to her as a lesbian. Instantly I thought: maybe she is keeping the door open for something new and different, like a man! Then I wondered, do labels pigeon hole us? Do they send out a vibration that when repeated becomes steadfast and true and inflexible?

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Maile Ngema Lama. She is a true spiritual Lama from Nepal. About thirty people drove to Gold Hill, Colorado, in the real mountains at 8300 feet, to gather for a few hours of healing. Maile (pronounced “miley”) was wearing a long dress made of white fabric with pink flowers. It reminded me of kitchen curtains. I wanted to touch it. Over her dress was a burgundy cardigan. Then began the lama-wear. For protection and spiritual enhancement, she wore beads and bells. Amazing bells. They crisscrossed over her body like ammo belts on a western gunslinger. On her head she wore peacock feathers and a wide band of red fabric tooled with gold thread. She was barefoot. So was I.

Our gathering to receive healing from Maile was in a kiva, a remarkable, hand-built, awesome kiva. The guy who built it, in 1989 with lots of help, sat in front of me; a tanned, 60ish carpenter named Jeff. He was also barefoot. Everyone else that I saw wore socks, mostly wool, which was appropriate for 8300 feet in the air just after a spring snow. Feeling adventurous, or maybe just craving spring, I wore tennies with no socks. My friends and I left our coats and stuff in the car due to limited space in the kiva. But when we were snuggled into a smokey (incense), warm (wood stove), round kiva; even with shoes at the door, I was warm.

Maile Lama doesn’t speak English. There was an interpreter, but she didn’t translate everything, which drove me nuts. What prayer? What incantation? I wanted to know. I had to settle for my own interpretation as Maile began by bringing in the spirits. I was fascinated as I watched her drum and shake and set sacred space. Let me explain. If you are reading this, then you likely know that I have an ability to see things with my other eyes. The eyes that are inside. When I meet people, I don’t scan them or check what is there to see. It feels like peeking in someone’s window, an erroneous crossing of boundaries. Even with a lama sitting cross-legged ten feet in front of me, I didn’t check. I just leaned back against the kiva and closed my eyes. My first visions were of light beings coming to be with us. So, I thought, she calls in the beings like I do! Fascinating! I watched. After the initial opening with ethereals, I saw thirty or more beings that looked like dark-skinned men and women, wearing scant tribal clothing, come in and dance around, above us and around us, then one stopped and put a knee on the ground, bending slightly forward. A few moments later, another stopped, across from him in the same position. A current of energy sang between them. Two more did the same and they formed a square, I thought it must be the four directions. If only I could hear her words! The other dancers began to sit around the four until they were all paused, the last two stopping above and below. Then the first being to stop leaped into the air and left through the hole at the top of the kiva, the rest followed. In real life, or the one I live in that I think is real, the opening was a skylight. But when they all moved through, it was an opening to the heavens.

More light beings came in and began clearing individuals. I felt something release from my back. I remained still, mostly with my eyes closed, listening to the odd drumming. It wasn’t the typical shaman drumming that echoed a heart beat. It was earthly and repetitive and fast. Maile was in trance at this point and people were bouncing and swaying as she shook. Her leg shook in the beginning, until the energy was strong enough to shake her whole body, which jingled the bells around her torso. At times she would ask her assistant to light new incense, sprinkle rice or water or move something on the magnificent altar of sacred objects. She blessed, cleared, healed and gave through her chants, songs, drumming and dance. We were each blessed with a personal clearing while she drummed around us and touched the drum to our heads, pounding it with a stick curved like a question mark. She danced around, bells shaking, which we learned later was for protection. Maile led us outside (shoes on again) for a walk around the kiva and another clearing.

When our ceremony was complete, the spirits released, Maile became a small dark-skinned woman again. Her crinkly-eyed smile was contagious, so we sat around smiling at each other, basking in the after-glow of healing. The interpreter told us about Maile’s story, her childhood and training as a Shaman. Her drum is fifteen years old, it looks one hundred, and is painted with the trident symbol for Shiva (see pic) on one side and an ohm on the other, representing divine feminine and masculine. There are interchangeable stick-shaped handles for the drum, each carved with a different deity. We learned of her altar and about the bells, which she took off immediately after the ceremony and placed in a fabric bag.

Although Jeff was kind enough to host Maile Lama’s ceremony, Patricia Turner of Tierra Sagrada/Sacred Earth Foundation promoted her. Pati talked to us about the eagle and the condor, an ancient prophecy, which she believes to be about women stepping up to share wisdom; women like Maile and other indigenous tribal healers, shamans and wisdom keepers.

Earlier that morning, I woke up a little crabby. I sat to connect to my guides to see if there was a problem, they told me that I was preparing to release during the healing opportunity with Maile. I have learned not to ask what or why, to be present with the prospect of healing and to be grateful. And so I was post-ceremony basking with everyone else, sitting still and thinking about running for the bathroom after two plus hours of healing. But a message was forming, a message I am reluctant to share. You see, I am in between and for some reason, maybe familiarity, I remain in between. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I hold space for healing, I channel spiritual words. Don’t I just sit and let the Christ Consciousness Light guides do the work? Don’t I simply work to create sacred space and the rest happens within?

Maybe today is the day that I heal being stuck in between. Maybe today I claim that where I am is not in between but a destination of its own. So I will tell you what my guides said, even though I am afraid. I am a Healer. That was my message, the one that scares me and makes my throat constrict when I try to speak it. Why? Is it that I am shy? Certainly not. Am I afraid? Yes, on some level. But when I search my heart and my mind I find something else, something that possible left yesterday. I find that I have a unique definition of the word Healer, capitol H. To me, it’s a word we must earn and respect. It means that I have another level or work to do each day when I ask my guides for clearing and direction. It means that I offer myself in service in another way, a deeper way. It means that I have to show up and listen and work very hard to be clear enough to make the best decisions for myself and my clients. It means responsibility.

Clearly, I can see Maile as a Healer. But me? I am a voice, a conduit. Do people heal in my sessions and classes? Yes, but not always how they want. That is the crux for me. I am a Healer, a conduit for energy that changes things in people, but the energy is guided by another force. It does not go where I say and do what I want. Someone might ask for healing for their foot, and the guides work on their hip. We can see the connection there, maybe a hip issue causing a foot problem, but what about when it’s an ego issue causing a relationship problem? How do I show up to tell people that they are looking in the wrong direction to create their deepest desire? Smart people; people like you, people like me.

Thank you for reading this, participating in my healing and witnessing my growth. But there is one more thing I must do to move from in between, to land somewhere. I must surrender. I must limit my desire to label and be something or someone. I must give up needing to know whether I am a Healer, or healer or just a conduit watching healing. In my mind, I see things opening with peace, ease and grace. The only way to do the work I do is to show up and surrender, to maintain my connection to the Divine, to pray and make sure the energy around me stays clear. This step, this identity, brought through via a woman that doesn’t speak English, makes my path clearer.

It’s laughable to me now, I was held back by this void of discomfort that has left me. I was restricted in my ability to heal because I was afraid to stand up. Ethereally, I stand. Physically, I laugh loud and hard at myself. To my work and to my guides of pure Light, I stand and bow to them, in service, ready to Heal.

Thank you and amen.


PS: Please read more about Maile here (scroll down a bit), and Pati here.




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