My experiences with Sam Berlind have been nothing short of a miracle. What if we were able to shift our conversation about healing, away from the sterile opposition of the sick or the well, the stark segregation between the vibrant and the broken. What if healing actually lives in an ongoing dance of how we are, what we are working with, and the choices we make? What if we aren’t just striving to be healthy, but striving to live well, to enjoy our lives, so we can do the things that make our heart sing? What if instead of trying to prevent death we celebrate life? What if our healers stopped pretending to fix us and supported our ability to heal ourselves?
Most of us live in a pretty constant state of stress, bombarded with imagery and algorithms aiming to optimize us. We are mentally and physically exhausted in a way all the avocados and green juices can’t fix. There is little we can consume that will help, however an endless source of wisdom lives inside, waiting to be harvested and put into practice.
Sam Berlind recycles the wisdom of Traditional Japanese and Chinese Medicine, shedding the dogma and ego problem that created a power-hold of the healer over the sick. We have all suffered the effects of a harmful belief system where someone who is special holds all the power, and someone who is not special does not. We see the big problems when this belief system plays out across all of life. We even hold rallies against these injustices when we see them more clearly out there in our world.
But somehow, we not only put up with but expect these injustices in our healing practices. We want to check out, have someone tell us exactly what we need to do, and fix all our problems for us. It’s been a long day, a long month and life, just heal me. It’s a nice idea, sometimes. Putting your trust in that fable might provide a strange sense of comfort. But the reality is, this Emperor has no clothes. And for most of what ails us, it’s an approach that isn’t working.
I adore Sam’s approach because he admits that even pretending can sometimes work, often by accident. You might be thinking “That one time someone rang a bell over my head, sang a prayer and announced my chakras were cleansed was really amazing.” I’ve been that person and enjoyed that experience too. But have you noticed how this keeps you seeking the next cure, and the next and the next? It’s not sustainable.
Putting control of our life in someone else’s hands creates a power position that isn’t real, which forces the healer to become a pretender. Because the truth is, you are the healer. You body is miraculously healing itself, all the time, your entire life. And sometimes, it can use your support, or support of another. Even in the most extreme of medical treatments, when it works, it’s still you that’s doing the healing, not something outside of you. It’s why two people with the same ailment, same treatment, can experience radically different outcomes. It’s what’s going on in you that counts most.
So this is a healing relationship with yourself and others that reflects real life. Is sustainable. An approach that works predictably, consistently, not by accident. And strangely, I haven’t found a healer yet who hasn’t promised they could fix me. Except for Sam Berlind. What he won’t tell you is that he’s healed thousands of people with chronic illness, joint and muscle injury, emotional stress, neurological ailments, broken bones, infertility, and just about any imbalance you can imagine. Those who haven’t reversed their conditions, he’s supported to use all of their capabilities to live better with what they have.
Sam will tell you that the people he’s worked with have supported him as they heal themselves. He goes so far as to say, “Well I’m leaning on them so they are supporting me.” Healing doesn’t work if you don’t trust your partner to support you. Sam makes a good connection, sees what’s happening with your whole self through that connection, and encourages positive change. He listens more than he talks. He pays attention to what you say, how you are, and maybe most importantly, what you don’t say. Through his 30+ years of experience in private practice and running the top shiatsu school in New York, he has uncovered and learned to share an approach that gives what you need so so you can best help yourself. And do ask him to tell you the story of how he healed a horse in South America. That’s a good one.
I’m thrilled to know Sam and honored that he has helped us shape the Strala Training Program over the years, and more importantly improve our own practice so we can better serve. This program is a deeper more personal dive into using connection through touch and support with Traditional Japanese and Chinese Medicine. These practices and Sam’s no-bs approach resonate deeply with my values, my belief that the magic is inside.
There are endless techniques to learn and thousands of hours of practice necessary to be on the path of a great practitioner, but this is the foundation, right here. Don’t mistake simplicity for it being easy, and have the courage to bring your whole self. Get comfortable with you. Stay equal with your partner. Make a good connection and see what happens. This is simple, but it’s not easy. It takes a foundation, guidance, understanding, and practice.
I’ve learned from Sam that every moment is an opportunity for change, and every moment is an opportunity to make a good connection. You don’t have to wait to be on a yoga mat, leaning on someone, to practice shiatsu. You can practice how you connect with the person checking out your groceries. You can practice the next time you make physical contact with your partner and your family. You can practice when you spend time with your pets. You can practice when you walk down the street and observe people. Don’t wait to begin, because you’ll miss so many opportunities to improve.
Healing in its true state is an open channel flowing. If we can change our mindset from a misbelief that we can fix others and instead focus on ourselves and opening that channel, imagine what is possible.
After so much personal practice, time with others, and time in Sam’s programs, I’m thrilled to continue learning with his new 100+Hour Online Training: Connect and Heal with Shiatsu. There is so much more room to grow, always. Join us from wherever you are.