Depression and Energy Medicine: Working with Sand Painting

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When I was training to be a Shaman, I came across a very surprising Energy Medicine tool to work with uncovering the truth behind many obstacles including depression.

It is called Sand Painting and has been used by Energy Medicine practitioners for thousands of years.  The beauty of Sand Painting is that you can do it anywhere with any materials that are on hand.

Energy Medicine acknowledges that one can create change and health on multiple levels at the same time.

Another way to say this is that you can create change in the physical reality by working on the symbolic or mythic level. By working in the symbolic realm, one creates changes in one's everyday reality.

I didn't really understand how this worked until I did a sand painting around the issue of changing my employment.

I had been trained and worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years. I knew that I was close to burn out and wanted to do Energy Medicine full time  instead; but I was too scared to give up the steady income of the rehab job. I felt depressed and stuck about my employment options and decided to put the issue into a sand painting.

I went outside and found a small spot on the earth that would not be disturbed by anyone else. I drew a large circle in the dirt with a stick. I gathered sticks, rocks, tree bark and other natural objects that symbolically represented the obstacles and dreams that I was holding around this issue of changing my work circumstances. I blew into each object a specific desire, dream or obstacles I had.

After I blew an intention or feeling into the object I placed it in the circle. Some objects were on top of one another…others were very far apart…while others lined up next to one another. I placed them in the sand painting circle as I experienced them in relationship in my current life. My dreams were far away from the object that represented me, while the obstacles stood between my dreams and me. I drew a map of where each object was in the sand painting and what it represented, so that I could remember from day to day what I had created. I also kept a journal to record my insights and changes.

I visited the sand painting daily, sitting with it and rearranging the pieces as I had insights and shifts in my perceptions.

As my awareness shifted about the possibilities, I noticed that the emotional obstacles and beliefs started to shift as well. After a week or so of working this sand painting, I saw realistic possibilities emerge that I had not been aware of previously. My feeling of depression and confusion began to shift as I gained insight into my self-limiting thoughts and behaviors.

Over the week, I notice that the sand painting began to work me.

I found rich information and insights emerging as I moved the objects around to show how they were changing inside of me. I even brought new things to the sand painting over the course of the week, representing help in different form. I threw out some obstacles or moved them out of my way and felt an immediate relief as if the possibilities had already happened. My depression lifted as I saw things in new ways with the help of this Energy Medicine Tool.

After the Energy Medicine workshop, I went home and saw new ways to expand my Energy Medicine Practice

I developed an exit plan to leave my traditional job in rehab and noticed how the depression lifted as I saw new possibilities emerge. When I returned home, I found new confidence in my Energy Medicine work and myself and noticed client referrals increasing. I realized that the Energy Medicine of the sand painting was so powerful that changes were happening on all levels. May they shift gracefully for you as well.
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