Shelley Harrison of True Nature Healing: “Our Western culture is grief averse”

Our Western culture is grief averse. You will need to find people, therapists or healers who have felt their own strong emotions so they are comfortable receiving yours. For me, being at healing school, where everyone had permission and a safe container to feel big emotions and process their wounds, was my safe place. We […]

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Our Western culture is grief averse. You will need to find people, therapists or healers who have felt their own strong emotions so they are comfortable receiving yours. For me, being at healing school, where everyone had permission and a safe container to feel big emotions and process their wounds, was my safe place. We had a class called Healing Vessel that was set up just to be a special space where whatever big energies needed to move for the group could be expressed and transformed. See if you can find a grief support group where you are. Grieving together in community is always how human beings honoured the dead, and supported the living left behind, when we had our indigenous knowledge.


The world seems to be reeling from one crisis to another. We’ve experienced a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, political and social turmoil. Then there are personal traumas that people are dealing with, such as the loss of a loved one, health issues, unemployment, divorce or the loss of a job.

Coping with change can be traumatic as it often affects every part of our lives.

How do you deal with loss or change in your life? What coping strategies can you use? Do you ignore them and just push through, or do you use specific techniques?

In this series called “5 Things You Need To Heal After a Dramatic Loss Or Life Change” we are interviewing successful people who were able to heal after a difficult life change such as the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or other personal hardships. We are also talking to Wellness experts, Therapists, and Mental Health Professionals who can share lessons from their experience and research.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley Harrison.

Shelley is an Energy Healer in private practice since 1999 with a specialization in trauma resolution work. She is known for her expertise in reading and tracking the energy field from a place of deep attunement, offering her clients the gift of being seen at soul level. She has helped thousands of women get to the real source of their physical and emotional pain through a powerful combination of Somatic Experiencing trauma renegotiation, Energy Healing through multiple energy bodies and dimensions, Craniosacral therapy, Family Constellations work and ancestral reconnection practices.

She is a graduate of the 4-year professional healer program at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. She has designed unique online courses to train students in the fundamentals of their own energy field: the Aura Healing Journey, Life Purpose Align, the Relational Cord Journey and Your Soul Guides.

Shelley lives in the close-knit community of Wakefield, Quebec where she is eagerly waiting to get back on stage with Theatre Wakefield.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I’m pretty much the girl next door. I grew up running around in the woods and playing in my treehouse with my older brother. I didn’t know it then, but that attunement to nature was the beginning of my healing practice. My folks were good, hard working middle class people. My mom was a nurse at CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario). She was beloved by staff and patients, especially all the scared toddlers undergoing surgery on her ward. My dad is a machinist. His hobby was building and driving his own drag race car. We were close with the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. I’ll never forget playing ‘red rover’ with my 70 year old grandparents and the whole clan on the front lawn of our rural home. There was always laughter. I was labelled as gifted in school, but I hated the pressure of having to do IQ tests and the other contests they gave the gifted kids. Only after I found my true work in life, did I realize the real intelligence I had was EQ, not IQ. No one was reflecting that aptitude back to me, so I felt lost. I loved theatre and wanted to grow up to be an actress. Now I see that working with authentic emotions in acting was the start of working with others’ emotions and emotional blocks as a healer.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I was in a training with the developer of Somatic Experiencing, Dr. Peter Levine, some months ago. Somatic Experiencing is the cutting edge right now in trauma resolution work. Dr. Levine has two PhDs, one in medical biophysics and another in psychology, yet he still referred to the human energy field as a touchstone for his work. He said: “The energetic fields give us wisdom beyond thinking.” This is what my journey to becoming an energy healer taught me. There is so much more to know about ourselves as humans, and how we heal, when we look deeper than the mind, and even our emotions, to the basic consciousness at play which can be perceived in the field.

You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

Integrity. I joke with people that I have a bullshit detector the size of a football field. It means I can sense when energies are in integrity, or congruent, and when they are out of integrity, or distorted. This is what makes me so good at reading the energies for my clients and helping them to clear their distortions and come to clarity.

Courage. It hasn’t always been easy to stick with a career that is so outside the mainstream. I had to believe this work is my true calling and stay committed. It took many years to build up the experience to become an expert at what I do. I call this the ‘rubber to the road’. Sometimes entrepreneurs refer to this as putting in your 10,000 hours. There were times I threw up my hands and told the gods “I quit! I’m going to get a 9–5 job in the government!” I’m glad I didn’t do that. It would be a shame not to be singing my unique note into the symphony of life.

Authenticity. People call me the grounded healer. To me our energy consciousness is just normal. It’s not far out, woo-woo, or fantastical. I’m able to speak to people about it in a way that is down to earth and matter of fact. Sometimes clients don’t even get that I’m reading their field when I give them feedback about where their blocks are because I’m so low key about it. I’m after useful information that creates healing results for people. I’m not interested in being labelled ‘gifted’ as a healer.. My mission in life is to help others reclaim the intuitive perception of their own energy as a normal human capacity that makes life magical and sacred.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Healing after Loss’. Do you feel comfortable sharing with our readers about your dramatic loss or life change?

Tragedy struck when my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was 24. She went from fine, to gone in 6 months. It happened while I was in my first year of training as a professional healer at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

The worst part was the whole family falling apart. Everyone was reeling. My mom was the glue that kept our nuclear family and our extended family together. The carpet got completely pulled out from under all of our feet. I wandered around in such an ungrounded state for almost 5 years after she died. The worst part was the panic attacks. My whole energy field and being was so shattered, I remember going out to get groceries and not being able to make simple selections without a panic attack coming on. I would have to leave without any purchases and just return home and hide.

How did you react in the short term?

I quit the stable job that was paying my way through healing school, and left to pursue something I had always wanted to do, which was work on an organic farm and explore living in an intentional community. Getting my hands in the dirt and the daily rhythms of farm life was very grounding and soothing.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use?

My mom was seeing the one graduate of the Barbara Brennan School in our area for treatments. She had one last appointment booked and died before she was able to take it. I ended up taking that appointment. Alix became my long time healer and confidante, and in a way my surrogate mother through the grieving process. The guidance and reference point I had lost in my mom, Alix helped to provide.

Can you share with us how you were eventually able to heal and “let go” of the negative aspects of that event?

Grieving the sudden loss of a parent can be a long process. I slowly transitioned my relationship with my mom from her being physically present, to knowing she was spiritually present and still available for support. It’s a tricky process. If we do that too early in the grieving process, we are really going into a spiritual bypass.

Aside from letting go, what did you do to create an internal, emotional shift to feel better?

The biggest thing that helped me was working with the relational cords between myself and my mom. This is a specialized aspect of energy healing I learned in my training at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. When a loved one dies, our cords actually stay connected to them, but they can be severely damaged and disrupted. This is especially true if the death is sudden. The cords need to move from the front of the body where they are connected into our energy centres, or chakras, and move to the back of the body. The relationship is behind us, and our loved one becomes a supportive ancestor at our back. This will happen naturally over time when any outstanding relationship issues are resolved. Working with an energy healer trained to facilitate this healing speeds up the process and brings resolution more quickly and with more clarity.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

It was a whole community of people that held me through that loss — all of my classmates and teachers at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. They become my spiritual community. I was attending the school 5 weeks spaced out over each year. The student body at that time was around 700 people. My year had 160 colleagues from all over the world. We ushered each other through some very intense healing processes. We were all confronting our deepest wounds and transforming. It was the perfect initiatory container to be in while I was going through my journey of loss.

Were you able to eventually reframe the consequences and turn it into a positive situation? Can you explain how you did that?

The reframe came years later when I started working with clients who had lost a loved one. I discovered that I could feel and hear the deceased person present in the healing room. By communicating messages to the client to help them complete unfinished business, they received comfort, and came to greater resolution and acceptance. Through doing this, my wound became my gift. I understood first hand the impact of losing someone and knew the process of healing within myself from my own journey.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? Can you please explain with a story or example?

I learned just how profoundly important our parents are to us. Whether we love them or hate them, they are the source of our life. The more we can receive love as they gave it, or give it now, and find the positive, the more nourished we feel. It’s important to feel like we have our parents at our back. Even though my mom is on the other side now, I frequently lean into her support by remembering good moments with her. Awakening the memory, awakens positive energy in my field and nourishes me. Having that support keeps me resourced as a healer.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give others to help them get through a difficult life challenge? What are your “5 Things You Need To Heal After a Dramatic Loss Or Life Change? Please share a story or example for each.

You’ve just experienced a trauma. Treat it like that. The sudden loss of a loved one is a huge shock to your system. Trauma happens when your physiology is overwhelmed and can’t process something that is too much, too fast. In response to that shock, you brace, you try to self-protect and your nervous system goes into fight, flight, or freeze. You need the right conditions in order to slowly release that shock back out of your system. The right conditions are often with a healer or therapist who is trauma trained. Trauma resolution work is not talk therapy. It is done at the level of the body and the energy field. They can’t be separated really. This is why Dr. Levine acknowledges the energy fields even though he is a scientist and a clinician.

Find a healer who can work with your relational cords. A well trained healer can observe exactly how those important attachment bonds have been affected. Are they torn? Have they been ripped out of their energy centres? Have you tried to pull them back into yourself to try to hang on to something? They can get tangled up in your chakras and cause those energy centres to malfunction. This will translate into physical symptoms since the energy centres are nourishing your physical body. Not only will a good healer help to sort out and repair the cords, they can read the content of your field and help you focus on exactly which issues you may need to resolve with the deceased person. This brings relief and expedites the grieving work.

Grief is the slowest moving emotion. You need to give it time and space. Bottling up emotions is not helpful. Treat your grief as sacred and book time and support to honour it. This also conveys respect for how precious your loved one was to you. When grief is given time to complete, new growth will naturally arise. When you don’t take time with the solemnity, you stay stuck in it. What you resist persists. It becomes hard to move on with new beginnings in your life.

Our Western culture is grief averse. You will need to find people, therapists or healers who have felt their own strong emotions so they are comfortable receiving yours. For me, being at healing school, where everyone had permission and a safe container to feel big emotions and process their wounds, was my safe place. We had a class called Healing Vessel that was set up just to be a special space where whatever big energies needed to move for the group could be expressed and transformed. See if you can find a grief support group where you are. Grieving together in community is always how human beings honoured the dead, and supported the living left behind, when we had our indigenous knowledge.

You still have a relationship with the person you lost. It’s just different now, and you need to get to know them in a new way. This isn’t denial, it’s part of who we are as human beings. All of our ancestors had practices for honouring and staying in good relationship with the dead. They recognized this had benefits for the living. The ancestors were a continued source of guidance and wisdom. When I began to do conscious reconnection work with my ancestors, I remember the feeling of those relational cords plugging into the back aspect of my chakras. The feeling was so natural and familiar in a way, I realized that it felt unnatural for that support to be absent. It’s just part of how we are built as humans, and as a healer, I get to observe the reality of that in the field.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I believe that everyone should be connected to their most precious resource, their own energy field. Our field, or aura, contains every level of our life force from our physical health, to our emotions, our relationships and spiritual connections. It’s all playing out there, moment to moment, in a technicolour display of thought, experience and feeling, yet we are not taught to tune in to it. To me that is crazy. I would have training in energy anatomy taught from kindergarten on up. I think it’s a necessary life skill that provides the context for so much of what we experience. We are all running around with only one or two chapters from our full operating manual. This is why I teach my course, the Aura Healing Journey. I want to train people in the full 7 chapter operating manual.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

I’m really inspired by Rachel Rodgers of Hello Seven right now. Her mission is to give women — particularly women of colour — more financial power, which excites me. I love how expansive her vision is and that she is so unpretentious about how she communicates her message. I also have to thank RuPaul Charles and the cast and crew of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for getting me through a year of covid! To sit down in front of the show and laugh, cry, have my heart warmed and be entertained, all at the same time, gave me a much needed outlet. I needed to feel community when I couldn’t spend time with my own local community.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My website is www.truenaturehealing.ca and my Instagram handle is @shelley.harrison.healing

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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