The following conversation discusses the answer to “I’m a healer but….”. How do really know if you’re a healer? Wellness leader Shanila Sattar explains her perspective, as one of the first to take a decolonized approach to healing and supporting emerging healers find their voice.

In 2020, the internet exploded with programs for coaches and healers and to be honest, this didn’t surprise me at all, because 1. Our culture has gotten way more comfortable with the idea of our collective need for healing and 2. There are a lot of people on this planet who have healing gifts to offer. And many of them have found themselves saying, “I’m a healer but …” what do I do with this, and how do I really know if I’m meant to be sharing my healing gifts?

I’m a healer but….

It seems like many are finally ready to step into our innate gifts, and for some of us (myself included) that means sharing the practices that have been most transformative in our lives. Following our innate desire to share what’s most healed us.

In 2020, I started feeling the nudge to explore breathwork facilitator teacher training. As a business owner (I also run a marketing agency in Vancouver) with a type A personality, I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘healer’ and still don’t. And yet, I felt a huge pull to follow my desire to hold space for, and share breathwork with, others. In this Q&A, Shanila says that nudge is a sign that you’re meant to be a healer or, as I prefer to put it, to offer your healing gifts.

Signs that you’re a healer

While there are lots of articles and podcasts that list the signs you’re meant to be a healer (i.e. you’re highly sensitive, prone to vivid dreams, highly intuitive) when it comes down to it, if you have the desire and feel the call that’s all you need to know. Stepping into a new role to offer healing work requires taking a leap of faith, and gathering the support needed to just try. For all who’ve found themselves saying, “I’m a healer but …” it’s ok, you don’t need to make a drastic change, you don’t need to have all the answers when you begin, it may take some time to find your own voice.

Supporting your healing gifts

Giving yourself the support needed to step into any new role is SO important. I signed up for Shanila Sattar‘s breathwork facilitator program simply to dip my toes in, and it ended up giving me the initial confidence to go from talking about facilitating to actually facilitating breathwork. If you’re curious about my experience, I wrote about that in this article. I really like that Shanila’s M.O. with AlwaysPlay Studios is to train breathwork practitioners, and sound healers from the p.o.v that everyone has healing gifts and that we’re here to share them. Unlike others in the wellness world, she’s shown up with a decolonizing approach from day one, and her programs authentically speak to the experience of BIPOC individuals. Her healing arts training program is incredible.

Uncovering your healing gifts

If you’re contemplating your own healing gifts, the following Q&A shines a light on some of the big questions you may have.

Q: How do you know if you’re a healer, and if you actually have healing gifts?

Shanila: First, I believe that everyone is their own healer, so in a way, we’re all healers. For those who desire to hold space for the healing of others, it usually starts with an inner gut feeling. And yes, many people come to me saying ‘I’m a healer but…” expressing many doubts. That said, you know you’re a healer when you know you have something bigger to give, and you start to feel the nudge. Maybe it’s a calling to be of service. Often, as people begin to step towards their work as a healer their intuition gets really strong- they start to have moments of just knowing or sensing things about people or places or their own lives, and actually trusting their intuition as well. Another sign that you’re ready to share your gifts is that your tolerance for anything that brings you out of spiritual, emotional or energetic alignment gets really low. You become way more attuned to taking deep care of yourself. [For more on this, Shanila recently talked about the signs your inner healer is awakening on her podcast.]  

Q: What inspired you to launch your breathwork facilitator and sound healing programs?

Shanila: During Covid, I saw an overwhelming desire from people who wanted to pivot to show up in their own communities with healing tools and to receive deep mentorship to bring those forward. Many of these people also wanted help with technical support, and they wanted a strong delivery model for how best to facilitate sound healing and breathwork on virtual platforms. And because – personally, all of this was what I wished I had when I was starting – I launched my online facilitator trainings with these needs in mind. My vision is to help people to become conscious facilitators in the posture that we’re all lifelong students here. 

Q: As a BIPOC woman, can you share about a barrier you’ve personally faced and how you’ve adapted your own programming to reduce harm and break down barriers related to BIPOC healers + practitioners?

Shanila: When I was starting out, I really wished I had a supportive community of BIPOC healers. Being BIPOC is a very different lived experience. As a South Asian person, I felt excluded from communities, I sensed a lot of gatekeeping and barriers to entering the wellness world as a healer, and ended up constantly feeling like I had to adjust the way I was talking or speaking to adapt in these different communities. It felt very inauthentic. At this point in history, my BIPOC community desires to be seen, heard, listened to and understood. In the context of healing and facilitation, we want a place where there are no obstacles to being our authentic selves. With my program, it’s built from a desire to reduce harm by keeping the conversations open, recognizing that teaching and information-sharing doesn’t look the same way in every community. At Always Play, we offer scholarships/partial scholarships, and other opportunities to BIPOC people, to mitigate the accessibility gap so people don’t have to jump through barriers if they really want to train with me. Because of the lived experience of BIPOC people, the traumas many BIPOC people have endured, and the socio economic reasons faced, this is really important.

Q: What are the biggest challenges aspiring practitioners face as they step into the role of healer?

Shanila: Confidence. The confidence piece is key. People find themselves saying ‘I’m a healer but …” and those ‘buts’ begin to take over’. That’s why mentorship is a key part of the model. When people are new to sharing their gifts, they doubt themselves or feel like an imposter, so I offer support to break through those confidence challenges. Also, people tend to get really psyched out about identifying as healer, and not having all the answers, so mentorship and community is hugely reassuring as they step into a new way of being and seeing themselves. On the practical side of running a wellness business, I address challenges there too, such as how to create systems, and actually a launch a successful business. 

Q: What is the biggest piece of wisdom you’ve learned on your own journey so far?

Shanila: Nobody knows what they’re doing and everyone’s doing the best they can. 

Q: Where do you personally turn for support and inspiration?

Shanila: I love to follow people who are in their full authentic expression of who they are- people who are out there wild and fearless to live as who they are? Gala Darling and Angie Rojo are two current examples.

What is your healer archetype?

Shanila helps people understand their healer archetype in this podcast. In this episode, she explains that while yes, we’re all multifaceted humans, there does tends to be certain types of characteristics associated with the different types of healiing modalities out there. If you’re curious where you fit in, take a listen.

Signs you’re a healer

Learn more about Shanila’s upcoming breathwork facilitation and sound healing programs here. Get to know her podcast (I loved her chat with Renee Rese about Wealth + Worthiness) and watch out for her soon-to-be-published book entitled Breathe. And if you’re on the gram, find her @shanila.sattar.

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how to know you're a healer