• The author has been featured by Healthy Living magazine as one of the top 19 holistic healers for the millennium.
• Shows readers how to embody the spiritual within the physical to shapeshift their lives on all levels.
• Both an exceptional personal journey and an extraordinary exploration of the nature of real healing.
As a dual board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and the first non-Quechua woman to be initiated into the Circle of Yachaks (bird-people shamans of the Andes), Dr. Eve Bruce sees herself as an agent of change in both worlds.
After traveling to Central and South America to study indigenous healing techniques, Bruce realized that although our culture is obsessed with narrowly defined standards of physical beauty, we actually devalue the physical because we separate it from the spiritual. She saw that her plastic surgery patients who felt ashamed of their "vanity" had the least successful outcomes. Those ready for change on emotional and spiritual levels were able to use the physical "shapeshift" provided by the surgeon's knife to transform their entire lives. By integrating the two healing modalities of surgeon and shaman, Bruce is able to help people shapeshift into newfound health on all levels--physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Because she bore her first child at sixteen, rose to the challenges of single motherhood, and worked her way through medical school, Bruce learned early to redirect the flow of her life, turning apparent obstacles into opportunities. As a powerful example of the human capacity for self-transformation, Bruce is uniquely qualified to inspire readers to redirect their own lives to places of beauty and self-acceptance.
From Chapter 1
We were high in the Andes and the night air was chilly, yet I was burning up with fever. I lay with my hot cheek against the stone-cold brick floor. There were books and blackboards around the edges of the room, and branches, herbs, stones, and water by the fire burning in the center--but I took none of this in at the time. I only knew that I needed help, and I somehow knew that the shaman was the one to help me.
After a time he began his healings. "Who wants to be first?" I heard Juan translate to the group. Despite my illness, my hand flew up with such determination that I astounded myself. I seemed to be led by an inner self that knew what I needed. I remember a strange sense of calm knowing, of familiarity, of being home. The ceremony utilized the four elements--fire, water, earth, and air--and was conducted with branches, herbs, feathers, and stones that had been gathered to move "energy."
Too weak to stand before the shaman, I sat on the dirt floor by the fire, holding on to the rocks at the edge of the circle for support. Chanting melodically, don Alberto rhythmically brushed me with aromatic branches, shared spirit with me by spraying me with a fine mist of herbal water, surrounded me with smoke and incense, and cleansed my aura with flapping feathers.
Nothing was ingested, nothing was physically or chemically manipulated. In no way did the healing resemble any technique that I had been taught in medical school. Nothing in my life to date had prepared me for this, yet I held no fear or doubt, only calm assurance. The healing took about half an hour. During that time I felt my strength return, the nausea abate, and my spirits build in ecstasy. Afterward I stood and thanked Don Alberto. He hugged me and said how happy he was to see me again. I had never been to Ecuador nor met him in this life, yet I knew him at a very deep soul level. We had been together in the past. I can barely find the words to describe what I felt. I had no context in which to place this experience. . . .
Looking back on that night I am struck with many questions. I am a physician, a surgeon, with board certification in both general and plastic surgery. I had trained for many, many years to become a plastic surgeon--four years of medical school, five years of general surgery residency, two years of plastic surgery residency. I had no previous experience with non-allopathic healing techniques. Why was I not demanding to get to a phone? To be taken to a doctor or the nearest hospital? To be given medicine? To get back to Quito? To return to the States?
That night I was led by an inner knowing. Perhaps my whole life had led me to that night. In a half hour with Alberto Tatzo I was introduced to a whole new world--a new way of looking at health, at life, at healing. It in no way fit into the box of what I knew, and had studied so long and hard to know. It in no way fit into my model of the body or of scientific method. I could not explain. And that night I let go of the need to explain.