A rare and powerful force for healing and reconciliation, Annabelle Sharman draws from the best of both worlds — her Australian Aboriginal cultural wisdom and traditions merged with contemporary holistic healing modalities. Specializing in helping people recover from trauma, Annabelle is an intuitive healer, Reiki Master and teacher and certified holistic counselor. She is also a social worker who is dedicated to empowering people to take leadership roles in healing themselves, their families and communities.You’re not lost, you’re jus Her work centers on Aboriginal communities as well as mainstream Australian society, believing that healing Australia begins with breaking down the barriers, promoting conversation that results in real connection and a shared sense of oneness.
I have people from all walks of life coming to me for healing who say they are really lost. I say to them, “You’re not lost, you’re just returning.” I have seen in my experience in my work, my family and my community that when trauma happens, you have that disconnect. With the Aboriginal people of Australia, there’s been a huge disconnect. It’s all about returning back to self. I know that when I’m in my natural state of being, standing in my oneness, I’m breathing the same air as my ancestors.
I knew my purpose from a very early age, perhaps around 11 or 12 years old, that I was going to be a counselor or something to help people. I was surrounded by sadness, loss and enormous intergenerational family trauma. You see, the year before I was born, in 1971, my family and my whole community were all moved into town, away from our traditional way of life on the banks of the Murray River.
In Australia, it was one of the government’s policies to assimilate all Aboriginal people into the wider white community. I was sent to a school. My family was sent to a Save the Children funded facility and taught how to keep a household, how to be proper parents, how to look after kids and all those things. In not being able to practice our traditional way of life, our cultural knowledge was progressively stripped. To my great sadness, my language was not passed down to me.
It was all about loss and grief growing up. The trauma stories are just so complex. Many family and community members were lost to alcoholism. As I got older, drugs were present, mental health issues intensified and then we began losing young people to suicide. Many of the elders who went through the experience known as the Stolen Generation have never had a day where they have experienced hope and peace in their lives since they as children were separated from their families and sent to homes, missions and boarding houses.
Acting on that calling, I have the benefit of a wonderful education as a social worker and have been honored along the way to acquire wisdom and knowledge that combine our traditional healing arts and natural remedies with some newer approaches like energy healing, EFT, tapping and other ways to make a connection to our oneness. In trying to help others, I realized that my challenge was that I couldn’t save people. Instead, they have to make the choice to save themselves. A part of it was also personal. I also knew that I was a bit lost myself. In the process of helping others, I needed to heal my own grief and learn how to live differently. I just knew there was something missing.
My dream is to create a ripple effect by sharing some of the things I’ve learned along my healing journey—to teach and train people to be the healers in their own families. Opening up and sharing this journey, I have seen some remarkable transformations in my work. The survivors no longer have the same craving to use alcohol or antidepressants to deal with their pain every day. They’re smiling and are able to talk about their stories and their trauma. It is a history that has never been told before from the Aboriginal perspective. Most importantly, these people have themselves become leaders in their healing circles and are helping others.
One of the most remarkable stories of healing happened to an extended family member of mine. A grandmother today, she experienced a lifetime of enormous trauma characterized by domestic violence and alcoholism. She had no parents, so we were raised in this large family community instead. Compounding her issues were physical problems, specifically enormous pain in her legs and feet, with one of her legs twisting inwards. She was depressed and suicidal as well, but she was brave enough to begin her own healing journey. The first few sessions centered on helping her ease the pain by learning how to be still and doing energy work. After learning the tapping method, her cravings for alcohol stopped. It’s probably been 9 months now, and it’s almost like the trauma story that was trapped inside of her has dissolved. She has rediscovered herself, reclaiming her sense of self and her connection to her own spirit.
Perhaps the biggest “a-ha moment” for her happened when I took her through a practice to ground our energies that is literally as simple as placing your bare feet on soil, breathing in
mother earth through the soles of our feet. From her earliest memories she had always worn shoes. Her auntie told her to always do so to not get cuts or germs or so she wouldn’t get cold and sick.
“This is amazing,” she told me. “I’ve never put my bare feet on the ground.” Once she started doing that every day, her symptoms diminished even more, and she now only uses natural products instead of medicines with harsh chemicals. She made the connection, and it was very profound for her in taking charge of her own healing.
Many of the other people that come to see me have great lives. They live in the cities. They’re all seemingly happy. They work, have families and are busy all the time. Yet at the same time, they leave their comfort zones and come to our retreats in the bush by the riverbank because they realize that something important is missing. They’re searching outside of themselves for all those things that make them happy (especially material things) when really it’s inside of them to be rediscovered.
One of the first things we do is the same foot grounding ceremony I just mentioned. After we put our feet in the river, they often ask, “Okay, what do we do next?” I tell them, “You do nothing.” Still they ask what’s the next thing. “We need to be doing something,” they implore. The fact that they just have to sit there with their feet immersed in mother earth doing nothing was a new concept to them, just as it was for my community member. They couldn’t understand it in the beginning. But then they started to believe. For a person who never has walked with bare feet on the earth to willingly choose to spend the rest of the weekend with no shoes on was a real discovery.
When the healing begins is when we feel the connection, being present, sharing the same air with our ancestors, just listening to our own breath. Healing my own people means healing all the people of Australia together. We’re all a part of the same conversation and sometimes all it takes is for that conversation to begin to form a connection to our oneness.
Sometimes it begins with something as simple as taking off our shoes.
You can reach out to Annabelle at www.liveinoneness.com.au