Have you ever wished your doctor or therapist could just read your mind? So you wouldn’t have to go to all the trouble of trying to explain your symptoms, your medical history, your emotionally traumatic past, or your uncomfortable, distressing present? No doubt that’s what has brought many of Dr. Mary Helen Hensley’s clients to her door, and yet I doubt many of them have been prepared for exactly what it’s like to have a stranger–albeit a vivacious and endearing one–suddenly spouting off to you your most intimate secrets.
A case in point is an 80-year-old Irish woman named Aggie, whose daughters brought her to Dr. Hensley because, as Aggie put it, “They said you had some kind of powers or something.” Aggie’s daughters were ready to try almost anything to help their mother overcome the inexplicable depression that had hung over her for as long as they could remember, and which no medication ever seemed to shake. Making an appointment with Dr. Hensley–a chiropractor reputed to have a few supplementary gifts–did not seem like a bridge too far.
It was once Aggie had settled herself onto Dr. Hensley’s table that Hensley began to show just how much her gifts had to offer this suffering woman. Seemingly from out of the blue, Hensley began to describe an event that had happened to Aggie some 40 years previously.
At that time, Aggie was married to a violent man with a severe drinking problem. She had already borne him five children when he began to threaten her, saying that, if she ever got pregnant again, he would “kick her pregnant belly inside out” and then choke her to death with his own two hands. As much as Aggie, too, might have desired not to bring another child into that home, she had few options, as the Catholic church forbade contraception and her husband regularly raped her when he was drunk. Eventually, the inevitable happened, and she found herself pregnant with a sixth child.
The only thing Aggie knew to do–to save her own life and preserve the welfare of her first five children–was to have an abortion in secret, telling no one, not even her closest friends. It was an unavoidable act, but the guilt she felt for performing it bore down upon her and proceeded to suck the joy from the next 40 years of her life. Even once her violent husband was dead and gone, her secret feeling that she was culpable for taking that innocent life prevented her from finding joy in anything else.
This is the series of events that Dr. Hensley recounted to this 80-year-old Irish woman within moments of meeting her for the first time. Aggie just stared at her in shock, tears pouring down her face. “How could you possibly know?” she asked.
How, indeed? But less important than how Hensley knew about Aggie’s past (a question to which Hensley provides some tantalizing answers in her new book) was the healing Dr. Hensley was subsequently able to offer her, now that Aggie’s deep, dark secret had seen the light of day. Hensley didn’t magically adjust Aggie’s aura, or even her spine. Instead, she told her another, hauntingly similar story. About her own past. Her own rape. Her own devastating abortion. And her own eventual decision to let herself off the hook. Then she asked Aggie a very simple question: “What’s it going to be?”
The radiant smile on Aggie’s face made the answer very clear.
In her new book released just a week ago–Understanding Is the New Healing–Dr. Mary Helen Hensley describes herself as a “window washer to the soul”: someone who helps scrub off the crud that’s obstructing people’s visions of their own lives, so they can see well enough to find their own way down the path to healing. And I believe this is exactly what she does. Hensley is not out to “fix” other people or to offer them a magical cure. Her astounding ability to psychically tune in to the stories of people’s souls does admittedly play an important role in her healing sessions. In fact, I have yet to see a metaphorical window washer with such a varied arsenal of soul-cleansing tools, stretching from her ability to psychically access information about people’s traumatic past-life experiences to her ability to “hear” the frequency of cancer. However, these metaphysical gifts are just window dressing (if I may continue the metaphor!). The real healing comes when Hensley’s clients choose to look through the window she offers them into their own deepest selves and do the hard work of processing what they see on the other side.
I wholeheartedly recommend Hensley’s new book, in which no doubt everyone will find something to inspire and challenge themselves. You’ll likely find that some of Hensley’s stories put your current belief system to the test, but if a book doesn’t do that, then why are you reading it? Hensley’s collection of amazing, real-life tales is delightfully candid and to the point. Just like Mary Helen herself, in fact, whom I had the immense pleasure of meeting in person for the first time last week, at her book launch in Virginia Beach. This talented woman is even more lovely (and entertaining!) in person than she is on the page. She brings light wherever she goes, and this new book of hers is not to be missed.