Story last updated at 2/12/2014 - 4:56 pm
When Mary Szczepanski imagines a better world, she does it through the eyes of a healer.
Szczepanski, a nurse at Bartlett Regional Hospital, has been practicing healing touch for more than 30 years.
"When there is injury, illness, emotional upset ... those things are manifest in the energy field," she said. "Healing touch and other energy work restores balance."
When the energy field is balanced, she said, the body is better able to heal itself.
As a practitioner and holistic nurse, Szczepanski said she can feel warm spots, cool spots, static, and other disruptions around a person's body.
She practices at health fairs and in the community, she coordinates volunteers at Bartlett, she's taught all over the world, and she was on the certification board of healing touch for ten years. She also has her own practice: Healing Touch Alaska.
"It's an exciting process," she said. "Some people pick it up right away; they have natural abilities. Other people gain it through practice."
Most commonly, people relax during the treatment. "Relaxation is sometimes an amazing thing for them to have happen," she said.
She also targets pain in treatments, and says it has helped people detoxify "from environmental toxins or emotions."
"Healing touch can help clear some of that from the energy field," she said. "It helps physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Emotionally, sometimes people release different emotions, like grief or sadness. Mentally, sometimes people might come to a place that resolves a conflict in their mind, or they can see a better perspective of a situation. Spiritually, a lot of people feel more connected to whatever they believe in, or even to themselves. They see more clearly the meaning and purpose in their life, which is what I think of when I think of spirituality."
This is where the part about an evolved world comes in. Szczepanski just self-published her second book, "Strands."
The book, which spans 100 years, follows a psychic main character with healing powers from before birth.
Maya, and some others, are born with 12 strands of DNA. Those strands give them special powers to help humankind - but they're powers the characters have to cultivate.
This book was inspired by Szczepanski's personal passion for healing, but also her interest in the environment, social justice and evolving consciousness, she said.
"The second book is about hope," she said. "I really believe that as people become more conscious, things are going to start shifting, because people will develop an inner wisdom about what's the right thing, how we can be with each other as humans, how we can be with the earth."
Her first book, "A Path of Healing," is about a girl who is having trouble with her family in New York. She has a pivotal experience - related to healing - while at a wilderness school.
Szczepanski was born in Buffalo and lived in Colorado for years. She first moved to Juneau in 1993. She's taught healing touch classes in Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage, as well as Poland, Romania and Canada, and a dozen states.
She chose to be a nurse when she was still in high school because she liked science and she also liked helping people, she said.
Both her books were in progress for eight years.
"A lot of books about healing are kind of technical manuals," she said. "I think a story can be inspiring in a different way. It can kind of reach into people and tell them something about themselves... or they can find inspiration in that."
She does encounter those who are skeptical about healing touch, she said.
"I think it's ok to be skeptical," she said. "There's a lot of stuff out there. It's ok to be questioning. But ... still be open to trying something new."
Next, she might write a nonfiction energy-healing book.
She also thinks people might be able to intuit more than they know.
"We have to take time to be quiet with ourselves, to get out of the busy lane," she said. "To connect with nature, and silence, and listen."
The Time Before Time
There is a place where all souls are held before their lives on earth. They are surrounded by the energy of unlimited possibilities and infinite love and peace. They exist in constant contact with the light known by many names: Great Spirit, All That Is, The Source, God, Oneness, Collective Consciousness.
A soul waited there, surrounded by loving beings of that spirit world. She dreaded any possible interruption of the bliss. She had been given a hint of an assignment earlier and awaited the moment of decision with trepidation.
We have chosen you, one of the guides told her. The message was communicated in a spiritual way, as a vibration. We want you to help bring light to humans on earth. We see much evidence that many are ready to move to another level of consciousness.
I've heard stories, she replied feeling already that her thoughts were becoming dense and less like music. Earth is a beautiful place being rapidly destroyed by its own people. How is it possible that they are ready?
The guide listened.
People on earth are insecure competitive, destructive, and hateful, the soul argued, reluctant to mention the most frightening part of incarnating. Finally she asked the question.
Is it true that we forget about being here and our connection to the Oneness? She asked desperately.
Oh, so that's what's bothering you, the guide replied. The answer is both yes and no. You might forget some of this, it's true, but the wondrous energy that you love so much in this place is everywhere on Earth.
I don't understand, she answered, feeling confused.
There is beauty in the natural world: forests and rainbows, flowers and sunrises, and in people's hearts, the guides explained. There is deep love and forgiveness, even amidst conflict and hardships. People all over the world are struggling with a fierce loyalty to do the right thing and make Earth a better place. Even without fully remembering that they came from this light, each person has a spark inside them. For some the spark has magnified and radiates light even into the far reaches from where they live. For others the spark has faded, but could be re-ignited. Then too, there are some who do remember and choose to stay connected to their spirit selves.
What about pain and suffering? she asked. It sounds terrible.
You know, humans do have the capacity for taking care of each other, the guide shared. You will have family and friends... and most of all: companions on this journey. One of them has already incarnated. Three others will follow you. You must make your choice now.
Yes ... I will do it, but - she committed with little confidence or enthusiasm.