When I met Lisa, she was 45 years old and battling a severe form of leukemia caused by inherited chromosomal damage. She was terrified by the severity of her illness and traveled to Houston from Los Angeles every three months so doctors could monitor her condition.

During her soul retrieval, Lisa and I found that her Chamber of Wounds was a gloomy space shrouded in darkness. In the shadows, we discovered the figure of a woman with a knife in her heart, who wouldn’t respond to us in any way. In the Chamber of Grace, we found a young girl sitting on the floor playing jacks. She smiled at us and continued her game.

Shortly after her cancer diagnosis, Lisa started questioning her aunt about her childhood, and discovered a traumatic story from her past. When Lisa was 19 months old, her father stabbed her mother to death and then knifed Lisa and her four-year-old brother in the chest. The next day, the police found the children bleeding next to their slain mother; their father committed suicide.

Lisa had no conscious memory of these events, even though she and her brother both had scars below their hearts from their father’s attack. She’d always considered the aunt and uncle who raised the two children as her parents, and accepted what happened to her biological parents was a deep, dark secret, not to be discussed. She even believed that the scar on her chest was a birthmark.

It wasn’t until my client’s soul retrieval journey that the realization of that wound forced itself upon her. That night, Lisa awoke with the sensation of being stabbed in the heart—she was in anguish like she’d never experienced. Seeing the figure with the knife in her chest triggered a memory that caused her physical pain, and she was reluctant to return to the Chamber of Wounds, fearing she’d be overwhelmed by grief. Lisa had seen her original wound, and her body remembered—she knew that her soul contract related to her heart being wounded. In a symbolic replay of this childhood incident, she even had the catheter through which she received her chemotherapy next to her heart—an open hole over her heart, with a tube leading to it.

In physics there’s a theory of “critical point analysis,” which states that you ought to work where the least amount of effort will have the greatest effect. To that end, I knew we needed to experience the positive life force represented by the girl playing jacks we found in Lisa’s Chamber of Grace before we could revisit her Chamber of Wounds.

Immediately after the soul retrieval, I had Lisa play an imaginary game of jacks, first picking up 1, then 2, then 3 jacks, and so on, until she picked up all ten. She struggled with imagining the game as it got more and more complex, but jacks was perfect for Lisa. It required skill, dexterity and concentration, but the game is entirely noncerebral. As the game increased in complexity, her usual need for control had to be set aside. After she’d picked up all the imaginary jacks, she had a big smile on her face.

This exercise helped Lisa embody her young and unwounded soul part. She did this by extending her hands and welcoming the little girl who was filled with grace into her heart chakra, and feeling the child’s energy infuse her entire body.

After the game, we journeyed back to the Chamber of Wounds, where I asked her to grab the knife from the figure’s heart and draw it out. Suddenly she realized that she could withdraw the knife that was still symbolically and energetically wedged in her own heart.

A few months later, Lisa went back to Houston for a checkup and found that her leukemia was in remission. It never returned.

While working with Lisa, I visited the Chamber of Grace before returning to the Chamber of Wounds—common practice when someone has suffered a huge trauma such as hers. I knew she needed the fortitude to face a very difficult situation, and it was important to visit the Chamber of Grace several times and reassure the lost part of Lisa’s soul that she was ready to receive it. If she’d brought back a vulnerable soul part without creating a nurturing and safe environment for it in her life, it would have gone back into exile because she couldn’t welcome it and integrate it into her world.

As you can see from Lisa’s story, what you encounter in the Lower World can be very upsetting. At the Four Winds Society, where I train students to practice healing through soul retrieval, I insist that they master this technique before practicing it on someone else. It’s essential to maintain great integrity and focus when you retrieve a lost soul part, but that’s particularly true when journeying on behalf of another person.

Next week you will learn how to journey to the Chamber of Grace to retrieve a lost soul part.

These techniques are not to be taken lightly. Before attempting them, I recommend you carefully study my book, Soul Journeying: Shamanic Tools for Finding your Destiny and Recovering your Spirit.