Interview with Dr. Eve Bruce on Alternative Medical Practices
Tammie: Dr. Bruce, first I want to thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to share some of your thoughts and experiences with us. Although you've been living and practicing medicine in the U.S. for several years, I understand that you were born and raised in Kenya. I'm wondering how your experiences in Kenya have influenced who you are today?
Dr. Bruce: In Kenya, we were surrounded by the splendor and the wonder of the world around us: the wildlife, the landscape, the trees, and the people. There was also a constant reminder of the stark destruction that exists, carnivores, birds of prey, tribal wars, and death and disease were part of every day life. The duality of nature was even more important. While I was growing up there was the sense that we are nature, we are part of the great cycle of life, the food source, not separate from nature and its laws.
Tammie: You've shared that as a physician and surgeon you've witnessed significant changes in the medical profession first-hand. I'm wondering what changes you've found to be the most significant?
Dr. Bruce: There have and continue to be incredible advances both in our basic scientific knowledge of the workings of the human body, and the highly technological methods of diagnosis and treatment. Despite all of these advances, the medical profession has gone through great turmoil in the business of medicine; managed care, third-party payers, increasing costs, and decreasing earnings. Also, in the general atmosphere in this country; increasing litigation, a decreasing sense of personal responsibility, a sense that medical care is a right, not a privilege or a service for which one is grateful. There's also less time to spend with patients, an increasing distance from patients, and increasing communication problems. This can sometimes create an adversarial atmosphere between patients and their doctors. I have great compassion for those in the field of medicine.
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There is also a growing public interest in "alternative" medicine, creating competition for patients as well as engendering a rift between these complimentary fields. Many doctors don't have a sufficient understanding of many forms of alternative medicine and are often truly concerned for their patients safety, fearing the possibility that their patients are being "duped." A number of these difficulties are signs of the times, but many stem from the time of Descartes. Descartes introduced the theory that there is a separation between our physical bodies and out mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. It was at this point that the field of medicine took a turn to the purely physical, the mechanical anatomic and the biochemical.
The change that I consider most important is the growing realization that Descartes separation is an illusion, that there is no separation between our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. That all are equally important in life and in health, that all need to be addressed and nurtured.
Tammie: What led you to Shamanism?
Dr. Bruce: In 1996, I went on a trip with Dream Change Coalition to Ecuador. Just before leaving I became ill, and in Ecuador this progressed to the point that I couldn't walk. I was taken to a Shaman, Alberto Tatzo, who healed me with stones, feathers, and smile in a traditional Shamanic healing that took only about 20 minutes. Nothing was ingested, nothing was manipulated either physically or biochemically. Nothing I had learned in all my years of training prepared me for this, or could allow me to explain this. It was at that time that I was forced to view the world, life, our bodies, health and healing in a whole new light. I was introduced that day to a whole new world, one which was here all the time, but which I could not and did not see, because I had no context in which to put it.
Tammie: How has Shamanism impacted you personally and professionally?
Dr. Bruce: Since that healing, I have spent years training under Shamans in the Andes and Amazon. I have changed in many ways, shapeshifted. I now lead trips for Dream Change Coalition to take people to witness and experience Shamanic healings in the Amazon and Andes, to see how the indigenous people live, to experience their "dream", to access deep connection to Pachamama (Quechua for mother earth/universe/time.) I teach workshops on shapshifting worldwide. I perform traditional shamanic healings, and I facilitate the understanding that when we ask for any change, even plastic surgery, we are at a wonderful opportune time, a magical moment with portents of transformation, of shapeshifting, and that we ourselves are the only ones who hold the key to the gateway.
Tammie: You co-founded the "Healing Circle" in Baltimore, can you tell us a little about the "Healing Circle?"
Dr. Bruce: The Healing Circle was short lived. It doesn't exist. I do have a practice in Baltimore with an educational center where people can get such diverse services as facials, chemical peels, ayurvedic massage, threading, reflexology, nutritional counseling, and workshops on shapeshifting, on creative visualization, and on body image.
Tammie: You conduct workshops which address such techniques as dream change, psychonavigation, Shamanic journeys, and utilizing sacred objects. Would you share just a bit about these techniques and more about your upcoming workshops?
Dr. Bruce: My workshops are about shapeshifting. Shifting one's shape. Examples of shapeshifting at a cellular level include when a shaman turns into a jaguar or a bat, when we gain or lose weight, when we age, look younger, grow a tumor, or shrink a tumor.
When we lose an addiction or quiet a neurosis we're shapeshifting on a personal level. Shapeshifting on an institutional level refers to changes such as those in the medical field, changing business practices toward sustainability, or the fall of communism.
We are all energy, and we are all one. This is the basic concept behind shapeshifting. It's all about shifting energy, being rather than becoming. In my workshops we work on the barriers to shapeshifting such as denial and fear. Through psychonavigation and dream work we find the answers we need to shapeshift, and build a support system to help with long term shapeshifting.
Through Shamanic journeys we speak to our inner self, to our guides, and begin a lifelong relationship with them to access at any time and anywhere for help. By using these guides and "Huacas" or sacred objects, we can journey to other realities in order to bring back energy, power and information to be used to create the change in this reality. Thus participants are introduced to powerful and effective ways of creating change, or shapeshifting, throughout their life.
Participants have used these methods to cure diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, back pain, depression, addictions, or to create physical changes such as weight loss, a more youthful appearance, to access charisma, and inner beauty, or to change our communal dreams such as saving the rainforest. The intent of the shapeshift is up to the individual, the techniques are the same.
I work for Dream Change Coalitior, a nonprofit organization started by the great shamans of the andes and amazon and John Perkins in the early 1990's. We are a nonhierarchical organization with three basic tenets: to change our communal dream to one that is more earth honoring, to preserve forests, and to utilize indigenous wisdom to foster environmental and social balance. I developed and maintain its website, www.dreamchange.org.
Tammie: Thanks Eve, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Dr. Bruce: Tam, you're so very welcome.