The Native American perspective is simple: When you are sick you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you have been heading in this direction for too long. Therefore you need to turn around; you need a new direction.
Later, Lewis Mehl-Madrona mentions that an aspect of true healing is profound change. If you've been going in the wrong direction, you need a new direction. This is a powerful force for change. I've experienced this on a fundamental level over the last year. My old way of viewing the world (very Western) has been challenged, massaged, and transformed. I see things in a different way...it's very difficult to explain. My shamanic healing process, which I now see as an essential counterpart to my Western medical treatment, has taken me on journeys. I've met spirit guides, and I've caught a glimpse of the timeless expanse stretching backwards and forwards, which both exists and does not exist--a part of our "consensual reality," which is only one world of many (one of three in the Q'ero tradition).
All of this has changed me, softened the hard edges and transformed rigidity into something more fluid. I am embracing "profound change."
Profound change means that you must become a different person in some fundamental, recognizable, important way. The extreme version of this is the Cherokee practice of giving the desperate patient a new name, which means a new identity, since name is identity. [...] Treatment fails without a profound change. Hope also thrives in such changes. We must become a different person to family, friends, coworkers, and the self. In some palpable way, we must be reborn before we can heal.
I read this a few months ago, and it was like a puzzle piece finally coming into place. I wasn't sure exactly how to proceed, but I knew this would be important.
Recently, on a journey with my power animal, I found my name. I was also given a name-that-is-not-a-name, something very private and special and powerful--but that is not to be shared so publicly. My new public name, however, will become my legal name soon. (I don't look forward to all the paperwork!)