Sandra Ingerman answers the question:

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?


Well, Phil, I sat with that question for a really long time because I've had so many acts of kindness that people have done on my behalf. But what came to mind was this amazing event that happened to me back in the 1970s. And back then I was living in an apartment in the Haight-Ashbury, and I actually... I don't even know what you call it... I had a phone, a really old-fashioned phone that stood up in a little cabinet in my hallway. So all my phone calls, even if I was on the phone two hours, I had to stand and talk to people. And so I'm remembering this really important phone call that I had, and it was probably the nicest thing that ever happened to me through this phone call.

So the story goes, I was very close with my grandfather. My [other] grandparents died, either before I was born or when I was four. So my grandfather was my only living grandparent, and he was a very quiet man. He was always in a state of meditation; one would call him enlightened at this point. And so we didn't talk much, but we just, we loved each other. And he would be brought to my house, he was quite elderly and he would be brought to my house at certain times of the week, and we would sit together and he'd listen to Jimi Hendrix with me, and he was a very special man. 

He died when he was in his nineties. And what happened was, nobody told me that he was dying or that he died. My mother knew I was studying for finals in school and so she didn't want to upset me or take me away. Everything for her was around education, so she didn't want me to not do my finals because of my grandfather. And so my grandfather came to me in a dream, and it was a really interesting dream. We were in a waiting room, it was dirty, the furniture was all torn. And we were sitting on a couch together and he said to me, "You have to let me go." And I said, "Grandpa, I can't let you go; I can never let you go." And he said, "You have to let me go. Please let me go." And so I finally agreed to let him go, but then I didn't understand what the dream was about. So I called my brother, and my brother said, "Actually, grandpa died the night of your dream, and mom didn't want to tell you because she knew that you had your finals coming up."

So at that time it was so important for me to go to my grandfather's funeral, and I called all the airlines and there was no way — there was absolutely no way that I could get on a flight to New York from San Francisco and make my grandfather's funeral. And one of the airlines I called was TWA — and most of you listening are not old enough to remember TWA, but those of you who are my age remember TWA was one of the major airlines. And the woman said to me, "We will hold a plane for you so that you can get to your grandfather's funeral." And she said, "How long do you think we're going to have to hold the plane?" And I said, "At least an hour. I can't imagine getting to San Francisco airport from where I am, and I'll pack as quick as I can and I'll try and get some money together." I had no money for my flight. She said, "Don't worry about any of that, just do what you can. Get to the airport, and we're holding this plane so you can get to your grandfather's funeral."

And because of the kindness of this woman and of the whole airline, TWA, I made it just as the funeral was starting. I flew all night long, and transferred planes in Atlanta, and went running into the funeral just as it was starting. My mother couldn't believe it and she burst out crying, but it was a really important event to me. And what a kind act. We don't see those kinds of things anymore, but it was such a kind act that was really healing for me. My grandfather and I were so close. We loved each other so much, and it was important for me to be at a ceremony that honored him so that I was able to get honorable closure.

Sandra Ingerman, MA, a world-renowned teacher of shamanism, has been teaching for close to 40 years. She’s an award-winning author of 12 books, including Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented SelfMedicine for the EarthWalking in Light… and The Book of Ceremony: Shamanic Wisdom for Invoking the Sacred in Everyday Life. She’s the presenter of eight audio programs produced by Sounds True.

Sandra has taught workshops internationally on shamanic journeying, healing, and reversing environmental pollution using spiritual methods. She’s recognized for bridging ancient cross-cultural healing methods into our modern culture addressing the needs of our times.

She’s known for gathering the global spiritual community together to perform powerful transformative ceremonies, as well as inspiring us to stand strong in unity so we do our own spiritual and social activism work while keeping a vision of hope and serving as a light in the world.

Sandra is passionate about helping people reconnect with nature. Since the 1980s, thousands of people have healed from past and present traumas through the classic cross-cultural shamanic healing method Sandra teaches called Soul Retrieval.

She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional mental health counselor. She is also a board-certified expert on traumatic stress. She was awarded the 2007 Peace Award from the Global Foundation for Integrative Medicine. She was chosen as one of the Top 10 Spiritual Leaders of 2013 by Spirituality and Health magazine.

Sandra joined in partnership with Renee Baribeau to create a weekly 30-minute podcast called The Shamans Cave.

Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 3: Ancestral Healing Summit