Category Archives: Sometimes, one thing, is everything

Ok, trying to find a fancy way to say, “I probably forgot to select the category”. But, to be truth, Everything IS the same, and one of something, is everything. So I am not lying.

Summer of Shadows

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I have found that my own shadows are not only what hinder me in my life, but the things that drive me to be better.  By honoring the challenges I have before me, I can do many things.I have found that my own shadows are not only what hinder me in my life, but the things that drive me to be better.  By honoring the challenges I have before me, I can do many things.

  1. (hopefully) work towards getting over behaviors that don’t help me.
  2. Learn more about me, and understand how my history has built me to who I am today ~ no matter how I judge each quality.
  3. They allow me to remember that we are all facing challenges that we may not yet be aware of.
  4. The shadows that I struggle with every day, remind me to hold compassion for those around me.

These are all remarkably powerful things.  

What do I mean when I saw shadow? I see a shadow as any connection to an idea, item, person, or object that causes you to act in a way or make decisions that do not allow you to be your best self, or work in your best interest.

For instance: One of the shadows I am working with right now is Money. I grew up below the poverty line in Traverse City, MI.  We are a town with a pretty solid divide between the haves’ and have nots. My entire adult life I had been trying to buy what I want, when I wanted it because when I was poor, I couldn’t buy things… So, I found that I was buying things, that I couldn’t afford, so I wouldn’t feel poor, but those same actions were causing for it to be difficult to pay my bills, as if I were poor.

A side shot of this I need to address in my work, is the clear judgement I have in my own mind about being poor.  Let me be clear, I do not feel that there is anything wrong with being poor, nor do I feel that it says anything about you as a person ~ as most people do not choose poverty.  The negative connotations I hold with being poor are because the time in my life where I was fighting so hard to just to get by, was of the worst times in my life.  I associate poor with unhappy, and unable.

So to sum that up: Because I associate being poor with being unhappy and unable, I do not wish to feel poor. Because of this, I made choices to purchase things I could not afford.  Having purchased things I could not afford, made it harder to pay my bills, which made me actually poor.

As you can see, this ‘shadow’ around money, has been causing a me to make decisions that were not working in my best interest.

Many of us have issues around money, so this may be a great example, or a horrible example.  You may have a huge issue with money, and look above and be like, I have no problem with “keeping up with the Jones’”.  The thing is, this is an aspect of my Money Shadow that is easy to talk about and many people will understand.  The more you look at one of your shadows, and finding its source, and trying to grow past it, the more you will see that the shadow runs deep and has many facets.

I tell you all of this because I have been working with so many people as of late who are so burdened by the shadows they carry, that moving forward on a day to day basis is feeling impossible.  Whether you are exhausted, peopled out, too damn broke, overdone, pent up, oppressed, or whatever.  These are ALL real and true issues, do not think I am minimizing your struggles.  But we are our own worst enemies, and frequently, the way we think, feel, or experience these issues, make them a larger problem than they are.  Your feeling, thoughts, and experiences are COMPLETELY VALID.  It can still be smaller than it seems.

You are the person who can deal with your shadows.  If you would like, I can help you to see them.  Know that I can hear you. I can hear your work, and your pain.  And because I have been working so hard on my own shadows, I will not judge you or yours.

We all need help sometimes, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Tree (Roots) Meditation

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This meditation does many wonderful things for you. It allows you to connect to Pachamama (Mother Earth). It allows you to share and moderate energy with her. It allows you to ground your energy. It also allows you to give you some solidness in yourself. So many great pieces, I just wanted to share the “how-to”.

Sit down as you do to meditate. Please remember to do this in a space where you feel safe so that you can allow your awareness of your surroundings to drop. You do not have to sit on the floor. If you are unable to sit on the floor, sit how you can be comfortable for a while. I personally feel better about sitting directly on the floor ~ Just do not let that slow you down.

Once sitting, Take a moment, and ask consent of the Pachamama to share energy with her. (I have never gotten a No, but I think considering consent is always a good thing)
After establishing consent, Imagine a bubble of energy in your heart.
And focus on your breathing.
Every breath in, inflates that bubble.
Once you have inflated that bubble enough that it completely surrounds you, take a moment and simply breath normally.
Now that you are sitting inside this bubble, I want you to change the focus of your breaths.
Every breath in, we will create roots.

Creating Roots.
With your first breath in, I want you to imagine that the energy from your breath inward is forcing roots to appear at the base of your spine, and growing into the Earth.
With every consecutive breath in, I want you to imagine that the energy from your breath is growing those roots downward.
Deeper, and Deeper.
Imagine the feeling of the dirt, the sand, the stones, the sediment.
Imagine the different layers of the Earth.
Imagine that your roots go so deep as to hit the molten rock at the center of the Earth.
And once your roots find that, use your next breath to push your roots into it.

Every breath out, we will draw energy from the Pachamama through those roots, and blow that energy into your bubble.

After you have been doing this long enough, that you feel your roots have reached the core of the Earth, and your bubble is as full of Pachamama’s energy as you can take, make it so that every breath in takes air and energy from your bubble, and pushes it down your roots to the core of the earth. And also have every breath out takes energy from the Earth, and pushes it into your bubble.

When you feel that you are done with this meditation, use your breath to withdraw the roots from the soil. Use your breath to reduce the size of your bubble, and put it back into your heart.

Sit for a moment and feel your body before you stand.

Good luck!

Reality in love

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Faith is essential to your path.  Whether it is faith in yourself, or a partner, or a deity.  It is essential. But where does it cross a line?  When your faith pushes past your sense of personal responsibility, it has all of the sudden tipped the balance, and is no longer a positive driving force.  It becomes your shackles.

Let me give you an example of a real situation of the statement above.

A friend of mine was in a great relationship, and it seemed that everything was great.  And then her partner got laid-off. He quickly became very accustomed to having her pay for everything, and he didn’t seem super motivated to get a new job.  Despite the financial struggles they were starting to have, he was holding out for his dream job.  And after asking about how they are doing, they said, we are having some hardship, but God will provide when it is right.

I frequently hear “God will provide” when people are struggling.  It is intended to sound empowering, but I see that people give up their power to act, and allows “fate” to decide.  You have put your faith so strongly into this, that you have taken away your own ability to assure that it happens. And worse yet, when things come and pass, and you did not get what you wanted, you start to think you were not worthy of it, or worth it.  Which allows you to mentally give up. Making your faith, your shackles. God may be providing 5 great job opportunities for you right now, because he feels you need to get into a different field, but they were not even reviewed because they didn’t fit the mold of the “dream job”.

A great quote from Dave Ramsey was this, “God DOES provide, he provides the rain.  But you still have to sow the seeds!” This statement is exactly how I feel.  Your faith will provide you what you need, but you still have to work to get what you want.  Noting that, as a culture, have a hard time telling the difference between our wants and needs.

I have recently started taking note of conversations and interactions around finance, and I have heard many conversations about faith, people, and money. And when you put these three things together, our minds really complicate them, and that is why I thought to write this post.  No matter the circumstance, don’t let your faith become your shackles.  Take responsibility for your actions and thoughts, and act.  Once again, I can give you an example:

During a podcast I was listening to, a woman called in and stated that she was considering getting engaged to someone, but he made half as much as he did, and he was not very invested in actually managing his money responsibly.

From my experience, this is a very common issue.  One partner doesn’t see the same value in one thing or another, and money is frequently that thing.

Take a moment to think about what you would do in this situation.

No really, take a moment and think.

Many people would be shocked that the concern was even there, after all, Love will find a way.  But can I tell you what I feel the “right” answer is?  And note, there are a multitude of situations around everything, so my advice must be somewhat generalized.

Love, is a strong and complicated emotion.  And it can often make you not trustworthy to yourself.  I would recommend in this situation that you step back, identify the real concern, which is that you are concerned that your potential partner doesn’t know or care how to handle money properly.  And you are considering marriage.  Which means that your partner will not care about how your finances will be managed together.  This is a bad idea.

You need to take responsibility for yourself.  How do you remain a strong individual?  I know that sounds unromantic, but think about it.  How do you remain a strong individual?  If your concern is romance, think of this: if you are a strong individual, and you could do without your partner, you get to choose them every day.  You are not “stuck” together.  Your togetherness is a choice.

Which means that it is actually more romantic to keep your finances separate until you can trust that your partner will be as responsible with your money, as you are. Until then, build a Fuck-You-Fund (A fund of cash that you have access to that allows you to up and leave if you ever feel in danger), and give a fixed number of chances for your partner to come around to your goals.

Now, with that all out there, I need to be honest with you, that I can only say that my wife and I worked within these circumstances because she was lenient with a HIGH-NUMBER of fixed chances.  She was brave enough to do what I am asking of you, and she got a lot of grief for it.  She refused to marry me until my job offered medical insurance.  She was covered under her mother’s insurance at the time, and she was still in college. She was brave enough to put her goals out there and she made them an important part of OUR goals.  And if I had said, you should risk not having health insurance to be with me, I would expect her to step back, as I was not the right person for her. But that is not what happened, for a long time now, our relationship is based on us choosing each other, every day.

If you feel that your partner is not trustworthy with money, I strongly advise the following:

1)    Be honest and clear about your concerns.
It would sabotage your relationship to hold something this important as a barrier and not give your partner a chance to do something about it.
2)    Have a conversation about what each of you require of each other, as part of an agreement, before getting married.
3)    Be brave enough to step away, if your partner cannot hear your concerns.  It is unfortunately telling of many more things about the relationship.

Money is NOT more important that love, or people.  But when you are mixing your life with another person’s, your personal goals and long term well-being ARE more important than love, and other people.

When Love overrides your logical self-preserving fears, you are shackling yourself based on faith of… Your partner? What love should be? The idea of Marriage? You are being shackled by faith.

For this Valentine’s day, I challenge you to look deep into your partner’s eyes and say, “How are we doing on our retirement plan?”  Take some time to think about your own financial goals, where you would like to be, take responsibility for your own flaws, and talk about them with your partner.  Talk about your concerns for any flaws your partner has around money.  And together, move forward with a stronger feeling of togetherness by working to further your goals as a team. Give yourself the gift of choosing your partner every day.

Fear and Responsibility

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I have said several times within this blog that relationships are the core of what it is to be a Shaman.  Having the ability to make and maintain relationships with others.  Nice and Simple.

… Or not …

In order to have a solid relationship, I find it is helpful to think enough about the person/entity in that relationship, consider who they are, what has built them into the person that they have become, and listen to them.  Truly Listen.  Once you have listened, and heard, you can then try to honor who they are in being the best person you can be…

How can you be the best person you can be?  Telling you is easy, but accomplishing it, as expected, is the hard part.

Take full responsibility for your actions.  This may mean honoring your own history, and looking at the parts in your history that you may never want to think about again, and think about, in that moment, what responsibility do you hold?

Please note that the word responsibility is NOT interchangeable with the word blame. When you take responsibility, you think about anything and everything you could have done differently, to change the outcome. It gives you the power to no longer be victimized by the situation.  But, by going through your own mind, and thinking about addressing those fears, responses, fears, confusions, and fears…  Yeah, right… simple…

Another piece here, is you may not even believe that you have fear.  You may not believe you carry confusions… And here is what I have to tell you: Addressing you we do not feel that you can express a fear even to yourself ~ is your first task.

Good Luck

Spiritual, Psychological, Does it matter?

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Along the path I have wandered, our main teachings come from four weekend learning experiences that are done in the name of the four cardinal directions, and the spirits that are associated with each.  They went like this:

  • South: Hatun Amaru (The Great Serpent)
  • West: Otorongo (Jaguar)
  • North: Huanacauri (Dragon) & Siwar Qenti (Royal Hummingbird)
  • East: Kuntor (Condor)

Each one of these directions is another step down the rabbit whole of understanding the path a bit further.  They build off each other, yet also work together as a cohesive whole.

After I completed the South work, I was speaking to a friend of mine who has a practice as a Psychologist.  I explained some of the efforts, and the challenges that it brought on, he commented: “Wow, that sounds like my entire Bachelor’s degree in Psychology…”

My wife and I frequently have conversations about the psychology and spirituality, and how they seem to walk the same paths…  But when my friend made the statement above, it really hit home for me that our conversation was more than just a joke.

As I have more and more people reach out to me, I am walking into areas where I do not know the beliefs of the person with whom I will join.  I do not know if I will be able to speak to their beliefs in the spiritual.  And it got me to thinking about, will the help that I can offer actually be of help, if they believe in nothing?  If they have absolutely no belief in spirit, energy, ghosts, ritual…

Yes.  Yes it will.

Now, it is important that I note that when you believe in nothing, you tend to get the zero feedback. As with all of us, your belief perpetuates the response you are willing to hear.  So there are some tools I utilize that will go unfelt.  (Or maybe not felt in a way that is attributed to my efforts)  However; when I work with someone, it has nothing to do with their beliefs, nor mine.  The individual beliefs we share or do not share end up carrying no value. There are affects of this work that are completely in the realm of psychology, if not spiritual.

There is remarkable power in a few very simple things.

  1. Listening to someone.  Truly listening.  Where your goal is to hear their words, and understand their feelings and meaning.  Without judging or thinking about how to respond. Hearing enough of what they are saying to you to be able to echo back what you have heard, and offer connections they might not see.
  2. Ritual. In the morning, I wake up, I grind the coffee, I boil the water, and with those actions in place, and knowing coffee is on the way, I can pack lunches, and get the kids snow gear ready for school.  At night before bed, I read with the kids, we brush teeth together, settle into bed with an audio book.  These little rituals we add to our daily lives offer comfort.  By creating a ritual space, you create a space of comfort and connectivity with one another.
  3. Making someone the target of your care.  Having someone with you, and know that they are working for your betterment is a healing experience in itself.

The more I do this work, the more power I see in the ability to change someone’s life, by being the one person who has heard them, the one person who has validated their feelings (even if you do not agree with their judgements), and let them know that they are OK.

Here is something that I recommend for you.  Go to a mirror.  Stare into your own eyes, and say, “I don’t like *** about myself, and I am ok”  Pick anything that you have a hard time thinking about with yourself, or something you are aware you don’t like.  Acknowledge that feeling.  Don’t try to invalidate it.  Your feeling is valid.  But no matter your feeling, add, “and I am ok.”  Say it twice.  Say it three times.  And you will see a difference in how you feel about it.

Powerlessness in organized religion

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As you may have read earlier in this blog, I have (in the past) had a pretty strong bias against Christianity. Overall, I feel as if I have gotten over this bias; however, there are still moments where I will have an interaction with someone, or read about something in the newspaper, and I feel it swell up inside me.  Then I am forced to go through, realized that I don’t actually feel that way, process where that feeling came from, and try to redirect the built-in queue I have to something more positive.  But it still happens.

When I talk about this topic of being powerlessness in

The Blessed at the gate to heaven with St. Peter by Hans Memling.
The Blessed at the gate to heaven with St. Peter by Hans Memling.

organized religion, I often reference Christianity, but please note that my concerns lie with any faith where your eternal fate is decided for you based on some sort of judgement.

To explain this, I would like you to think of Christianity (some denominations), and the Pearly Gates.  After you die in this context, you will appear before the Pearly Gates, where you are then given a judgement by St. Peter on whether or not you can enter…

In a single moment, all the decisions and actions that you have made from beginning to end of your life will be judged and your eternal soul will pay the consequences.  So, this is basically saying, that you can try your best throughout your entire life, but in the end, you are judged, and your efforts may not be good enough. You are in a faith that allows you no power.  Imagine if you arrive one day, and St. Peter is having the classic Monday morning.

CoffeeThe kind that requires a cup that basically says, “You need to stop talking until I have had my 3rd cup of coffee” and your judgement point is based on: Which side of the bed he got up on, if St. Joseph was late for the carpool, or he came in to find out that someone thought it was funny to eat his last banana from the fridge… All of these things play into the potential judgement you might get.  You have donated to the fight oppression, you have volunteered your time to help the poor, you have given all of yourself so that others may have something, you have grown into an amazing individual, and is nothing but generous.  But when St. Peter sees that incident from when you worked at Walmart where you stole your co-workers banana and ate just to give him grief… You KNOW he is seeing you as the dude that ruined his day, and do think he wants you living next door to him for eternity?

But even if we put the joking aside, Let’s say you have a really amazing talent with the Guitar?  But you only seem to be able to play Satanistic Death Metal.  That is a clearly bad choice.  You are singing and playing music to encourage love for God’s darkest fallen angel, and that music talks lightly of beatings, and death, and tax evasion… Completely reprehensible stuff.  But let’s say that that is the only way that you have the ability to earn the money you need to support the homeless community center in your city?  While this is clearly a situation I am altering to make things super clear, this is a situation that happens frequently, in every day life.  Your only way to achieve your good goal is by accomplishing something that can be considered bad.

So, you have spent your life, playing music to support some dark creatures, and you use all of that money to pay for meals for starving children.

It seems very clear to me that you are going to hell, because you spent so much time promoting Satan.  However, you were using that to do good, so clearly you are going to heaven.  But then again, There were horrible acts committed in your name, so clearly, you are going to hell.  But then you realize that you sacrificed your own eternity to help the poor.  Which means, of course, you go to heaven.  But we also have to consider intention.  Were you writing the music because you loved it, and after you were too rich, you thought of helping others, or were you doing it solely for the purpose of helping others, and you never touched a dime of that blood money.

What this extremely meandering path really tells us, is that every step of the way a judgement is taking place to guide your actions.  A judgement to decide what is good, and what is bad.  (And we can comfortably know that everyone has slightly different guidelines for that)  And based on these never ending sets of judgements, you will then have your eternity decided for you.  It makes it all feel so, powerless.

I think all of this comes forward with a basic premise. Believe what feels right to you. But make sure you feel good about your actions and the consequences.  Whether or not you are judged in the end, cannot be relevant in your day to day.  But worrying about potential consequences based on others opinions you only hinder the sincerity in your efforts.  Do acts of kindness, because you have found a way to care for others.  Take back your power, and act like a random act of kindness feels good in the moment, and helps a stranger.

Next Steps

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Relationships are the core of the existence of a Shaman. The relationships you build to create the community within which you live and work. The relationships you build with spirit to allow work to happen in all places.  The relationships you build the with trees, and plants, and animals to assure you are offering properly for each energy’s needs. These are all pieces of the whole.  And each relationship is important.

But how do you deal with changing relationships.  When I completed the West work, I had a strong feeling that I would have to sever some important relationships to me to proceed forward.  And this is a thought that terrified me.  I value all of the relationships I have so much that I would be crushed to lose them.  But I have trusted, and kept moving forward.  Kept following my path, kept doing the work…

About 2 months ago, I got the strong impression that I needed to finish my current learning phase and complete this round of education with my mentor post-haste.  (Note, that is just this round, I intend on continuing on with my mentor for a while longer) So I prompted my Allyu to see if anyone else was willing to push forward with me to complete our North and our East work this year.  And the answers were muddled, but the overall feeling is that everyone agreed it should happen.  I also got the strong impression that I needed to go back and read, in detail, information about my Khuya.  The information I wrote when I first made them.  Almost like an Inventory of them and their history.  And I then realized the change that had occurred.  The relationships that had been severed.

My Khuya were not the same.  They had grown so much as to not even be themselves. I was momentarily struck with fear due to the loss of these spirits that I have such a tight bond with. And almost instantly, they started reconnecting with me.  Their energy is drastically different.  Their personalities have grown more bold.

My existing Khuya have moved into a new state. And they are so excited to move forward.

This weekend, Myself, and 1 other member from my Allyu will be stepping into our North Work.

Connections

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If we look at some basic principles of Qi in Chinese Medicine, you see that the Qi (or energy) that makes the core of you, is a knot of all sorts of energy cords that come from many other places.  It is like you are the central hub and a definition of the crossing points of all of the different energies that make you, you. Basically, you are made of a giant intermingling of energetic cords.

Now, if we take that idea forward, and think about our interactions, to have an interaction with someone, you are actually taking an energetic cord, and trying to energetically make a connection to them.  This can be a positive thing, and it can go bad.  But that is a story for another time.  I have noticed for a very long time that I will see someone, and I feel connected to them.  The only word I have for it is attracted to them.  And I feel that this is where our language breaks down.

When I say attraction, I am not meaning sexual attraction.  No matter what that person looks like, nor how I perceive and judge that appearance, this attraction has nothing to do with it.  It is almost as if I can sense an aspect of who that person is.  An aspect of their essence. And from that brief glimpse of who they are, I feel as if I know something about them, and that something seems to override any visual representation that I take in with my eyes.

This is something that I would like clarity on.  And I would like to offer clarity in a place where neither our language, nor our culture is very clear.

There are several people I have met, mostly women, but also some men, transgender, pangender folks as well.  And it took me a long time to figure out that this wasn’t a physical attraction.  I am seeing that they are a person with whom I could connect.  And when I can trust that connection, without judging it, I can find a soul with whom I can connect.

For example, my family and I were visiting some family-friends in London, England.  We were having dinner, and we very briefly saw one of our friends that had simply been unavailable each time we had been there in the past.  And when I saw her, I instantly felt that connection. This was initially confusing for me.  She is a strong, intelligent and kind woman, and that is the sum of everything I would find attractive in a woman.  But it was so clear to me that the attraction I felt was not about romance.  The longer I thought on this, the idea came to mind, “Best Friend”.  And that was actually a defining moment for me.  I realized that this confusing pull that I have had, that seems to transcend people’s physical appearances, was an energetic connection giving me a clue about the people with whom I could be close to.  To be able to trust, and be 100% authentic with. This was a feeling I was having that talked to people I could trust and truly find friendship in.

Our language supports very few kinds of relationships without paragraphs of explanation. Friend, Romantic, Enemy, None.

If we can look beyond this, we can see all of the various relationships here are: (Like my post about love)

The relationship with your dog.
The relationship with a respected peer.
The relationship with a well spoken professor.
The relationship with your son’s friend.
The relationship with your favorite Oak Tree
The overarching complicated relationship with your extended family.

There are so many I could list that are boldly different, and remarkably and subtly different from the above.

I often mock the creation of new words that can come out of modern culture, but I cannot dis-acknowledge the benefits of words like “Frenemy”.  My kids use this all that time.  And it is a single word that actually takes a very complicated relationship where you are mostly friends, but there is some competition between you, and you regularly have spats that seem quite mean, but when it comes down to it, you would defend that person as a friend….  This single word articulates a complicate relationship.

While we may not yet have the vernacular to describe the complexity of the 90 thousand potential relationships, we can start to acknowledge them.  We can acknowledge, and even converse about the nuances of relationships, and how they are not always a relationship that must be Romantic if you are nice to each other but it is not quite friends.

By acknowledging these, we can start being clear with our intentions about those energy cords we send out in making connections with people.

It can become clear, and perhaps society can see, that if I, as a male, and teaching a female something, does not mean that there is romance even as an idea in the conversation.

Relationships can become more clear when we are transparent from the beginning that our intentions are to be a strong friendship, in a way that is NOT romantic.  And if at some point, those intentions change, be honest about that too.

When we are talking about how to connect better with others, let us start, by being clear with ourselves.

Shadows

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There are so many aspects of myself that I have spent years finding new ways to look around and avoid.  What I have learned so far on this path, can really be summed up to a single act.

Find, acknowledge, accept your own shadows.

What is a shadow?  The definitions are slightly varied here or there, but the core of it is this: A shadow is any aspect of yourself that you avoid.

Need examples?  Some of my shadows I have found are these…

  1. My cruelty
  2. My Ego
  3. My hatred
  4. My anger
  5. My Recklessness

These are aspects of myself that I had avoided for years.  And after spending some really difficult time sitting with those feelings, learning to accept them as part of me, and moving forward, I feel something important has shifted.  My understanding.

I have always run away from the aspect of myself that was cruelty.

But I realized that Cruelty is only one end of that spectrum  The other end is Generosity. And many problems in my life have fallen into line, by simply accepting the balance that swings between Generosity and Cruelty.  Remember, only acknowledging one of the two, leaves you without balance, and out of control.  Accepting the aspect that my value judgements dislike, I have found that the skill I have that makes me so efficient with my cruelty (my tongue, and ability to say exactly the right words to hurt someone) is actually a skill that is equally as strong with Generosity.  I learned that I also have the ability to say exactly the right words that someone needs to hear, to allow themselves to heal.

I have so many shadows. The 5 above are simply the ones that are the loudest, and somewhat more simple to deal with for it.  But there are so many other shadows that overshadow aspects of our lives.  And some are far more profound than others.

This past weekend, I did some hard extremely hard work, and encountered a shadow that I didn’t realize I was holding onto.  When I was 16, I moved out of my parents house.  And there was a physical altercation that was the trigger point for me leaving. The physical altercation did not actually cause this shadow.  It was the fact that while I was ‘facing-off’ with my step-father, my mom was standing over his shoulder, not doing anything.  I completely accept that she was probably terrified.  But that moment, told me that she didn’t care enough about me or my safety, to overcome her fear.  I realized that it put her in almost a paradox, where every direction she felt like she failed.  I left home, because of that.

It didn’t end there though. This past weekend, I re-encountered this experience, again.  This is not the first time I have looked at this shadow, and found a new dark spot.  I felt that deep sadness. It sat right over my heard Chakra, and was a black-hole density of sadness.  I let myself go into that feeling to work through the problem and I cannot tell you the challenge it held for me.  But I came through it.  And I saw things much more clearly.  I saw that I have the ability to cut my caring almost as clean as with a blade.  Just like I felt from my mother that day.  I found that I fear that my kids will one day see that I didn’t care, so I model myself after this “ideal” i have where my efforts can be so forced as to feel in-genuine.  That made me feel sick.  This insidious shadow snuck into the core of who I am, and could have possibly ruined my goal of having my kids remember our time together as happy, and knowing that we could be authentic and true with each other.  Realizing what that one shadow, thatI didn’t even realize I still carried, had such a profound affect on who I currently am.  And how holding on to that memory was such a strong item causing self-sabotage made me realize that I need to look so much deeper to clear the stigma of my shadow self, accept me for me, without the burden of those stigmas, and to grow.

I feel so much lighter, and I feel so ready for the challenge.

Long season after the West Work…

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As we go through the process of learning to be Shamans along the lineage of Peru, we do workshop type weekends to concentrate on different aspects of teachings in the honor of the four directions. We start with South, where we learn about self healing. In the West Work, we learn to confront our own death, and how to work with our own shadows.  I believe that I have explained shadow work on this blog before, and I will go into the confrontation of your own death later.  But what I would like to share today is that I am continuing to learn more about myself on this path, than I had ever imagined.  I am, of course, learning about Shamanism, but much of that comes from understanding myself.  Physically, emotionally, and energetically.  The more work I do, the more I realize that Shamanism can be more psychology than energy.  (But works all the better for being both)

I am learning more about the path I am on, as well as what my path is.  I have known for a while that being a teacher is not the path for me.  I am a healer, I am a Torchbearer.  And while all of the work I have been doing, seemed much like the work of a priest, Hecate kept telling me clearly that I am not a Priest. This is something I have given a lot of thought to.  I feel like this is the work of a Priest, but I am no Priest.  What is it that I am doing as a Torchbearer?

This past week, I had the chance to have dinner with a couple of friends, and as I was discussing this question with Sarenth, He was quick to understand my concern and tell me the thing I didn’t see.

And if I may summarize what he had to say,
A Priest works with a deity or deities, but they are working more closely with the divine, and allowing people to learn from them.
A Minister, is someone that works with a deity or deities, but they take the information from the deit(ies) and teach it to the people.

It comes down to which way the persons energy is facing when they are working to communicate between the divine and the people.

As he was explaining this, I felt that it was truth.  Or at least the truth I needed.  My job is to hear the divine and communicate that to the people.  I am to be facing the people.

Almost simultaneously after Samhain, I understood the benefit I gain from offering and giving aid.  It feels right, and it is what I am to do.  And this while I felt that the West Work was over.  I feel like I have leveled up again, and I am happily sitting in the place of peace, before I start on the next set of work.

It seems that the work that is worth doing, is of the most challenging, yet the most fulfilling once you succeed.