The Magic of Awe and Wonder

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It’s hard to be depressed and anxious when you’re in awe and wonder and wonder is a verb as well as a noun. Not much surprises me anymore but I’m often in a state of amazement. I used to be surprised by the learning curves in life that came along which didn’t fit into my beliefs at the time. My reaction early on began to lose its punch as I accumulated more life experiences… good and bad. I became jaded to what I often saw play out on a basic, fallible human level. My surprise gradually became indifference as my idealism lost touch with the reality of what human nature and the world around me was actually capable of.

It’s at this point of wearing down the psyche that so many find themselves in a state of depression and anxiety, the two culprits at the core of almost every mental health issue we face from PTSD, OCD, Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia to name a few. The national U.S. statistics claim 34 % of the general population suffers from these two problems but I’m hard-pressed given my own observations, to believe the actual number isn’t much higher. There’s a lot still hidden in the closet because so many suffer in silence.

A multitude of factors exist which contribute to our angst and feeling of hopelessness. A growing number of people are coming to the realization that our food sources play a much bigger role than we ever imagined. We can’t “re-design” Nature and not expect consequences. It’s simply cause and effect after all. We also can’t pollute and ravage our environment without biting the hand that feeds us, gives us air to breathe and provides the water we drink.

Throw in government corruption, the economy, the dark side of the pharmaceutical industry, etc. on top of it as well and it can be overwhelming for anyone. With all these factors looming menacingly over us, it’s not hard to understand why it’s easy to lose sight of an even more expansive picture. Complacency and indifference are protective mechanisms that don’t solve anything. They only allow it all to continue as the status quo.

There are also genetic predispositions many of us may have to these states of lower vibration and yet even this has a much broader picture attached to it which may very well be rooted in our ancestors. Issues they may have had can roll down through the generations unless they’re recognized and addressed accordingly.

It’s difficult to live down here among all these factors in our everyday lives and not become more than a witness to it all but great beauty also exists among the darkness. It’s easy to forget this is the much smaller picture compared to all that’s truly out there. At one point in my life years ago, I began to see the vision of what my future could look like in this regard. I had witnessed many of my own extended family members, not to mention friends and acquaintances struggle and succumb to the pain of serious depression and anxiety and all that entails and there were times I felt myself beginning to slide down that same, slippery slope.

Whether by my innate nature and my own purpose here or not, I was able to grow into a higher, wider picture of things and I’m convinced that’s what saved me. My curiosity was my vehicle for hope and of escape. Stepping outside our comfort zones creates a lot of fear in people. In reality, they’re nothing more than boxes and they come in all sizes. They also become limitations when we aren’t willing to push ourselves beyond them.

The only way to gain clarity in a situation is to shift our perspective to “empower” ourselves to view it from a bigger picture. EVERYTHING is connected in some way so “when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Staying stuck is a human condition but there’s actually a MUCH richer part of each of us that is more expansive and aware than many people realize. Just because our linear brains may not remember this doesn’t mean that inner wisdom doesn’t exist but we have to get curious enough to be willing to look for it. It’s always been confoundingly hard to wrap my mind around the boredom of having no curiosity about life and oneself. Where does the wonderment of our childhood go? It was there at one time.

INTENT and DESIRE are the first stepping stones to waking that part of ourselves up. This is precisely what people refer to as an “Awakening”… a “Spiritual Awakening”. Our thoughts have much more power than many realize. Taking our curiosity beyond our everyday lives and looking out into the world surrounding that… the Natural World… the Cosmos… and inward as well to the science of our own bodies is a good place to begin. These are the places of true magic where miracles take place all the time. It just doesn’t look like a rabbit being pulled out of a hat. It looks more like a rabbit hole into a place of wonder and awe and I’m here to tell you, it’s more real than one can initially imagine. The good news is its open to anyone who seeks it with sincerity.

Part of the amazement is that the Universe in its vast wisdom, uses synchronicity to guide us. We just have to have the courage and desire to pay attention to the signs and to trust our own instincts. They’re our gift and our personal radar and the more we use them, the stronger they become. It extends far beyond our linear intellect into our hearts and our gut instincts, where the real wisdom lies beyond the knowledge. It begins with baby-steps… “light-bulb moments” that flow in with a trickle and gradually become a river of awareness and perceptive magic

Children are born with natural sense of awe and wonder. One great way to open ourselves up is to simply sit and watch children play or better yet… play with them. Because they have more recently been exposed to what lies beyond here, they’re more in touch than adults with what’s actually possible. They don’t know things “can’t be done” and therefore, they approach life with open-minded enthusiasm and joy. Never underestimate the profundity of simplicity.

Tribal, indigenous cultures live in ways that also often don’t think in terms of what modern culture considers “impossible” either. Up through time, we still carry that same cellular wisdom but we have to tap back into it. It’s in our DNA.

Our sentient Natural World is our other profound teacher. Spend time with it. Closely observe it… the trees… the water… the wildlife… the earth beneath your feet and all the life teaming within and without it… microcosm/ macrocosm. It’s creativity at its best and the finite way our ecology is set up to work in concert is both humbling and profound. The good news is its right at our fingertips. All we have to do is pay attention!

 We all came here with natural imaginations and creative energy which gradually grew weaker as more tough life experiences come along. We have to push beyond ourselves and our rigid beliefs to “re-member” and re-embrace that and open up to the possibilities which have always existed and are just waiting to be discovered. That has never changed.

                                        Get Curious… Wonder… Remember…

Framing Mental Health Within the Shamanic Experience

????????????????????????????????????????My education on this concept initially came from my own personal experiences and then began to expand further as I worked with shamen in other cultures and heard other people’s stories. This was a journey on which I was half led and half thrust into and I can assure you… it wasn’t for the faint of heart!
I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity about life from a very young age and as those around me went about their own lives and experiences each day, I spent much of my time with my nose pressed up against the window of the universe, looking to see what else was out there. I’ve now come to believe I was simply answering the call of my own DNA and my cellular memory in an awakening to who I authentically am and my purpose here which culminated from many lifetimes as a shaman before this one.

I’ve always had gifts beyond the ordinary senses (many people do) but in 2000 as I began my formal training in earnest in the field of energy healing, something else began to develop for me as well. From my studies and some experiential travels which included natural healing concepts in numerous ancient and distant societies… Native American… Tibetan… Japanese… Mayan… African… Huichol… Peruvian… Mongolian… Australian Aboriginal… I noticed numerous common threads from each one.

All had a higher awareness and wisdom expressed through their own specific cultures and yet they very similar in their effect even though there had been no contact between these tribal communities during that initial period. They were able to access information beyond their ordinary realities from a collective source. They were also rooted in their own version of shamanism which by its very definition, is practiced with a very strong connection to the Natural World as well as through accessing realities which exist beyond this one.

When I first learned about shamanism about 38 years ago, it woke something up in me… a passion and deep “knowing” I’d never had before and which has only expanded through the years. I began to feel like the puzzle piece that had just found the puzzle I fit in. I was “home”. What was also fascinating was the more deeply I felt connected to this way of “being”, the more I began to have experiences well outside what most consider normal, including other healers.

Normal is nothing more than a choice on the dial of a washing machine… especially for me! With each increasing experience I found myself in which took me farther and farther out of my realm of reference, I was forced to look for the explanations and solutions myself but also very thankfully, with an array of support from a small circle of friends and healers who “got” it.

At the base of my formal study in this field is physics. I’m a person who has a very hard time accepting something without understanding the “why” and “how” of it but I’ve always been an “open-minded skeptic”. I came to understand that every single thing is connected… spiritually… mentally… emotionally… physically… and physics is the vehicle it all rides on. This also includes shamanism.

What does this all have to do with the subject of mental health you may be wondering? Belief systems are very powerful… enough so to cause a psychotic break from (a) reality when we’re exposed to something too far outside our immediate comprehension. I have worked with many people… particularly young adults… who possess some astounding gifts of “sight” beyond the usual.

I recognize them energetically often before they even open their mouths to speak. Although they have different, unique talents and individual personalities, there’s also a commonality among them as well. They’re very bright… creative… empathic… compassionate… intuitive… independent thinkers and old souls who have more often than not been diagnosed with multiple mental health labels. Many have been drugged and sent through the mental health system to no avail but there’s a glaring aspect of mental health support missing for those who are actually experiencing things the “system” can’t explain.

Insurance companies don’t recognize this either and so even the professional who may have knowledge of this type of experience, can’t get insurance to pay for any treatment without giving the issue an existing diagnosis even when it’s not correct. WE need a call for change in how we react to, diagnose and treat people who may very well be going through much more of a spiritual awakening and much less of a brain malfunction. It can create poor self-esteem, fear, terror and a heaping amount of anxiety… that seed at the root of many if not all of the mental health issues.

I developed PTSD directly caused by my shamanic experiences and a few psychotic episodes until I learned how to stop them. It took a number of years and a dogged determination to learn to first step beyond the fear, overcome it, gain the clarity to understand what and why it was happening, learn to protect myself on an energetic level, step fully into my position and power as a shamanic healer and finally to assist, support and empower others.

There’s always a much wider, universal view of things… We do ourselves an injustice not to be aware and willing to look beyond the initial judgments from ourselves and others about what may not be understood and to go further to the truth of what actually is. Everyone benefits from compassion and support. It’s not about necessarily agreeing or understanding but simply stepping back from the judgment and lack of kindness that seems to creep forward when we can’t wrap our own perspectives around something. We truly don’t know what we don’t know until we learn it and we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge.

There is a growing interest in shamanism. It’s referenced in the media everywhere. Classes, workshops and books are popping up in growing numbers. I personally consider it disrespectful to take a course and consider oneself a shaman. Shamanism is passed down verbally and experientially from shaman to apprentice or through a near-death experience or some similar, extreme action. Shamanic energy is recognized by those who also feel a strong tie to it as I did. WE “recognize” it in each other. There are specific reasons for that. It can be utilized by everyone though in ways which benefit our own personal growth as well as that of the collective.

Our planet has been harmed greatly and as mankind has continued to destroy the hand that literally feeds it, we’ve come to a point where we’re awakening and yearning for wholeness again in increasing numbers. That equates at the most basic level, back to our connection with our Earth and ALL life… that basic wisdom that the ancients knew so well.

Get Curious … Remember …

A Bigger Universal Perspective… Think Like a Hawk

Imagine yourself sitting on the ground. You lift up a large stone & there before you exposed for your observation are a myriad of smaller life forms… bugs, worms, snails, slugs & the like… all busily…even frenetically going about their business of living their lives in their earthly environment. The closer you look, the more you tap into how each species performs their tasks for survival as well as how they interact with each other in a more communal way.
Now picture yourself as a hawk… gliding along on the wind currents… ever aware & observant from high above all that is going on below. The hawk is capable of seeing exactly what it needs to see from great distances. It doesn’t need to tune into all the details… only those which support its own life & true survival.
Nature is a wonderful & wise teacher… microcosm/ macrocosm. When we fallible humans get caught up in the “emotionality” of a situation, it then becomes very difficult to access it with the clarity needed to find a viable solution. “Emotion” is about feeling… something we need to be able to connect with to be healthy & well-rounded. It comes from a natural tendency & need to give & receive. “Emotionality” on the other hand, is about drama & being triggered into a reaction to something that has wounded us prior to that. Operating from that vantage point never serves us well so it’s important to recognize the difference.
If we can learn to mentally stand back out of the chaos that so often permeates life & observe it from a more Universal vantage point, we automatically give ourselves the gift of seeing any given situation with much more clarity & truth. It also allows us to see a new perspective in relation to the level of importance we tend to assign things out of misplaced emotion, something by the way… the animal kingdom never does. What may have appeared to be much more important when we’re right in the middle of it often is merely a drop in the bucket when we consider the bigger picture, especially when we can let go of our fear & ego & see it for what is really is.
That my friends, is a recipe for true freedom & peace of mind & when all else fails, just remember… this too shall pass.

Get Curious… Remember…

There Are Reasons and There Are Excuses…

Whenever I hear someone say… “Yes… but…” I automatically realize that person has no intention of changing their mind on that particular subject. From that point on, the wall goes up & the open-minded listening ceases to exist.

At the end of the day, every single one of us has the power to be our own jail-keeper… or not. Even a prisoner in shackles has the ability to choose his attitude & our thoughts absolutely create our realities. I remember times in my own life as a still-dependent kid when I was (op)pressed at such a level that I would say to myself… “You may be able to control what I do & where I go but you will NEVER control my thoughts! Nobody can take that from me.” Survival…

Every moment we have choices and the cause & effect of those choices puts us squarely where we find ourselves at any given time. This is by a much bigger design and unless we can sincerely own our own stuff, we remain stuck in an endless cycle of dysfunction. The requirement for breaking free is insisting our egos take a backseat.

There will always be reasons for everything & as inconvenient & untidy as it can sometimes be, there’s often more than one for any given issue. Humans tend to prefer neat, tidy, black & white packages but the world we live in is a spectrum of shades of gray… always. This is where the realist & the idealist part ways. In the end though, it’s a lot less stress to lean toward being realistic because we can waste a lot of valuable time sitting there staring at a rock and wishing it was a flower. Sadly, some people waste a lifetime that way.

The definition of a “reason” is a judgment of what is right, practical or possible; in essence, common sense. An “excuse” is defined as a release from a duty; an attempt to lesson blame. I’ve always found the TRUTH lies somewhere in the middle each time which requires us to first look at our part in it, own it, learn from it & then let go of the rest. The ONLY thing we really have control over is ourselves. It is & always will be an inside job!

 

                                                                             

                                                                                            GET CURIOUS… REMEMBER…

We First Have to Recognize Who We Aren’t In the Process of Discovering Who We Really Are

Face painted like earth

We’re birthed into this world as perfect beings coming into our bodies & respective lives to learn the lessons we’ve chosen to learn in order to continue our personal & spiritual growth. Upon our arrival, a “veil” covers our memories of where we just came from & who we truly are.

We then become human “works-in-progress” & embark on our individual studies at the “University of Life” whether we know it or not. The tough part is by our very nature, we don’t learn when things are easy & going splendidly.

When life becomes hard however, it tends to humble us & we’re better able to look beyond our egos & go within ourselves. We often develop a sense of longing for a connection to something much bigger than we are. The greater the pain, the bigger the lesson & some of us seem to think we need to learn things the hard way (just another limiting belief).

Universal God/ Goddess energy is very real & with it comes a great amount of Wisdom. Knowledge feeds our brains as we learn on a linear level but Wisdom must be earned by experience… much harder & but also infinitely more rewarding. The key is learning to be aware enough to recognize it when it crosses our paths. We have to learn to live in a more conscious way.

It’s easy to unconsciously accept what we’re told as innocent children growing up… by our parents & families… our extended community… our peers we want to fit in with. At those young ages, our survival depends on others. We gradually begin to believe our illnesses, issues, habits, belief systems, etc. are all simply part of who we are. In actuality though, nothing could be further from the Truth! They’re nothing more than lessons put in front of us to teach us something. Once the lesson is learned, it’s no longer necessary to have it in our lives & as a healer, I routinely see “miracles” occur. It’s about getting to the CAUSE… not trying to put a band-aid on the symptom.

To recognize & get beyond this, we each have to get curious enough to seek our own, individual truths. As well-meaning as others in our lives may have been, nobody has the right to decide another person’s path for them… NO ONE! Divine Free Will is our own gift & it exists for a reason.

When you take time to concertedly ponder it, just how often do you find yourself “tucking in” what you say or do to avoid making waves in an effort to keep the peace? Or maybe you fear being judged, ridiculed or shamed? Do you ever feel you’re being loved “in spite” of who you are… not “because” of who you are? These types of things are precisely the “in-authentic” issues that not only feel awful but also aren’t serving us in a Higher Way.

How do we break free of these limitations? PERCEPTION is the first place to begin. If 10 people stood in the same place at the same time & had the same experience, all 10 of them could & would likely have 10 different opinions & descriptions. Each of them would be basing their thinking on their own, individual, past experiences which formed the way they see the world they live in.

Soooo… reality is actually only a personal matter & another person’s opinion is just that… THEIR opinion… not the last word! It takes courage & effort to look honestly at ourselves & learn to recognize what doesn’t feel good or positive about ourselves. Those things either aren’t authentically us or they’re things we need to look at & change. Either way, it’s something we have to do to grow & expand. If it isn’t good for us, it ultimately isn’t good for anyone or anything else either.

I’ve learned that TRUE Freedom is an inside job. We can’t control what’s coming at us on an on-going, daily basis. The key is learning to control how we react to it & not giving our Power away to someone else’s idea of what we should or shouldn’t be.

There’s no greater joy than living our own lives in a sincere way that feeds us on deeper levels & by surrounding ourselves with situations & people who see, love & value us for who we are. At the core of every human being is the innate need to be valued for taking up space in this world & to be part of a bigger “community” of Love & Support. It’s what gives us our humanity, joy & compassion & without it, we become disabled in sharing our gifts, talents & Wisdom with others.

                                           GET CURIOUS… REMEMBER…

Fear & Limitation

“Hang on tight… You never know what might happen if you let go” …. Brian Andreas
What are you afraid of…? I mean what REALLY scares you? You can’t count anything you might worry could happen to a loved one… this one is just about you and only you. Have you ever really thought about it or ask someone you’re close to about theirs? You may be surprised at the answer.
Each year I try to pick something that “scares the hell out of me” and I do it anyway. I’m never short on subject matter! Although this may conjure up visions of possibly jumping out of an airplane 2500 ft. above the ground, many of my own, personal roadblocks have tended to revolve much more around that “P”-word most of us are likely more intimately acquainted with than we’d like…. “procrastination”. Having experienced both of the above types of fear numerous times, I found the fear of not meeting expectations… mine or someone else’s… MUCH more frightening than sky-diving!
I eventually came to understand just how much of a limitation FEAR plays in our lives… right down to the small, seemingly insignificant ones. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what its true purpose really is. Despite its intended design which is to keep us alive, it’s been heavily over-used….
On a trip I took to Yelapa, Mx. A few years ago for a yearly sacred, women’s retreat I have been participating in, I was particularly aware and often amazed at the amount of fear I witnessed in many of the participants. This is a very small, fishing village that can’t be accessed except by boat. Although quite comfortable, our rooms or palapas were made of thatched palm leaves for the roofs and had no walls or glass windows… quite rustic & open to the jungle life except for mosquito netting around our beds..
For someone like myself, who feels most at home in nature and the trees, going to sleep each night to the sounds of the secadas and other vibrating insects, in unison with the rhythm of the waves lapping against the rocks on the beaches only yards away, always sing to my strong shamanic connection to the earth. Waking up each morning to the sounds of the jungle and the songbirds coming to life again to start a new day absolutely fills me with gratitude for the gift that it all truly is. That’s MY perspective anyway…
The first day begins with a quick overview of some interesting local facts about the indigenous culture there and a few cautionary suggestions for avoiding bites or stings from some of the critters that call the area home, one being scorpions. The point is always made though, that the actual incidences of this happening are pretty small as long as they know to be aware.
Out of the 10 women who came on this particular trip to experience the adventure and connection outside their normal comfort zone, many were very nervous about the scorpions and other wildlife, some were afraid of what might be in the water or climbing out of a small boat in choppy water, etc. but the one who stood out the most was a woman who was petrified of heights & trees!
Of all the palapas, she was assigned the one with the best view at the edge of a beautiful canyon and right in front of an ancient, enormous banyan tree. I could feel the energy coming from it as I stood there gazing in admiration and feeling a little envious of her good-fortune at being able to sleep there.
The next morning, as we all gathered for breakfast, I was surprised to see this same woman walk through the kitchen door, her puffy, red eyes belying the fact she hadn’t slept a wink all night. We agreed that a healing session might be in order and later that day as we began working in energy, she explained to me that she had always had a deep-seated fear of trees along with a lengthy list of other phobias. We eventually uncovered the reason for her fear of trees, which she explained was based on the worry they could fall over on her.
She spoke about being raised in a military family, the oldest of four kids. Their lifestyle required frequent moves which meant she had to continually uproot her life, leave her friends behind and begin again…over and over.
Because emotional expression was neither modeled nor encouraged by her stoic parents, her normal feelings over all this went unaddressed. As the oldest, she just naturally assumed the responsibility of watching out for her younger siblings, which left her with little time for her own self-nurturing.
As I worked on her, I suddenly felt and saw the connection. “It’s not the tree you’re afraid of.” I told her. “It’s the fear that the “roots” will give way and it will topple.” That was where her fear of it falling came from! “Roots” are what she never could seem to hold onto throughout her childhood & even at times in her adult life as well. Never being able to stay in one spot long enough to feel safe and connected had taken its toll. We worked together to release that belief and incorrect fear which in turn gave her new insight.
The next morning she walked with a smile on her face and a much different and more empowered look and attitude. She said she was amazed at how peacefully she had slept throughout the night… right in front of that beautiful old tree elder.
But the news she was most excited to share was that as she was awakening, she opened her eyes and looked straight at the tree. There in front of it, she clearly saw a very old, aboriginal man. He said nothing but looked at her and smiled.
With a catch of emotion in her voice, she said she knew he was there to tell her she had done good work. I explained that he was one of her guides and I pointed out to her, if she had not been able to step out of the fear, she wouldn’t have had the clarity to be able to see him and the gift he gave her of support & wisdom.
As the week progressed we worked to recognize where each fear became locked in and with a concerted effort of support from everyone there, she was able to empower herself to overcome them…one at a time. The shift in her entire being was palatable by the end of the trip and it was a true inspiration and lesson to everyone there.
She had to come to truly understand at a deeper level that because she saw something as scary didn’t mean everyone else did. It wasn’t the “thing” that changed…only her perception of it. Finally gaining the courage & support to actually face them set her free or put her well on her way. Our imagination is often much worse than the reality of a given situation.
GET CURIOUS… BE COURAGEOUS… REMEMBER