30 Day Gratitude Practice

Gratitude is antidote for almost anything you want to change. Sound wrong? Well, what you focus on, is what you continue to draw to yourself. Mulling over the latest insult from a colleague or the depressing conversation you had with a friend? You’re going to notice more of those things.

Turning you’re thoughts to what you are grateful for is going to change your focus, and draw better experiences to you. Now, I won’t lie, when you’re laying low this is harder to accomplish. However, developing a regular practice, just like your exercise practice or meditation practice pays off. It means when you hit those lows, you have another tool to help you bounce back.

So I am giving gratitude and credit for this post to Kayla over at Fireside Witch, and her YouTube videos at Shakti Shaman. She ran a  contest and I am the lucky recipient of her Gratitude Grows Ritual package. Kayla sent this amazing gift, candle, incense, paper to write what I am grateful for, rose quartz and charcoal. She is amazing, her voice on the videos is soothing and she has great information. You can catch her website here Fireside Witch . Thank you Kayla! I will be starting this on the new moon.

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Who are you listening to?

I was following a conversation on social media (lurking). The writer expressed concern over the tone of our political process. Could this mood of fear and anger be released? Is there an answer ? How do we move forward?

90% of the replies included aspects of “think positive” “embrace love” and “good triumphs.” A small minority felt that while positive thought was a good thing, it needed to be backed up with action, that simply wishing away the “bad things” didn’t make it happen.

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I am in the small minority section. Keeping peace in your heart and compassion in your soul is 100% “a good thing” and not just for your blood pressure. But stopping there is like blessing the spoiled milk in your refrigerator and then drinking it. It’s still going to make you ill. Because it’s spoiled milk.

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This attitude, that if you’re perpetually IN THE LIGHT, that all will be well, ranks right there with my opinion of “do what you love and the money will follow.” You have to make a difference. It’s the same with magic, yes intent is 90% of the work, but there’s that 10% that you have to actually get off your rear-end and do the work. That might mean, networking the heck out of everyone to get the job that you will love, or it might mean fertilizing and weeding the garden you planted or it might mean working at the grass-roots level of a political process to ensure the change you want to see.

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So back to the conversation. There were many thoughtful replies, but there was also a die-hard person who insisted that even talking about this, brought in negative vibrations. This person insisted, in shorter and shorter replies, that anything remotely dark or negative, should be avoided at all costs.

Now, if you’re familiar with pagan circles you know there’s a strong element within most traditions of acknowledging that there is darkness, (not a devil, that is a Christian concept). Period. It exists in many forms. (John Lasher Lamb wrote of archons  for more information see “Not in His Image”)

Shamanism works with energies and spirits, and encountering a dark or angry spirit is just a reality. They exist. But you don’t ignore them and hope they go away. You go to someone who can deal with them. Or you do it yourself.

By the end of the conversation, the die-hard was telling people to ask The Council of Fire and another entity, I don’t remember the name. Because they had given him the instructions and all could benefit from their answers.

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This comes to my second point. Who are you listening to? There’s a ton of channeled information out there, from the Seth Material to Michael to  A Course in Miracles. Not all channeled material is equal or of a high vibration. It’s like your TV, lots of channels, various content.

I surely support each of us on our path, whatever deities we may embrace or compassionate allies may walk with us. But there are tricky energies out there and they can be smooth operators. They’ll tell you what you want to hear and lead you down the garden path. And they’re not all discarnates. We’ve all met a snake-oil salesman in various forms. No different on the spirit plane.

 

Working with ancestors, part I

I was inspired by the recent Guardian Gateway Ancestor Telesummit to work with my ancestors. Obviously, I would like to heal my ancestral line, as much as I can. But, I would also like to work with my ancestors in a positive way, and learn their wisdom.

My biggest obstacle to this is, that there is not a lot of Celtic shamanism in the area where I live. Right now, this is where I am drawn to investigate and hopefully embrace and work with. I have some German and some English ancestry but the majority is Irish, so for now, that’s where I’m concentrating my interest.

Jude Lally, (www.celticsoulcraft.com,) was one of the Telesummit speakers. She creates dolls from felted wool as part of her commitment to the divine feminine and in her talk, she spoke of creating a doll to honor the ancestors. So I took my cue from her and created one for myself.

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Clearly, I am not a crafty person because what I saw in my mind’s eye did not accurately translate into what I made. But, it captures the idea.

It was important to me to incorporate elements of nature, so the form is from my healing tree, and the head is a pine cone. In my vision, I saw a silver spiral coming up from, or down to, the head. My paint job didn’t show up too well, and I wrapped the spiral with silver thread, also very light and not showing up too well.

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The woman in the image had long white flowing hair, and a grey tunic. Her clothes where much more flowing than what I ended up with, but in a way, that’s ok because it sort of reminds me of nun’s habit and there were certainly nuns in my family. Plus, you know “back then” there wasn’t a big fashion craze.

There’s a Claddagh pin I’ve had forever, closing the tunic and a clear quartz crystal gifted to me by a tribe sister.

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This healing hand is from a tee shirt that never quite fit me. Nothing goes to waste! I debated this because it’s not really a Celtic (or English or German) symbol, at least that I know of. But I really liked it and liked the idea of both healing and protection.

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And around her throat is the bracelet that came from Peruvian woman, another gift. This may seem like another odd addition, but a way distant ancestor – a man from the African continent – also showed up for me, and this and the texture of the doll’s hair is to honor that spirit.

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With each element beyond the basic image I was given, I let the matter sit for few days. I never got a “no” on any of these additions, so I felt it was ok to use.

Now, what am I going to do with this beauty?

First, I feel I should honor the sacredness by involving the four elements, so I will carefully bury her (earth) overnight, smudge (air), bless (water) and I’m not sure how to involve fire. But I will figure it out.

My intention is to work and honor ALL the ancestors, those of my blood, those of my spirit and incarnations and those of the very first ancestors, who may not be in human form.

Where this takes me, I’m not sure. This has been a month-long project and one of the very few I will undertake during this Fallow Year. I will post updates.

Gods of Small Things That Make Us Happy

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I have a bone to pick with the phrase “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

This is nothing new on my end, and smarter people than I have tackled this in their blogs. Many blame it on the book and film “The Secret.” It certainly resurrected after that. But I digress.

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A friend told me she felt like a failure because her art hadn’t turned into a viable source of income. Since this was an email conversation, it took longer to express my opinion. But the short version is, just because you love doing something, doesn’t mean you can or should monetize it.

That’s a real short-coming in the American culture – that we need to monetize something to show it’s – or our- worth.

Would she stop creating just because she couldn’t quit her day job to do this full-time? And if she could, would it be as rewarding? That’s a question everyone has to answer who tries to start a business from a hobby they love.

I think the idea is, if you love doing something/creating something/daydreaming etc., it makes the work you do to support that activity, feel less like work.

It’s a shame so many of us feel we have to justify something we love to do, by trying to turn it into a business. For each successful cupcake entrepreneur, there are hundreds of disappointed bakers who couldn’t make it work as a business.

But there are thousands of happy bakers enjoying their creations and sharing them with friends and family.

This is the camp I fall in.

I won’t be quitting my day job, which by the way, I enjoy. It’s highly unlikely I will have some sort of healing or animal communication business. But I am a great resource for my friends and family. Maybe we need to be Gods of Small Things That Make Us Happy, and trust the ripple effect to bring joy and satisfaction to ourselves. And that might be enough.

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A Fallow Year

 

field-196173_960_720I am declaring a Fallow Year.

Several signs pointed me in this direction, including a dream where I had just unplugged my tablet, and the battery was not fully charged. It showed only 43% power.

I know this is true, because despite finally closing on parents house, the last piece in the puzzle to manage since dad died, and mom went to assisted living, I feel really whipped. No amount of positive affirmation is taking root. In fact, I have spent time honoring how crappy I feel.

The sad thing is, I don’t really know how to be fallow. In farming it’s a condition of allowing the soil, the ground, to rejuvenate and replenish after too many harvests. Maybe farmers don’t do this anymore. Crop rotation was something I learned way back in grade school and possibly with chemical fertilizers that’s not done anymore eyeball-17871__180

( looking at YOU corporate farms.)

 

So it was just another sign when my husband went to check on the compost bin and said… nothing had composted over the winter, it was useless.

So back to being fallow.

Right now, simply stating this position is giving me some peace. I am not dropping responsibilities for mom, my job or my home. But, I am recognizing that the time of frenzied activity and worry is past.

First off, I am not planting a garden. How’s that for literal interpretation? I have some large pots we can put annuals in, and I will plant a couple small basil plants. This gives me some beauty in the yard, and less clean up in the fall and next spring.

Second, I can stop timing everything I do.

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Last year I lived in my car – taking dad to treatments , mom to doctors, making sure they had groceries and maintaining their house. Now, I can go back to being a daughter, and visit mom in the assisted living where she gets a lot better care than I could ever give her, in her home.

Perhaps allowing this as a fallow time will restore my intuition and spiritual capacities. That might not be the right word. But both aspects of “me” have been seriously burned out by the past year.

 

 

 

 

Too Much Light…?

 

 

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A friend who has studied shamanism much longer than I, went to another practitioner for help. During the session, the practitioner told my friend that part of her problem, was that she was “shining her light too brightly.”

He left it at that, with no further guidance and I’ve wondered about this since it happened.

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Can you have too much light?  I have an issue with New Age usage of “light” and “light worker.” It’s been used to death by the same people who discredit the ego, to choke off any human emotion that is “less than” a high vibration, and (IMO) to support a dualistic world-view.

But what exactly did this mean? and what guidance or help could have been given? If like attracts like, wouldn’t we attract more light (if you hold this belief?) He implied that she was drawing entities – well, he didn’t say what she might be attracting, I am extrapolating – because she had too much light.

My friend is still going through some rough stuff. She (rhetorically) asked if she was supposed to dim her light? Was she supposed to abandon shamanic studies and practices to “save” her health and emotional well-being? Her frustration is so palpable, and it’s worse because there are physical issues at play as well.

But I wonder too. What did that mean? Is it good practice to leave someone hanging with that question and worry? Is that even a real thing, “too much light?”

As her friend I can only listen and offer sympathy. And hold sacred space for her. As a student myself, I question whether this session was of value – and what does that mean for me as I continue to study and live in a shamanic viewpoint. I personally don’t consider myself a light worker, and with hold judgement as much as possible on labeling. Some things just “are.”

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I wanted so badly to tell her, “I think you should step back from all this because you are thinking over every angle of every person you might what to help, of how you want to teach but worry about doing it right (and not wrong), of how you took on a job that is draining you, and that your body is exhausted from all the physical problems you have at this moment.” And yet, I couldn’t. She strongly feels the Spirits are pushing back at her for what she is trying to do (“shining too brightly”) and blames herself for being unable to accomplish what she wants.

I wish I had the answers and I don’t.

Names and Labels

I belong to some Facebook groups about shamanism

There’s a great deal of information posted in these groups and I’ve learn a lot, particularly from comments shared.

Shamanism has really come forward as a healing modality, and with it has come some territorial issues. There is little argument over the basic tenet that the word “shaman” originated with the Mongolian people, and that indigenous people in South America and the American Southwest had and have, healers with similar skills.

Beyond that, there’s a lot of divergence over what is a shaman today, and who may call themselves “shamanic practitioners”, “shamans” and what is cultural appropriation.

It reminds me of the time when there were territorial spats about Wicca and Witchcraft and who was “more” true to the path.

I am not qualified to weigh in on any of these topics, since I too, am relatively new to the shamanic path, but I am not new to my path, which has wound around a lot of spiritual practices, healing modalities and life in general. So I pretty much lurk and read and learn.

I surely do not with to offend anyone with portraying myself as something I am not, yet people who have put the term “shamanic practitioner” on a business card can receive some pretty nasty remarks.

So what is this about? Are there proprietary issues with using the term “shaman”? Does it need to be trademarked? Is it about keeping a pure lineage? Is it about having to pay a lot of money to receive a certificate from a well-known teacher? or keeping the marketing sharks at bay?

I don’t know. People in the real-life group I participate with have studied with “name” teachers and have humbly shared with those of us who cannot do so. Others share teachings they’ve learned from other places. We offer healing to the community and each of us, in our own way, bring healing to those around us.

Maybe it’s our culture that wants to label everything, so it can be categorized for easy reference. And maybe what we do, really doesn’t have a label.

 

 

 

A less bitter post

Bitterness and being run down, ran through my last post. Sorry there.

So today I want to talk about cursing and soul loss

Your words have power. So do the images you see.

This week, I encountered two versions of this. download 2

 

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In the first instance, cursing – as in cursing someone – I got in the way of someone else’s anger and hostility. It doesn’t matter why or who they really should have directed this at, they directed it at me.

We’ve all been there. People project, they’re scared, whatever. But they lash out and you’re the target. Sometimes you can walk away from this, sometimes it follows you. In my case, at this time, it felt like a dark cloud of stinging bees in my chest.

Now, this is not some Woo Woo thing, this is the power of the spoken word, backed up with emotion. Very high emotion. To the point I felt I was vibrating with it. Since I was at work, and thankfully not operating heavy machinery, i.e., my car, I tried to get myself to ground, to breathe deeply and to let go.

If you’ve been involved in any type of body work: yoga, reiki, chi qong, you know that breathing correctly, fully and deeply, is very important part of getting centered and being in a place to let go. In other words, release the fight or flight feeling.

Now, I’m fully aware of all the right things to do, but I am blessed to have a shamanic community to reach out to, and so I did. I texted Lisa, and she sent healing, calm energy. Between her energy help, and my practices, I could function at work within a short time.

What if I had not done this?

I would have sat with this energy-that-did-not-belong, all day, all by myself, reliving the words, the feelings, what I should have said, blah blah blah. And even though I was pretty ok after a short time, for sure the experience stung. It was misplaced, I did not react or respond in kind, but it still had a bad effect. And this is what cursing is. You’re sitting with energy that was flung (or taken or however it came to you) at you and IT IS NOT YOURS. Now, imagine being so scattered by the emotions that you get behind the wheel of a car. This is recipe for an accident. See? curse.

The second incident – soul- loss, happened to a friend.

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He saw an online petition to stop animal cruelty, and when he clicked, a video of two young kids torturing and killing a dog, played. The adults filming were laughing and egging them on. (For the record, this was a FB video that a rescue group was trying to find the source of, to arrest the people involved, however, that was not clear on the site.)

Anyway, my friend experienced soul-loss. He was so deeply affected by the images that he could not get himself together. He couldn’t get warm, he couldn’t eat. He was deeply distressed. He also has had a lot training, and couldn’t overcome this by himself. He did ritual with his own rescue dog, to honor the soul of the dog in the video, but he was hurting.

He also reached out, to our group and to other practitioners he as worked with.

So, this is a cautionary post. Watch how you feel. Check in with yourself, especially if you spend time on social media or watching the news. What you see and hear does affect you – it affects your cells as well as your emotional well-being.

There are a zillion awesome and loving souls out there, but it only takes a couple zingers to send you into a place you don’t want to be. Find your center, find a community and be well.

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“The Life Changing Magic…”

I went through the self-help book craze awhile ago, like in my forties. Then a couple weeks ago a friend posted this title on her FB page.

It is a very irreverent look at how good, responsible people get so caught up in other peoples’ perceived obligations (to those other people), that their own lives are shunted to the side, or worse, lost altogether.

Read an excerpt

I have been feelng under-water with my life. The past 18 months have been wrapped up in parental care and the bureaucracy that follows death. One of the tasks is to sell my parent’s home to ensure funds for mom’s care.

I am one of three kids. Like so many parents did, they tagged each of us with what they thought was our dominate trait. The Smart One, The Funny One and The Responsible One.

Guess which one I am?

I didn’t actually appreciate having to clean out a large house (filled a 5 ton dumpster) or manage mom’s care with only my husband to help. I did however get a lot of neat excuses.

“It’s not possible” to the request to come home and help me move mom.

“oh dear” to the night I spent in the ER with mom

“…..” That’s a zero response after I called out The Funny One on his promises, that he didn’t keep – to mom, not to me.

I read the book for the laughs. But guess what? I actually found some useful information including a flow chart and several diagrams.

THANK YOU SARAH! I keep this in my purse.

What it boils down to, is you only have so many cares (replace with F word) to give in a day – or a lifetime. Those cares represent time, money and emotions.

Think about that. How much emotion or time or money can you give to other people’s stuff? It depends right? And how guilty should you feel when you say no? Answer: You should never feel guilty about saying “no.” But we do. I do.

So it is all about prioritizing what YOU can afford to care about.

This was the value for me: I found a way to draw a line in the sand, without equivocation or backing down. Did I still have to do all the work myself? Yes. Did I have to roll over be nice about it? No. I wasn’t an asshole about it, although The Funny One didn’t think so, but The Funny One is the one with his crap still in the house-that-is-listed-for-sale.

Is this related to shamanism? Yes, in the sense that we all have to reclaim our personal power before we can attempt to help others. Yes, because I have ALWAYS had problems with boundaries and it ended up either with shame (“good girls are not selfish. You are selfish for not doing as I ask”) or with me in a simmering passive/aggressive mode.

And I don’t like either behavior.

So, New Year, new attitude.

 

Do pets grieve?

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A friend emailed me after her much-loved dog had crossed.

“Do the other dogs miss her?” she asked.

I thought about this for awhile, because, you know, death and grieving don’t really have words. They are States of Being. And I wanted to honor those States of Being. I went to my guides for information.

I told her that at this time*, I believe that dogs live in the present moment. They are very much aware of “now.” And in her household, her other dogs could still smell Lily, but they could not see her physical presence. When I checked in on them about this, they expressed confusion. “Lily is not here, but we smell Lily.”

My friend was disappointed, because of course she was heartbroken over Lily’s death. She wanted confirmation that this loss was also felt by the other dogs in her house.

“They will be able to see Lily when she is present in spirit-form,” I told her. You’ve seen dogs and cats just stare off at something, they have a more refined set senses than we do. So for them, it is not the same emotional trauma. They understand loss, as in “not here” but they do not dwell on that.

This is a tough subject – well, death is always so, in our culture – but with pets, we really want to imprint human characteristics on them. Believe me, I do it all the time. In many ways, they are so much more advanced (spiritually) than we give them credit for.

I wanted to reassure my friend that everything and everyone was ok, (they were and so is her beloved pet in spirit), and that she shouldn’t judge her other pets’ behavior based on her very raw emotions.

  • This is my disclaimer: My beliefs are always evolving. This is what I believe now, based on my experience up to now. Someone else’s experience may be very different, so please honor everyone’s perspective.