This is an ongoing US and global project to help enthusiasts, scholars, practitioners, and curious parties learn more about shamanic living in a contemporary culture. The space here is devoted to sharing info, experiences and opinions about all forms of shamanic expression covering shamanism's multiple permutations. Among subjects explored are traditions, techniques, insights, definitions, events, artists, authors, and creativity. You are invited to draw from your own experiences and contribute.

What is a SHAMAN?

MAYAN: "a technichian of the Holy, a lover of the Sacred." CELTIC: "Empower the people...by changing the way we think." MEXICAN APACHE: "Someone who has simply learned to give freely of themselves..." AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL: "...a teacher or healer, a wisdom keeper of knowledge... (who) takes people to a door and encourages them to enter." W. AFRICAN DIAGRA: "views every event in life within a spiritual context." HAWAIIAN: "...human bridges to the spiritual world and its laws and the material world and its trials..." QUECHUA INDIAN: "embodies all experience." AMAZON: "...willing to engage the forces of the Universe...in a beneficial end for self, people, and for life in general."

-- from Travelers, Magicians and Shamans (Danny Paradise)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Healing shamanically my own body & retrieving energy

Burn out —Here I was again, I could recognize the signals; the message my body was sending to me was crystal clear. Last Wednesday night, during our conference call, I was in so much physical pain that I could barely follow the conversation. My eyes were closed. I tried to survive the horrible headaches that had been torturing me for two days. My lower back was totally blocked; I could barely walk.

It had started the previous Friday. I had arrived at our gathering on Saturday morning totally exhausted. Then I had spent most of the WE in another reality, terribly alert and present, but in-between two worlds to say the least. My back pain had disappeared. I was tired but thoroughly happy. I felt deeply moved, as if something deep had started shifted that I could not express. Then Monday came. 15 hour-work day. On Tuesday, my back was badly hearting again. On Wednesday, I could no longer move.

So here I was, Wednesday night. After our conference call was done, I decided to try a relaxation / visualization / journey… I was not exactly sure. Robin had advised me to talk to my muscles so I was ready to do that. As soon as I started, I knew that the shaman in me had taken control of the situation. Part of my body was elevated – a layer of it, I am not sure – but I could feel and see another part (inert and very heavy, unable to move) on the bed. I called the tree spirits and they elegantly reached out with their branches, enveloping my body as if they were loving arms. Thanks guys! Then a shaman started the healing, smudging, breathing, sucking up and spiting out the pain, waving leaves around, putting stones on my body, hands on… all those things that I have started developing step by step in my first healing sessions with the people who have started to come to me. And I had no doubt: that shaman was me. I was healing my own body or the interior of the envelope which had been elevated and I was also that third entity that was still lying on my bed! When I realized what was going on, I told my mind that if she had any comment, she would be welcome to make them afterwards and, poor thing, she kept quite.

I have no idea how long this lasted but when I stood up, not only I could walk normally but I could no longer feel any pain on my back and in my head! The next few days, I continued to work an average of 12-hour a day on a laptop – not the wisest thing to do but I don’t really have a choice here. So some pain came back and I felt more tensions in my higher back than I usually do but I have been able to continue functioning with very limited pain and it is now almost entirely gone. I even bike to the office. At night, before going to sleep, I give my body a small healing, putting some leaves on my lower back and it helps – note that in the “real” world, I don’t do any of that, it is still only “imagination” or “vizualization” but it works!

The last time I had a similar episode with my lower back (last July), I was blocked on my bed for three days, unable to move and it had taken two different persons to work on my body with different techniques for several days! The people who saw me at pain with my back last week and have known about my previous episode have asked me for the name of the miraculous doctor who has healed me so fast!

Retrieving energy –

That same Wednesday night, during the conference call, Robin talked about what she called – if I am not mistaken – energy retrieval. So, after the healing séance, after 1/3 of my body had re-integrated the portion that was lying on my bed and the shaman (the other 1/3 part) had got back in me, I visualized one piece of the non-physical stuff that my blocked back was telling me about. I placed it on my left side and, following what I remembered of Robin’s explanations, I followed it while it slowly moved in a half circle to my left, behind me and then to my right (I don’t remember if, in Robin’s story, the half circle was passing in front of her or behind her but that’s the way it happened with me). I must say that I did not move it myself. I had to wait for it to move at its own pace and I just followed very attentively. An interesting component of what happened also is that before the “thing” (the situation I was visualizing) started moving, my body got elevated again. But that time, it was not as if a part of my body was elevated and I could see an inanimate part of it on the bed, the whole “me” got elevated. When the process was done, my body was gently put down again on the bed (I would never forget the sensation, they did it so gently!). It is too soon for me to say anything about what has “really” changed in the situation I have visualized. But there are certainly signs of change and I know that something has shifted in my way of approaching it.

So… that same night, I decided that the last component on which I had to work (it was also among the assignments given by my dear teacher!) was: how to shapeshift time! A few weeks before, I had had to shamanically open doors to transform an “impossible job” into a “possible one” (at least I had tried to do something and it had worked: there had been substantial transformations, some of them quite unpredictable). Now, how was I supposed to shapeshift time? Believe it or not, the first image that came to me was an enormous clock and I bravely started to extend the distance between the minutes marked on the clock dial (in my imagination, I was a very little character climbing the enormous clock!). If it has changed anything, it is my perception of time. No doubt about it. I still work a lot but my productivity has been rising (so hopefully I will be able to progressively reduce my working hours) and, even more important, during my four days at work, I am now able to take a real good break to make sure that I am still connected, to take some fresh air and look at the trees... even though it seems crazy if I look at what I still have to do before the end of the day. My “rational” mind would say that I am doing exactly the opposite of what I should do in such circumstances: work-work! During the three other days of the week, I have been able again to create time when I don’t “do” anything; something I was really missing.

So… I took one of the books of Hafiz poems that I have and it opened on these lines:

The body a tree.
God a wind.

When He moves me like this,
Like this,

Angels bump heads with each other
Gathering beneath my cheeks,
Holding their wine

Catching the brilliant tear,



Robin Rice said...

This is powerful self work. We must be able to be our own shamans before we can be anyone else's. While it is difficult to be clear with ourselves, this work must be refined. Shapeshifting time is a rare quality and we must all cultivate it in this world. Time is not finite. Another post on that to come soon. Hugs to all...

Night Sings said...

Magnificent experiences and lovely piece by Hafiz. I would like to try the techniques you describe. As a fellow office-rat frequently under the gun, it seems that routine gets in the way and the desire to be efficient and not make a mistake too. Seems like a lot to ask of the self. Did you block those tendencies out?

Allowing the light said...

I don't think that I really blocked anything out. For one, I was in such physical pain but at the meantime so aware of where the pain was coming from and what it was telling me... so unwilling also to just get overwhelmed and drowned... that I was ready for anything.
I also feel that something has been gradually shifting in me during our last WE and since then and, as a consequence, I have probably been leaving more space for the shaman in me to interfere. When I started the apprenticeship, I was frustrated (and at some point even resentful) because I had to work and spend most of my time on things that had nothing to do with shamanism or other things I wanted to do. But Robin has regularly invited me to live that very life shamanically. And I am doing more of that now, keeping more connected, taking time (it can be only a few moments) to reconnect during the day if necessary, starting living shamanically every bit of what is my life now not any dreamed future (I could not tell what I would like it to be anyway) but today, because this is the only thing I have. So... I don't know if I am answering your question but I feel that all of that is helping me being more open to what the light is ready to do and can do and is doing already to transform my life and heal my body.

Truth on the Wind said...

Thank you ATL for sharing such an amazing experience! Insofar as stretching time, when faced with overwhelming tasks which we perceive can never be accomplished in the time we think we have, replace that thought pattern with the mantra, "It's already done, it's already done, it's already done." From first hand experience, bless you Robin, it truly works! Using it as we speak :-)

Peace to all