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)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Shamanic openings or how to work with the impossible

March 4 -- Here I was again, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, paralyzed... All those feelings had become so familiar since my burn out... The job that was supposed to support me financially during my transition -- and just that! -- not only was taking way too much of my time and energy (I so often felt so frustrated for not having enough time to do what I really wanted to do!) but was putting me under so much stress that I could barely function. To be frank, that very day, I was ready to quit; I even started searching on the net if I could find translations to do or any other kind of job that would be less stressful for me.

Then I talked to Robin and she said something like: wait a minute you are functioning as if this reality was not also your shamanic reality, why don't you look at that through your shamanic lens first? You say it is an impossible job you are asked to do, this is exactly what you will have to do as a shaman, you will have to look at the impossible and ask: how do I work with you? what can I do?... And I thought: "touchée". This is my jungle exercise. This is what I am supposed to work with right now.

So, after I talked with Robin, I prepared myself to journey and do something that was supposed to be a shamanic opening in my job situation (as Robin said, I am working on a portal -- a series of websites/online encyclopedias -- so talking about opening was making sense, right?).
I am not sure I had anything specific in mind but I remember clearly going with my baby chick* under my left arm, my emerald stone* under my right arm (in my journeys, I can afford a very big emerald!). I first walked through an undefined substance, big herbs and branches opening on my path and I quickly found myself ascending gradually in a kind of elevator column (but with no elevator there), opening doors on my right side way above my head (that was the weirdest of all: I kept opening doors far away from me, one or two floors ahead, obliging me to keep looking up). It did not sound like a difficult job, it was kind of a nice, pleasant thing to do. But I remember that I felt very determined and was very concentrated on what I was doing. Anyway, when I came back, I was not impressed at all by my performance, just relieved that "something had happened" in that journey and happy that my two new companions had been with me.

Believe it or not, the next two days, things opened up one by one. My whole schedule was revised, with more realistic deadlines, a better organization of the work; and even more unbelievable: everything was approved politically and financially. It is not like I did not do anything: I exposed the situation clearly, propose alternatives including a scenario that might have the best chance to be aproved, but there is no way I could have anticipated that the decisions would be taken so quickly. Last but not least: that same day, I was offered to occupy a very nice office at Georgetown University until the summer; I had not asked for that and this was the most unexpected thing. But the truth is that it also helped diffuse the tensions, allowing me to distinguish better between a work place and my little studio which has to shape shift anyway several times per day!

I was so impressed... !

March 7 -- Now it is not like everything has been solved. Today, I learnt that, for some reason nobody could explain, my salary payment had not been processed and would not be for another week (I told the director that I would not take it personnaly and he joked about the fact that the financial person might have had a bad experience with me in another life because he could not understand why I was the only one who had not been paid!)... As I had received very little in early February because I did not work most of January, I really needed that payment and was already checking my bank account online several times a day (the kind of compulsive behavior that does not look like me and that I hate!). So here I was, with $50 on my bank account and even less in cash to hang on for at least another week... Better: the tenants of my appartment in Paris have not paid the rent yet either (I need that to pay the bills and the mortgage over there). Now, I know that song about money. They have played it for me several times since I have chosen that path (not that I have ever had much money but there have been times with a little bit more sense of financial security!).

March 9 -- So today I decided to journey and ask for openings on that too. I went with my two little companions and asked my friends the trees to support me. As soon as I started journeying I knew it would be different. Instead of starting working on openings myself, I went straight to ask for a meeting with "the guys" (you may call them spirits, God, the assembly of souls...). They had to help me out with that. I no longer wanted to have to deal with that kind of financial issues. I did not need much, just the minimum. And, incidentally, I'd rather have Them doing something for my visa issue too (a green card would not hurt, right? yes, I confess, I even asked for that!). So I plead my cause -- more like: these are my new conditions if you want me to continue on that job. And I remember leaving the meeting, smiling at my two friends --the baby chick and the esmerald stone--, waiting for Them to open the door between the two realities (it was a new door, a beautiful multi-color one, looking like a kaleidoscope; they must have gone under some renovations lately), feeling that I had done the right thing.

I guess that what all of that means is that even the impossible can become possible if I am ready to look at it shamanically, meaning: going through it; opening new doors in the other reality when that sounds impossible in my mundane one; holding and cherishing this mundane reality as much as I cherish the other one, the one I can access in my meditations and journeys and contemplations in the parks and woods, the one that saved me and brought me back to life. If I do my part, They will do their part too.

Hope & Love to you my friends!

* Those are companions who showed up recently in my life.
The baby chick was brought to me by two fellow apprentices who journeyed for me. After discussing it with Robin, I recognized it as the symbol of the unharmed, innocent and happy part of me. That same day, when I went for groceries, I found by pure chance a baby soft toy that was a very cute little baby chik and I bought it. It now follows me everywhere and is always present in my meditations and journeys.
The story of the emerald stone is a longer one and I am still in the discovery process but it is nice to journey with her.


ancientwindrunner said...

Excellent work/practice AtL!!

Very helpful and thank you for sharing.
I am doing some similar work within myself, and it is really amazing!
Feeling as if I am walking in a shallow calm stream, stepping ...rippling...settling...pausing..........


Truth on the Wind said...

Thank you, thank you for sharing! Very encouraging!