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, April 26, 2008

Being a full time shaman apprentice

I had a very slow (and late) start today, badly recovering from a tough week, very long days of work and consecutive nights of insomnia. So I knew that it was time to sit longer, reconnect and work on myself. Then I found Robin’s message to the group of apprentices: “You’re not a shaman part time!” OK, agreed but what did this REALLY mean to me? It was certainly easier to feel a shaman when people were coming to me as an apprentice healer. Not that I felt powerful or great or whatever. But I just felt so blessed, honoured of being able to witness their process, it felt so clear in those moments that I was being and doing what I was supposed to, right that minute, right at that place… Then, I felt the shaman in me, then I felt being in a shamanic apprenticeship, learning, shapeshifting. Then, I had a purpose. That part was actually easy!

But when I was struggling so badly with my useful stuff in my ordinary life… How could I even post anything on that blog when I felt that way? What would I tell people who would wonder about shamanism and being an apprentice – who would wonder about how it might change their life…? The answer came right away to me: this path has already changed everything. Not necessarily the apparent outside elements of it but it has shifted the way I look at them. Yes, I have doubts and I have moments, even hours and days when I feel again that I am stuck in the same situation as ever both in my professional and personal life. In those moments, the reality is that my life has not changed; the fiction is that I have a better life and I am happier; the reality is that I am just fooling myself… I still have those moments but they don’t last. I am now able to pause and look inside and ask: What has happened? What is happening now? What is asking for attention? First, I have disconnected myself during the week. I know that I need to touch base with the source from time to time during the day; I know that when I do not feel OK, this is the moment to pause and reconnect, I cannot wait for the end of the day or for tomorrow or the week-end to rest and reconnect, I need to reconnect NOW. Today, now, is the only thing I have. Looking forward to another time (possibly an ideal one) is REALLY fooling myself. Second, celebrate: I am being shown the stuff I still have to work on; I just need to listen to what is calling my attention and keeping me awaked until dawn, to go deep into it. Third: celebrate my awareness, the fact that even though I can still have those moments in which I feel overwhelmed, those moments don’t last and I know that I have to take responsibility for what I feel, for what is happening; this is not about other people – the way they look at me and consider me or not, love me or not, give me enough attention or not – this is my problem, the way I look at myself.

In Arnold Mindell’s words (The Shaman’s Body, p. 48): “The process of creating and dropping personal history leads to the discovery that you are neither this nor that, but the awareness of it all.” I guess that it is the way it feels for me now to be a full time shaman apprentice.


She.Who.Remembers said...

Thank you for that very helpful post. Learning to be present in the now and tuning in is something I struggle with quite a bit during the week. I would push off connecting to myself fully or trying to figure out what was going on within me until a free hour on the weekend when the environment allowed it. More often than not I find that I shut down and shut things out, including my feeling senses just to push through the day/week.

However, true words spoken, now is all we have and in order to truly hear Spirit we must be present or as in my case Spirit will begin to speak louder, in ways you cannot tune out. Spirit began to speak so loudly that the tension it created within me was impossible to ignore. I was forced to find time to listen, to take breaks during the day and connect with myself for fear of short circuiting. I found that when I listened, and gave myself what I needed the tension would dissipate and when I ignored it, it would worsen and I would be a walking time bomb, restless and up at night.

I am grateful for this “push” for I have begun to take time during the day to go outside and connect with nature or take a quick walk to release the built up tension, checking in and listening to what Spirit is saying. A new language to learn and one that will no longer wait to be heard.

Thanks again for the post!
She Who Remembers

fearless.woman said...

Thank you for your post. You have intuited something that Robin pounded into my head last week. Every client I see, the sex offenders and the middle schoolers (frankly, I'll take a sex offender over a middle schooler any day) is there for a purpose. Just because it is my mudane life does not mean that I should not see my clients with shaman eyes and meet them with "second attention". I have freely done this with my clients that think they are crazy because their dreams come true or because they see dead people. Just telling them that they aren't helps to meet themat anincredible place. But I haven't dared to do this with my "ordinary folks". dpresed, anxious, bipolar, whatever the DSM-IV says they are, which as nothing to do with nothing. Now I see these clients in a newway. You are so right. I'm learning that walking in two worlds is not one world at a time, but both worlds at once - man, what t dance.

Walks In Two Worlds said...

You may remember me saying that I once thought that "walks in two worlds" meant one foot in one, and the other in the other. I was shown that it is more like two transparencies laid over top of each other on a projector. Separate, with their own defining points, but put together to reveal one image. It's less of a stretch, for me. Hugs to all, Robin