It’s the Month of September and we are heading right into fall! The first day of Fall is Sept 22nd, so make sure you get your last bits of Summer in.
As I’ve outlined in the quarterly planner for the Journey Group, the next four months are going to be diving into what I call the “Open Heart Path” medicine. This has been taught to me by one of my teachers that I will be studying with in person beginning next year (I’m very excited). If you are at a distance and would like to journey at home, you are more then welcome to use these guides to help create structure for yourself to follow at home if you can’t make it to the Shamanic Journey Group. If you’re new to Shamanism and don’t know what journeying is, then no worries – click here to begin on this path.
The Open Heart Path is something I always delve into once a year, and it’s good for old timers to repeat/deepen their practice. I don’t believe in superficiality, there are always more layers to be unfolded, and everything that unfolds always unfolds as it needs to. Trust in what you’re receiving. Funny thing, Trust is something we will be talking about this month 😉
The Open Heart is made up of four chambers, and we will be exploring each chamber in depth every month. For those that are busy and can’t commit to a long term lay out – that’s okay! Every topic is a stand alone and is completely okay with walk ins. For those that choose to see the bigger picture and grasp a greater understanding, this is the full month’s outline so you can follow along in your own practice, whether you choose to do it in person or in spirit with us.
Outline for September! Hyperlinked to the date is the corresponding Meetup or Facebook event
September 4th – Sound Circle in Fairfax, VA. For those that wish to just participate in embodiment and practice being in their heart space instead of in their heads, this event is the event that’s for you.
September 5th – NO JOURNEY GROUP (Labor Day)
September 11th – Sound Circle in Brandywine, MD. For those that wish to come to the earlier circle but either can’t or they’re too far away.
September 11th – Shamanic Journeying Basics: The class that’s the introduction to Shamanic Journeying in case you need a refresher or in case you’re completely new to it.
September 12th – What does the Open Heart Path mean in today’s society? How does working with archetypes factor into how we view the world? How does our perspective color how we interact with the world? What’s stopping us from healing ourselves? Your healing should be an excuse to live your life more fully, your life shouldn’t be an excuse for you not to heal.
September 19th – Roles and vehicles: Many people confuse their life purpose with their job title. No, you’re not “just” a parent, school teacher, engineer, etc. What is a lifes purpose and what does all of this manifestation mumbo jumbo mean? What happens when we identify ourselves as our job title instead of who we really are as people?
September 26th – Shadow aspect of the Healer: The Martyr and the Addict. We will begin exploring the concept of the shadow archetype, what it means in this cosmology, and how to begin working with these concepts in a way that’s applicable for you.
See you guys in circle! Whether digitally, in person, or in spirit <3 If you are doing this at a distance, I would love to hear from you and how this has impacted you. I secretly love receiving those emails and will respond just as genuinely as you sent them. Please remember that all of the events that Eagle Therapies runs is done by donation and are free to the public or anyone that wishes to try and enjoy.
This is a companion to the Energetic Health post I did back in July. For those who are interested in pursuing a guided meditation to exploring energetic health and hygiene.
It would be helpful if you were in a quiet place where no one could disturb you, with your phone on silent. It might also help to have a pen and paper ready to take down any notes right after you get out of the meditation.
This first one is an introductory, and a summary of the post mentioned above.
After listening to that one, here is where we get down to the nitty gritty! These are broken down into the three main things that are vital to an energy bucket:
1. The container – Looking at what your energetic bucket is made of, and how this impacts your ability to hold your vital life force energy
2. The contents – What is your container filled with? Is it stagnant or flowing? What type of things can refill your bucket so that you’re not running low on energy all the time?
3. Stability – What kind of ground do you have your energetic container placed on? What type of situations make you ungrounded and what can you do to protect yourself from that?
As a follow up, or in case you are already know how to journey, click this one to have the standard shamanic drum beat.
If any questions arise, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 571.306.3197
When someone says that they’re “holding space” for a person, I have to ask myself, “What does that mean?” In this article, we will explore the heart as an energy center as well as a container for transformative processing.
This is my perspective on energy work, and is neither an absolute nor “the truth.” This is also my personal cosmology, so I can share my understandings and present them to the outside world. Measure the information found here against your own truth chord to find out if this resonates with you. May you find something useful in this article and go forth in a positive way to spread the productive medicine that has helped create a deeper understanding within you.
Let’s start off with the first concept to grasp before we fully dive into this subject. As a lot of people are awakening to energy work, some may be overwhelmed by the complexity and logistics of intricate energy systems like the chakra system. (Not to say that they don’t work, but just to approach them as another way of looking at things). For simplicity’s sake, I consider there to be three main energy structures within the body:
Head – Mental understanding; the root of the mental wisdom body
Heart – The meeting ground between; the root of the emotional wisdom body
Belly – Gut feeling/intuition; the root of the physical wisdom body
In a lot of cosmologies, the heart is the connecting piece between all of the energetic bodies. If we simplify our understanding to three energy centers, the heart would be the meeting place where the passions of the belly, as well as the clarity from the mind, commingle.
This commingling is the perfect atmosphere to have a Transformational Process: the process to permanently change a pattern or belief you have. A transformative process is a specific event where something happens, you are impacted by this event, something changes within you and you can’t change back. The first mistake that I see people making is not grasping the fundamental difference between change and transformation. With change, you can always change back. With transformation, on the other hand, you create something entirely different, and you cannot fathom being what you once were. For a more in-depth explanation of this element, visit my article on Change and Transformation I posted a few months back.
As we break things up into segments, there are three categories that we will break transformation down into. Most of the time, it is a mixture of one or two of the categories, but this identification will come with time. These three types of transformation are:
Personal Transformation (relationship with self)
Interpersonal Transformation (one on one, relationship based)
Group or Community Transformation
Some obvious physical examples of this include becoming a parent or getting a high school diploma or college degree. On a personal level, that experience transforms you because you can’t think of yourself differently after that. You have something (or someone) as a product of that transformation. The community at large looks at you differently, because in some jobs you can’t excel until you meet certain credentials and achieve certain marks of transformation. With group or community transformations, we hold ceremonies like graduations or coming-of-age parties like bar mitzvahs/bat mitzvahs or Quinceañeras.
All of those are examples of the outward marks of transformation – a memorable point in time marking things we’ve accomplished in the physical world. Half of the people in our culture don’t value these experiences for what they really are. Most kids graduating high school don’t really realize what it means before they enter the “real world.” Celebrations of transitions and transformations have been devalued because we don’t mark transformational processes for what they are worth. These are transformations that are larger in scope, but let’s refine this topic now to the smaller-scope transformations that can occur in our energetic body.
The thing is, emotional, mental, and spiritual transformation is unexpected, and we have to set up the right container for them to take place. It can often feel like a major shift or an “AH-HA” moment. There are a lot of times when a transformational process begins to happen, and we begin to change; however it’s not recognized as a process. Because we don’t allow the space for that transformation to take place, we resort back to the way we used to be. This is very similar to trying to get to the core of the problem, but then bailing on the full process and merely peeling off another layer off the onion instead of diving deeper. Transformation is an art, and an art that has been diluted and is easily confused with “changing.”
The real act of transformation is a MESSY process. It’s very similar to the caterpillar trying to transform into the butterfly. The caterpillar builds a chrysalis for itself, and its body literally breaks down within the confines of its structure, liquefying into a primordial ooze and swirling around inside of itself. If we happen to metaphorically be the chrysalis and we falter in being that structure/container, that ooze will melt through to the outside and the transformational process will feel incomplete, often leaving ourselves feeling incomplete. Transformation can often feel painful, like we are “dying” in the process.
There are varying sizes of containers that we can create for ourselves and others. Sometimes we need a personal-sized container for little changes/transformations, and sometimes we need a much larger one for a hard-core belief pattern that needs some altering.
Personal transformation – being there for ourselves and not harming our own process
One-on-one transformation – confiding in another person, personal relationships
Community transformation – finding a group of people who set up and create a space to change and transform together
Transformation should always start at the individual level. We should be caring about our personal development and how we show up for ourselves. If we do, this leads to healthier relationships without the need for control or co-dependence. When we begin to focus on ourselves as a container for these processes, that’s when we begin showing up for other people in the same way.
Sometimes, however, there is something a little bigger that needs to change, and we need a little help from another person or group of people while going through this process. It can be hard to both be the liquid of the process and hold the container for that liquid. If what we are trying to change is overwhelming and we get lost within our own shadows and wounds, we might need a community or a group of people that will help set the container so that we have the ability to transform and break down together. We are all human, and many of us have similar problems. It can help our own processing if we realize we are not alone.
Some of you may have only a vague sense of what this post is about, while others will be reading this and having goosebumps. Let’s bring in some real-world examples to help solidify this concept so it’s not so “woo woo.” A common example of a personal transformation is someone trying to quit smoking or drinking. It’s very difficult because it’s a habit or pattern we are trying to break. There are some who have the discipline to successfully quit cold turkey, but many others will only “change” until they are able to transform their mind frame of how they approach it. Sometimes consistency is what is needed to build a container, and it’s small repeated actions daily that will over time have that “Wow, I’ve done this for this long” moments that can lead to us no longer identifying as that label (such as smoker).
A healthy interpersonal transformation depends on whether the other person can act like a good therapist. It takes strength to ask the right questions to the person that is breaking down without adding your own emotions to the mix. This is especially evident after break-ups, when we go to our friends to hold us while we feel vulnerable. Sometimes even the most well-meaning “advice” isn’t helpful, because part of us identified with being in that relationship and we become defensive of who we used to be. We are “transforming” from being out of that relationship and identifying ourselves without a partner.
For community transformation, let’s consider the example of ceremonies. There’s usually some motivational speech given before a ceremony that connects people together, like a valedictorian’s speech at a graduation or a eulogy at a vigil for the victims of a disaster. Sometimes when people pass away, it’s hard to mentally transform our own image of them into someone who is gone until we have some sort of ceremony to honor their passing. These ceremonies are just as much for honoring the people that have passed on as they are for providing closure for the people still here.
Before we go into what makes up a container, let’s talk about some of the things that can derail a transformative process:
Mental judgements – ultimately succeed in impeding the transformation
Emotional extremes – pollute the transformation and add extra distraction
There are so many times when we inadvertently get in our own way. How many times have you talked yourself out of going to the gym or eating healthfully? How many times have we tried to talk about our feelings with someone that we cared about, but then in our moment of vulnerability they say something that hits us in that wrong way and completely derails where you were trying to go?
Mental judgements throw us off track because we are trying to “control” the process before it even begins happening. When we begin directing it down a path that we think is right, we are not trusting it to flow and allowing the process to take its course. There are way too many people out there that believe they “know the right thing to do” and always believe they’re right. These are signs of egotism, and are something to watch out for. The greatest practitioners are those who don’t know what they’re doing because they are in the moment and supporting what needs to happen in the moment. They carry a sense of presence, instead of worrying about the future or the past. When we look to the future, we worry about what the product will turn into. When we look to the past, we think of all of the creations we have made in the past and how we want it to turn out the same or not anything like that. This is the art of projecting, and the mind is extremely good at it. It’s hard to let go of expectations and to let things happen. However, projecting is the exact thing that will make the chrysalis begin to break down and allow the ooze to slide out before we even realize that there was a transformational process that tried to take place.
Emotional extremes are an overindulgence in our own feelings, and this distracts us from what’s really going on during the process. When we are going through a true process, we are trying to decipher all the different things happening to us, but old feelings rise up and we don’t know why. We need to analyze what is happening, what we are feeling right now in the moment and what the emotions are that are coming up from the past. For example, if someone had a loved one pass away and they have unresolved emotions (resentment, guilt, shame, anger), these emotions will surface and they will relive those within moments of remembering that person. It becomes what they are feeling in the moment because they haven’t processed through how they really felt at the time it happened. When people “offer advice” when we are this vulnerable and trying to transform, they certainly mean well, because they see us in pain and they want to help, but this is contrary to the path of transformation. They know that transformation hurts and they want to make us feel better. However, expressing our feelings while someone else is trying to transform can “pollute” the process. Sometimes, someone just needs to be heard, and not told someone else’s opinion. If we are being this container and we allow our emotions to affect the transformation, a defensiveness can rise up in response to the “pollutant.”
Our job at that point is to create a container that allows for these transformational processes to happen. Everyone has this container within their own heart, and evaluating whether or not we utilize it appropriately is a wonderful form of self-reflection. The goal is to have the container be made out of non-reactive material. Remember in chemistry class when they had either a glass, metal, or porcelain container to hold reactions in? That’s the goal we need to keep in mind when we try to look at our own container and how it appears in our mind’s eye.
If you journey, this is a perfect opportunity to go within and ask yourself what state your container is in. Your container is a reflection of what you also offer to other people, not just yourself. Is your container porous? Does it react when certain chemical reactions take place within it? Does it have holes, or is it cracked or broken?
If your container is broken, cracked, or has holes in it, this is generally evidence of our mind getting in the way, resulting in self-sabotage. We ruin the process before it even begins to take place. If your container is porous, or is made out of a material that is extremely hard to clean, then that represents the fact that you allow emotions to pollute your transformations and you can’t really see the transformation for what it really is because you base so much of it on your past. If we have a container in our heart that is made up of a reactive material, when things heat up, do we throw off inappropriate comments? Our task is to create a container within ourselves that is healthy, expressing ourselves in the appropriate way.
The right transformations take the right crucible formation. If we look to our own heart, do we jump to emotional extremes and throw in mental judgements, ultimately derailing our own transformational processes? If we can’t show up for ourselves, how can we expect to show up for other people?
Our job as a good human (in my opinion) is to hold transformations in the heart. Create a heart that is not going to react emotionally to every transformation that’s trying to happen. Sometimes, we don’t need to be healed; sometimes we just need to be reminded of our strength. It takes a lot of strength to be a sacred witness and to just be there for someone going through a process. In order to break down and transform, we need to be vulnerable and feel safe enough with other people. We need to ask ourselves if we feel safe enough with ourselves, or do we judge ourselves for the actions that led us to this point?
The catalyst for this post is from my teacher Christina Pratt, with whom I will be studying beginning in 2017. If you’re an auditory person, you may wish to listen to her podcast specifically tailored to this post here. For the rest of you, I hope to see you at the Fairfax Journey Group so we can learn together.
I know I haven’t written about Little Bear in a while, but that’s mostly because of the business and the way that life becomes so distracting at times. This past Monday night was a very unexpected night for me, and I wish to share what unfolded because sometimes Little Bears wisdom surpasses my own.
There was a period of a few months where there was some turmoil, and Little Bear had actually distanced himself from the shamanic world. He went away for a week with family, and after he came back I had to work long shifts, so it was almost like I didn’t see him for a while. When we finally started spending time together, he didn’t want to journey, he thought it was pointless, and he got disappointed because other people/kids weren’t talking to their “helping spirits”. The way that I explained it to him, is that there is always someone with us all the time, watching over us. “Helping spirits” are like guardian angels to some people, and we just happen to see them as animals. He was sucked into the wetiko and lost his way a little bit. I held space for him and never really forced him to be spiritual. I just merely continued being who I am, and kept exposing him to it. Gradually over a month or two, he came back to accepting again. Over time, he realized there was a difference between when he did talk to his helping spirits and when he didn’t.
When kids journey, it’s really quick. For adults, the average journey tends to last about 7-10 minutes. For kids, they’re so innately connected that their journeys tend to last 3-5 minutes. I can’t say that’s the same for all children, but for the children I have worked with (including my own), that tends to be the average in the DC metro area. I admit that I’ve never forced him to journey along with the adults at the Fairfax Journey group. If he wants to participate he can, but for the past few months he colors or plays with toys, and everything works out. He’s quiet, respectful, and tries not to make too much noise when people journey.
He’s been back on track the last 2-3 weeks, and tells me wild stories of what lessons his helping spirits taught him that day. However, this past Monday was a different story. He actually wanted to journey today. Well, admittedly I was late in posting about the journey group on the internet and didn’t create the events until earlier that day (hooray procrastination) so no one showed up. That gave me the beautiful opportunity to spend one on one time with my son.
We started talking about power songs, and then he said that he loves listening to the recordings from the sound circle (the past two months he hasn’t been able to go because he’s been visiting with family). He wanted to record a power song too, because he told me that “I want to be as powerful as you when I sing”. I asked him what his power song was, and he replies the compassionate heart song. I explained that I have a different song for different helping spirits of mine: bear, eagle, spider, and otter, etc.
He replies, “I know. But all of them say that the heart song is my power song. It’s because my helping spirits live in my heart.”
My smile gets so big and I say yes to the recording (it’s down at the bottom of this post). After we sing it, he tells me about how good he feels and how much love he feels. My heart melts.
And then he states, “Mommy, I’m going to journey about love and what lesson love can teach me right now.”
I think my heart exploded with cute, as well as awe for this beautiful child. I wish sometimes I could craft questions like that when going to my helping spirits. The way he said it with such confidence, and how he wasn’t ashamed of being different any more… that really hit a sweet spot down in the recesses of my soul. It hurt a little bit, but a good type of hurt that lets you know your heart is expanding.
We did the drumming and he did the little bells. When we came out of it, we told each other our journeys. His eyes were bright and he was excited about sharing his adventures with his helping spirit. Finally I asked him, “So what was your main lesson that you learned about love.”
Without hesitation, he looks up at me with the biggest smile, “To love everyone.”
But then I threw a monkey wrench in his state. “But what happens if someone is mean to you. Do you still love them then?”
He paused and looked down at the bells. Obviously thinking and checking in with his helping spirit because he didn’t consider that. “Mommy… my bear told me yes, but that seems like it’s really hard.” His big eyes turned up. “What if someone makes you so upset you cry?”
With big bear arms I took my Little Bear into my lap. “Baby… there are going to be people out there that will make you cry. But one thing to remember is that the people that hurt you are hurt themselves. Half the time they don’t even realize they’re hurt. It takes a lot of courage to love the people that hurt you. Sometimes they mean it, but most of the time they don’t. Have compassion for them. You can still be sitting next to someone and be far apart from them emotionally in order to protect yourself.”
He is still looking down, obviously thinking. “How can you be far from someone emotionally? That doesn’t make sense.”
“Well, do you tell the nearest stranger everything about your life?”
“…. No, I don’t.”
“That’s right. Sometimes you need to not open up to someone when they hurt you and to put up protection so their hurt feelings don’t hurt you. It’s like when someone falls and they hurt their body. Sometimes people fall emotionally and their feelings get hurt. And sometimes people give voice to their ouchies, not realizing that it’s not their true self speaking. Throughout life you’ll be close to people that hurt you a lot, and you do need to learn to protect yourself. You’re a beautiful kid, with so much to give. You can choose to get hurt, or you can choose to protect yourself. Realizing when someones ouchie is speaking helps me get out of my own ouchies when I talk to someone that hurts me. Because when we fall and hurt ourselves, we can sometimes stay in that ouchy place and hurt others. It’s sometimes hard to love everyone, including yourself.”
By golly, this kid just soaks this in and I feel his little brain turning. It’s almost as if I can feel the last puzzle piece click into place when he grins this big grin. He hugs me with the biggest hug and tells me he loves me. I of course, love him back.
This kid… sometimes I don’t have words. And I’m surprised at the depth of which he gets what I’m saying sometimes. I can tell whenever he gets something that I’ve explained, because he gets quiet and his actions reflect his pondering demeanor.
Anyway, here’s the video I was talking about. He has given his permission and was admittedly a little nervous when recording this video. But he wanted to share his power song with the world (is what he told me). I have to give thanks for my Alchemical fire family, for I picked up this chant at one of the all night drumming ceremonies. Little Bear always loved it when I sang to him, and this was one of the first songs he learned by himself.
Could this be the healing
That we share this feeling
And find a compassionate love
Flowing from my heart to yours
Flowing from my heart to yours
After a nice long mini vacation, I’m ready to dive back down into the work. This blog post is going to be the brief outline for August, and a breakdown of the overall topic of what we will be exploring this month at each Fairfax Shamanic journey group. Click here if you’re unfamiliar with Shamanic journeying.
So what are we exploring this month? Last month we explored the energetic bucket. I have plans to record more guided meditations and post them in accompaniment with the energetic bucket. That was the month where we explored what our energy body is, and how we take care of it.
This month we will cover transformations and transformational processes. A lot of people are not differentiating between change and transformation, and in doing so they are not acknowledging the steps of a process. With change you can always change back. With transformation, you cannot even fathom going back – something has happened to you and you are a different person because of it. As we grow, and as we transform into different people throughout our lifetime, we are being given the opportunity to create our own containers for transformation. We sometimes spend years working on transformations, and then there is this big event where we break down, transform, and step out of the other side as another person.
These are some examples of transformation. When a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child, she is no longer considered the woman who she used to be. From that point on, she is considered a Mother and has undergone a transformation. It took 9 long months to get to that point, to set up the container. Perhaps even longer than that if she’s been trying to have a baby for a long time. Another example is if we get our high school diploma or college degree. We are recognized by the community and a ceremony is held for our “graduation”. After we walk that stage, there is no taking away our diploma. That is something that is earned and no one can take that away from us because it’s ours.
These are physical examples of a transformational process, however what we will be talking about this month are emotional ones (more to expand in the upcoming blog post, will update this when it is done). There are some times in life when we are exposed to something that changes the way we learn, the way we behave, or how we think. Sometimes these processes still take years to “build the container” so that we can turn into a different person.
Again, the fundamental difference is the difference between change and transformation. How many times have you heard someone say “I’ve changed”, but hanging out with them after, you notice they have superficially changed and not really changed as a person deep down inside. Those are markers of “change” and not “transformation”.
The question we face this month, is are we allowing these transformations to take place? If we set up these containers within ourselves and having others hold space for us – is it healthy? What is a healthy transformation? A majority of us know that transformation on an emotional level is a messy process, and it can hurt. Let’s explore that this month.
August 1st – No journey group (Momma needed a vacay)
August 8th – What is the difference between change and transformation? What is a transformational process? How do we set up a healthy container and what are some things that could pollute a process trying to happen? Change comes about because we realize deep down that something is not working. We can sometimes set up the container for us to transform, but we sometimes wreck our own process and instead of a transformation we emotionally settle for a change.
August 15th – Personal transformation – is our container for our own transformation healthy? What makes a good and healthy transformation? Are we polluting our own process and sometimes derailing a process that is trying to happen? If our emotions or mental processing gets in the way, we resort to a short term change instead of a long term transformation. How much are we willing to hold onto these old patterns? How do we recognize them?
August 22nd – Interpersonal transformation – sometimes it feels like we are going through something that’s so big that we need at least one other person to lean on. Humans by nature are social creatures, and even if someone is an introvert – finding a friend to talk with and help them through something helps transform them. Sometimes we don’t need someone to heal us, we just need to be reminded of our strength. How do we find that strength and how can we be there for someone else in a healthy way?
August 29th – Community transformation – after we go through a process, how does the community see us after? After getting to know and connecting with a certain group of friends, they notice that you might have changed in some way. In what way can we do a “rites of passage” ceremony for another person? If someone went through a really tough time, can’t we do a “you survived and you’re a badass!” type of victory party? We will also cover processes that are sometimes too large to be held by one singular person, and sometimes for big shifts, we need the backing of a community in order to safely transform – where many people see our process and hold us in this safe space while we transform.
Heavy stuff this month! But I guess that’s why you guys keep showing up for journey group, eh? Journeying is a wonderful technique where we can go to ask our helping spirits/inner guidance/spirit guides/power animals for help. Haven’t journeyed before and don’t know what spiritual guidance is? No worries. Message me before you come (not required, but helpful if you do). Even if you can’t journey or are unsure if you can, feel free to attend and see what happens.