Eagle Therapies is about empowerment versus enabling – and the point of Eagle Therapies is to point people to the tools and resources that most resonate with them. There is a core group of teachings that are based off of my experiences and what has been taught to me – but I am still a student myself and do not claim to be an expert on anything. My teachings and events are fueled by my motivation to get people exposed to more holistic ways of living, as well as finding ways to connect more profoundly with themselves on a deeper level.
One of the consistent things that Eagle Therapies offers is a weekly journey group.(If you are unfamiliar with journeying please click here) The groups themselves only meet for about an hour once weekly on Mondays to make it easier to fit into one’s schedule. They can be a-la-carte and people can drop in whenever their schedules allow, without fear of missing a “curriculum”. I offer “suggested journey topics” that are broken down into 15 minute learning tidbits, followed by a discussion between fellow journeyers before we actually journey. These journey topics rotate based off of the themes that I see present in society, or just good introspective tools that might be useful.
As Eagle Therapies is still new to the scene of offering a safe and sacred place for people to explore their individuality, there is questioning from participants as Eagle Therapies comes to discover itself. This questioning is valuable because it helps the small community forming around the Eagle Therapies events to define itself, while Eagle Therapies shapes itself to fit the needs of the community. This article is meant to provide a brief summary of the Open Heart Path and why it’s a good tool for cultivating personal development.
There is a lot of movement in the growing spiritual community in terms of getting people to “awaken” somehow. A lot of these ideals and concepts are too large and grandiose to condense into a short blog post meant to provide highlights and a general summary for the Open Heart Path. I mean no disrespect to some of these movements, and I encourage you to research them if they intrigue you. However, they are pretty much the same thing but called by different names. You may have heard of the New Earth movement, the Great Awakening or the Great Turning. There are many other names that it goes by, but it is all a matter of how you resonate with either the message or the speakers that have stepped up as leaders in this movement. This movement encourages disengaging from the mass unconscious and becoming more aware of our actions, empowering our sovereignty/how much control we have over our choices (like choosing to be happy despite horrible circumstances). It can be as small as realizing your impact by supporting local farmers, or aligning your purchases to buy from companies that have values that support fair trade. We are realizing as a society that when we feed the illness, we are starving the cure. Slowly we walk more in our authenticity and become an advocate or steward for the Earth by caring about the environment and turning around the pollution that humans have inflicted upon Mother Nature. Every great movement starts with the individual, and these are what the movements focus on.
Sandra Ingerman is a wonderful example of a leader that is an advocate for this movement. She is an author, teacher, and Shaman that encourages focusing on ourselves, advocating for personal development and living in a way that is in good relationship with nature and all that is around us. If interested, there are many good books that she has written on the topic. Walking in Light is a wonderful introduction and provides direction to the path.
There are many wonderful teachers that are out there participating in this movement, and each has their gift that they bring to the greater community. The path that resonates the most with me is Christina Pratt’s version of the movement called the Courageous Heart. Christina is the founder of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Studies and she has a podcast called “Why Shamanism Now”. Her teachings have come from her lessons that she has received from her Guides and Teachers. Medicine of the Courageous Heart is based off of Angeles Arrien and her work called the Four Fold Way. These teachings have evolved in a way that is great for standard application with contemporary people. It’s not too “far out there” in terms of hard to grasp or understand.
I strongly believe that the medicine of this time is the medicine of the courageous heart, or the Open Heart Path. So many people have grown weak hearted in their actions, and their integrity does not match what is within their hearts. Our consciousness as a culture is in our head, and we need to be able to bring that consciousness down into our hearts. The heart has four chambers that work in tandem with each other, and all four of these chambers should be functioning properly in order to have a strong heart that is not easily seduced by things that distract us or draw us away from our paths. In order to work with these four chambers in a tangible way, there are four main archetypes that represent these chambers.
Courageous Heart Part 1: The Healer – 45 minutes
Courageous Heart Part 2: The Warrior – 45 minutes
Courageous Heart Part 3: The Teacher – 45 minutes
Courageous Heart Part 4: The Visionary – 45 minutes
This consciousness that is beginning to form is based off of a collapse of vision. Most Americans live in a very mentally stimulating society. We have cell phones and are constantly plugged into social networking, emails, and constant flows of information. We are encouraged to multi-task and skim the surface of many different topics at once so we can move at a faster pace. The last chamber of the heart is the Visionary, and the archetype of the Visionary has grown weary of untruths. The relationships that we have established with money, housing, and politics have grown too complicated with too many clauses in the contract. The contracts are falling apart, which (in my opinion) is the source of more people stepping into an awareness of their own actions and the actions of their communities. People are waking up because they were caught up in this superficial “big vision” that society has helped weave together. A lot of people are realizing that there is no depth to it, and instead are reaching inside to deepen themselves. The way I have deepened myself is with an open and courageous heart.
When we move through our lives with an open heart, we are able to communicate our boundaries effectively, interacting with others in an open and aware manner. Life happens to us, and I’m one of those people that believes that life is a mixture of things that happen for a reason, and sometimes things just happen. That’s the beauty and process of life! Things happen! Our job as we navigate through this life is to be able to be in control of our actions and reactions as these life processes happen. We are human, and being able to have an open heart while moving through these life processes enables us to get more out of the experiences that life provides. When we are living with an open heart, our passion and our unique genius is able to flow through us. We are able to live our lives in a way that is good for all living things, and to communicate effectively with others because we are aware of our actions and the impact it has on others.
The problem comes in when we come across a life process, and our heart shuts down due to fear. When fear gets in the way, then we tend to have our life force energy moving through what is called our “Shadow”. The Shadow is an archetype that was introduced to Western Contemporary culture by Carl Jung. When our life force energy moves through our closed heart or shadow, our good intentions don’t matter and we instead do things for the right motivation, but our actions speak to something else or just “come out wrong”. It can sometimes be a compulsion or an easy fall back pattern to become the victim in a situation – to see how everything is working against us. We can fall into the martyr where we feel we have to sacrifice in order to get what we want in life. Sometimes when we see a leader or someone in power, we subconsciously project our power onto them, making them “even bigger” in our minds in terms of us never really reaching to that level of awe. When we pedestalize, we give away our power because we subconsciously are down on ourselves since we cannot reach that “level” the person in power has. These are all examples of meaning well, but our intentions being shifted by our shadow.
The medicine or the remedy to this is by realizing when our heart shuts down, and doing the work to open our heart back up. We do this by stepping into our sovereignty and realizing these patterns that we move into subconsciously. The archetype of the healer helps us realize these patterns so we can do something about them and work on them. The archetype of the warrior helps us to be in the moment, and fully present with our experiences in hand. The teacher helps us draw the wisdom out of those experiences that we move through. The visionary helps us see the bigger picture and how we fit into it. All of these chambers work in tandem, building on the other for strength. If one chamber is weak, then we will encounter these “Shadow” aspects of ourselves, and our actions that mean well are instead misinterpreted by either society or those we care about.
As we become more present and learn to live with an open heart, we begin to uncover the wisdom of the heart – which is our own unique genius. Everyone has a different medicine we bring to the table that no one else can bring. We have been incarnated into this life for a reason – and that reason is to express our own unique genius, or to express our lifes purpose. To wield the power of the medicine we possess, we need to step fully into the path of the open heart. We are not here to meet the needs of other people. But as we learn to step into our own sovereignty, we realize that our gifts meet the needs of others. This is the core belief of the Great Awakening. To know that everyone has a purpose and that their own unique genius is what is needed in order to fit into the greater community.
This is why I work hard as a networker, to provide sources for people to uncover themselves on a deeper and more profound level that works for them. My journey groups may not resonate with some people – and that’s okay. However the reason why I host these weekly journey groups is to have space for people that wish to explore this framework of personal development. To ask themselves these fundamental questions as we explore the archetypes in a way that is personalized by them, with their own sets of teachers. When we ask these bigger questions of ourselves, we are able to receive insight that is more impactful. This is the path of direct revelation. And I stand firm in offering the space once weekly at the Cardinal Center for people that wish to delve deeper into their own work.
You are more than welcome to journey at home, and are even encouraged! But for those beginning, it can be easier to do it in community and not feel as “alone”. All of these are “suggested” topics, and you are always free to bring your own questions to the journey group. These journey groups are run off donations to cover the cost of renting the space. A distance option is also available through google hangouts. Visit the Eagle Therapies Facebook page for more information or visit the calendar section on the website.
The series of blog posts that I write called the “Little Bear Chronicles” are based off of my experiences of raising a son with an aware and open spirituality. I know it was a possibility that I might face criticism and harsh judgement from closed minded people – but so many have come to me telling me that they are inspired by our story. That drive to get our story out there and to share our experiences to connect to others, is what is fueling this series of posts.
My son has come to be known as Little Bear, and I am the Momma Bear. These aliases will be for those on the internet that these stories leak out to. I am well aware of the power of the Internet, so if you know us, please be respectful and don’t mention his real name on these blog posts. When I started writing these, he was seven and he gave me consent to share our stories and experiences. Besides, for a while his dream was to be a YouTube star.
The reason why I’m documenting these chronicles is because Little Bear is so full of pure wealth and knowledge, and raising my child in a profoundly sick society is hard. There’s a lot of injustice, fear, and harsh judgement and I can’t protect him from it all. The least I can do, is to begin to teach him how to protect and care for himself, so then when Momma Bear is not around – he is empowered and not enabled. The lessons I teach him are lessons of love, and sometimes it’s tough love. I feel as though whenever I share with him some of the teachings I want to pass down, his reactions are just as wise and he gifts me with an intelligence that is untouched and pure. I’m doing the best that I can, to the best of my ability. Together we push each other to grow in ways that a child and Mother should.
I did publish an article for the Society of Shamanic Practice, and if you’re interested you can see my overall scope of working with my son in a shamanic way.
Words: 2,700 Reading time: 9-10 mins
These are the tales of Little Bear that are on this website:
- October 27th, 2016 – The Beginning Saga
The introduction, and difference of listening with your heart instead of your head.
Words: 700 Average reading time: 4 minutes
- November 23rd, 2016 – Getting Lost
The importance of maintaining relationships, and how if these relationships are not fostered they are not as strong. It can appear as though we “Get Lost” at times.
Words: 750 Average reading time: 4-5 minutes
- December 23rd, 2016 – Gratitude
A beautiful little story about appreciating the things that we have, and what that feels like from the perspective of a 7 year old.
Words: 600 Average reading time: 3-4 minutes
- December 24th, 2016 – Dropping the Hot Chocolate
Lessons about being in the moment, and how sometimes “sorry” doesn’t fix things. Realizations on my own behalf as my role as a parent in his learning development.
Words: 1200 Average reading time: 7-8 minutes
- August 10th, 2017 – Journey of Love
How a few months away from living a spiritual path can affect a wee one, as well as how they choose to come back when they’re ready.
Words: 1200 Average read time: 7-8 minutes
- April 22nd, 2019 – Stacking Rocks
This will be updated as more blog posts get added. Stay tuned for more adventures!
What a wonderful and fast paced month January has been! So much so, that there was significant delay in me creating the Journey Group outline for January and February 🙂 For those that are not familiar Journeying – follow this link. February is the last month that we will be exploring the Open Heart Path.
The topic for the four months we are currently exploring are inspired by the lovelyAngeles Arrien. She wrote a book called “The Four Fold Way” and if these teachings resonate with you, please read the book. I am only supplying the suggested journey topics based from her book as well as my experiences. If something strikes you, then I highly encourage you to go to the source of these teachings.
We began this venture of exploring the four chambered heart a few months ago. The heart we are dissecting is the open heart. In order for us to be people who live in this world in a good way, we need to cultivate an open and courageous heart. There are many reasons why our heart can shut down due to fear, and different weeks will highlight different possibilities. The four chambers are represented by four major archetypes. These archetypes are roles that we naturally fall into, and life calls on us to express ourselves in these four major archetypes. The four archetypes are the Healer, Warrior, Teacher, and Visionary.
In November we talked about the love of the healer and how we figure out what is in our path to discovering our own self healing – eliminating what stands in our way of being who we truly are. In December, it was about the warrior and about how we stand up for who we are, what we believe in, and take our experiences to turn them into wisdom. January was about the Teacher, and how to be more aware and in the moment. Some of the deepest lessons in life come from being able to be present and in our bodies. Mainstream contemporary western culture actually encourages multi-tasking and constantly being stimulated. Because we are so overstimulated, it can be hard for us to slow down and be in the moment. We talked about and explored addictions to perfection, and to be open rather then attached to outcome. For the month of February we will be exploring the Visionary and what it means to speak the truth without blame or judgement. Blog post is pending for the Visionary, and I will update this post as soon as I post it.
These are the suggested journey topics to break down these large ideas into pieces we can digest. If you would like to bring your own journey topic, then you are free to participate in discussion and bring your own journey question.
January 25th – Last week of exploring the Teacher and what that means to us. How do we begin acting more like the teacher and bringing this archetype into our lives in a good way?
February 1st – The Visionary. What is this archetype and why should we pay attention to it?
February 8th – Finding a vehicle to express your souls purpose – how the Visionary plays into it.
February 15th – Misuses of the Visionary and how it appears in mainstream contemporary culture.
February 22nd – Visionary heart gone into fear – The doubting heart.
February 29th – How do all of these chambers fit together? How can we best live all of these archetypes in a way that doesn’t allow our hearts to slip into fear?
Please arrive or login on time for the pieces you wish to be present for. You are free to come in or leave at any point, but please arrive no later then 5:30 PM. I have had people that just want to come for the journey and leave before sharing. It’s completely up to you, this is just a safe space where people can learn how to explore their personal development skills with like minded people. We do have opportunity for people to write down their journey, so bring your pen/journal. Sharing is optional, and you can choose not to.
These times are fluid, but the time frames that we generally work with are as follows:
Journey group begins at 5:00 PM
Group discussion begins at 5:15 PM
Heart Centered Sound Circle begins at 5:30 PM
Journey begins at 5:45 PM
Journaling and discussion begins at 5:55 PM
This group is run by donations. There is a basket out for donations on the community/ancestral altar. If you are not a person that brings cash, then you can click on the link below to generously contribute to keeping the journey group alive, or you can paypal email@example.com
As always, if there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to call/text 571.306.3197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fly high! See you this month either virtually or in person!
It’s the beginning of a New Year, and many of people are trying to change themselves and their habits. When people are really motivated, such change does work for a while. But if motivation falls away, people slip back into their old habits. New Year’s resolutions can get dropped into the background because they can’t fit into a busy life, which can make a person feel like a failure.
What is generally the root cause of this? There can be many reasons, but there are common themes present that we can help bring to the surface. The first concept to understand is the fundamental difference between change and transformation. Change (in this context) refers to implementing a small change in your life. Transformation is about altering your life to create an entirely new set of circumstances. Small changes over time can set the foundation to a transformation, and this article contains a brief outline of how to set yourself up for greater success in transformation.
With change, you can always change back. You can change your shoes, your clothes, your gym schedule, and your eating habits. However if the motivation wanes, then you can always revert to your previous habits. There is a pattern that was heavily established, but your New Year’s resolution brought to light your recognition that it is a habit not conducive to the lifestyle you want to live. What a lot of people really seek with their New Year’s resolution is in actuality: transformation. When the change doesn’t hold because it’s superficial and not delving into a deeper why-they-have-those-patterns-in-the-first-place, the person gets upset at themselves and marks their attempts (and ultimately themselves) as a failure. Many people internalize this failure and therefore stick harder to their original patterns that caused them to make the resolutions in the first place. The most common examples are diet and exercise regimens. Everyone knows they need to “eat better” or “exercise more”, but we slip into the habitual patterns that are unconscious and have evolved out of comfort – because it’s easy.
Transformation is not something benign that happens casually – it unfolds as beautifully as a lotus or flower blooming. Transformation is an accumulation of changes that happen over time, leading to a paradigm shift. The “settling in” of a paradigm shift will often feel like an “Ah-Ha” moment and things will finally “click into place”. A transformation is similar to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. How does one metaphorically prepare themselves for the actual cocooning stage? There are several factors that help in the preparation of the “cocoon”. The structure of the cocoon begins with a self-realization that there are patterns in place that are holding you back. That awareness starts the process, and when you begin identifying these limitations you have set on yourself, you acknowledge the boundaries of the cocoon that you want to grow past. The steps and courses of actions you want to take help solidify the cocoon. The metamorphosis happens when the fuel of motivation encourages one to turn within and begin to change these patterns into something you grow beyond. Transformation is often a messy process, but when things finally solidify – it can be like a lightbulb going off in your head. When one grows beyond those old limitations and limiting beliefs, the butterfly no longer thinks of what it was like to be a caterpillar, and it cannot even fathom “changing back”. This brings about the “Ah-Ha” moment when one emerges from the cocoon.
Let’s break this process down. Awareness is generally going to be the first step whenever it comes to realizing unhealthy patterns. The problem is that our perspective of the world colors how we interact with it. Our perception is our reality, and sometimes the way we view ourselves or view our role in society can be problematic in our own healing as well as awareness. Today’s contemporary western culture promotes multi-tasking, which leads to a lack of conscious focus. It is hard for us to be fully present for something when our attention is split in many directions. This leads to a “superficiality” to some degree. While this can be good in some ways, we can easily get overwhelmed and thus fall back to the “easy” habits that are already strongly formed. Our society encourages change rather than transformation, and it can be hard to grasp that concept of understanding (especially if one is plugged into mainstream thinking). Once we become aware, we can begin to “heal” these aspects of ourselves so we can change and transform into who we want to become. I know this is a vastly abstract field of concepts for a lot of people, but here is a quote that summarizes energy healing and the power of awareness:
“Healing requires that we fundamentally change our story. That we change the life we are living. Those that have had miraculous healing have walked out of a life that logically resulted in that illness, and allowed it to change. For those that say they are willing to do anything to heal, but then they don’t get better – it’s because they don’t want to transform in order to change the relationship with their illness.” ~Christina Pratt
What this quote brings to light is our ability to see that everything builds on top of everything else. Say, for example, that someone is looking to change their diet. They know they should eat healthier things, but fast food is very easy to fit into their busy lifestyle. Everyone knows that fast food is full of a lot of not-good-for-you things, and we silently scold ourselves whenever we eat it. But the fact of the matter boils down to two things: time and convenience. A lot of people fall victim to that pattern because it’s comfortable, and they need to have some sort of food supplementation lest they fall over. They don’t prioritize how much their diet plays into their lifestyle and how much it affects their health. When such people make the resolution that they’re going to “eat healthier” for the new year, they might buy more groceries, create meal plans, and set aside time to cook. Unfortunately, if other things take priority besides their eating, then they ultimately begin sliding back to old habits of eating fast food or ordering take out because of time and convenience. They start to lose the value of cooking at home because the food that they bought frequently goes bad in the fridge and they get discouraged because they didn’t cook it in time. It becomes a downhill slide, and they lose the original reason why they made the resolution in the first place, because other priorities take precedence and they lose the value behind “starting the movement for change”.
Realizing that we fall victims to these patterns is the first step. The second step is finding the motivation in order to create transformation instead of change. When people develop these patterns, as in the quote above – they are establishing a relationship with their illness, or their challenge. By realizing the fact that they have the power to change the relationship, they need to first acknowledge that this relationship is problematic in the first place. If one’s relationship with food has become so unimportant that they’ve valued all of the other things in their life over it, then how can they tip the scales to increase their motivation?
It comes from their “Why”. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, I recommend a great book for you called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. There is also a great TED talk here by the author of the book. Once a person finds their motivation, it is about connecting to your true life’s purpose, what you really want to do in life. Your “Why” can be really small, or it can be really big. For a long time, my “Why” was about being a good mother to my son, which meant focusing on getting out of survival mode, and finding a safe place for us to live with a consistent paycheck. Now my “Why” is bigger and incorporates myself being a healthy, functioning member of society so I can bring about my gifts in service to the community – and in turn supporting my life so I can be a better mother for my son.
If your “Why” is strong enough, it can power your motivations, to help you transform yourself instead of just making a change. The first step is always about awareness, to realize the fact that you have these unhealthy patterns. When you decide to cut these patterns out of your life, you leave a void there. What tips the scale is being able to replace the patterns that no longer serve you with patterns that move you closer to what you want to do. If someone wants to concretely change their lifestyle and “eat healthier,” then they will have to evaluate their overall relationship with food and their eating habits. Once they begin prioritizing and making time in their schedule for it, this starts the avalanche of transformation that happens when they commit to the changes they make in their life.
There is one final principle of change versus transformation. That is the concept of “You are what you attune to.” This goes back to patterns that we have laid out, which help lead up to our decisions to how we act and interact in this world.Taking diet as an example again… If I were to stick to my old lifestyle of pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion and thinking about food only when I start getting stomach pains, how does that serve me? I’m not prioritizing the fact that I want nutrition to be more important in my life. The process of transformation lies in changing the way you think and behave, and in placing yourself near more people/situations/events that help you focus more on what want to you attune to. In response to my dietary restrictions, I started hanging around other people who had those qualities similar to mine. They cared about their health and they fit their nutrition into their lifestyle. As I hung around those people more and more, my patterns began changing, and since my patterns were changing, it became easier to accomplish transformation instead of merely change. In seeking transformation, you may need to alter your environment to help facilitate your success.
The power of attunement is also tied in with the power of manifestation. The power of manifestation is also powered by a person’s “Why”. Say, for example, that a person feels empowered to start a business. If that person is also feeling down, desperate, and run into the ground because of their finances, they will tend to build their business out of desperation. They must reflect on what that is going to draw into their practice. Occasionally we must focus on getting out of “survival mode” and healing what has caused us to get into this mode before we can focus on something else like starting our own business. If you approach an endeavor with a strong “Why” instead of with solely a need for survival, others will start to see that you genuinely care because there’s something deeper under the surface, not just dollar signs on top. It is not until our basic needs are met (housing, food, security, etc) that we are able to interact with people in a healthier way and really call forth our “Why” to help us power our motivation.
When a person dreams of earning “the big bucks”, and drawing material things into their life, ask where this dream is coming from. Often when one fantasizes about having material objects, the why is based on of wants instead of on needs. When there is a focus on material possessions, that is generally feeding a superficial need for security because society implies that is what people “should have”. When we want too many material objects, that can actually rob from the collective. There are other people out there that don’t have homes, that don’t have cars, and that don’t have the health care they need in life. For me, it seems selfish to want to manifest a fancy car for myself when there are people that have to scrape change in order to use public transportation. This isn’t meant to be a sermon about “pity” for another person who doesn’t have something that you’re trying to manifest, because we are not here to judge people while they walk their own path. I’m only asking that your “Why” be about more than just personal gain.
There is a beautiful thing that happens when a person is able to discover their “Why”. When people connect their bodies with their mind, their spirit, and their heart, they’re able to give birth to the true essence of why they are here: to express their own unique genius. There is a story that is being told here for the first time, and that is the story of this spirit living in communion with this body, during this lifetime – the body of someone who is currently reading this blog post.
Once we uncover our own unique genius and realize that we bring something to the table that no one else can bring, we begin to build confidence within ourselves. When we begin to build that confidence, we find ways of expressing ourselves that fit into a bigger picture. I’m not here to meet the needs of other people. I am here to express this unique gift that I have come into this world to bring. In expressing that, that gift begins to meet the needs of other people.
The Earth is in need of medicine. I’m not talking about just the “hippie version” of the “big green earth”, but everything. The community, the people, the plants, the trees, the environment, all of it. The Earth is in need of medicine. And you are the medicine. We all are the medicine. And this Earth is going to pull this medicine out of us no matter what state we are in. So what medicine are you going to give the earth and the greater web of life? Are you going to sit on your couch watching TV and eating cookies? Or are you going to go out there, find a vehicle to express your life’s purpose, and find a community of people who are also doing the same thing?
We all have the power of choice. The choice is up to you. Be the medicine, not the disease.
It’s interesting the path that I find myself on when teaching my Little Bear. I keep trying to teach him what is important and how much he means to me. However, there are a lot of deep lessons that I am learning from him. I know he’s only 7 and can’t fully grasp the lessons I’m trying to teach him, but his profound wisdom in response to my teachings leaves me dumbfounded at times. I know eventually the full depth of the lessons will sink in, and I hope he doesn’t forget what I’ve taught him.
This month I’ve had some realizations and he’s growing quicker then I thought. He’s entering into the age where society is having more of an impact on how he grows up. It’s hard to be healthy in a profoundly sick society. And I can’t protect him from everything, which is why I’m instead choosing to empower him to live his life the way he chooses and learning to live with the choices he makes. I’m learning to let go of my “failure as a parent” when he chooses to make decisions that support unhealthy habits. It’s a learning process for both.
When he was little I had control over so much. I had control over his environment, control over who he spent time with, and control over what he ate. He would make a decision and I could enforce it either as a “good one” or a “bad one”. That evolved as he got older and I taught him at an early stage that there are parameters for blurring the lines between what’s good and bad. Instead I’ve emphasized respect. Respect for yourself and respect to those around you. What is good for one person can be bad for another. And it’s about choosing what’s “good” for you and what you want to draw into your life.
More and more he’s growing farther away from me and developing his own sense of self. This is the journey of all parents and all children, it’s natural. The pivot in life has come, where he’s not just learning from me – but those who he chooses to spend time with. This is why I chose to try to teach him about what’s important to me and be a good example, because if you want the world to change, you have to be the change you want to see in the world. In order to change the world, you just need to change the dream of just one generation. And my Little Bear is in that category. He’s apart of this young generation who will grow into inheriting this world we are creating for them. Which is why it’s a passion of mine to throw all that I can into raising him.
This blog post was birthed because I was profoundly in awe at his journey questions on what interests him and what he wants to learn more about. A few Mondays ago, he wanted to learn about gratitude and what that means to him. His lesson stuck and changed me as much as it did him. The weekend after that Monday, we went on one of our many “adventures” together. I know he’s exposed to parents who are able to throw down money on their kids and get them food and drinks or material things – without it being much of a struggle. I am not hiding him from the fact that we can’t afford much, but instead of directly saying “we can’t afford it”, what I’m choosing to do is emphasizing the fact that we are not that type of family.
That Saturday morning was different, I wanted to share a drink with him. A special treat. He recognized it for what it was, because there have been so many times when he asks for something and I tell him “no” because it’s not within the budget (I don’t explain it to him that way though). He was very excited about the drink and was eager to hear the lesson that I was going to give him when we stepped outside together.
It wasn’t my intention that he dropped his full cup of hot chocolate – ironically it happened when I was about to explain to him the concept of “holding onto” things and being in the moment. Because once that moment is over, we can’t get it back.
It wasn’t my intention that Little Bear “cried over spilled milk”. Yeah, I could have gone inside and bought him another hot chocolate, but I’m that ass hole parent that drives home a point and finds the lessons in whatever happens. Of course I comforted him when he cried, but he definitely was present when I showed him why I pulled him aside at a rest area in New Jersey. He was devastated because he knew I don’t get him things that often, and he was hard on himself because he forgot to be grateful.
Biggest lesson: we all make mistakes. When we realize we made a mistake, we own up to it and apologize to the person, place, or thing we didn’t fully respect. But sometimes it’s too late when we realize we made a mistake and we drop the hot chocolate. Our lesson today was about awareness, and being fully present. It’s about being grateful for what we have and letting others know how much we appreciate them in the moment.
Being a good parent is about being a good archer, and about being the bow itself. The child is the arrow. We do everything within our power to make sure to give them the right direction to go in. We love them. We support them. But ultimately, in order to let them fly – we have to let them go. Let them make their own decisions. When they hit their mark, we celebrate with them. When our children trust us, they will keep coming back to us to be restrung when they fall or miss their mark.
Be the bow.
There are stages that children move through, and it’s the parents job to recognize where they are at in their mental maturity when explaining lessons to them. When they’re young and little – you are EVERYTHING to them. Because you are their world, and you are all they know. Don’t underestimate the power parenthood has on their life. Be aware before you drop the hot chocolate. This week was my realization that I am not the center of my sons world anymore. I am a big influence, but it’s definitely my time to be the bow and preparing him for his journey in life. Right now, he keeps constantly coming up to me to be restrung and set him right on the path. I’m glad that trust is there. I know the time will come where he will come to me less and less. And even though the distance might cause some parents grief, it will give me a sense of satisfaction because I know that he can soar on his own for longer and longer strides. Until that time, I’m proud to be his parent and I’m grateful that he’s graciously taken the lessons I’ve taught him so far.
Fly high, my friends.
It’s been a few weeks since this beautiful moment, but it was a beautiful moment none the less. I host weekly journey groups on Mondays in Fairfax, and I bring Little Bear because he enjoys the time with me, as well as sharing what he found with his helping spirits (He’s a bold child, I don’t know where he gets that from…). Well, this particular Monday was the same where I picked him up from his after school care in order to go to Journey Group.
Casually I ask, “So Little Bear, what are you going to journey about today?”
Little did I know how much of a jaw drop of a response I was going to get, he sits and thinks about it for a moment. I can figuratively hear the cogs turning in his head. He starts off his response slow, but then he picks up speed as he comes to his decision. “Well I know that I made you upset that one time when I asked for a toy and you told me no because I wasn’t grateful for what I had. So I want to journey to my helping spirits to show me gratitude and what that feels like. Because I don’t like seeing you upset and I want to know what it’s like so I can appreciate what I have. Is that a good journey, Momma bear?”
Stuttering, my brain tries to pick itself up off of the floor after the explosion my heart had across the steering wheel, “Y-y-yes, sweetie! I think that’s an AMAZING journey question!”
Sometimes he astounds me with how profound his wisdom is. I love how children naturally have this gift, and I’m trying hard to make sure that society doesn’t squish this out of him. It’s funny because the thing that I’ve learned about journeying is that it’s not the journey itself that’s the important part. The depth of the answer you receive depends on the question. Sometimes adults spend a good majority of time trying to decide a proper journey question to give them the best possible answer – and this 7 year old child thought about it in less then 1 minute.
His response was just as profound. I have him keep a journey sketchbook so then that way when he gets out of his journey he can immediately draw or write it down. It’s proven so helpful because when we first started this exploration, he often forgot his journey if he wasn’t the first one to share.
Caption: My journey was good because I was listening to my spirits. Then I asked my journey question. They said it feels like goodness and goodness feels like thankful.
After journeying, we generally have about 15 minutes dedicated to sharing (depending on how many people come to journey group) in case people want to share. Little Bear is almost always one of the first to share. We talked a little bit more about what gratitude is, and I asked him what it felt like when he asked his helping spirits to show him what it feels like. He told me “it’s like when you’re waiting a really long time for something. You know that happy feeling in your tummy when you can’t wait? It’s like that! That’s what thankful feels like. Except I wasn’t waiting for anything. I was just feeling that.”
I didn’t know that my heart had the ability to expand as much as it did. He’s an amazing blessing to this world, and I can’t wait to see what he does in it.
I am so blessed to have the friends and community that I am surrounded with! The artist that created the work above painted my main three power animals (although they are not my only ones) and I will start using them for the Journey Group events on Facebook! It also matches one of my songs I sing to “Power Up” to honor my Bear, Eagle, and Otter. If anyone has interacted with me for any duration of time, those personality traits are obvious in me haha. Thank you so much K. Hansen! You and your farm are an inspiration 🙂
Announcement! The Journey groups are now digital! I have officially figured out through trial and error, and MANY MANY wonderfully compassionate (and patient) people. I feel like we have comfortably worked out some of the major kinks as well as the technology learning curve that I had. Please bare with me as we continue down this venture. Personal thank you and gratitude go out to Laura K., Melissa F., Julie F., both Ashleys (In New York and Baltimore), Nancy F., and Lisa B.! I’m sure I’m missing people, but know you’re in my hearts <3
If this is the first time you are clicking on this and are just being introduced to the concepts of journeying, please visit this page for more information. If you have not been to one of the journey groups and are interested in finding out about the structure, click here. Since now this is digital, I look forward to seeing more people online for those who resonate with these teachings.
Now let’s dive into the nitty gritty!!! The topic for the four months we are currently in are inspired by the lovely Angeles Arrien. She wrote a book called “The Four Fold Way” and if these teachings resonate with you, please read the book – it is much more extensive and can help broaden your senses. This has quickly become apart of my cosmology and has made mine a more complex cosmology with deeper symbology.
Last month we talked about the love of the healer and how we figure out what is in our path to discovering our own self healing – eliminating what stands in our way of being who we truly are. This month is about the warrior and about how we stand up for who we are, what we believe in, and take our experiences to turn them into wisdom. Join us this month as we explore what the warrior means to us.
For a more in depth summary and support structure for more information on the Warrior, click here.
For right now the journey groups are run by donation. Suggested donation is $5-$10 per person. I have made the decision that starting in January I will begin charging for them. More information to come, and if you feel these journey groups would really help, then I will not turn away people based off of price – Please reach out to discuss bartering. To be discussed on a case by case basis.
December 7th – Exploration of the basics of the warrior, and the warrior archetype
December 14th – The Shadow aspect of the warrior, and do we recognize when we’re living out the shadow?
December 21st – This is the Pagan holiday of Yule! Bring your own journey question, but the theme will be based off of the Winter Solstice and what the longest night of the year means to us.
December 28th – Addictions and the need to know – What are we addicted to? How to overcome addictions and how to feed or nourish ourselves in a healthier and more holistic way.
As always: any questions or concerns, or to suggest journey topics for the next month, please call/text 571.306.3197 or email email@example.com
As a lot of stories start with Little Bear and I, this one starts in the car.
We are driving to our next destination when Little Bear starts talking in the backseat.
“Hey Mommy. I know what type of bear my little bear is going to grow up into!”
I smile and jokingly said, “A bigger bear?”
I hear him giggle and he responds with “You know that one movie we saw about the land of the giant bears where they eat the salmon in the summer? My bear is going to turn into that one.”
This sense of pride fills my chest as Little Bear and I have watched many a bear documentary – and this one sticks out to him. What makes me all the more excited is that he happened to pick the same species of bear that mine is. The Kodiak bear that I have has been with me since childhood, and has grown as I have grown. My heart melts because my son gets to be blessed with the same experience.
As this pride washes over me, I hear rustling in the backseat. He speaks again, this time remorse leaking in. “I remember when our bears were lost and we found them. And then they became our spirit guides.”
I know why I can hear the sadness in his voice. He has had trouble connecting with his guides.
“Well baby, it doesn’t always work that way. My bear has always been with me, and he has always been there because he is me. I know sometimes it feels like they are lost and they try to find us again – but that’s what happens when we don’t talk to our guides for a while. The less we talk to them the harder it is to feel them. It’s like a muscle, you keep using it to make it stronger. And sometimes” I glared into the rear view mirror, “the baby bear gets lost and comes to my bear when I’m traveling and I return it to you. My bear travels over to you a lot just to check on you. So if you sometimes see my bear, it’s not because he’s lost. I know you haven’t been talking to your bear that much these past few weeks because I keep getting a little visit. And I can tell because you start to get scared more easily when you forget to ask your bear for help.”
This also happens with children when they get distracted (in my experience). Eventually the time will come when Little Bear gets older and I will teach him about mindfulness and introduce daily practices. But for right now we stick to the basics and nail down each lesson as they come.
I’ve been trying to drive the lesson home of relationship. Having a helping spirit is very much like having a relationship. The more energy we feed into the relationship, the stronger that relationship becomes. I’ve been trying to impress that on Little Bear because he saw how many helping spirits I had and wanted to mimic it (which can be done but a lot of care has to be taken). I cautioned him against it but I still gave him the choice to do what he feels best. At one point he had five helping spirits, which wasn’t a bad thing – but it was the fact that he wasn’t deepening his relationship with one, so he found it was easier for them to “get lost” until he found them again. The gift of deepening one relationship is being able to establish trust in the realm of spirit with one friend who you keep going back to. If we blindly trust the information of anyone that comes along, how do we know if it’s the right information for us at this time? By working with one helping spirit and deepening that relationship, we are able to get insight and information that is specifically curtailed to us.
I am blessed enough that Little Bear wants to come to the once weekly journey groups. He loves the opportunity to play with his helping spirits. Since our conversation last week (helping spirits getting lost), he has now only brought up Bear outside the journey group when instead he used to bring up his list of five friends whenever we talked about helping spirits. He still talks about them, but they’re like old friends when he journeys to them.
The quiet of peace floats through the air. A beautiful labyrinth before me. Bare feet on the cold ground. A deep inhale and a gentle closing of the eyes. Where there was once mind chatter, there is now a settling. As the eyes slowly open, a deep inhale starts pulling up the energy from the Earth to settle in the gut. One thing rises to the mind.
As we enter into the month of November, this is the beginning of the hectic holiday season. Amidst the chaos of seeing family members, going to social events, we extend ourselves outward in order to connect with others. Some may feel drained, others may thrive on this chaos. In the Chinese culture, the written symbol for chaos means both danger and opportunity. There is a danger of extending ourselves too far outward, and depleting ourselves in order to make others happy. But there is also an opportunity to thrive in this same situation as well. Going to labyrinth walks is how I find my center, it’s how I “refill the cup” so to speak. It’s for my quiet and my peace of mind that empowers me to want to do a walking meditation. For me, since I find this opportunity to find peace, I choose to focus on the gratitude this holiday season brings up. The family (both blood and chosen) I have not seen in a long time, the food I get to eat, the good memories shared – all of this mulls through my mind as I walk through the labyrinth. I may not always have the opportunity to go, but sometimes I find myself slipping back to the labyrinth in my mind whenever I need a break to recharge.
What is a labyrinth walk, you say? For more information about labyrinths (in case this concept is new) then visit this wonderful and beautifully written blog post by my friend Irene Glasse who hosts once monthly labyrinth walks in Frederick, MD at the UU Church. One of the reasons why I love labyrinths is because it’s a simple walking meditation to get me out of my head. I admit I tend to have a lot of things going on in my head at once, but it’s good practice to empty them. Emptying/Releasing them helps clear the pressure, because thoughts carry energetic weight. There is only one path in and one path out with a labyrinth. Unlike a maze, I can just let my feet follow the path, and allow myself to be in my body and appreciate the thoughts of gratitude that surface. If there is a bad thought or a negative thought, I slide it aside and replace it with something I am grateful for. This helps empty my head, and it helps fill my heart with joy.
I tend to bring my son to labyrinth walks because he gets so much enjoyment out of them. I have taught him how to walk labyrinths as well as polite etiquette while walking the narrow rings (see post if unfamiliar) at an early age. Now that he is older and more connected with his spiritual guidance, the insight he comes out of the labyrinth with is very powerful. There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Often times when walking with Little Bear, I find myself either being an airplane or a dinosaur stomping the labyrinth. It works for him because I spend that time being on his level and we laugh together. This brings forth more gratitude. Gratitude that I can raise him in a way that does not squish his curiosity. He is allowed to be himself in these situations, and I’m not trying to force him into a mold.
If I happen to go to a labyrinth walk by myself, and I have trouble connecting because of a particularly stressful day, or stressful month (which has happened before) then I turn to the help of aromatherapy. I don’t need as much help as I did when I first started, but it still helps shift my thinking from my head to my heart. When we breathe in different scents, they connect to the olfactory nerve, which is connected to the amygdala. The amygdala is the control center in the brain that’s responsible for emotions. It can control things such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and so many other autonomic body functions. I tend to use essential oils more frequently, but nothing beats labyrinth walk with a garland freshly made of picked flowers or pine branches. I tend to go more for the “grounding” scents. When I don’t have the time to go pick flowers or grab a fresh branch off a cedar tree, I tend to go for cinnamon, cypress, cassia, arborvitae, paolo santo, white fir, or douglas fir. I love speaking to the spirit that is behind the essence of these scents, and I love the way putting a drop in your hands and inhaling deeply can change your focus within seconds so you can get a deeper experience. Working with plants has been a passion of mine, and I love being able to share the therapeutic benefits whenever I can.
For now, I breathe this crisp autumn air and await the next time I get to enact on walking the labyrinth again. For now I walk it in my head filling myself with gratitude for the blessings in my life, but I long for my feet to walk it in order to solidify my practice.
If you are interested in coming to the next labyrinth walk in Frederick, MD – follow this link and I will see you there 🙂
I am very excited to be able to present this months topic for journey group. For anyone who has not attended this journey group or this is your first time being introduced to this concept, visit this link. Once again, you can bring your own journey topics, these are “suggested” journey group topics that go with a theme. You are more then free to journey on your own at home if you cannot attend the group. In a group, it is easier to transition into that “receiving” head space because there are others there with that same intent. When journeying by yourself, it can be hard because it is easier to get distracted. Visit this page, or feel free to contact us for more information.
The topic for this month is going to be based off of the book, “The Four Fold Way” by the late Angeles Arrien. I highly recommend this book (especially if you are intrigued by the topics being brought up in journey group), and there have been many different interpretations and good reviews on these concepts.
The Four Fold Way means to live your normal every day life with a courageous heart. In general, there are four major archetypes which make up the open heart. When moving through life, life calls upon us to act in one of these four main archetypes. If our heart gets clouded with fear because of our wounds or the shadow aspect of ourselves, then the open heart shuts down. Having good intentions is not enough when we are being clouded by fear. Each week we will be moving through these four archetypes to see what exactly they mean to us and how we can heal what’s in the way so we can live courageously. When we live our lifes purpose, we are asked to bring courage to the table every single day. It’s how we over come our fear and live in those archetypes in a good way which helps bring forth our true lifes calling.
Journey Group Outline:
Monday November 2nd – The Healer: Finding the right vessel to live our lifes purpose
Monday November 9th – The Healer: Shadow aspects, how they prevent us from healing ourselves
Monday November 16th – The Healer: Life processes
Monday November 23rd – The Healer: Since this is a holiday week, open suggested topics in regard to the healer
Monday November 30th – The Healer: How do we live the Healer archetype when it is called upon? What’s in the way of that?
More blog posts to come to fully describe each archetype before the actual date 🙂 Any questions or concerns, or to suggest journey topics for the next month, please call/text 571.306.3197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Artwork by K. Hansen