Little Bear Chronicles
Last week I went off the grid for about a week. This is a practice that I wish to normalize because I would like to distance myself from technology and go back to the nature more and more as a teacher.
There is no WiFi in the forest, but I assure you will find more connection 😉
My favorite moment from this past week is of sharing this week with my son. Little bear and I are hiking in the Shenendoahs and I’m building cairns everywhere because the rocks are so happy. After about the 5th one, he goes, “Wow, Mom, some of the ones you build look pretty impossible”.
I reply, “They’re not. You just have to listen to the stone people and they will show you how they want to be stacked. It’s an act of joy and love to stack rocks, and it’s fun for them. When you breathe and share joy in your actions, it becomes a prayer to share that joy in the world”.
I remind him that he used to do it too when he was younger, but his perfectionistic tendencies kicked in and he became discouraged because he kept comparing himself to me instead of focusing on the fun.
There was this magical moment where he sat next to one of the fresh cairns I built and decided to try again. He breathed and picked up a stone, then without even trying goes, “I feel like the stone wants to stand up on its side” and effortlessly places it on top of the big rock next to another one I put on its side.
With surprise and excitement his big eyes turn to me and he goes, “Mommy!! I did it! I talked to the stone people! I just had to slow down because I was moving too fast to hear them!! Maybe I should slow down in ALL areas of my life!!!”
And thus began my tears of gratitude, for this is an ancestral pattern I’ve been working on healing in my own life. It’s amazing how without even trying, he’s feeling the grace and ease of the work I’m doing and just follows suit because it’s natural.
If you continue working on your work, the next generation feels your work naturally. There is a need to heal ourselves so we can pause and listen to the natural voices all around us again. Do things that make you feel connected and slow down. The ones who are coming will thank you, because they will feel that ease as you embody it.
It’s been a while since I wrote anything about Little Bear. It’s because he honestly did drift away from me and my practices. But all paths of love, you sometimes need to let them go and just walking your path of truth and if it fits them they will walk back with you for a short time. If you’re interested in this, you can catch up on the Little Bear Chronicles in the archives.
I became a young Mother quite suddenly, but the more challenging aspect of it was coupling a spiritually fulfilled life while being a single parent. At the time of writing this article, my son has grown to the ripe age of 9 years old, and I am continually blessed for his existence here on this planet. I will share with you my heart, my growth and evolution as a parent. I invite you to join with me as I share my background and the struggles of raising an aware child in a society that does not cherish the sacred. I do not come from an indigenous background, but like so many other contemporary Shamanic Practitioners, I come from a broken lineage in an emotionally distant family of origin. Trying to piece together a spiritually fulfilling life while raising a little one can be challenging on its own, but here are some of the lessons and wisdoms that I have distilled from this experience so far, and I’m sure that I will be continuously growing this wisdom base.
With all great stories, we will start with the beginning. The conception of my son was surrounded by confusion, blame, trauma, and chaos. It took me years to understand the emotional baggage I carried with me. Many of my early years of raising him were scary and through the eyes of a child, because I had the emotional maturity of a child. It turned out to be a very magical experience because he is such a blessing to me. Not at the time, of course, but we always have a better view of things in hindsight. It was a challenge raising him since he was emotionally and spiritually sensitive. He was fussier than other babies, sensitive to people having a bad mood, and seemed “tuned in” naturally to the world around him. The blessing behind this meant it was easy to have age-appropriate discussions with him about energy hygiene, maintenance, and the natural world. I saw him for the true light of what he is and I have done the best I could in raising him.
In essence, I taught him things that I was teaching myself, except I would ask my guides to help the teachings be age-appropriate. I was always surprised at the ease and grace of which he answered to some of these meditations and suggestions that I reeled with for a week or two before I “got” them. He helped me develop that sense of ease and wonder, and “growing up” was less scary for me. Years later, as I reflect on that, it seems to be that with true self-healing as an adult, you have to “deprogram” yourself from what society, culture, and your family give you as core beliefs. My son constantly reminds me about deepening my roots and going back to the childlike sense of wonder—the “original” program we get handed by Spirit. In my life, he has been my greatest teacher.
I taught him how to journey at a very early age, and I remember him having to think on who his first helping spirit was. He said he felt them during the first journey, but couldn’t see them quite yet. Knowing that it was possible I could project something on him, I tried to distract myself with other things while he tried to journey again to find out who was playing with him. It made me so proud that by the time he curled into bed that night before story time. He stated plain and simple that his helping spirit was a bear. One of my main helping spirits is a bear, and hence he became my “Little Bear.”
In the early years, it was easy to keep him on the same spiritual path as me. He was joyful, loving, filled with inspiration and hope. Before the age of 6, he loved to journey and dance with me, doing the same activities as I did, and liked taking walks in the woods or talking to trees. But then he started going to school. I prepped him for it, because I noticed his eagerness in telling almost anyone that would listen about the amazing adventures he and his helping spirits would go on. Discernment was a good age-appropriate lesson about how sometimes other adults might not think the same way Mommy does, and he should be careful about whom he shares those thoughts/opinions with. He understood this on one level, but experiencing it in a public school system is a different story. Running home from the bus, he came home crying because another kid made fun of him about talking to his helping spirits under his breath. He immediately started disconnecting from the spiritual, pulling away and resisting me instead of joining along. It wasn’t until years later that I started connecting the dots.
When he stopped responding positively to a lot of the things we used to do together, it became a chore. I started leading journey groups, and instead of it being “fun” for him like it used to be, he would commonly get bored, and occasionally would get disruptive. The meditations we did together were no longer fulfilling; instead it became a thing that “my Mom does” and he would start rolling his eyes whenever I suggested it. The helpful tips that he used to look up at me to give, soon became disregarded. Talking back and becoming rude were growing steadily more frequent. The reflection this made within myself became a pile of frustration, angst, and self-blame. I wasn’t doing enough to make my kid more connected. It was “my fault” for not focusing hard enough on him, even though I thought I was doing all of the right things to feed, clothe and house him.
As I finally came into my own with my Shamanic Path, I found that it was an echo within myself that my son was reflecting back to me. He is the closest emotional connection to any human that I have, and that hasn’t changed for 10 years (I connected with him very deeply while he was in my womb). As I dove deeper into a contemporary Shamanic cosmology, I found that a lot of the threads I was bringing up were pulling up this constellation of factors that were also reflected in society. Because I was working on them within myself, my son (who is extremely open and emotionally sensitive) reflected the counterparts to the very pieces I was working on. I realized that when I was raising him previously, that he was modeling for me the very illnesses that I was trying to combat within myself. Some main ones being greed, entitlement, addiction to technology, and doing things to “prove” himself to his friends. It wasn’t until I engaged at this depth of understanding that I was able to re-prioritize a way to make him feel like his needs were being met in a way that we could explore this context together. I was exploring the depths of my own Shamanic world while leaving him out of it—which I found that for me was the wrong approach to come from. He is a part of my world, and thus is a crucial part for me to understanding myself.
As soon as I began to cultivate a deeper sense of compassion within myself for the grander vision of the situation I was in, he was of the age where he could make informed decisions about this on his own (this started around age 7). To remedy his pain and insecurities about being teased for having helping spirits in the first place, I found and networked with other parents who openly discuss these spiritual things with their children. I found family-friendly festivals where he could participate in group ritual. If things got to be really challenging and I wasn’t able to find something in the area, I invited him to participate with me during group rituals and ceremonies online via webcasting. As soon as he was able to see that there were other kids that were doing this with him, and he wasn’t the only one with a weird Mom, he slowly started coming back to opening up. Just as finding community strengthened me, finding community also strengthened his connection to Spirit.
When I stopped trying to force his healing because I thought something was “wrong with me” and my parenting skills, I opened up to the fact that there was something bigger going on. I started examining what about the situation was I taking personally, and kept asking my helping spirits questions about how I could improve my relationship with him. This way it didn’t infringe upon me “forcing” things to happen, and instead switched it to “allowing” things to happen. When I organically used the Shamanic principles I was learning from my teachers and applying them in my own life, I deconstructed and then reconstructed a way that allowed my son into the picture easily and effortlessly. I found that what I was doing before was just slapping together different aspects of living a Shamanic life and expected that it was enough. It wasn’t until I leaned into the teachings and allowed all aspects of my life to become Shamanic, did I realize that had a dramatic impact on my relationship with my son. I give great gratitude to the Cycle teachings and Christina Pratt for really driving that home. My own healing catalyzed as soon as I took root in a true Shamanic community that came together to live the same principles. It was the shift in realization that living a Shamanic way of life couldn’t just be condensed to my healing practice, but also opened up to every relationship that I had, seeing the interconnectedness of it all. The best service I did for my son was to step into a true transformational process and see how I brought my true lifes purpose into all avenues of my life, not just certain “chosen” parts.
I originally was trying to prevent him from seeing me in my deep healing, even though he was feeling it without naming it. It wasn’t until later when I noticed that when I was upset, he was acting it out. Christina teaches that young children ground to the parents because they don’t have their own sense of grounding. They depend on us to tell them what’s right and wrong, what is dangerous and what is not. Which means that we have to model for them how to live in a sustainable way. If we want to teach our kids a better way of being, we can’t take their reflections personally. We need to develop the skills that allow us to model a deeper change we want to see in the world. What I was doing before was only allowing a Shamanic life into parts of my life instead of letting it affect my whole life. I was marginalizing myself subconsciously, and in that my son modeled for me the marginalization within our relationship.
Reflecting out into the wider scope of entering a public school, if he marginalizes aspects of himself, does that really set him up for success in being able to handle criticism? I don’t outwardly view this as something as “bad,” because I find that putting challenges in front of him makes him a stronger kid. What we should be teaching kids is resilience. Children are naturally resilient to begin with, but when they start inheriting our inability to process emotions, to be taught to “hide” things because other people might not accept them fully, then we have to ask if this is sustainable. Are we truly raising children who can dream of a better dream than us adults have? Or are we raising another generation that a different version of the same thing, inheriting the generational backwash of unresolved energies?
What I have found that works for my child is a rich engagement in the activities I am doing. Going to Spirit and asking directly how I can involve him in the things I am doing now. Admittedly in the beginning of my Shamanic path, I was using my Shamanic trainings as a way to “get away” from having to be a parent, and just an opportunity to be me. As I came to a deeper understanding of myself in the world, I realized that my son is an expression of me. One with his own brain and heart. He has the ability to make his own choices, but I can’t force them. What I can do as a parent is model them as best as I can for him and to allow him to choose his own path.
Our job as parents is not to protect our children for life. It’s to give them the tools that they can help understand their context within the greater aspect of the Universe. Why not involve your kids with your transformative processing? Why not share, be open and more vulnerable with them? If you have helping spirits, try asking them how to make the conversation age appropriate so they can understand what is happening. Most of them do, but they have to have permission from adults to feel into those experiences and be able to name them so they can share and know it’s okay. The more we teach them to be independent and go to Source themselves when they are ready, the more we are empowering them to lead a rich life.
To teach our children to have depth, we have to have depth ourselves. To understand the proper way to raise a child also means to understand the cultural illnesses at hand that influence these greater aspects of our society and how we can better engage with our children to make them more resilient to them. When we build the foundation of mental wellness in our society, we begin to build structures that innately repel mental illness by their very existence. What we need to do, in my opinion, is ground these actions in ourselves as adults first, and then model them for our children. We need a more engaging way to bring Spirit into our daily lives.
Change the dream of one generation, and we can change the world.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
But seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
As living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
And He bends you with His might
That His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.
Little Bear Chronicles – Journey of Love
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
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!
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.
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.
I write this with a happy heart, and a contented sigh as I stare at my son with all of my love that I posses. It took a while for me to debate wether or not I should begin writing my adventures with my six year old son. 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 us and our story. That drive to get the story out there and to connect to others is what is fueling this movement.
My son shall hence forth be known as Little Bear, and I will be 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 here.
The reason why I’m beginning to document these chronicles is because Little Bear is so full of wealth and knowledge, and raising my child in a profoundly sick society is hard. There’s a lot of injustice, fear, and harsh judgement. I can’t protect him from it all, and that’s where all of this began. 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.
It begins with the core of the teachings I am teaching him. Whenever I see his tiny little heart slip into fear, I call him out on it and ask “Are you thinking and listening with your heart? Or with your head?”
It took him a long time to understand. I began teaching him how to get in contact and maintain contact with his helping spirits (some might call them guardian angels, others might call them power animals). It’s been a learning experience for both him as well as I. Not a lot of people that I know of shamanically teach their kids these skills, but I am one of the first within my friend circles to do so. I did so with the guidance of my helping spirits, and hope in the future to find more parents doing this with their children. I have a dream of doing this on a bigger scale, but that is a tale for another time.
For right now we begin in the back seat of a car. Little Bear has been annoying the Momma Bear with sighs and protests of “I’m bored. What can I do?”
My response, “What do your helping spirits say?”
He grunts and kicks his feet in the car seat. “…..nothing.”
I smile sweetly in the rear view mirror. “Son, are you listening with your head or with your heart?”
A smirk. “Baby, sometimes this can be a tricky question. Because we can be tricked by the head to think we are thinking with the heart. Take some deep breaths and see where your attention is, and if you find its in your head, switch it to your heart.”
There was silence as we continue our drive.
All of a sudden I hear a gasp in the back seat, “Mommy! My helping spirits showed me a game that I can play! And my heart is now happy!”
Curiosity perked my ears. “You weren’t happy before?”
“Well… I was. But I lost my happy because I was in my head. But now that I listened with my heart I found my happiness again because I was able to feel it and not just listen to it.”
I don’t think I could smile bigger then what I did. It seems when he gives me those golden gems, he always stretches the capacity of my heart to love him even more.
“I’m glad you found a fun game to play with your helping spirits, baby. And I’m glad you found your happiness.”
May happiness find you, and may this be the beginning of a wonderful blog series to add to the Eagle Therapies vision.