Soul Compass Path 2022
It is with a quiet excitement that I am announcing the 2022 Soul Compass Path for this year. I have updated the dates here. If you’re interested in the Soul Compass Path and what it is, click here for more information.
I offer a deep gratitude to the multitude of clients that have been patient with me as I spent the last year and a half recovering from getting hit by lightning, and then contracting covid. I juggled the option of not continuing journey groups or offering healing modalities, but over the winter and a much needed break I experimented with a few clients to find that my skills were slowly coming back. I am quickly finding that my passion is for healing the ancestral lines. I am excited by that work, and I feel very accomplished that the journeys I do for others resonate with them deeply.
I also offer gratitude to the 2021 Soul Compass Path cohort. They helped me experiment with the reformatting of the course. I had a few people retake the course from previous years, and they were also happy with the switch up. With my experiences living in community, off grid, and organic farming, I am happy to extend that education out to this class.
Last years Soul Compass Path was hard. Not just because of the pandemic, but due to a number of reasons (both personal and societal). We did manage to get through! However, it highlighted to me how much in-person teachings far out weigh the “online only” learning experience. I truly believe that in person connections help foster a deeper sense of community, and selfishly I want to be able to create a local tight knit community where we can practice these skills in person to work on wider societal challenges. I certainly witnessed and was apart of this across the year. Hence why I am deciding to reopen the doors to having in person classes and journey groups once again.
Some guidelines and protocols we will follow:
- Name and contact information from each participant for all events. There will be a sign in sheet. I will not sell information to anyone or use them for marketing in any way unless you have indicated you want to stay in touch.
- Completion of a survey either online or verbally before the event to screen “at risk behavior” or vaccination status. Personally, I have a mother in an assisted living facility, and I want to be responsible for my actions.
- Please stay home if you happen to have any covid symptoms so that we can keep all of our guests safe. If you are showing symptoms, you will gently be asked to leave.
- Sign a waiver understanding the risks associated with being in a group at this time
- If you start having symptoms after the event, please contact me so I can contact the rest of everybody who attended that particular class/event. The more we can minimize the spread, the better.
- If these guidelines cannot be followed, please choose the online only option. If guidelines are not adhered, admittance to future events will be prohibited.
I hope to have the office in Richmond opened by March, so stay tuned for more details! I would love to organize ride shares, so that we can cut down on how much traveling each individual is doing. If you are open to carpooling, please send me a message.
So without further ado! Here are the links you most need to know if you’re interested in participating this year:
- Dates for 2022
- Orientation (mandatory if you’ve not attended the SCP before) on March 18th
- Soul Compass Path Landing Page
- Basic Outline of Course
- Best Practices for participation from a distance
- Cost – Why Sliding Scale?
- Application form
If you would like an in-depth resource, there is an online course by the Last Mask Center called Energy Body Mastery. It begins this coming weekend! We cover similar things in the Soul Compass Path, but for a more in depth exploration, we highly recommend the course.
A good resource if you are anxious to get started is through the free, listener supported podcast, Why Shamanism Now. There are over 400 archived hours, and a teaser to what is available both within this course and beyond. A great place to start is the Basics of Living Well series and the specific podcasts below:
An excellent book which talks about this process mentioned so often in this course is by Langston Kahn called, “Deep Liberation: Shamanic Teachings for Reclaiming Wholeness in a Culture of Trauma“. Highly recommended.
Any questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 571.306.3197
This is the essence of Leonurus Cardiaca. Or at least how she presents herself to me. By the common name, she is known as Motherwort. The scientific name actually means “Lion Hearted”, and boy let me tell you what… Yeah, that’s her medicine.
I spent a few nights camping by myself in the woods two weeks ago. The only thing I knew was that I had to go by myself, and I needed to just receive and be quiet. On the last day, I asked yet again what offerings the land wanted in return for what they gifted me. I finally got a response from the pines. They said, “Nothing. You already gave it. You receiving us fully and without question was enough for us.” In shock, and with them finally speaking with me in a language I could understand, I asked them the burning question that was in my heart. Whenever I’m around people, or certain properties/land, I am heavily affected by it. Certain situations leave me super drained and I have to pay very close attention to who I am around, who I interact with, and the land that I’m on. Out there in the wildlife sanctuary where I camped, I felt back to myself with an abundance of energy. I asked what the difference was, and about how I’ve been working on my boundaries so hard, but it’s not helping my sensitivities at all.
It was like the pine trees pat me on the head, and answered with a question, “Would a frog be able to do the same in polluted water since they breathe through their skin?”
I didn’t “get” the message for more then a week, but it’s been bubbling and resurfacing the more I’ve been working with motherwort. I’ve been thinking that me being hypersensitive to my environment has been a flaw that I needed to work on, but that’s a pattern of mine I’ve been working on. Once I tapped into the flip side and let go of my judgement and harsh self criticism, I was able to accept that perhaps it is in my true nature to be this sensitive.
Over 6 months ago, I was in a field full of metal cages harvesting tomatoes. I was muttering to my ancestors about how nice it would be if I wouldn’t be living my mothers patterns. Within moments I was hit by lightning, and that cascaded me down this intense healing journey. My prayer was answered even though it was catastrophic and I didn’t understand it at the time. It took many months before I finally accepted that a lot of my health challenges couldn’t be fixed physically, and it was on other planes I needed to address it. Motherwort had really stepped up to help me address my self nourishment deficiencies and where I was hemorrhaging energy due to the bad habits I was living because I was acting out a lot of my mothers patterns.
And I got it. One of the reasons why I went into the “Miserable Me” pattern was because I was always in the mothering role to my own mother. Living that pattern was the only way I was able to get energy from others, and doing so distracted me from focusing on just one step at a time. Motherwort highlighted that one of my deepest fears was that I was going to become my mother. In growing up with a primary caretaker that has schizophrenia, I took that technique of scattering myself to try and apply it to a way of surviving. Little did I know that following that example was perpetuating a huge pattern of imbalance and I lived the fear I was so afraid of. Another function of schizophrenia is walling off different parts of the self to the point where they seem like different personalities, and I realized I was doing that to my self. One of the reasons why I didn’t have energy was because a lot of my energy was going towards internal walls that prevented me from fluidly accessing vital parts of myself as needed. The walls being self judgement and bullying to try and control my own behavior. I needed so many years of shadow work just to cultivate the amount of self compassion to allow parts of myself just to be, instead of walling them off. The more I fought myself, the more I separated myself into different sections of self to present to others. I had a self that would show up to yoga, show up as a teacher, show up as a student, or in community, and on and on.
Motherwort shared that it’s not the fact that I have shitty boundaries, but the energy I was putting up towards boundaries internally were what was sapping my strength to functioning well in everyday reality. It especially hurts when I found how much I marked off certain parts of me as “dangerous” or how some parts of me were so vulnerable I needed to shelter them from certain people. It takes the courage of a lion and a lions heart to be this hypersensitive in today’s world. Instead of the energy going towards boundaries, it could be going towards supporting the heart that I need in order to endure the constant heartbreak of what is happening in the world.
Yes, I’m a frog in polluted water where I’m currently living. But it’s because I need to face the heartbreak that I live in a county where conventional agriculture is rapidly degrading the topsoil and certain neighbors don’t know the meaning of a healthy ecosystem, and they choose to control it with chemicals and tilling instead. No, I can’t just live in a healthy ecosystem that stretches for miles, untouched by mankind just so I can feel better and breathe easier. Those healthy ecosystems can help me recalibrate my sense of what “true north” feels like in my body so I can steward this land I’m currently on and work on educating neighbors to navigate more towards that.
The question isn’t how I can have boundaries that help me feel numb to the heartbreak around me, but how can I support my big heart to accept the world as it is and still choose to navigate it as best as I can with the level of sensitivity I’ve been gifted with? It takes a lions heart to choose to nurture myself and show up daily to tend this land with community and help restore it to a healthier state. As I tend the land, I tend myself because I feel how intimately we are connected. The pains I feel, the shortness of breath, the tiredness, the fatigue, no wonder I chose to be out of my body for most of my life. Being this sensitive is exhausting because of how much I have to filter and process on a daily level. When the lightning knocked my mothers pattern out of me, it woke me up to the true nature of my own heart. To have a heart big enough to love it all, no matter how much it hurts. To not try the overwhelming feat of changing so many things at once out of distraction for feeling the bigness of the heartbreak, but in relying on Spirit to help me as a tiny human navigate the extreme complexities of how to repair broken ecosystems one step at a time, while feeling deeply. This includes my own inner ecosystem, addressing the walls within my own emotional body.
The beauty of motherwort has shown me that the one step I am on is all that matters. Not two or three steps ahead. Not dwelling on the past. Sure there are times for planning and dreaming, but living is different. The present is meant for holding that space in the now, preventing me from sliding backwards and repeating old patterns I’m trying my hardest not to choose. The more I tried to focus on multiple steps at a time, the more I fragmented and parts of me slid backwards while at the same time other aspects of me moved forward. Perfect example on why I walled off different sections of myself, so I would be blind to my own disorganization. But Motherwort helped me see that I needed this orchestration of getting “all of my parts” to the current moment/current step. Talk about whole hearted.
Another flower that’s been speaking to me in this spring time. Dandelion. They are perfect for degraded ecosystems where the top soil has been eroded. Their deep tap roots dig deep down to bring up nutrients that other plants can’t access because of their superficial roots. In the midst of me learning to be lion hearted, I’m also learning the benefit of being deep rooted so I can be a dandy-lion.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It touches my heart that you got this far. May the blessings of spring be abundant in your own life.
April Journey Group Outline 2017
Hey guys! I sure have been busy this past month, with my recovering from deaths doorstep and heading out to Standing Rock and all. I somehow managed to write up a Journey Track outline for beginner journeyers because my inbox was becoming full with people who had questions about doing it by themselves at home. With all of that being said and done, the next few months are probably going to blow by fast for me. I’ve taken up training with an indigenous teacher, as well as going out on my first retreat with Christina Pratt in June (I’m in her four year training program and starting year 1 this year). So that means that we are going to move a little bit quicker in the journey group.
The last two months we have been working on the topic of earth as an element, and exploring that relationship as a metaphor of our physical body. The rest will be as follows on this big medicine wheel we will be taking a dive into 😉
- Main Post: Purity and the Elements – Exploring the four element system, what it means, and the inter-connectedness/inter-related aspects of it all
- February and March: Earth – getting the grounding, boundaries, and centering under wraps. This is a crucial part to understanding the element of earth
- April: Element of Air – Exploring the mental wisdom body and how to bring about the clarity of the mind
- May: Element of Fire (post coming soon) – Exploring the spiritual wisdom body and how we can use passion to fuel our drive in the world
- June: Element of Water (post coming soon) – Exploring the emotional wisdom body and how we can use our emotions as a useful processing tool instead of drowning or being numbed by them.
Along with the basic journey group meetups, there is also a Shamanic Journeying Basics class on April 8th, as well as the Open Heart Path class on April 18th. Hooray for fun events this month!
Event listings for Eagle Therapies:
April 2nd – Heart Centered Sound Circle
This is the extended version of the 5-10 minutes of singing/chanting we do before we journey. It’s a ceremony that lasts for an hour. Begins at 1pm.
April 6th – Element of Air: Shamanic Journey Group
Today we will find the inter-connectedness and inter-relatedness of the element of air, and see how it fits in with the element of earth. Earth helps us cultivate a sense of wellbeing, as well as a sense of place, presence, and grounding. Earth helps us ask the question, “What do I stand for, and why do I stand for it?”. As earth helped pave the ground work, now we can step into the realm of air and be able to take on responsibility and power. The element of air helps us connect to vision as well as clarity, clear sight, and truth.
April 7th – First Friday in Fairfax – Drum Circle!
This is just a fun get together with drums, rattles, and shaky things 🙂 Come join in community!
April 8th – Shamanic Journeying Basics – The Bare Bones
This is meant for everyone from beginners who know nothing about journeying, all the way to experienced journeyers who want a refresher. This will also include a journey group right after, as well as a question and answer.
Cost: $15 – Please bring cash or paypal ahead of time
April 18th – The Open Heart Path workshop
This is one of my favorite workshops to teach, because the Open Heart Path is very near and dear to my heart (pun intended). Come find out what it means to live in todays world full of courage, and to bring your medicine to the table.
Cost: $15 – Please bring cash or paypal ahead of time
April 20th – Element of Air: Shamanic Journey Group
Whenever there is a light, if the light falls on an object of attention, it casts a shadow. The shadow aspect of the element of air is the tornado. Sometimes in life, we reach a point of hopelessness that it feels like an aspect of ourselves is suffocating. We feel stuck and can sometimes feel like we cannot move forward without being restricted in some ways. The tornado can help breathe a breath of life back into the stagnation that was there.
Fly high, everyone!
Synopsis of Standing Rock
To all of my beloveds and family members that supported us as my teacher and I went out to Standing Rock, here is a synopsis of our journey. My teacher and I co-wrote this together, but it’s written in his point of view. I’m not going to bother changing it because I’ve had many other projects that I’ve been working on. Feel free to read, comment, share, and everything else. Based off of my Walk With Buffalo post, I find it very funny that a Buffalo Mother decided to walk up to the car to lick it 😛
Posted on his Facebook page at 7:00pm on March 29th
Greeting my Family, Friends and Earth Companions! I am home from my trip to Standing Rock, N.D, and here is our (Stephanie and my) combined synopsis of the trip and what we found and did there. I traveled there this time with a good friend and shamanic student of mine, Stephanie Seger. She is also a shamanic healer in her own right and runs Eagle Therapies to help others. When we arrived, we found out that all the original camps have been completely destroyed by the government with the approval of the Standing Rock Tribes Chief, Dave Archambault, and the council. You can read more about that here . The work on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is complete and the oil either is or will be flowing through it by the time I get this finished and out to everyone.
The journey started on Sunday, March 12, 2017. We drove for a little over 12 hours to Peoria, IL and stopped for the night to avoid driving in the blizzard that was coming east. It was a good decision, because we missed the snowfall pretty much completely and started driving again Monday morning to complete our trip to Bismarck, ND. We saw many vehicles’ in the ditches and medians that validated Lora and Stephanie’s counsel to stop and got into Bismarck, ND about 2am on Tuesday. A little over 1800 miles with no problems, we were blessed. We spent much of the drive both days exchanging stories while Stephanie worked on her many art projects. She tends to be a very creative person. One of her projects included free hand painting a buffalo on a new drum.
Tuesday morning when we woke up, we rolled out and went to Standing Rock to see what was going on. We were met by a Federal Marshall, who told us that we were not allowed to go into or see the area where the Oceti Sakowin Camp or Sacred Stone camps were. As we had approached Standing Rock, we had seen two small camp areas that had teepees and tents. When we went back to the larger camp, we introduced ourselves to the Four Bands Prayer Camp (Cheyenne River Camp). We met with the leaders (Leon Red Dog and Johnnie Aseron) to find out what they were doing and how we could help. Cheyenne River Lakota Chairman Harold Frazier has authorized the Cheyenne River Camp on the Cannon Ball River. Its purpose will be educational and spiritual. They gave us a copy of their rules for the camp (attached) and said that they need labor, supplies and financial support. So we rolled up our sleeves (figuratively, since it was about 6 degrees out) and help put up tents and clear snow. They didn’t have a general sleeping area yet, so we headed back to Bismarck to sleep since our tent was not going to be warm enough to allow us to stay on site.
It was still light when we left, so we stopped at the second, smaller camp on our way out and found out it was the Wolf’s Den (Sacred Buffalo Prayer Camp). It was an interesting and magical introduction. I stayed in the car while Stephanie walked up and introduced both of us. Stephanie has the gift of working with Spirit Guides, and met the crew outside. They almost turned her away, indicating that this was private property, when somehow her charm and way with words won them over. It also helped that at the same time of explaining her gifts, a Silver Hawk (my Native name and totem) flew in through the middle of camp, catching everyone’s attention. This is a rare occurrence and piqued their interest. It helped us as we introduced ourselves and asked about the camp. The Wolf Den is a smaller, independent camp that is trying to maintain the spirit and purpose of the Standing Rock camps that have been dismantled / destroyed. We went in to their primary tent and listened to their story and then Stephanie was asked to drum on her newly painted Buffalo drum. As Stephanie shared her story of being guided there by a buffalo spirit, the Lakota Song Keeper picked up on the holiness and exchanged song for song. It sealed their acceptance of her and they asked us to come back the next day, since they also didn’t have a general sleeping area yet. They only had one request for supplies to make a good beef stew and maybe some pork chops and bacon. Little did we know, but this camp is home to the “Walking Thunder Buffalo Project”, where they have many buffalo hides available for fleshing/tanning purposes as an educational tool. The hides will be used in sacred ceremony, to teach people about the spirituality that once thrived in these areas before colonialism.
Wednesday morning we rolled out and returned to the Wolf’s Den Camp first and delivered a very large top roast, 20 pounds of potatoes, 20 pounds of carrots, 20 pounds of celery, 20 pounds of onions and several packs of organic beef broth for the stew as well as two large packs of pork chops and two large packs of extra thick bacon. To say the least, it was well received. After catching up, Stephanie was asked if she would like to help with the fleshing of a sacred buffalo hide. She was excited about the opportunity and went out to work in the cold with one of the people. I went on to the Four Bands Prayer Camp (Cheyenne River Camp) to continue to help set up tents and organize supplies and materials. While I was working there, the camp had visits / inspections from the BIA, FBI, and state and local police departments. I believe that the visits were staged to interrupt our efforts, because all of them happened about 2 hours apart and took the better part of an hour. They required we show our ID’s and took photos of our vehicles. Overall it was a good productive day and we were both exhausted by the end of it. Since there still was no general sleeping area available yet, we returned to Bismarck and had dinner with a friend of Stephanie’s who happens to be the lead attorney for the Water Protector Legal Collective. Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) provides on-the-ground legal representation and coordination at Standing Rock, North Dakota in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). Sandra La Huracán went to North Dakota and left her loved ones in Colorado to stand for the people, and is a big reason that many are not still in jail. I truly honor her work and heart. We are all connected.
Thursday was another work day for both of us at the respective camps and I was also asked to go and assist with two PTSD veterans who were having issues with the local authorities and were being moved to the VA Hospital in Fargo. While I did this, Stephanie helped dig out the sweat lodge from a good half foot to a foot of snow. The weather had begun to warm up and it was just a beautiful day to be out doors in nature. It was a beautiful enough day that some of the native plants were peeking up through some of the snow, and the Lakota Song Keeper had decided to share some indigenous knowledge with her. I remember her smile as she shared the splendor of the freshly harvested sage and bison berries. This works agrees with her spirit and energy. But our mission and purpose was about to change. Stephanie had been invited to go to the Rosebud Reservation to talk to a chief and medicine man who runs the Sun Dance there. It was a very exhausting day both mentally and physically for the both of us, and we rested well until we packed up and headed out to the Rosebud reservation about 5 hours south of Cannon Ball, ND. Again, our trip was filled with magic, love, craft projects, and stories exchanged between us.
By the time we arrived, Stephanie was very nervous about meeting a medicine man of such power. She felt him miles out from our destination, and was more reserved then what she normally is. It was a lovely meeting that turned into a deepening kinship between people of a shared purpose. It’s hard to describe, but there’s something special about recognizing who your family members are, and realizing that we are all apart of the same tribe. Once Stephanie got her drum out from the car, the medicine man did an impromptu drum blessing for her newly painted drum. She was moved to tears and couldn’t speak for a little, and we continued conversation – all of us respecting the sacred nature of what had been unfolded before us. There was a lag in conversation when the medicine man turned to look at Stephanie as she held her twice blessed drum, and asked, “So are you going to sing?” Again she was taken aback, but obliged anyway. They asked if they could record her song by video, and she happily responded with a yes. It was another magical moment of a blessing exchange (because the song Stephanie sang was a blessing for the Earth). After her song and in between the discussion, I noticed that Gilly (medicine man) kept moving rather quickly through the background, gathering and collecting certain items and writing things down. Our conversation evolved, and when there was a lull in conversation, Gilly invited us to a ceremony in the Black Hills. We both voiced we were interested in going, and then he hands me a piece of paper with information already written down on it, and informs us that he already told people that we were coming. This adventure seemed to not end as we got another tip in our scavenger hunt of a trip. From this meeting, we drove down to Rapid City, SD where we got a hotel room for the night and got some much needed rest and stretching from being in the car all day.
Saturday was our last day in the Dakotas, and we spent it in prayer, ceremony, and blessing. We made it out to the Black Hills, which is a sacred site for the Lakota Sioux. We were gifted by live visits from buffalo, prairie dogs, antelope, hawks, deer, and many other types of wildlife. The buffalo even walked up to the truck to lick salt off of it! Stephanie felt called at one point to gather rocks from a buffalo wallow (this is where the buffalo roll around in the grass and leave a depression of dirt). We found the perfect wallow in the middle of a field where there were no buffalo (because you know, safety). She took some of the sage seeds that she gathered while she was with the Lakota Medicine Man at Standing Rock, and did a small ceremony to bury the seeds at the four corners of the buffalo wallow. She picked the three most perfect rocks, for her, my wife and I. As she was walking back, she smiled brightly as she found a sprig of sage that was broken off from the root, next to a buffalo hoof print. Funny that she got gifted sage from the earth that was broken off by the very animal she visited the wallow of. It was the perfect ending to our magical journey. From there, we gathered some gifts for our families from a local native gift shop and set our sights on the journey back home.
The journey home was a bit longer than the drive out, since we were over 300 miles farther west than Standing Rock. It was evening and I just put myself in Road Warrior mode and off we went. I drove all night and had the pleasure of meeting an Iowa State Trooper around 5:00am when he pulled me over. I was not speeding, but had a headlight that had burned out. He was polite and helpful and only gave me a repair ticket to keep me legit as I finished the drive home. It shook me to see the flashing blue lights and I was just a little rattled when he let us go. Stephanie suggests that I stop somewhere and get some rest and after consulting with Lora, we stopped and slept for a few hours. We woke and hit the road to finish the journey. I drove for 17 hours straight and we arrived back home at 9:30am for a trip total of 6,200 miles.
We both will be going back.
Thanks for reading this post! And thank you to those that gave donations 🙂
Inspiration and Air
If you have found this page, there is no coincidence that you are on a path of self discovery. Even if that wasn’t your intention, you somehow still wound up finding this page. This post directly deals with the Air as an element, and how we can journey to find out the depth of our relationship with this element. It can be a direct reflection upon us and how we function in this world. We will be going through these journeying topics at the Shamanic Journey Group of Fairfax, however this can also be a “follow along at home” directional for those that wish to take this slowly and in a step-by-step process.
I shall update the table of contents as the blog posts get written.
Table of contents:
Purity and the Elements – Main post, Introduction to four element system and why
Earth – Representation of our Physical Body
Air (this post)
Fire – Representation of our Spiritual Body
Water (coming soon)
As we have found out through previous posts, all of the elements are inter-related and interconnected. Through earth, we have cultivated a sense of who we are, why we are here, what we stand for, and why we stand for it. If we don’t cultivate these things first, then we can get very overwhelmed in the element of air. Many people in this society have an excess of the air element. Because the air element represents our mental wisdom body, that means that we can have an abundance of ideas, but lack of follow through. Have you ever heard of the phrase “air head” or thought of the meaning “building castles in the sky”? That is because without the earth quality in balance, we can become very “ungrounded” and can begin to think with fantasy thinking, allowing our brains to run away with us. Air in excess can be manifested physically as anxiety, migraines, and headaches because we are up in our heads all the time. Air in and of itself physically is made up of smaller, less dense molecules then that of earth. The molecules tend to bounce around a lot faster, and sometimes when they are “heated up”, they move at lightning fast speed, bumping into each other and causing all sorts of chaos. Have you ever noticed that when someone gets excited over new ideas they trip over themselves trying to write them all down, but then they burn out before they begin to enact any of the steps? Excited air energy is great and wonderful, but being grounded and methodical is how we begin to plant these seeds that we get from the air. Right relationship with earth helps remind us to take a step back and breathe.
When working with the element of air, it is a direct engagement of Spirit. If we think about it, the first element that we are introduced to as we are born into this world is the element of air. A baby is not marked as fully alive until they “take their first breath”. Air is the element most taken for granted. The same air that we breathe now is the same air that was once breathed by our deceased relatives, animals, as well as ancient beings – including dinosaurs! When we breathe the breath of our ancestors, we can restore ourselves back to the original dream. We commonly engage in ceremony with words and speaking. Air is the energetic driver for taking a particular vow (which most people don’t take seriously anymore because vows are often broken in this society).
The spoken word does have a lot of power, because many words together begin to tell a story. We often tell ourselves stories about ourselves and can portray others and ourselves in a certain light. This is human nature and happens unconsciously. An example of a “story” that we tell ourselves is the story of being “a good husband/wife”, or “being a good daughter/son”. We often get a perception of what is good/bad from the people and community that raise us, so if we grew up in a very dogmatic household – it can be very difficult to unlearn certain behaviors, and we can have trigger reactions when a story that we are telling ourselves is being challenged. For example, if we keep telling ourselves the story of judging our own self worth, it could restrict our decisions. Because we could have a low opinion of ourselves and we see a dream job, we could potentially restrict ourselves from applying to that open job position. The “story” we tell ourselves often comes as a soft whisper that speaks to us like, “Nah, I’m not going to apply for that job. I don’t have the credentials yet”, or “Well, if I apply for the job, I won’t get it anyway”. In the end, that story boils down to our worthiness. Maybe in the past we were told that we couldn’t amount to anything, and over time if things like that keep being told to us – we believe it. When we begin cultivating a healthy relationship with element of air, we begin to challenge these stories and ask if they are grounded in reality, or based in fantasy thinking.
There is a difference between doubt and critical thinking. Doubt is paralyzing, we lose our sense of connection and we only focus on what is wrong. With critical thinking, we are finding what is valuable in the situation and come at the situation from an open place of curiosity and discovery. When you follow the lead of critical thinking versus doubt, you can begin to discern the difference between delusion and imagination, and then begin to make progress forward on how you can move forward with the resources available to you now and in this moment. With a healthy relationship with air, we can begin to cultivate the qualities of truth telling. How often do we lie to ourselves when we think we can accomplish some grandiose task but don’t realize how much energy we really have in the moment? How often do we overstretch ourselves because of the dreams of others and their projection of how we fit into the picture? How often do we lose our sense of boundaries because we really just want the approval of others and try to make ourselves fit into their dream instead of dreaming our own dream? This is where we begin cultivating a proper relationship with air – by asking ourselves these questions. Many times when a person first journeys to find out their relationship with air, they will either find out that they can’t breathe, or that the air is filled with a thick smog. A healthy relationship with air is one that is crystal clear – like unpolluted mountain air.
Within this same vein, there is a difference between stagnation and suffocation. With earth, things feel very heavy – almost as if you can’t move. This is stagnation, when things are unmoving or you are too unwilling to let go of your own beliefs. With suffocation, you are living in something that is dead. Have your dreams died? Have you lost sense of what your dreams once were? When you feel suffocation, it is because we lose our sense of hope, or we drift away from the things that are aligned with our true path. This often leads to fast paced moving thoughts because we keep “spinning our wheels”. When we connect back to our dreams and our passions, that is how we can “breathe life” into a particular situation – by bringing in new ideas from our mental wisdom body and being able to discern which ideas will really be able to take off with the resources we have available (earth based realization). By flowing into this relationship between air and earth, we must realize the choices that we are making. Every time we say yes to something, we are also saying no to at least 10 other things. Earth can help us realize what is important to us, and how to prioritize, while air can help inspire us to take care of the situations we already have growing. We can ask vital questions such as:
- By doing this particular action, what am I feeding?
- What possible actions can I take in this situation that help feed what drives me?
- How is this aligned with my path and does this stray from who I am?
- Show me with clarity the choices I have available to me that I can reasonably accomplish
The element of air is very strongly connected to the element of truth telling. Truth can be a double edged sword in the fact that is can cut both ways. The hurt comes in the fact that it cuts, and the wound can hurt very deeply when we find out a truth. However, the blessing is that it’s a clean cut and it heals faster. How many times have we been fed lies, and the lies feed a blister or an abscess that just keeps growing. Many times people try to ignore the sore spot, lying to themselves that this abscess is not really forming underneath the surface. Doesn’t a clean poke hurt in the beginning but drain the abscess, leading to wellness? How many times have we allowed the abscess to pop because we didn’t realize/ignored that it was there. After it bursts on it’s own, note the length of time it takes to heal as opposed to when it was cleanly cut. This is a metaphor of a healthy relationship with air, and being able to have the wisdom of asking what the “spiritual antibiotics” are so that we continue to not get sick from our choices. When we cut with the sword of truth, it can help breathe life into things that were once dead. It can hurt at first, but it helps with the awareness and healing of it in the long run.
To help cultivate a strong relationship with air, we need to focus on truth telling and find out where we are lying to ourselves. Once we have this sense of awareness about the reality of a situation and begin to move from fantasy thinking (imagining that we are some place instead of actually realizing the state we are in) into a grounded sense of who we are, what we are, and the resources we have available – we become so much more productive in this world. This in turn helps us become more grounded and more efficient in fulfilling our lifes purpose. When our mind and heart move through with intention, we can begin to discern where it is we are really going. By cultivating a place to stand with earth, we can step up and grab some of these ideas from the mental wisdom body. It has no power unless we ground it in physical reality.
As with any archetype, the shadow of air is the tornado (if you are confused at what the shadow is and what it represents, scroll down to the bottom of the earth post). The job of the tornado is to dismantle. Perhaps a new perspective is needed because it’s being encumbered by your limitations, expectations, and views. Because of some of the stories we tell ourselves, we can lead ourselves into set patterns of thinking, and sometimes these thoughts swirl in our head so fast that we can challenge ourselves to question our ability to think. When we have such a strong degree of suffocation where we feel like we have no hope in a given situation, we might need a tornado to come in to “wake us up”. What are you feeding? What are you giving life too? How can we be thankful when a new perspective brings to light a huge story that we tell ourselves in regards to how connected we feel to other people, as well as how worthy we are to receive something. Remember that a shadow is neither good nor bad. It is a natural disaster that can have the positive aspects of wisdom once we clear out the debris/rubble.
Some journey questions we can ask ourselves based off of this article:
- What is the quality of my relationship to the air element?
- What shape is my mental wisdom body in?
- Is there a particular area of my life that is suffocating right now?
- Show me an aspect of my life that is in excess, and how do I calm this down?
- Show me what right relationship with the air element looks like
If you are an auditory person and would like to listen to these same ideas in a podcast, feel free to listen to it on the Why Shamanism Now podcast.
Combined January and February Journey Group Outline
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
For more information on the journey group, please visit this link. We are working in partnership with the Cardinal Center in Fairfax.
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!
Chronicles of Little Bear: Getting Lost
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.
Beginning Saga of Little Bear
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.