Journeying Shamanically Through Life
30 Sep 2012 Leave a comment
29 Sep 2012 Leave a comment
Here is a wonderful video created by SFU in the spirit of Playing for Change.
26 Sep 2012 1 Comment
Today, a friend and colleague of mine came over for a Lomilomi Ceremony. Although lomilomi is commonly recognized as a massage, to Hawaiians, lomilomi is much more. Lomilomi is a spiritual ceremony that opens up the physical body to allow more of the person’s spirit’s energy to shine through, therefore, increasing their ability to walk out their life’s purpose. Lomilomi is a way of showing reverence for the body by connecting with the spirit of aloha- the breath and unconditional love of Spirit.
I have been practicing this new-to-me modality with friends in order to gain proficiency and am finding that it is helping me to love my body more and to connect with compassion and love from Spirit- along with learning humility and true unity. But that is another article- I think.
Although my friend and I have served as energy workers together for almost two years, I had never talked to her about her spiritual beliefs. I knew from the way she prayed and invoked her Spirit helpers that she was Christian but nothing else. So when she came today for a session, I got the poke from Spirit to change my language when I invoked and prayed during the ceremony. I called to God instead of Great Spirit. It felt right to be inclusive. In the past, because of my own unhealed past with the Catholic Church, I flinched and felt triggered when she addressed God as masculine and prayed to the “Father.” I worked to heal these pieces in myself and today, have a neutral response to her prayers. I recognize that this is the way she connects with the Divine- with the Everything. What does it matter if she calls this presence Father and refers to “HIM”?
Anyhow, after our session, she confided in me that she is Mormon and a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I was not terribly surprised. As I listened and watched, it seemed like a burden had been lifted. She proceeded to tell me that she hid this information from the other energy workers because she felt judged by some of them. I listened some more. Then I got curious. I asked her what attracted her to the Church and her story could have been taken from my own story of how I felt as a child going to Catholic mass every Sunday with my Avo (Grandma in Portuguese); I loved the peaceful feeling I got in church- a feeling I now find out in nature and in places that have been consecrated. As she spoke, I felt a tremendous amount of compassion and love for her- and newfound respect.
She talked about how she got the inner call to the Mormon Church and what it meant in her life. As she spoke, I marveled at how she could be so open to shamanic ways, reiki ways and Christian ways. She dances all these worlds and is a fantastic energy worker to boot! To me, this lady holds the same impeccable space for others’ healing as the sweat lodge does in First Nations traditions. She has this natural Earth Mother energy.
She went on to tell me how she has had a passion for studying world religions since she was a young child and how she took her Scouts to a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple here in Calgary as part of their World Religions Badge. “Wow!” I thought.
She said, “Jen, we are all one.” That whatever we call that Divine presence- Creator, God, Allah, Great Spirit- we are really praying to the source of all life and light. I realized then looking into her slightly misty eyes that this is why she is such an effective healer- she channels this energy and steps out of the way. She lets God do the work.
It was humbling to see that all my fears about her being “stuck” in the Church and “bound” by her religion were mirroring something in me and my own fears and past. And I learned today that my truth is not the only truth out there. Although I did not resonate with a lot of the ways the Mormon Church goes about things, I know now that I can respect this way with an open heart. I understood where these structures came from and why they were created. I send huge gratitude to my friend for this teaching today. I don’t think she knew she was teaching me and perhaps the Lomi Ceremony and the Hawaiian Ancestors I invoked were teaching me too. Either way, Mahalo, Great Spirit, God- You of many names and none. Thank you for the way you move through each of us in unique ways.
“God dwells in me, as me.” – Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love
25 Sep 2012 Leave a comment
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio . “To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:”
>> 1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
>> 2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
>> 3. Life is too short – enjoy it.
>> 4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
>> 5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
>> 6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
>> 7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
>> 8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
>> 9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
>> 10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
>> 11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
>> 12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
>> 13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
>> 14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
>> 15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye But don’t worry; God never blinks.
>> 16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
>> 17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
>> 18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
>> 19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
>> 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
>> 21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
>> 22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
>> 23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
>> 24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
>> 25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
>> 26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years,
>> will this matter?’
>> 27. Always choose life.
>> 28. Forgive but don ’ t forget.
>> 29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
>> 30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
>> 31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
>> 32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
>> 33. Believe in miracles.
>> 34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
>> 35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
>> 36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
>> 37. Your children get only one childhood.
>> 39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
>> 40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
>> 41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.
>> 42. The best is yet to come…
>> 43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
>> 44. Yield.
>> 45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
19 Sep 2012 Leave a comment
“Dwelling, whether in our own home, in our town, or on our beautiful planet, is not primarily about inhabiting, but taking care of and creating that space within which something can come into its own and flourish. It takes time and ritual for real dwelling, the Grandmothers say. Ecological systems are far too complex for even the greatest scientists to fully understand or figure out how to control. So we must have respect instead of knowledge and honor the mystery, which is what will actually bring us further in our understanding of our individual and collective place on this Earth, an understanding that science could never reach. In fact, the true essence of civilization is learned through observing with humility our true place within all of Creation… What needs to be developed is a deeper, more personal sense of connection with the Earth and our place on it. One way to create a deeper and more personal sense of connection is by holding rituals, ceremonies, and festivals. Rituals and ceremony are sophisticated social and spiritual technologies, refined by indigenous peoples over many thousands of years, to celebrate and nurture the world order of a particular place. A proper relationship to the land and the natural world requires the whole of our being, the Grandmothers say… Afterward, we are not meant to be in the same place psychologically or spiritually as before the ritual.”
-from “Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer their Vision for Our Planet” edited by Carol Schaefer
Recently, some friends and I went on a “Sacred Sounds” hike in the Kananaskis with Julie Walker of Full Circle Adventures (www.full-circle-adventures.com). The full day hike was a ceremony where we honoured the ancestors of the land while we healed with the sounds of nature and the didgeridoo. We hiked through a traditionally sacred site of the Blackfoot First Nation. In one clearing, we saw the remnants of a sweat lodge and the arbour where a healing sun dance were held. Prayer ties filled the surrounding trees. We did ceremony in an old medicine wheel to ask the ancestors permission to proceed on our hike to the ancient petroglyphs of their ancestors. Our prayers were confirmed with strong gusts of wind that came out of “nowhere.” We sang songs and said prayers; the ancestors were pleased to be honoured. I thought I’d post some of the photos from that day here.