Archive for January, 2012

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

Art made from nails, bones, glass and other scraps I found buried in our yard. © Lynda Skeen

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Core Shamanism

Sometimes I think it would have been really nice to have been brought up in a tribal community.  But part of the beauty of what’s become known as “core shamanism” is that it gives access to those of us who weren’t brought up in any specific shamanic lineage to have access to the shamanic way of connecting to Spirit shamanic tools and

As much as I sometimes would love to have a label to describe the lineage of my healing practice, Spirit has made it clear to me that what my ego is actually whining for is twofold:  some kind of “diploma” to hang on my wall, which wouldn’t prove anything about my connection to my helping spirits anyway, and permission to have the relationship with them that I have.

We don’t need to have a label or a lineage to have a connection to Spirit.  We don’t need permission from anyone else.  This is about our soul’s journey, which is between us and Spirit.  No diploma or seal of approval needed.  (And if we go back far enough, we all come from tribal / indigenous lineages anyway.)

I want to give a big thank you to The Foundation for Shamanic Studies (http://shamanism.org/), founded by Michael Harner.  FSS teaches a distillation of shamanic techniques found in common in shamanic cultures all over the world, which is where the term “core shamanism” came from.  Since they don’t belong to any one culture, we don’t have to worry about pillaging another culture, or pretending to belong to a culture we don’t have any relationship to.  I want to thank FSS for all that they’ve offered those of us who don’t belong to any one particular lineage.

Regardless of what tools and techniques we use, if we’re connected to Spirit, our practice will organically evolve, regardless of its roots.  It’s a living relationship with the universe.  Nothing will stay still, and Spirit will be our Teacher.

Have a beautiful, Spirit-filled week.

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I’ve been thinking about prayer a lot lately, about how we pray and what our expectations are.  I watch “good” people get sick, “bad” people get rich, and of course vice versa.  I watch shamanic healing sometimes result in physical healing, sometimes in my client “just” developing a deeper connection with the non-physical universe.  The variations are endless.

It seems to me that if we embrace whatever is happening with compassion and love, and a big dose of humility before the ultimate Mystery, we’ll be doing the best that we can.  There is plenty we can “do” to be healthy and happy and alleviate suffering in the world, but that doesn’t mean we’re all going to be perfectly healthy and wealthy all the time.  I think it’s about co-creating with the universe, about saying, “Here’s what I think I’d like, and what I think would be best for everyone involved, but I’m open to suggestions,” a la the “Thy will be done” of the Christian “Lord’s Prayer.”

We need to realize, regardless of what is going on, that we’re still connected to All That Is.  In this realization, we can act with compassion and love – the glue of that connection to the rest of All That Is – towards ourselves, towards other people, to our helping spirits, as well as our animal brothers and sisters and all other life forms.

As I was thinking about this, I thought of something the Dalai Lama’s said on 9/11: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness” (see http://www.wildnesswithin.com/dalai.html for his whole statement).

Stay conscious of our true nature and our connection to all that is.  Treat everything and everyone with kindness, including ourselves.  Set our intentions to do the best we can; act accordingly.  And release the outcome to Spirit.  I’ve got to break it down that simply for myself, especially when things get too complicated and my mind and my ego want to take control and figure it out, which they can’t.

“My religion is kindness.”  I like that.

Petting a possum in our garage; © Lynda Skeen

a possum in our garage; © Lynda Skeen

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I believe we’re all intuitive, because on a deep, basic level, we’re all connected.  It’s basically a matter of clearing out what’s blocking us from knowing what’s us and what’s coming from someone else.  This means getting to know ourselves, not falling prey to our ego’s power tripping when we do connect intuitively with someone else, and learning how to have appropriate boundaries so that we’re not overwhelmed by other people’s energies.

Get reconnected to your soul parts, release energies you’re holding onto that aren’t yours, do whatever psychological work you need to do, start meditating, and pay attention to your dreams.  For starters.

A simple exercise:  intend to go to a restaurant you’ve never been to before and order a meal that your body will enjoy and be nourished by.  Just get in your car and start driving.  Follow your instincts – your intuition.  Play.  Where do you end up?  What feels good to you?  It’s good to start with exercises like this that don’t have much consequences.  Just start listening to your heart, to your gut feelings.

I’d also like to give a shout out to the work of Judith Orloff, who can be found at www.drjudithorloff.com (I especially recommend her book Second Sight) and Ann O’Brien, who can be found at http://floweringsol.com.

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