Friday, February 29, 2008

The Way of Wisdom

In my book Awakenings: Asian Wisdom for Every Day, I have a quote from Lao-tzu which says, "The way of wisdom: working without fighting." The picture beside it is of the sacred mountains of Huangshan, China. From the rock face there grows an absolutely beautiful tree. There is no effort in the tree's growth. It is simply there, growing out of the rock. It is not threatened by the steep slope or the surface of the rock, it simply grows. It does not fight for life, it simply does its work of growing.

Relationships can actually be that way too. It doesn't matter if we are an earth elemental, air elemental, water elemental or fire elemental. If we balance our own element (grow) and trust the element of the other (no fighting) then we are able to accomplish the way of wisdom. This is something that we sometimes struggle with, but the struggle is actually not with the other, but within ourselves.

Blessed Be


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Awakening from Within

Every now and then in our lives we discover that there is a part of us that is asleep. Not only is it asleep, but it has basically been in a coma for YEARS! Once we discover this we have to make a we leave it sleep? After all, we have all heard that expression,"Let sleeping dogs lie," or do we gently nudge it and hope that it wakes up? And if it does wake up, then what do we do with it?

Coming from personal experience, I can honestly say that, although it is a much scarier path, it is far better to wake up. You see, when there is a part of us that is constantly asleep there is so much that we miss out on in life. How can we attend a party if we sleep through it? How can we attend a wedding if we are in snore mode? How can we live, laugh and play if we are unconscious?

Waking up those parts of ourselves can also be as adventuresome as it is scary. We experience new and wonderful sensations in our bodies and we actually see the terrain before us with refreshed eyes that behold the world with a sense of wonder and excitement. The thrill of this experience far surpasses any fear based issues that we may have been trying to sleep through in the first place. And the next thing we know, we have discovered passions that we hardly remembered ever having. So although you might not want to "go to school" when you wake up, you can always know that life is the school and we can declare summer holidays any time we want!

Do you hear that? Not only is the clock ticking, but the alarm just went off! Wakey, wakey!

Blessed Be


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Medicine Wheel and the Body

The last few days, as you can tell from my lack of blog entries, I have been very ill. My body basically laid itself down and said to the rest of me, "Enough". So now that I am on the other side of this event, I have found a lot of things have shifted for me. During my illness I released a LOT of fears. You name it. I dug into the deep dark shadowy corners of my psyche, cleared away the cobwebs and the flakes of debris, and found myself some strength and courage to make the next number of required steps on my path.

In shamanism we don't look at illness as a set of symptoms. We look at it in a more holistic fashion. We see the subtle and complex interrelatedness of all things within us and around us. Sometimes people who hear I have been ill (doesn't happen that often, but when it does, look out!) say stuff like, "What? But you're a shaman! Shamans don't get sick!" I shake my head at this sort of ignorance. Do they say that about lawyers, doctors, carpenters or mechanics? Basically the only difference is in how we treat the illness. We don't tend to medicate unless absolutely necessary and we look for more natural cures and seek more down to earth causations. That way we go about the healing in a very respectful and thorough way.

I am actually quite glad that I have walked through this one. It has made me more clear on my priorities and helped me to infuse myself with an abundance of self-respect. We all have little programs that disrespect ourselves from within. Those cobwebs are now done. Yea!!

Blessed Be


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

The other night was a Lunar Eclipse. This one did something quite strange. The shadow of the earth seemed to come in from the left and then, instead of leaving on the right, went upward, creating a "horned moon". The horned moon to the ancients was an ultimate symbol of the Goddess energies. The Goddess is often depicted with a crown that has a crescent moon on its side, with the points going upward, much like the horns on a cow. This is also partly why cows and goats have been associated with witchcraft. That and the fact that it was usually women who tended to them.

But herds of animals have another commonality with the Goddess consciousness and the female psyche. The Goddess consciousness has a lot to do with the mass consciousness. You won't find many groups of men in one location who are communicating from the heart center. But this is a common factor in many groups of women. Why is this? Well, the Goddess consciousness connects all and binds all. It is the essence of Love. So it becomes safe to open up and to really connect when there is the Light of Love shining upon you. This is also known as herd consciousness. This is different from mob mentality, which can be very destructive. With herd consciousness each member of the herd looks out for all others and knows they are also having their backs covered in return.

The horned moon just may have been a signal to all of humanity to begin, once again, the process of honoring the group consciousness and putting aside individual agendas. This is, after all, the best way to achieve balance and harmony. Mix into that soup of consciousness the spice of compassion and suddenly we could experience an entire new way of being in the world!

Blessed Be


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Personal Authenticity

I often encourage people to "follow the path of the heart". In fact I have that on my message manager announcement. But some don't know what the phrase really means. It means personal authenticity and integrity. It means allowing yourself the courage to do what you know to be right for yourself, no matter what our friends, family and society thinks. This of course does not mean that we can just do whatever the heck we like to anyone and not care about the ripple effects. But it does mean to be true to ourselves.

How do we know if we aren't being true to ourselves? Well, does it feel right and good? Or does it create turmoil in your gut? Are you coming from a place of compassion in your heart both for yourself and for everyone else who is affected? Or are you guilting or shaming yourself or anyone else? Are you trapped inside sentiment or nostalgia (the way things should have/would have/could have been, or the way things always were)? Or are you done shoulding on yourself?

Every decision we make in our lives gives us both limitations and liberties. We have to choose
which sets of limitations and liberties will go together and then we have to come to terms with which combination we can live with, and what we cannot live without. All very easy when it comes to buying groceries. But not so easy when it comes to living authentically in our personal lives. And the rotter is that no one can make the decisions for us. We have to meditate, contemplate and decide all on our own and let the chips fall where they may. And we all need to be responsible (the ability to respond) enough to make the decisions, because to not decide does not let us off the hook. It only delays our freedom.

Blessed Be


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

All things simple

I helped my mother-in-law learn how to create a pansy on paper that looked like it popped right out of the page. This was years ago before her crossing over. She had a stamp set and was creating greeting cards to send to friends. But no matter what she did to color in the pansy stamp, it continued to look flat and unappealing. So she asked me what I would do with it, considering that I am an artist.

The first thing I told her was that she needed to see the pansy with a new set of eyes. Too often we overlook the simple beauty that is right there in front of us. Then we needed to sharped the pencil crayons she was using to a fine point. We cannot use a "broad brush" when we are trying to create detail. Then we began the lesson on blending colors. The colors of a pansy are not just black center,then colored petal, then green leaf. They smoothly blend into one another, like lovers and very good friends blend into each others' lives. And in that blend there is a mixture of color that is created. Not just one or the other, but both. We then need to allow the light to shine from a particular direction, and indicate this with highlights on the petals and leaves. We always need to know the source of our light. Then we need to shadow the colors where the light is not so strong and the dark is able to exist. We always need to be conscious of our dark aspects, otherwise it will all still turn out flat. And, last but not least, we need to recognize that no matter how shaded something is, there is still light shining through, thus the leaves have to have some of the colors of the upper petals on them, indicating the light shining through the umbrella of petals and cascading a new tone onto the leaves below.

"Where did you learn this?" she asked me. Well, I have a mother and two sisters who are also artists, so some of the technical stuff comes from that. But the essence of it, the ability to see what I am looking at....that comes from my own spirit and my own desire to know and to observe and understand. My soul is fed with compassion and understanding, and the soul of all things, whether elaborate or simple, is also fed with compassion and understanding. This is the shaman's way.

Blessed Be


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Courtesy is a very high form of respect. It honors the divine in all of us. I have had the opportunity to witness some of the most profound courtesy in my life. And I have also witnessed the complete lack thereof. I have noticed that people who forget (or just don't) say "please" and "thank you" tend to take others for granted. They seem to have a very large entitlement complex. It is like they give off the vibe of, "Well of course you poured me a coffee, you moron! That's your frickin' job!"

I tend to stay away from people like that. I don't think they have earned my company just yet. And then there are the ones who just walk into your home without knocking when it is their first time there. Yes, I have had some do that. Just tonight in fact. Long story, but suffice it to say, I learned a lot about the person. If someone has earned that privilege then so be it. But let's face it, first timers have so not earned that yet.

Some think that courtesy is unnecessary. I don't agree. It shows respect and caring and humility. We can show respect to total strangers and we can show respect to our lovers. And so we should show respect equally. Taking people for granted is an ultimate slap in the face for them. And who knows, perhaps that person one day would have been nice to have as an ally instead of someone who no longer cares. We can build bridges with courtesy, or we can burn bridges with disrespect. It really is our personal choice. But either way, we reap what we sow. When we ignore courtesy, we set ourselves up for huge life lessons in humility. And we are the only ones who put ourselves there.

Blessed Be

Monday, February 18, 2008

Past Lives

If we meditate enough, for enough lifetimes, and if we allow ourselves to let go of fear through meditation and trust ourselves as we step into the Void from the Light, then we are able to remember ourselves in many past lives. We may even advance to the point of being able to connect with the mass consciousness and "remember" others' past lives for them.

This is one of the many things that I do as a shaman. I help people to remember. I don't just help them to remember all their past lives. In fact with some there are way too many to remember them all. I help them to remember who they are. We all come to a time in our lives when that memory is essential for our progress from that point onward. I have recently begun remembering some things about myself as well. Yes, the shaman also does his own healing work, as we all must do from time to time. With all of the remembering, I have also rediscovered that it is very important to stay in the moment and honor this life. If we constantly search for ourselves in the past we rob ourselves of our present and our future. So I really don't care if someone was Marie Antoinette in a past life. What I do care about is who that person is now. When I look into that person's eyes, I want to see them for their true divine nature within.

I feel such honor that I have been gifted the opportunity to get to know myself on a deeper level. And I am honored that I have the gift of helping others to do the same. I think that if we help each other to honor our personal divinity, we will elevate ourselves in vibration and, through that elevated vibration, we will be able to heal the world, one person at a time, or by the millions. And why stop at just the world we know? Why not create a whole new world? Or a new universe for that matter? What do you say to taking chances? What could we possibly lose? And how does that really compare to what we could gain?

Blessed Be


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Praying Rain

The other day I was watching the DVD You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. In it there was a story about a Pueblo Indian man who "prayed rain". He would not pray for rain, he would simply pray rain. This meant feeling in his heart the rain falling upon his body and soaking the earth under his bare feet. My wife asked me if this made sense and, of course, the answer was yes.

This is the way of the shaman. We tend to live in the present moment. So if the earth needs rain, we bring the rain into a very real feeling within us and this is the prayer that the Spirits hear, so this is what they provide. When we think about this it makes total sense. the Spirit world is very literal in many ways. So if we are constantly affirming that we want more money, then the Spirit world supports that we want more money. And so we go on wanting and not achieving that goal and wondering why it isn't working. If, however, we completely bring into our hearts the feeling of having total abundance and having all our financial needs met and more, then this is what the Spirit world honors and, lo and behold, our financial needs are met and more.

When I do healing work for someone, in person or long distance, I pray wellness. I don't focus on what the "problem" is within their bodies, emotions, minds or spirits. I focus my energy on their wellness. This might look one way to me and another way to them, but Spirit hears my prayer and understands that the blueprint for their wellness is divinely ingrained in their DNA and that it is now activated. This is why people get well. This really is the only way people get well. We can have as much intervention as we can possibly get from modern medicine and healers, but until we personally work on our insides we will only know the fear that is involved in that illness. As we pray wellness for ourselves and others, wellness occurs. As we pray joy for ourselves and others, joy occurs. As we pray peace and love for ourselves and others, peace and love occurs. It really is that simple. What will you pray today?

Blessed Be


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Enlightenment Traps

I wrote before about people's misconceptions about what it is to be "spiritual" in a modern world. These misconceptions are called "Enlightenment Traps". It is amazing how often we buy into them. For example, there are still folks out there (in the 21st century for heaven's sake) who think that to be a shaman one must be dirt poor and exchange services for, I don't know....chickens or something. In ancient communities, the shaman was taken care of by the entire community, because the shaman took care of the entire community. Now that we have things like mortgage payments, the form of energy exchange is indeed monetary. It is only a form of energy. So yes, we do now have fees for services.

Another example is that all "enlightened" individuals have to be vegetarian. This one is laughable. I eat red meat, usually bison, sometimes beef. I also have the blood type that requires this and no amount of lentils is going to give me the iron content I need to not get ill. So I take care of myself and eat red meat. Now, I don't eat it every day, because everything in moderation is the key.

Another trap is the delusion that in order to gain enlightenment one must deny the trappings of the world. This falls into the category of plain silliness. We are here to help the world, and we can't do that if we deny ourselves the interaction with that world. We are also in a position where, becoming poor and powerless in an attempt to become enlightened is just plain suicide when it comes to trying to fulfill our purpose in life.

I know that if you think about it, you will find that there are a LOT of enlightenment traps you can personally come up with. Give it a try and let me know how you do.

Blessed Be


Friday, February 15, 2008

Ancient Chinese Proverb

There is an ancient Chinese Proverb that goes, "Before enlightenment, we chop wood and haul water. After enlightenment, we chop wood and haul water." I love that one. It speaks to the simplicity of life. So often I have encountered those whom I lovingly refer to as "space cadets". You know the ones. You find them everywhere. They are so "spiritually attuned" that they have no basis in this world, are completely ungrounded and often do more damage than good in the delivery of their "spiritual messages." These are people who could seriously use some work on their base chakra! After all, the more grounded and stable we are, the higher we can authentically fly.

Those of us who actually do the work involved know that the world still has its demands and we still have our basic human needs. So we chop wood and haul water because it needs to be done. We don't wait around and spend our time meditating when what needs to be attended to is going unacknowledged and neglected. Meditation has its time and place. So does eating and sleeping and working and making ourselves not just "good people", but people who are "good for something." Some of the most spiritually advanced folks I have encountered are very common. They consist of carpenters, mechanics, farmers, social workers, taxi cab drivers, counselors, police officers, mail delivery people, nurses and the like, just to mention a few. These are not people who are discarding their attire, donning strange robes, and trying to save the world by denying the world's importance.

We are here for a purpose. We cannot fulfill our purpose if we are denying the world around us. We can only fulfill our purpose if we are here and now and attending to the needs of the world around us. It really does not matter how simple or how elaborate that work is. We can find enlightenment while chopping wood and hauling water. Enlightenment is about a conscious connection. That conscious connection can only happen if one is in the moment and completely aware of the importance of the simple things in life. And while I am at it, I might as well mention that I don't think we pay people nearly enough in their menial jobs for the work and the service they provide. If someone is serving me coffee, I like to tip them. Yes, they did the job they are paid to do. But I still don't think that they are paid enough. The mere fact that they are there and handing me the coffee says to me that I don't have to go to the trouble of making it myself or cleaning up after myself once the coffee is done. This type of thing is important to me because it makes my life easier.

At first, when someone would leave me a tip for the healing work I do for them, I found it a little strange. I felt a bit uncomfortable with the concept, until a dear friend, who was also utilizing my service, said to me that she felt that my fee was minimal in comparison with the impact that I have in her life. Wow. Now it was my turn to step up to the plate with a healthy dose of gratitude and be able to say a heart felt "thank you." And this type of thing ripples on. I have given money to people that I feel are worth the investment, and I have done so when my own financial situation at times is a little shaky. But it ripples. I then pick up three new clients and they help make up for the smidgen of money that I sent out. If I treat money as an abundant flow, it proves itself to be so.

Well that was a lot of stuff in one blog. So I will sign off here and say:

Keep things simple and go with the flow.

Blessed Be


What is Essential

Whenever I would travel anywhere, my mother, in her wisdom (and probably desperation) would say to me, "Only take what is essential." So I would leave my socks at home and take my teddy bear. I loved my teddy bear. It was one of the few things I can remember for which my father took me shopping. I was completely "torn apart" when his arm got torn off. But my mother, being both crafty and wise, was able to mend his arm and put it in a splint so that it would "heal". She was also healing my heart.

Antoine de Sant-Exupery said, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." I find, now that I am a man fully "grow'd", that this is so true. As many know, we have been simplifying our lives and emptying out our house of "clutter". And in the process I have come to realize that I really am not that attached to much of anything in the material realm. Yes, I might miss something for awhile, but I will eventually barely even remember that it existed at all. Something like my beloved teddy bear no longer has the emotional connection for me that it once did in such a big way. I do remember it fondly, but I don't miss it. We all have to eventually grow spiritually and recognize what is truly essential in our lives. Socks are still apparently not so essential in mine. The essence of something is that which is innate and cannot be changed...the spirit of the matter. I have realized that it is the people in my life, the love that we share, and the moments we create together that are truly precious to me. The rest can go up in smoke, if it must. And sometimes we also need to seriously look at whether or not relationships can go up in smoke and what that would mean for us. Fire is, after all, an element of change. It reduces everything to its most basic form...ash. And in the process, this ash then is able to fertilize the ground so new seeds can grow. The thing is to be able to walk through that process with love, patience and compassion. The process may also be excruciatingly slow at times. But if we allow ourselves to be patient with it, the fruit tree that grows in the aftermath will absolutely have the sweetest tasting fruit we have ever experienced!

Blessed Be


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Modern Day Pioneer

I remember when I was in grade 3 my family moved to the farm where I grew up for the rest of my years until mid teens. After getting over the shock that there was a moving truck half loaded in front of my house when the bus dropped me off from school (everyone thought I knew!) I was then mortified that we were going to be living on a farm. After all, this meant isolation, a new school, a longer bus ride, lots of manual was rocking my world, man! Then I discovered that we were taking out the boiler system (didn't work anyway) and installing not one, but two wood burning stoves to heat the house. Thank God it had running water or I would have been so out of there! Bad enough the whole chopping/hauling wood thing. It really did feel like we were living in the sticks and having to really rough it. I know now what "roughing it" really can be, so believe me I am not here to complain at all. In comparison we actually had it pretty good. A lot of work, yes, but pretty good.

I also discovered something that you can't get living in a hamlet, a town, or a city. I discovered the wilderness. It became my friend. When times got rough, I would go for a walk or a horseback ride and love every minute of the solitude and peaceful tranquility that the wilderness had to offer. I often, admittedly, concerned my mother because once I got out there I took a LONG time to get back, but I was never lost as such. Yes, I would go visiting sometimes, until I found my way home, but I never really felt lost or afraid. Actually, I found myself more at home out there than I ever had with the people around me. I listened to the leaves in the trees and they spoke to me. I had the honor of encountering a lot of wild animals and learning their habits and languages. I learned that walking silently was greatly appreciated by all the nature spirits and wild animals. I also connected with Spirit in ways that went much deeper than those experienced by others around me, it seemed.

I think that this is what led me to embracing my Shamanic Consciousness. Just like someone had to be the one to haul the wood, I had to be the one to become a shaman. I wrote previously about my mother and grandmother and how awesome they were in "knowing" things. I do have that within me. I both inherited it and developed it. Most of my teachings came from nature itself, but I also had the benefit of having other shamans and witches teach me along the way. I am very honored that they took the time to do so. They provided me with a road map that will forever be a reference point. I get to choose which direction my journey takes, but the map is always there and does indeed get updated along the way. I can't get lost that way. This is why I always have to honor what resonates as true for me. If I can't honor that within myself, then I end up entangled in others' expectations, which may not be at all realistic for who I am.

Blessed Be


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

River of Challenge

One of the other Rivers on the Medicine Wheel is the River of Challenge. On this river we are forced to take a good hard look at what it is we believe in and what we are willing to do in order to personally grow. This can be tough decision making. We are so used to the Ostrich approach or the Deer caught in the headlights approach, that rarely do we take the Mountain Lion approach, which is to leap and know that you will either find a safe and secure place to land or you will learn to fly.

The River of Challenge forces us to go within and face our personal fears, anxieties and powers. I am always amazed at how often people will be more afraid of their own power than they are of their fears and anxieties. I think that says a lot about how our society systematically disempowers us and then praises us for being sheep instead of lone wolves. As we meet the challenges in our lives, it would be nice if we could actively do so from a place of personal empowerment instead of one of personal weakness. No wonder people struggle with this river. It challenges us to grow a spine! It forces us to reach into the depths of our souls and find the courage that we never knew existed.

But once we do, what we find is a lot of resources for dealing with change, the unknown and helping others to cope with all of that. We discover that we can ride the rapids and we can yell "Weeeeee!" at the top of our lungs with a great sense of adventure instead of freezing up and closing our hearts down for fear of that "Weeee!" being heard. With the "adventure wiring" in working order, we are then able to truly enjoy the ride and celebrate every single milestone in our lives, unashamed and completely from a place of personal authenticity. We are able to live and to breathe and to know that all is as it should be. So rock on with that River! After all, it really serves no one for us to pretend that we have no power, least of all ourselves.

Blessed Be


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time Will Tell

I have heard that phrase many times. But just now, when I was contemplating what to write about, it went through my head. Not in the same way my own thoughts go through, with my voice inside my head, but with a whole other voice. So I decided I would follow that and see what happens.

I previously wrote about the FOG. The way we deal with the FOG is to wait until it clears so that we can also have clarity as to what our next step will be. That way we don't inadvertently step off a cliff. There have also been times in my life, however, when it was not about the FOG within me or within my own mind. I have had moments where I have had to just wait something out in order for clarity to show itself. Usually this has to do with other people's motives and agendas, or with the energy flow needing a certain "something" in order to have everything fit together at the right time and in the right place. For example, I moved to the city that I live near to 24 years ago. I was moving because I was going to enter university. But I was aware that what I was studying in university was only the tip of the iceberg for me. I did not know where it was going to lead, but I was willing to trust and take a leap of faith. Once I settled in, I found that the energy of the city had the feel of "home" that really resonated with me. And as time went on, I was able to find myself fitting back into my shamanic roots and providing the service for the community that it so needed at that time. Well, I still do, but I am talking about the past right now. I had to take a leap of faith and know that "time will tell" me what steps I needed to take and when. Having some antelope medicine with me (that which tells us exactly when to take which action) I have found that if I just follow my instincts they never lead me astray. Even if the journey is difficult, it is always so worth it. Every step brings me closer to understanding myself and the world around me on a much deeper level.

So yes, time will tell. But what this also fosters within us is the ability to develop patience within. I can be harder on myself than anyone else in the world. But I have learned that if I give myself some space to just sit with something that is going on, I will find my own inner wisdom voice that lets me know exactly what I need to do. Spirit tells me that I am a good listener and that is why they like to work with me. I recently told someone that I am quiet because I am listening. Most people just interrupt and then wonder why they don't get the memos from Spirit. I don't like to interrupt Spirit. I like to work with Spirit as a willing partner, allowing myself the sense of adventure that comes with going with the flow and allowing time to tell.

Blessed Be


Monday, February 11, 2008

Crafty and Wise

My eldest daughter, bless her heart, likes to tease me about getting away with things. Innocent things, of course, but she likes to poke fun at dear old dad. I tell her that what she has in youth and vitality I posses in old age and treachery...and I know she has to sleep some time. Her response is that statistically speaking, women outlive men, and that considering the VAST age difference, she won't be worrying about losing much sleep. You gotta love a kid who can think on her feet.

My grandmother and my mother were both very crafty and wise. They had the ability to see into the deepest aspects of one's being and determine if what the person was telling them was true, false, partially true, or whatever. They would also communicate in ways that would turn phrases all around and have a person divulging more about themselves and their intent than the person ever thought he or she did. I hope I have a smidge of that ability myself. In my own crafty and wise way, of course. So I think that the whole "thinking on her feet" thing is something that my daughter comes by naturally.

Part of that is also knowing how to become an adaptogen. I heard that. "What the heck is an adaptogen???" An adaptogen is an ability to energetically meet the needs of the moment. For example, Lavender is an herbal adaptogen. Mist your bed sheets with lavender water a half hour before bed and you will have the deepest and most relaxing sleep you have had in a very long time. This is because it adapts to the needs of your energy in the moment. Part of thinking on your feet has to do with flowing with the need and also with perceiving what is actually going on around you in the moment. Try this sometime. Stand on a street corner and don't blink for about 5 minutes. This is more difficult that it sounds. But often when we blink we miss something. In that 5 minutes you will be surprised what all you see for the first time. A mentor of mine once had me do that while I was talking with him. After 5 minutes my eyes were sore. He asked me how many navy jackets with white stripes down the sleeves I had seen in that amount of time. I told him six. He said only 5 passed in front of me. I reminded him that the sixth one joined the group behind me after they had passed. He smiled. With your eyes wide open, you actually do have eyes in the back of your head.

As we perceive more around us, we are able to respond to what we perceive. Then we go with the flow more easily than we did before. Allowing the senses to awaken after their long sleep can be exhilarating and fun, and for some it can also be scary. But the more we allow ourselves to awaken, on whatever level we choose, the easier and more fulfilling life can become.

Blessed Be


Clarity & Illumination

Today is my birthday. There, everyone now knows that. I am now 45 years old. There, now everyone knows that too. Over the last 45 years I have had moments of great confusion in my life. Not just the kind of confusion where you can't decide "do I choose an apple or an orange?" but real confusion, like do I go to the left or to the right? And whichever one I choose, I know that this means something in my choice will then give me limitations (not having chosen the other path) and something in my choice will bring me great joy and liberty that the other path cannot provide.

These types of decisions are key moments in our lives. And although we can never go back and choose something different, sometimes we can adapt what we've chosen in order to encompass something more than what it originally meant for us. This is the path of Spirit on the Medicine Wheel. The path of Spirit is the path of fire, change, discernment and determination. My mother used to say that there is fog, and then there is FOG. And you have to treat both in the same manner. The fog is a mist that comes in and will hinder your way of viewing the world around you. You can either move forward through the fog and risk stepping off a cliff, or you can find your spot and sit and wait it out until the fog clears and the sun illuminates your terrain. Then you will know which way to go.

The FOG is the kind of confusion that we experience mentally and emotionally in our lives. We lose trust in ourselves and our own decision making capabilities. We walk through our lives unable to be clear as to who we are and what we want out of life. Sometimes this leads us to moments of crisis where we are forced to make a decision, or forced to accept the results of having not made a decision. If we were to allow ourselves to mentally and emotionally "check in" with ourselves on a regular basis, these types of things would be much less likely to happen.

So I have made it a practice on a daily (or at least semi-daily) basis to sit and meditate and receive clarity and illumination on my life. Sometimes it takes a bit of time and a few days running to actually know which path I need to choose. But that clarity does eventually come along, and while I am waiting for the FOG to clear, I am able to focus on my breath and on the feeling of peace and serenity that can flow through me with my breath. That can't be anything but good. I would highly recommend this for everyone.

Blessed Be


Saturday, February 9, 2008

4 Rivers - Love

There are 4 Rivers that we all experience in life. The River of Inspiration, the River of Love, the River of Challenge and the River of Surprise. I spoke about Inspiration in a recent blog, but tonight I would like to speak about the River of Love.

The River of Love is a bit of a tricky one. You see, this river teaches us, through life experience, what love is, and what love is not. The people that we meet along this river may have our best interests at heart, but some may not. The thing is, whether we learn about what love truly is, or whether we learn about what love truly is not, each is an equal gift. Either way, we have valuable insights into ourselves as well as the world around us. These days there can be so many mixed messages about love. We get bombarded through the media with all kinds of stuff about what we must be in order to be accepted and loved. None of it is very accurate. What we really need to do to enhance love in our lives is to be true to who we really are inside. And we need to know that this person will grow and change as life goes on. I know that I am certainly not the man I was 20 years ago. Nor should I be. If I was, it would be a rather pathetic statement of my ability to grow and adapt. Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. Even though I still have some of the same values as I did back then, many of my views on life and love have changed, some drastically, some in more subtle ways. And along the way, I have found that those who have tried to screw me up about love and what that is are those who have needed my help more than anyone. Yes, I have learned what love is not. But they have learned more about what love is. Hopefully everyone wins in the end, even though some lessons are more painful than others.

So be true to who you are. Love will find you better if it knows who it is it's looking for. ;-)

Blessed Be


Friday, February 8, 2008

The Cosmic Garden

In a single gaze, we should see the whole cosmic garden:
in a single breath, feel it
in a single listen, hear it
in a single mouthful, taste it
and through our body alone, touch it.

Master Taisen Deshimaru

This quote I found in my book Awakenings: Asian Wisdom for Every Day. The photo beside the quote is of a boy in Cambodia, riding a bicycle that is 5 times too big for his little body, going really fast down a slope along a road. The background is a blur of trees, and the wheels are spinning so fast you cannot see the spokes. He is sitting on the bar, because his little legs won't reach the pedals if he is on the seat. His smile goes from ear to ear and there is such exhilaration in his eyes that you can tell his heart is beating a mile a minute.

This is the sense of adventure I like to embrace in my life. Not that I am an adrenaline junky or anything, but there is nothing like the unknown to make the blood pump through the veins. I love it. I love things that take my breath away. I feel music, even in the song of birds, feed my soul. I love when the juice of an apple bursts into my mouth, and I relish in the feeling that comes over me with a simple caress. These are the simply, yet very Holy things that connect us to each other and the cosmic garden on a deep soul level. My daughter asked me once why I would, as I walked through the yard, reach out and brush my hand across the branches of the bushes. I said that it is because they love to be touched and I love to be touched, and seeing as how I am the only one who can reach out, I will do so. Feeling their leaves gently slip through or across my palm connects me with them. The communication is very deep and very affectionate. I think that this is why the trees and shrubs talk to me. Because I am willing to reach out and touch the cosmic garden. And when I touch them and communicate, I can feel the communication come to me from the stars as well. It truly is all one. If we breathe it in, it is always available to us.

May you experience the deep soul communion with the Cosmic Garden

Blessed Be


Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Shadow Spirit

People have been asking me a lot of questions about the Shadow Spirit lately. So I thought I might write a little bit about it. First off, we all have one. Secondly, not all of us are aware of our Shadow Spirit. Thirdly, not all of us want to be aware of it.

The Shadow Spirit is the magical part of us that came into being in the Otherworld the moment we realized that we, ourselves, are magical beings. They will sometimes be with us for lifetimes. They are extremely powerful in their magic and in their passion for life. So yes, there is some discretion that is needed when dealing with our Shadow Spirits. You see, we can make them an ally, or we can make them an enemy. The choice really is our own. But whatever choice we make, conscious or otherwise, will be followed through on the part of the Shadow Spirit.

Now, the Shadow Spirit is not the Jungian shadow part of our psyche. That would be more the Id. I always remember the distinction between the two this way...the Id is our sense of Inner Desires. The Ego is our sense of self, and the Super Ego is our sense of our Super Consciousness, or the grand consciousness that connects us all.

Although the Shadow Spirit is aware of all of these aspect of our psyches, it is not distinctly any one of these. We can think of it like this...I have a twin. My twin is not with me right here all the time, but my twin is always connected to me, ever since we were conceived. I can feel my twin's thoughts and feelings as easily as my own, even if my twin is in another country altogether. I can get flashes of my twin's life and experiences from a distance and my twin can get flashes of mine. Sometimes my twin and I fight with each other. But we know we will always be a part of each other and we love each other deeply, so we do our best to get along and work well together.

So why are people so afraid of the Shadow Spirit? Well, depending on your own fear based dogmas, the Shadow Spirit can appear to you as a very powerful demon, or as a very powerful angel. It really depends upon your own willingness to embrace the magical and mystical part of yourself, even if you have not yet gotten to know it really well.

For those who want to know more about this, I would recommend reading a book by Lord Foxglove titled Advancing the Witch's Craft. But do be prepared. You can't just pick up the phone, dial it and then hang up as soon as your twin answers on the other end. You have to be willing to communicate. Your twin has caller i.d. and will keep calling you back if you dial, even once. So be ready to do the work, or don't even start. And it is work, but the work is well worth it.

In Spirit, Blessed Be


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Totally Not Willard

Have I ever mentioned that I have this thing with rats? Some people find them to be the most adorable, cute and cuddly little creatures. I do not. It stems from being attacked by one in my sleep when I was a kid. As my father came barging into my room to see why the heck I was screaming my head off, it finally jumped off my back, which it had been biting, and raced out the door between his feet. The next day we got rat traps and rat poison.

Now, even just seeing the little critters on TV makes me squeamish. I know that I got myself over my fear of snakes by purchasing a ceramic cobra, whom I named "Oliver Twist" and setting him at the foot of my bed so that every night and every morning that was what I saw. I also figured it would be a good fake out for any rats. I am now able to hold and handle a python with no fear whatsoever. But put me in the same room with a rat, caged or otherwise, and I am on the ceiling screaming like a baby. The child of a friend had one for a pet. I looked at it in the cage. 15 seconds was all I could do. Then I was out of the room and planning on how soon I could round up the family and get out. They no longer have the rat. Seems it needed a new home. That is okay by me. I now can visit again. This fear has also transferred to mice. Although I can kill a mouse if I have to, I break a cold sweat doing so. My heart pounds out of my chest and I feel weak in the knees. Still, it is at least not as big as a rat. Besides, this is why I have a cat in my house. She is an excellent assassin of rodents. I know we are supposed to be at one with all creatures. But really, when there is a hostile invasion happening in my home, that's it, they've gotta go!

Rat Medicine is supposed to be that of resourcefulness and cunning, wisdom and knowledge, all the stuff that a basic martial artist would love to posses. Well, that is good, and I do have that medicine within me, especially since the infusion of it into my body by the teeth of the rat, but as to being at one with the animal itself, I think I will have to work on that a bit longer.

When I talk about this with people they are rather surprised that I would have a fear like that, being a shaman and all. I am here to tell you that being a shaman means that you work on your fears. It does not mean that you have no fears. We are human, just like everybody else, and we have our stuff to work on. Yes, I could fool myself and others into thinking that I have no fear. But that would eventually catch up with me because life does that. Most people find it relieving that someone like me also has a fear/phobia. It makes them feel less screwed up. Well, I say "Good on you for finding out that you are not the only one who has issues! Welcome to the human race! Now let's work on those issues so they don't haunt you." I am sure that the makers of that Willard movie had folks like me in mind. And if you have ever seen The Bone Collector, well, let's just say that you will know exactly which scene made me squirm. Willard I am not.

All the Power of the Rodent World to ya!

Blessed Be


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sombody Move That Wall!

Today, in our process of simplifying our lives, my wife and I moved a complete dining room set out to her father's house, and brought back a simple table and chairs from his place. A fair energy exchange, considering that he was the one who built the dining set in the first place. This is part of claiming our home as our own, which has been 5 years in the making since purchasing it from her father.

Now, I have to say right up front, this did not occur without some blood, sweat and tears, and a bit of cussing along the way. You see, the table was, shall we say, a monster to get through the front door. After dismantling the screen door in sub zero weather, the sucker still would not get through. I was this close to taking the door frame off when I remembered movers helping my family move as a kid. They were trying to get a box spring mattress around a tight corner and got stuck. Somebody said, "Would someone please move this wall?" Everyone cracked up. Then I spoke up and said, "If you stand it on end, you just might make it around that corner. Soon the mattress was backed up, flipped on end, and alacazam! It made it through.

So what do I do? I turn the table upside down and try to figure out how to dismantle it. I end up phoning my father-in-law to find out what screws should be attacked first as there are a lot and it is a complicated design. He assures me that they got it in the house without having to dismantle it. I am at this point not so sure he is remembering correctly. I am in fact still thinking about taking apart the door jam as well. Then he phones me back a minute after hanging up and says, "I am sure if you stand it on end and put the feet out first then turn it, it will get through the door." A complete flashback to 1971 and the movers goes through my mind again. Why did I not just think of that when remembering it the first time? And indeed it worked!

Sometimes in life we have walls to help hold up our houses. But some walls are only there in our perceptions. Once we change the way we look at it, what we see also changes. I think it was Dr. Wayne Dyer who said that. I would agree. I think that this is also true of walls in relationships. If we change the way we perceive a person, our relationship with that person can also have opportunity to change.

Blessed Be



We do this too often. Comparing ourselves with others around us, or others we perceive to be around us, such as celebrities. Somewhere along the way we have lost our own self-worth. We have been taught to dishonor ourselves and the value that we have as an intrinsic aspect of our nature.

Does a Dogwood Willow compare itself with a Maple Tree? No. Does the Maple Tree compare itself with a Dogwood Willow? No. Each is simply and naturally and beautifully what it is. Master Osho says,"Comparison brings inferiority, superiority. When you don't compare, all inferiority, all superiority, doesn't matter; you are yourself. You are needed. A grass leaf is needed as much as the biggest star....All is needed, and everything fits together. It is an organic unity: nobody higher and nobody lower, nobody superior, nobody inferior. Everybody is incomparably unique."

This inspired me to coin the phrase,"You are unique...just like everybody else!" People often think I am joking with them when they first hear me say that. Then they realize what it is that I have just said. Some laugh, knowingly. Some tear up, realizing that they are special in and of themselves. Either way, it is beautiful.

My wife and I are simplifying our living environment. We are selling and giving away anything that we do not love or use. It is an interesting procedure because it makes us stop and think, really think, about what is important to us. Our house is getting more and more empty, and we are loving having more and more room to breathe. It is simplifying our inner beings. We have had to walk through the whole comparison thing in terms of what we now have as opposed to what our friends have. We have discovered we actually don't need as much stuff as perhaps our friends do, or think they do. And it is not a bad thing that they have what they have. It is just not for us. Where some folks are continually consuming more things, we are removing clutter from our lives. Say goodbye to that vase we received for a wedding gift. It has served its purpose and now we move on and find it another home. This is very liberating. I highly recommend this process for everyone.

Many Warm Blessings


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Accepting the Goddess within, even if you are Male

One of the most challenging things I encounter as a shaman is helping men to embrace their feminine energy. Our Western culture does not exactly promote this concept and, in fact, often scorns it. Is it any wonder that there is so much male energy all screwed up??

Sometimes what helps is to talk about how we all have a biological mother and father, and that, even if we don't know who they are, we have a piece of each of them within our DNA. So most guys get that. Then I bridge the concept to energy and Divinity. I explain that there is a feminine aspect to God (called the Goddess) and that she is our Divine Mother as much as he is our Divine Father. Thus we energetically and spiritually have some of each within the makeup of our spirits.

I think the most difficulty that men have after accepting that concept is knowing that it doesn't make them gay or anything like that. But this requires myth busting and more education. The feminine energy is simply our receptive aspects. The masculine is simply our active aspects. So when they work in tandem with one another, we get a balanced and harmonious way of working within our world. We begin to notice all of nature around us. We begin to notice when people around us are saying one thing and demonstrating something that is inconsistent with what they have just said. We develop our "intuitive" aspects as a partner for our "reasonable" aspects. Logic and reason need to certainly be there. We have, as a culture, however, deified logic and reason to the point of becoming quite closed to the authenticity that gets established with the infusion of intuition. It seems to be one thing for a cop to have an "instinct" but quite another for a man to simply "know" or "intuit" something. Talk about smashing the psyche in half while giving completely contradictory messages!

With some encouragement, most men find that it becomes very easy to embrace the "Goddess" within. They are able to do so without becoming less male. In fact, they become more desirable as a male to the women around them because they are more connected to their inner feminine energies. The reason for this? Well, on a universal level it is not really opposites that attract. It is like that attracts like. I remember my father telling me that he fell in love with my mother because she was the only woman who would stand up to him and tell him off. She was connected with her inner masculine energies and able to take action when it was needed. He liked that. So it was a case of like attracting like. A couple of months later I asked my mother what attracted her to my father. She said it was his gentle nature that, although it would not necessarily come out on a daily basis, made her feel comfortable and safe. Like attracts like.

So even though a guy may be a natural "alpha" male, he can also be in harmony with his feminine energy. He will find that he does indeed become more approachable and therefore more liked by the women around him. The men around him will sometimes struggle with that, but this is only because of their own insecurities. Men who are harmonious with their feminine energy are not threatened by others who are also connected with their own feminine energy. They just become more harmonious with each other. Could this be a solution to finding world peace?

Blessed Be


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Criticism vs Caring

Have you someone in your life who equates criticism with caring? If so, you are not alone. There are many folks who think that the two are synonymous. But they aren't. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and they usually do. The wise person knows that caring is expressed through encouragement and conscious effort to explore what the other person is experiencing or doing and what that does for them, regardless of what it does for us. This is not to say that if you see someone you love conducting themselves in a destructive or self-destructive manner, that you can't call them on that. In fact you need to. But if whatever they are into is harming no one, then simply explore what passion it brings forth for them.

I used to have a mother-in-law (now x-mother-in-law, and you are soon to find out why) who took it upon herself to criticize absolutely everything there was about her daughter. Her daughter was a bit of an emotional mess as a result of it. She actually felt fear of her mother more than love from her mother. It also got so that she did not feel love for her mother. Admittedly, when I was younger I was a bit intimidated by this woman. I soon got over it. I also soon got over her daughter. I learned and I moved on. This was good for me.

I find when counseling people that this is an issue that often comes up. Their mate, their parent, their "best" friend criticizes them constantly. And it isn't always up front either. Sometimes it is very subtle, yet the message of "you are not good enough, nor will you ever be" still comes through loud and clear. When they are confronted about their behavior, they will often respond with,"Oh, you are just too sensitive." Well, actually, you are probably just sensitive enough that your BS detector went way off the charts! Remember...any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and they usually do. My wife (current) drew that quote from somewhere. I don't know where, but it always stuck with me. And, admittedly, she has sometimes had opportunity to use the line on ME. Stops me in my tracks. I find that it is certainly a good reminder to moderate my own behavior as well as that of others.

So do your best to always be caring in your relationships. You don't have to dote upon the person, just be kind and show them you care. You can do that in any number of ways, each of which will leave a loving footprint on their hearts.

Blessed Be


Friday, February 1, 2008


I have no trouble whatsoever falling asleep. I often say that I get paid for only a fraction of the work that I actually do, because my dream time is extremely busy helping others along the way in their dream time. I am a Dream Walker. I send healing energies, deliver messages, create harmony throughout the universe and all that stuff. All in a night's work. It sometimes amazes me that I can actually wake up and feel refreshed. And whenever I don't then I ask that there be another volunteer the following night so that I can just regenerate my batteries. Always works for me. My wife counts me down from 10. She usually gets to 7 and I am snoring.

This frustrates her tremendously. She not only has trouble falling asleep (something to which I cannot relate) but she also wakes up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. No wonder some mornings she is a wee bit crusty! If I ever experience that, then I am sure that I would be a complete bear in the morning.

She found a "Healthy Sleep" CD that she now listens to. We were talking in bed last night and she said that she was going to put her CD on now. I asked why she still needs it? After all, I was sure that by now she had found her "position" where her body felt relaxed and supported. That is what the CD said to do. She informed me that there was a LOT more to the process than that. This came as a surprise to me, because any time I listened to the CD all I heard was to "Find your position where your body feels relaxed and supported..." and I was then snoring.

Apparently there is much more to this, but every time I have tried to pay attention to the rest I simply miss it. It is like someone has pressed the button for CD Slipstream and I am then suddenly boosted off into the Alpha Quadrant of the Universe. For heaven's sake, what else could there be? I have yet to find out because, try as I might to stay awake to listen, I just can't. So perhaps I do have a sleep disorder, only one that is opposite the one my wife has. Perhaps I should be considering whether or not I should operate a moving vehicle! And maybe this CD really does work! I know I won't be listening to it while driving down the road.

In the meantime, I do know that there are a lot of stress disorders that are directly related to lack of sleep. That part scares me a bit when it comes to my wife's health. I continue to do Energy Balancing treatments for her and also encourage her to take a nap now and then so that she can balance out her sleep. Even if she does lie down, she very rarely naps. I say to just lay there till you drool. That way you know you are at least relaxed. Then perhaps when it comes time for the night time sleep, one will have an easier time getting there, having already prepped the body for the transition.

Sweet Dreams everyone!