I Am Me

Hibiscus

I am me.
In all the world, there is no one exactly like me.
There are persons who have some parts like me,
but no one adds up exactly like me.

Therefore, everything that comes out of me
is authentically mine because I alone choose it.
I own everything about me
My body including everything it does;
My mind including all its thoughts and ideas;
My eyes including the images of all they behold;
My feelings whatever they may be…
anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement
My mouth and all the words that come out of it
polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect;
My voice loud or soft.
And all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself.

I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears.
I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.
Because I own all of me I can become intimately acquainted with me.
By doing so I can love me and be friendly with me in all parts.
I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests.

I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me,
and other aspects that I do not know.
But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself,
I can courageously and hopefully, look for solutions to the puzzles
and for ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think
and feel at a given moment in time is me.
This is authentic and represents where I am in that moment in time.
When I review later how I looked and sounded, what I said and did, and how
I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting.
I can discard that which is unfitting, and keep that which proved fitting,
And invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do.
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive,
and to make sense and order out of the world of people
and things outside of me.
I own me, and therefore I can engineer me.

I am me and I am okay.

~Self Esteem by Virginia Satir
Published in 1970 

We Have Come to Be Danced

Red Vine Dancing

Red Vine Dancing

We have come to be danced
not the pretty dance
not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
but the claw our way back into the belly
of the sacred, sensual animal dance
the unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
the holding the precious moment in the palms
of our hands and feet dance

We have come to be danced
not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
but the wring the sadness from our skin dance
the blow the chip off our shoulder dance
the slap the apology from our posture dance

We have come to be danced
not the monkey see, monkey do dance
one, two dance like you
one two three, dance like me dance
but the grave robber, tomb stalker
tearing scabs & scars open dance
the rub the rhythm raw against our souls dance

WE have come to be danced
not the nice invisible, self conscious shuffle
but the matted hair flying, voodoo mama
shaman shakin’ ancient bones dance
the strip us from our casings, return our wings
sharpen our claws & tongues dance
the shed dead cells and slip into
the luminous skin of love dance

We have come to be danced
not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance
but the meeting of the trinity: the body, breath & beat dance
the shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance
the mother may I?
yes you may take 10 giant leaps dance
the Olly Olly Oxen Free Free Free dance
the everyone can come to our heaven dance

We have come to be danced
where the kingdom’s collide
in the cathedral of flesh
to burn back into the light
to unravel, to play, to fly, to pray
to root in skin sanctuary
We have come to be danced
WE HAVE COME

by Jewel Mathieson

Love and Ebola: a Web Event for West Africa

Ebola Virus

The Ebola virus is wreaking havoc on the people of West Africa. The number of people infected is doubling every few weeks. But despite the endless media coverage, this epidemic seemed quite distant to me – until I heard that two nurses in Texas had become infected. Suddenly Ebola seemed to be right at my doorstep.

I began my career as a nurse; one of my first nursing jobs was in ICU, caring for critically ill patients. That’s probably why every new report about the 2 nurses infected with Ebola upset me so much. I remember all too well how hard a hospital nurse’s job is under ordinary circumstances – and there is nothing ordinary about an Ebola infection. At first, I was so angry about these two young nurses infected with Ebola; I wanted to find someone to blame for their pain and suffering. But it doesn’t accomplish anything to play the blame game, does it? More and more people continue to catch Ebola and suffer while we sit around and debate about who should get fired. Anger is a waste of time.

For the last few days, I’ve been asking myself, what can I do besides sit around and wring my hands about Ebola? What can I do to help? I actually considered joining Doctors Without Borders and heading over to Africa myself; nurses are always in short supply. But 9 months abroad is not very practical when I have a daughter to raise. Sacrificing my own family’s well being isn’t the answer.  But I want to do more than just donate some money – I want to personally DO something! Once a nurse always a nurse, I guess.

This epidemic teaches me how interconnected our world is today. Our fates are interwoven with the fates of those suffering in West Africa, whether we acknowledge it or not. So, why not USE our interconnections to help those suffering?

I am a spiritual healer, I have spent the last 20 years learning how to send the healing energy of love out to people in need. Remote healing techniques make it easy to send powerful healing love and prayers to people suffering with Ebola on the other side of the world. And as a nurse, I know that NOTHING is more healing than the energy of love and compassion.

I need your help with this. Can you join me in creating a healing web of love and prayers for West Africa? You don’t need to be a healer or know anything about energy or spiritual healing. You don’t even need to leave your home!

Simply join me by phone, and I will guide you through a simple process for offering love and healing light energy to those suffering with Ebola on the other side of the world.

We are all connected. Why not use our connections to help those suffering with Ebola? Let’s shine the healing light of love on this epidemic. 

Web of Love for West Africa

Sunday October 19, 2014
2:oo PM Mountain

Love and Ebola: Web of Love #2

Saturday October 25, 2014
1:oo PM Mountain

You can be part of this healing web of love via phone or internet connection. Please send an email to me at: nancy@nancylankston.com if you’d like to participate. I will send you simple instructions for joining this event.

The power of this Web of Love increases exponentially
with every person who participates.

I hope you can join me. 

Wholing as Healing

Shamanic work is centered on WHOLENESS: removing what doesn’t belong, and reclaiming that which does.  Shamanic healing is focused on wholeness to the extent that my Spirits often use that word as the healing message, telling me how to provide “wholing.”  While spellcheck hates the word, for me, in this modern western culture, I find it far clearer to use and understand than the enigmatic word “healing.”

Bodies are wonderful vehicles designed to experience this reality, but they are also limited: they sometimes suffer mechanical problems.  Our energy body is the template that forms our physical body – when it is distorted by losses and intrusions, or forced to share space with other energies, it causes distortions in the template and health problems in the physical body.  Soul retrieval and power animal retrieval are well-known examples of restoring or gathering energy to increase power.  Removal of thought forms, curses, extractions, and compassionate depossession are  common methods of eliminating energy losses.  The correction is to  remove that which doesn’t belong, and bring back that which belongs but has been lost.

In other cases, energy is  dissipated during fits of anger and/or emotional upheaval, or simply attached to too many memories of triggering events.  Energy attached to a memory can be reclaimed through recapitulation; energy thrown away in a fit of anger is simply lost.

Occasionally, energy is stolen; more often, energy is simply leaked through various energy gates (chakras) and through rips and tears in the energy body.  Plugging energy leaks can be a powerful a way of restoring energy, and should be a more commonly used tool in the shamans bag of wholing tricks.

Always, to insure maximum health and strength – as well as that thing shamanic workers call power – bring the energy body into WHOLENESS!

 

 

 

Friendship

I’m incredibly lucky to have developed an amazing partnership with Jill Carter and Nancy Langston over the past year.   Located in different parts of the country, each week we set aside time to meet by telephone, and each week we over-run our budget of 2 hours.  We’ve talked as long as 6 hours at a stretch, and it’s not unusual to send many emails and have unplanned calls in between.

It’s a relationship like I’ve never had before, and sometimes seems to be both a shamanic meant-to-be as well as a deep, deep friendship.  We aren’t the same, we don’t complete each others’ sentences.   Our backgrounds, our training, our mundane lives are all quite different.  Instead, we surprise each other, and we inspire each other to deeper learning.

An amazing pattern has developed so obvious and clear that it’s undeniable.  Each time one of us is challenged in our lives, the lessons reverberate through all of us, and we each are suddenly ‘gifted’ with surprising experiences that show a deep similarity: as if spirit is intent on showing us multiple faces of each kind of event.  Of course we journey and do healing work for each other, and often that takes each of us far off of what had formerly been our “beaten path.”  But that’s what you do for friends, right?  You get inventive, you get involved, you try new things.  You experiment.  When all three of you are Healers, that can make things really interesting!

Is this really a “meant to be” or is spirit simply capitalizing on the opportunity?  I have no idea…

What I do know is that it’s accelerated my understanding of non-ordinary reality so much that I barely recognize myself and my self-imposed limits from a year ago.

More importantly, it’s given me an entirely new vision of relationships, and how independent people who don’t “need” each other can become stronger by choosing to work together.  And the web that’s winding us ever closer together feels much deeper than friendship, and more like true sisters.

We met in July of 2013, and soon we’ll finally be physically together again for a few days – teaching each other, sharing, gossiping and laughing.  I can’t wait!

Recapitulation

This is the third of my series of posts about my solo Vision Quest.  The 1st post is 
Your Job was to Show Up, and the second is And The Walls Came Tumbling Down.  

Right now I long for a human hand in mine, guiding me.  I want to hear a human voice chiding me, encouraging me: I want the comfort of someone who can listen to me as I stumble falteringly through this process and will say calmly, “yes of course, this is the way it works.”  How is it that I feel so confident of what I am advised by Spirit and so rewarded by my progress, and yet ache so for the simple comfort of a friend who can share this path with me?

How many times will I think I understand, only to learn that once more I’ve only scratched the surface, and the real answers lie still deeper within?

In the end, every deep dive is a journey into self and spirit, and there we must go alone.  For me, this deep dive is into the heart of myself, mediated through my shamanic practice.

In Shamanic practice, recapitulation means a concise but detailed review of one’s life, or of segments of one’s life, with a view towards reclaiming the power attached to past memories and events.  To that fairly standard definition, my spirits added that I was required to use this time to release all remaining patterns and both give and experience full forgiveness for missteps and mistakes.  Sometimes things we hold others accountable for turn out to be caused by our own fears: failure to love fully, failure to understand, failure to allow others the same grace we demand as our own right.  Atonement was, originally, a process of ‘wholing:’  at-one-ment, becoming at one with the universe.

This is not about wallowing in the past, reactivating old grudges and the illusion of victimhood.  This is about truly and deeply understanding your own full role in everything that has happened and releasing old ties.  During recapitulation we do not assume that because we were “young and innocent” our own harmful behaviors had no meaning or weight.  From the view of the other, they may have had enormous weight.  Nor does it mean that because we were young, we had no role in our victimization.

No, I don’t mean that a beaten baby is responsible for what occurred.  But most human interactions are far more shaded, more subtle than that, and sometimes our own ignorance/fears do play a role.

This is dangerous territory… we may have participated without ever rising to the level that our society calls guilt.  Finding that we played a roll doesn’t mean that the other’s behavior was justified, but it does mean that we have learning available to help us.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  This doesn’t mean you ‘deserved’ what happened, or that you were at fault.  It only means that somehow your behavior intermeshed with that of the other, and that combination allowed the situation to go to a very bad place.  It also doesn’t take the offender off of the hook: their behavior is their choice, and they own it.  But it does restore to us a role of agency; of understanding and reclaiming our own power.  It’s when we finally and fully understand and release our ties, our patterns, that they lose the power to ensnare us: only then can we be confident and free.

Shamanic perspective includes a recognition of our actions in past lives.  This is not a tit-for-tat view of karmic obligation, but a focus on learning; sometimes learning is best received by personally experiencing injustices similar to those we’ve perpetuated, but the goal isn’t punishment.  At any time it is possible to break the cycle of retribution by learning the lessons, integrating them, and moving on.  This is a profound process that can bring healing to both sides of a painful event.  It can also reverberate in all directions along the time line, bringing healing to both our ancestors and descendants.

Recapitulation is not about placing blame, but about understanding: understanding means coming as close as is possible to recognizing what happened from the perspective of everyone involved.  When you truly see through another’s eyes, when you see through their pain and misunderstandings, you come to understanding from a very different space than we usually access.  Intellectual understanding is not enough.  Intellectual understanding may give you the strength to resist the pattern, but it doesn’t erase it.  The attraction to the pattern still exists.  This is why we tend to feel like we are sucked into same-old/same old patterns, experiencing the same damaged relationship dynamics over and over again.  When you understand at a very deep level, the attraction falls away and there is simply no pull calling us to squander energy on a similar situation.  We see it for what it is, not for what we wish it was, and the magic falls away.

In my research, all of the references to shamanic recapitulation that I’ve found focus on reclamation of used energy.  Memories have life, have texture, have substance.  That substantial feel is energy – the energy spent by everyone that was part of the event.  During recapitulation one literally sucks the energy out, returning the not-mine energy to the universe, while reclaiming the personal energy.  Afterwards (and it may take several passes to complete the process) the memory is curiously thin, insubstantial.  It feels almost  like a story from someone else’s life.

Many people resist dissolving the energetic part of their memories: they feel like part of their foundation is lost in the process.  That accepts the energetic loss as valid while giving the memory priority.  This resistance is a misunderstanding of the process: the memories that form us have already formed us, that doesn’t change.  What changes is our penchant for being sucked into the same dramas again in endless repetition.

To reclaim an undefended, free heart, it is crucial to glean through the past and apply all of the learning available, so that the heart doesn’t repeat past mistakes.  It is strengthened by the energy retrieval and is prepared to face the world afresh.

Releasing ties (often called cords) doesn’t mean that you won’t continue to love and remember someone.  It does mean that you cut all mutual obligations, and you reclaim the parts of yourself that you may have forfeited in the relationship.  If the person remains in your life and is loved, new cords will form as appropriate.  Cutting old cords, however, keeps the relationship current and keeps us from acting out of old, no longer appropriate emotions.  An example of cords that need cutting would be seen when a parent refuses to allow their child to grow up and take on an adult role, but continues to hover and want to ‘fix’ things.  It may sound like love, but by preventing the child from learning they are depriving them of their right and need to grow.  Of course, there are also cords that should be cut with people we no longer want in our lives.

Cutting cords is a crucial part of recapitulation, but a small part.  The more intense and grueling part is the blow-by-blow remembering of all of the ways I succeeded in past relationships, and where I personally failed.  What is difficult is to agree to let go, to agree that these comfortable patterns will no longer drive my actions.

For my faults I offer up love and compassion for myself:  I ask for forgiveness from the other’s soul, and I ask for blessings from Spirit to ease the path of those to whom I’ve presented hardship and pain.  This is heart work: deep, poignant, draining and necessary.  Oddly, at the same time that it is draining, the recapture of the energy empowers me further.  It’s a paradox I can’t explain.

The gift, of course, is that to the extent that I succeed, the ache is eased and the instinctive ‘need’ to shield my heart is removed – I am again operating as Spirit intended in the World.  My heart and soul are free to learn and love again.

Most of us shut down from time to time.  Most of us find our burdens too heavy and recoil behind barriers.  The gift is to reset the clock and free oneself to begin to again live fully with an undefended heart.

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

(This is the second of 3 or 4 articles that I’m writing about my 3 day solo vision quest in New Mexico.  The first, “Your Job was to Show Up” can be found below.  There is a subscription feature on the right that will notify you of future posts as I publish them.)

The idea of having an open heart sounds good, just as it sounds good to have a closed heart opened – in the abstract.

But like anything, be it a habit, a body joint, an idea – things allowed to grow stiff can be painful to loosen up again.  When I came down from my so-peaceful stay on the mountain and had my heart break open, I was shoved into the pain, self-doubt and internal dishevelment that is so often part of Spirit breakthroughs.

I’d gone to the mountain in part to release that which no longer served, and the first day I thought I’d done all of that.  It felt like weights dropping as outworn ideas and illusions fell away.  Most of what I dropped had already been working loose from the rigid framework that had held everything frozen in place.  I began my “pre-work” when I committed to the Vision Quest 9 weeks earlier.  I journeyed regularly, I harnessed my dreaming to the task.  Much of my  work cropped up in dreams: I can always rely on them to tell me the things I don’t wish to hear.  I did the work; spent time with both meditation and dream re-entry, consciously “let go” of much that no longer served.   Letting go with the  conscious mind and again with the emotions are not the same thing: so it was the second round, the emotional letting go, that happened without much fanfare during the first day I was up on the mountain.

I don’t know, really, how Spirit works – but in retrospect I suspect it knew that I needed the comfort and enveloping love of the next two days to heal me enough to withstand the final step – the breaking open of my heart, which was the necessary preface to releasing so much more.  When it did happen, I was completely taken by surprise.

Shamanic practitioners work with their hearts, not their brains.  It is heart that connects with Spirit, heart that sings songs of  joy and praise, heart that allows us to work with Spirit to bring healing.  The rest of us – mouth, voice, hands, brain, imagination – activate and manifest what is first born in the heart.  So my sacrifice must be made: the heart must be freed even if the pain is fierce.  Nor is this sacrifice endured only for the sake of the “other.”  My own life hangs in the balance: it is for me to decide if I will remake it with courage, or allow it to atrophy into a dumbed down version, a mockery of what a human soul can be.

After we experience injury and loss we typically wait out the storm then seek to ‘close the door’ on what has passed.  Too often we have yet to go deep and fully  understand before we close those doors – and the result is something like a scab that covers a wound while the poison within continues to fester.  The lesson is not yet learned.  Shamanic practitioners often say that when our souls fail to learn the lessons presented, the situation recurs until we do.  We continue to attract inappropriate mates, bad jobs, abrasive situations.  Too often, locked in a cycle of pain, we become discouraged and we decide “that’s what life is” or “that’s what men/women are like” or “that’s what work is like” or even “that’s what politicians are like.”  In fact, none of those things is true – life, men/women, work etc are many, many things; when we can learn to deal with our problems at a sufficiently deep level we can choose differently and free ourselves from patterns of repetition and suffering.

When we fail to learn, we lock ourselves into an increasingly difficult spiral down: we become discouraged, cynical, unable to trust.  We protect our hearts with walls and abandon our quest. Meanwhile, Spirit continues to send the lesson with increasing zeal, attempting to break through and finally achieve that “teaching moment.”

This is when the practice of recapitulation becomes essential.

Walls around the heart are more common than not in our culture: we accept them as a necessary protection against the vagaries of a world we think can’t be trusted.  Those who love fully and easily are scorned as naive.  Yet living with a heart muffled from the Wild Joy of the world is no life at all.  As the shielding increases one loses spontaneity, joy and finally connection. Worst of all, our souls lose the ability to learn.

An undefended heart is vulnerable, but strong.  Properly prepared and fortified, it avoids the old traps simply because it fully understands what happened,  the old mistakes and patterns are obvious, they do not attract.

When we are so swaddled in our protective wrappings that the world can’t break through; when we are not fully, bravely, trustingly a part of it, we block this process of learning.  We forfeit our souls’ ability to continue moving forward and risk leaving our life tasks undone.  While I still could access a manageably smallish joy, I knew that I’d wrapped my heart up in dent-proof packaging, and I knew that it was muffling the rich textures of the outside world.  I knew that the walls had to go – I just wasn’t ready for it to happen now.

Recapitulation is the process of re-examing our lives at a detail level and in depth.  It allows us to take a profound look at our own life, learn the lessons offered and release the suffering that simmers within us like a low-grade fever.  With successful recapitulation, we become ready to move forward, incorporating knowing without cynicism and self protection without blame or masking, and again take a vibrant role in our own futures.

Having been gifted with a re-opened heart, it was essential for me to go deep and practice a thorough recapitulation of all of the events that led me to wall up my heart in the first place.  This isn’t about wallowing in sorrow, grief, misdeeds – it’s about deep learning.  It is about claiming the wisdom my own life offers, but doesn’t insist that I accept.

It is the price of keeping an open heart.

The Shamanic World

Ponderosa Guide

Ponderosa Guide

Shamanism is the oldest spiritual practice on Earth. It has existed since the beginnings of our human tribe. Ancient cave paintings in Australia, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa depict Shaman performing rituals tens of thousands of years ago.  “Shaman” is a Siberian word that means “one who sees in the dark”.  

Throughout history there have been many different types of Shaman and practices vary from tribe to tribe. But the hallmark of every Shaman, both ancient and modern, is the ability to intuitively “see in the dark” and travel beyond this physical plane into non-ordinary reality. The Australian aborigines call non-ordinary reality the Dreamtime. The Celtic tribes of Britain referred to it as the Other World. And modern Shaman continue to use ancient methods to enter a deep meditative or trance state and see in the dark, beyond this reality.

Maintaining Balance

Shaman believed in the “web of life” long before modern theories of ecology were formulated; I consider Shaman to be the first environmentalists.  From a Shamanic viewpoint, everything is alive and has a spirit; grass, pine tree, fox, flower, stone and river are all infused and flowing with spiritual essence and consciousness. To the Shaman, Mother Earth is a pulsing, flowing living system where humans are completely interwoven and interdependent with every other form of life. All of life is interconnected; any belief that humans are separate from other life forms is an illusion, according to Shaman.

One of the Shaman’s primary roles in the community was (and is) to maintain balance between the members of the tribe and all other forms of life on Earth. In indigenous cultures, Shaman performed many sacred ceremonies and spiritual rituals for the tribe in order to maintain balance; e.g. blessing every hunting expedition, divining where the tribe should settle or when to plant crops, welcoming newborn babies into the tribe, and helping the dying make their transition to spirit gracefully.

Shamanic Healing

Shamanism is also the oldest form of healing on this planet. Long before antibiotics, surgeries and heart stents, Shamanic healers journeyed into non-ordinary reality to learn about the nature of illness and help their tribe heal. And today, modern Shamanic practitioners such as myself continue to journey, seeking guidance and help with the healing of many different kinds of physical, emotional and spiritual wounds.

Shaman are said to see with their hearts, rather than logical minds. And Shamanic healing practices have a deep spiritual and emotional focus. Psychopomp, spiritual intrusion, soul retrieval, energy extraction, depossession… there are many Shamanic healing practices with odd and intimidating names. These ancient healing practices are designed to help you:

  • locate and release energies from your body-mind-spirit that do not belong there
  • regain power and other energies that are lost or stuck in your past
  • locate and unlock aspects of your Soul or True Self that are frozen or “lost”

Shamanic healing is very effective for understanding and healing painful or traumatic experiences. And because of the Shaman’s focus on balancing the entire web of life, Shamanic healing practices tend to be innately holistic,  integrating all aspects of body, mind, heart and spirit into the healing process.

The Journey Process

A Shaman journeys in trance state in order to perform ‘divination’ and gather spiritual information about your illness and its cause. The shaman acts as a “hollow bone”, becoming a channel for healing energies and spiritual wisdom. You may travel to non-ordinary reality with the Shaman, or they may go alone. During the journey, spirit allies help the Shaman to uncover the cause of the illness. The spiritual helpers may also assist the Shaman in performing any process required for healing during the journey. The Shaman may merge with a helping spirit and/or elemental energies in order to help you heal. 

When Shaman travel into Dreamtime in search of healing, they seek guidance from allies and guides in spiritual form; e.g. angels, ancestors, departed teachers – Shaman call on all sources of wisdom. And the answers may be found in non-human forms as well;  a power animal or totem, a wise old tree, a flower, a gem stone or even a place of power on Mother Earth may hold wisdom that is the key to healing. In the Shamanic world, healing wisdom is found in all forms of life. 

Everything is Connected
Separation is an Illusion
All is One

☾ ✧ ☽