Just a week ago, I was confronted with a choice: begin my new class on shamanism or postpone?
March brought more migraines at unpredictable times for me, and postponing until May seemed advisable. Yet, I felt I could pull it off and really wanted to try.
It’s impossible to think our way into our deepest, most congruent answers to the questions that life presents us. After all, there’s a hell of a lot more to us than the mind alone. But what’s the alternative?
Shamanic journeying is a practice that can help us consider our choices in a more holistic light. My purpose in sharing the journey below is to illustrate how shamanism can give us more than advice, but instead deliver a felt experience of the choices before us.
This added dimension of information can make all the difference in what choices we make and why. Here’s the journey:
I asked my shaman guide, Chief, to “show me” the choice before me. He obliged. We walked together until we reached a fork in the road: one path went upward and to the left, another went flat and straight to the right.
At first glance, the flat path looked boring and monotonous to me, but I decided to check it out first. As I walked along on a broad path, I found that there was water flowing to my right and tall grasses waving to my left. The scene felt quite lovely and unexpectedly beautiful.
There were fresh breezes blowing, I could hear tree frogs singing, birds calling, and the sky was just starting to turn a light pink tinged with purple. Perhaps most noticeable, however, was the expansion in my field of vision: I could see to the far horizon as well as everything on the periphery, even as I looked forward. I felt my heart singing, open, and expansive. Not bad.
So back to check out the left side, a white rocky path that wound up and through the land, with many trees and views to see along the climb. It was considerably hotter here and I had to stop and catch my breath more often, but it felt familiar to me, more like “home,” and reminded me of where I grew up in Texas.
Because of the surprising twists and turns in the terrain, I had to keep my eyes more tightly focused on the path before me and so was less able to see the broader view. At the end of the climb, though, there was a beautiful vista. Each pathway had its relative merits. I asked Chief of the winding upward path: “Is this the pathway that represents going forward with teaching now?” and he nodded yes. As always with spirit, the choice was mine to make.
I went back to the first road, the flat road, just to feel it again. I noticed there were people coming to meet me on the pathway. It felt less familiar to me, but I could breathe easier and more fully here. “I choose this path,” I told Chief, and I was surprised to see that tears filled his eyes. He hugged me and said “I am proud of you. You are truly coming into your power.”
Then he gave me a shell necklace, a necklace with a beautiful history for me already, and put it on me. In the context of the class I’ve been putting together, I remembered suddenly that this is a symbol of pilgrimage. Early pilgrims wore seashell necklaces to tell other passersby that they were on a journey to the holy land. It helped to guarantee safe passage for strangers in strange lands.
“The journey is more important than the destination,” Chief said. “In fact, the journey is the destination. You are learning to live this in your life.”
Hone your journeying skills with me. Coming in May:
Learn more about the online class.
Engage in weekly online journey circles.
I hope you can join us!