A love letter to you

Image by Marc Benedetti from Pixabay

A love letter to you, when life is hard.

It seems a divine renovation and expansion program is now underway, centered upon your heart. And it hurts.

You are apprenticing in fierce love in the service of Life. You are learning how to keep your balance and not shut down in the face of so much intensity. Instead, you are learning to allow all these powerful feelings of awakened life to rush through you in all their color, hue, and ferocity.

This is how Life carves a spacious canyon out of the common sandstone of the heart.

St Francis of Assisi once prayed: “Make me a channel of Thy peace.” The peace you seek is not to be found in building walls, getting out of the rapids of life, or in constructing a dam. Quite the opposite. 

In the center, in your expanding heart, you are learning how to allow increased emotional and energetic flow. The more feeling or wattage that you can run, the more life to which you can say “yes!” the more you will be able to recognize a greater order in the rushing and chaotic reality that is this river of life.

Instead of riding the rapids, you are learning to hold your ground while the rapids run through you. This is what it feels like to become a channel of peace. This hollowing out would be a great violence if you didn’t meet the force of Life with a still greater power: the steadfast and all-encompassing Love which has, until now, slept unnoticed at your core.

As with electricity, grounding is what keeps the circuit from shorting out. Stretching your heart’s capacity to embrace this untamed river of lifeforce is hard on the nervous system. Working with the lower chakras, in particular the root and the sacral chakras, will help you to stabilize these rushing and wild emotions. 

Your root chakra is waking up and the experience is like sitting on fire. It is an uncomfortable process, but if you master this energy, bend it to your will, and forge it into a tool, then fear and anger will never make a tool of you. Move consciously, with deliberate, quiet, slow focus to channel this awakened root chakra energy to constructive ends.

In times of transition, observe a regular rhythm: bed times, rising times, eating times. Keep a schedule; this helps stabilize the root chakra. Toddlers need a lived rhythm to help them to maintain a (relatively) even keel. Consider yourself 3-years-old for now: that alive, that raw, that real.

Your sacral or second chakra is the realm of sexuality, sensuality, and creativity. Focus here, too. Draw, sing, dance, cook. Take bubble baths, walk barefoot on the grass, and so on. The second chakra influences the root chakra, so focusing here will help mellow the meltdowns and calm the storms of emotion blowing through. You have homework. Do it religiously and you’ll find that you can truly help yourself navigate through these wild, creative, life-giving waters.

While this situation may feel like your worst nightmare, I assure you nightmares are themselves harmless. Their purpose is to rouse us from our sleep and to awaken memory.

Nice dreams tend to float away and we just keep floating downstream with them, going along with the overall flow of our environment. Onward we float indefinitely until something unpleasant prompts us to change direction and start swimming upstream against the “current” or the “now” of popular thought and behavior.

Upstream is Source. You are swimming to sanity. Don’t let anyone pathologize the powerful transformation in which you are engaged, most of all you. Cheer your wise warrior heart onward.

A new you is being born. It is disorienting to be in the midst of a spiritual, emotional, and energetic rebirth. Remember to breathe. And to smile. 

Just because something doesn’t feel good doesn’t mean it isn’t–in actuality– a good thing. 

Welcome to the process of spiritual becoming. Like all births, it hurts. Like all births, it’s worth it.

To go forward, we must return

Last week, we gathered to eat dinner before our wood stove. Two candles helped to partially illumine the darkened room along with the firelight. About two feet of snow glowed bright with moonlight, blanketing the ground outside. It was our third of four days without power or water.

I was talking about returning to some of the rituals observed in earlier times before modern conveniences took hold, practices such as growing your own food, digging a root cellar, and building an outhouse or having a composting toilet. 

My 14-year-old son interjected, “So you are saying in order to go forward, we have to go back.”

This statement has been echoing in my mind ever since.

To go forward, we have to go back. I find this reasoning objectionable. Ask any woman, person of color, survivor of the holocaust, or survivor of any kind at all, and these folks rightly have no desire to “go back.” This whole political era that we’re in feels like a stepping back, and for many of us “that dog won’t hunt,” as we would say in Texas.

But. As one who has been apprenticing in “going back” since returning to Eugene seven years ago—going back to the land of my birth, going back to the earth with a small farm, going back to nature’s “first words,” the honeybees, to articulate a spirituality for these times of collapse, I recognize the wisdom in this formula.

Coming full circle does not mean returning to how things once were. That is impossible. We are changed by our journey away from the past. That journey from our origins and the changes it engenders in each of us is the point of our lives.

To go forward by going back means instead to walk a spiral path, deepening and changing with each turn of the seasons. To walk this path is to get somewhere, and yet this journey called life isn’t aimed primarily at arriving to some external state or place. This is where we get led astray by our minds and by the collective mind of our dominant culture.

To really get somewhere in this life is to be here now—finally, at last—and to know this place for the first time. That is the spiritual journey, the “turn” of mind and heart that we are in the midst of realizing as individuals and as a people. In actuality, we are already there, there is nowhere else to get to, but for the most part we aren’t “here” enough to notice.

There is no going back, and yet there is. Perhaps all of this (waving arm to indicate the world around us) does indeed serve a purpose, from climate change to power outages to the rolling blackout we are experiencing in the white house.

Darkness always serves a purpose. Where there is darkness, there is the incubation of new life. Every tomb is a womb. The distinction between the two is a matter of time… and of perspective.

At the moment, I find myself in the dark once again. My writing hasn’t been working. At all.  When I try and conjure up new offerings or classes, I get nothing.

In journeys for myself, my guides tell me that I am inhabiting a new land. I have apparently stepped onto a new energetic ground, one that is as new to me as when I moved to Oregon with my family from Texas.

The first time I walked out onto these 14 acres with my family, I kept calling my son back to me as he marched down the hill, worried that he had gone past the bounds of our new property. He kept pointing to the fences in the distance, telling me that all of this was ours, but I couldn’t comprehend it.

I shook as I took each step. I was afraid that I was doing something wrong, something transgressive, to claim so much beautiful space in this world. It took me time to explore, to root, and to inhabit this large new canvas that is my life.

Now, coming out of the dark womb of four years of illness, I am again confronted with an expansive, new, beautiful land, but this time that land is me. I keep thinking my capacities and my boundaries are far closer than they really are. I am disoriented. And I am scared. But I have been here before; I know the drill.

And so do you. Together, we are stepping from one state of being, from one ground, to another. The storms in which we presently find ourselves are here to force us to deepen, to find that “turn” of heart and mind that will enable us to enter at long last into the Promised Land.

The Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey, refers to a state of awakened inner vision and to a heart grateful and overflowing with the miracle of life. It is not to be found in a place, a possession, a state of achievement, or in a moment other than the one you and I inhabit right now.

The challenges we face, these beautiful and changing lands of broken oak trees and addiction, of collapsing honeybees and mass shootings, are our labor coaches. They are here to remind us to breathe. They are here to remind us to push and to dig deep. They are here to prompt us to birth our beautiful dreams into the world.

To go forward, we must return. These moments of return, these moments of starting over from the ground level of life, are here to teach us. We return to learn that the fence lines which used to constrain and define us now stand a good distance away.

This moment, just as it is, is so damn good, so full of natural abundance, of power, of love, and, yes, of sunshine, that we can scarcely let it in. But we must.

There’s no way forward except though. Our labor coach, Reality, is insisting on new life this time around.

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If you, or someone you know, would benefit from a journey to spark your creative process or to help you get back in touch with your subconscious, wise self, let’s set a date.

In honor of my birthday this month, journeys in March will be offered on a donation basis. Let’s push the fence lines of the known out a distance and open up to the expansive new land that is now our home.

Observing winter solstice, the longest night

All life begins in darkness. All gestation, physical and spiritual, takes place in the dark, in the underground realms of earth, body, and soul. These worlds are not well-understood or frequented by the mind; this is why they seem “dark” to us.. But nothing new under the sun is ever born without a long sojourn in darkness. This is the case for us as individuals and as a collective both.

Once the temperature gets below 55 degrees, honeybees find it difficult to fly. For a season, they remain inside, abiding in complete and total darkness, clustered together to conserve warmth. This is a time of absolute inwardness, a season given to taking a deep and profound in-breath after months of outward focus and activity in the warm and bright fields of life.

Winter is, of course, a vulnerable time for honeybee populations. Like people, honeybees are prone to collapse in the dark winter months.

All transitions, all births, are inherently perilous. The answer is not to minimize risk—creating new life is an inherently risky endeavor—but to strengthen ourselves for the process by laying in rich stores of inner nourishment.

Without darkness, without the unknown, without wintry seasons of difficulty and disruption, as souls we would remain forever outward, depthless, and unable to renew the life that is collapsing within and all around us.

Our human colony does not heed the teachings of winter. We fear the dark. We resist the invitation to return home, to come down out of heads to receive the wordless wisdom of our bodies and of our shared body, Gaia. The dark roots of our souls reach for something larger, something whole, something fruitful, but we resist their pull.

Instead, we exchange gifts. We attend parties and eat holiday meals. We light our homes, we light our streets, we light our skies.

We ignore the wordless teaching of our elders—bear, honeybee, salmon— all of whom surrender to the dark and cold logic of this season and return home. The bear in his den, dreaming. The honeybees clustered into a single, reunited body. The Chinook salmon who swim thousands of miles from the open seas back to the humble steams of their birth to deposit eggs and die, laying down their lives to feed unknown and unseen future generations.

All of these feel the oncoming change in season long before winter arrives. They prepare in order to heed the call of darkness. They all return home to the womb of the den, the hive, or the stream. They do this not only to survive, but to fulfill their deepest purpose: to incubate new life.

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To observe the teachings of our elders on this, the longest night, let us yield to the larger ritual that is playing out in the natural world.

Let us leave our houses, even for a little while, to look on darkness. May we taste it, smell it, and listen to Her messages for us. You see, darkness is the realm of the feminine, of the soul, of the receptive and the generative soil within each of us, whatever our gender.

To participate in a celebration of the feminine this night, you might want to forgo lights in favor of candlelight for an hour.

You might choose to stay in your den this evening to dream new dreams.

You might pause from activity in the human colony to recollect yourself into a single, united self.

Or you might choose to take some time to reflect on and set intentions: what is it that you want to spend your precious life energy on in the New Year? How can your find the streams of your birth, your life purpose, and make a gift of your life for future generations?

May this be a wonderfully dark and restorative winter solstice for each of you.

The underground: survival and transformation

If we always got our way, we wouldn’t be forced to work on a true, radical change, one that runs far deeper than political party or ideology.

When a meteor hit earth 66 million years ago leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs, there were some savvy frogs who survived impact by burrowing underground and staying there until it was safe to reemerge.

Nearly 9 out of every 10 of all frogs alive today are descended from just three lineages that managed to survive this mass extinction event. It was the tree frog who led the way for the global expansion of frog species by exploiting a new ecological niche—trees.

The small tree frog is a “survivor” writ large. Just as survivors of trauma instinctively protect parts of themselves in underground, subconscious realms, the tree frog teaches that perseverance and adaptability are the legacies available to those who do their work in the dark, subconscious realms of body, feeling, memory, and dream.

To be plunged into depths, to feel old pain, to find oneself back in the cavernous spaces of darkness once again may feel hollow and without hope, but shamanism teaches that these are the true halls of power, not the celebrated addresses of white marble artifice.

It is within the subterranean caves of psyche and soul that the sacred rites of remembrance and healing are realized. This process of descent is a collective, as well as an individual, labor.

The old patriarchal dinosaurs of this age, those now strutting about and crowing over their “success,” will soon be extinct. The balance has shifted. This age belongs not to the heights, but the depths. This age belongs not to the sun, but to the moon.

The coming change will not originate in the heavens from a meteor strike or appointments from a high seat of power in Washington DC. No, this change, the coming earthquake of transformation, will come through us in our connection to Gaia, the living and ancient Goddess.

We do not have to yield the political sphere to those who crow and bully and lie, but it is incumbent upon us to engage the world from a different center of gravity than the one we have inherited. True revolution implies that we find a new center around which to orbit.

“The master’s tools will never bring down the master’s house,” the poet Audre Lorde once said. Our best efforts to bring about radical change are hindered from within—by us—due to social norms and habits, surely, but more fundamentally through the symbolic universe we have inherited. We dream the dreams of the oppressors. We traffic in the Empire’s maps of reality.

Where to turn? How to betray an endemic rape culture and undermine our internalized oppressor consciousness?

For me, answers are to be found in meditation on Gaia–mother, teacher, and first prophetess–by applying the spiritual and practical lessons of the natural world to our lives.

I am working on a series, perhaps an experiential class, centering on the lessons of the honeybees, that I hope to announce around Thanksgiving to begin in the New Year.

Until Thanksgiving, however, I will offer $60 sessions for those who are seeking to remember their resilience and recover their power in these darkening days of change and collective transformation.

To make an appointment just hit the “book appointment” button at the bottom of any page on this website, http://gaiashamanism.com/

Together, let us remember our strength and wholeness. Together, let us change the world from within and on Election Day.

Summer Solstice and Journey Circle in Eugene

The summer solstice this Thursday, June 21, is the longest day of the year, the day that the sun is at its greatest strength in the Northern Hemisphere.

As the sun has grown in power this year, many of us have become acutely aware of the separation of children from their parents at the US border, the growing epidemic of suicides, school shootings which continue unabated, persistent racism and sexual abuse in every corner of society, to say nothing of the ecocide currently underway thanks to our way of life.

When we are abruptly awakened to what has been unseen, when we are flooded by the light of new awareness, we are likely to become overwhelmed. All of this heady new consciousness, symbolized by the sun, can pull us out of ourselves and send us into orbit.

At its extreme pole, solar consciousness symbolizes a detached, heady consciousness, one that heats the planet and our interactions, turning life into a desert of striving and an endless fight for survival.

Unbalanced, mind-made solar consciousness, taught to us from our first day of school, pulls us up up and away and into our heads, unmooring us from earth and body and all things common–be it common ground, common sense,  or common decency.

In our shared social habit of imbalanced solar consciousness, we unwittingly disconnect ourselves from the sources of our true power–earth, body, and all things common–thereby creating the perfect social conditions for inaction and silence in the face of atrocity.

So if you are lost, if you are horrified by your own passivity and inability to chart a path of action to help address these social ills, know that you are not alone. We were raised to respond this way.

What is coming to light are the symptoms of a sick and diseased collective body. As members of the larger whole, we share in the trauma, dissociation, and disempowerment visited upon our shared body through generations of division and conquest.

But here’s the thing: we may have been raised in a culture big on artifice and long on forgetfulness, but we were born to re-member. We are on the planet now to bring the severed and bloody parts of ourselves—and of our collective body—back together that we might heal and become whole, even holy.

We were born to embark on this great healing adventure of our time. To undertake the sacred healing journey of remembrance is to claim both our birthright and our legacy.

In nature, there is only one day of peak light each year, counterbalanced by only one day of deep darkness. In between, a changing rhythm of light and dark that is always and ever held in exquisite balance.

Let us become the balance in our heady and overly “bright” solar culture. You counter the effect of too much light by tending to the roots of sustenance and connection. We are being called to return to balance, we are being summoned to gather together and enter the dark, lunar realms of heart to listen and learn what Spirit has to say to us.

In ancient days, our ancestors came together in council to seek the guidance of Spirit and decide upon action to meet the challenges of their times The time of waiting for our leaders to act like elders, much less adults, is long past.

This Solstice, let us step up to the challenges and step into a sacred circle of focused intention and ask for guidance to help heal this battered and broken society, which is also our collective body.

If you are in Eugene, you are welcome to join us for the journey circle.  If you are not in the area or cannot attend, I would encourage you to celebrate the solstice by taking some time attend to your roots, be it your body, your people, the earth,  or your Spirit.

If you are interested in receiving a recording of the  journeys from this event, feel free to contact me at aalkin07@gmail.com

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Join me in a journey circle the evening of Thursday, June 21, the solstice, outside in Eugene on our 14 acres from 7-9 pm.

The intent of this circle is to journey for the healing of the collective. Choose a topic that is of the greatest personal concern for your journey in the circle.

We will journey for guidance and suggestions of inspired action. We will share our intentions with each other beforehand and you may share your journey afterwards if you wish. The idea is to bring the guidance of Spirit to our big questions and to be of support to one another as we seek to find our way to meaningful action.

We’ll have the fire pit going, bring a chair and/or blanket, a snack to share outside if you wish, and a device with the drumbeat.

This circle will be offered to everyone is a free gift, but I suggest that you research an organization before the circle to which to make a donation instead.

Please RSVP to Anna at aalkin07@gmail.com

To change the world

When facing big picture problems, be it school shootings or climate change, I find it helpful to reflect on the image of the net of Indra.

The net of Indra is a Buddhist teaching about our interdependence and the latent power we each hold to change the world. At each intersection of Indra’s net, there is a pearl. Each pearl, from its unique vantage point on the net, reflects back the images of all the other pearls.

This ancient image speaks to the truth of our interconnected wholeness while also honoring the unique gifts and perspectives we each bring by occupying distinct intersections in the web of life.

Now here’s where the power, and the responsibility, comes in: when one pearl changes, so, too, does the reflection in all the other pearls.

We each matter and influence the life of the collective far more than we comprehend. What matters is not if, but what we choose to reflect from our intersection of existence.

Let’s dive still deeper and reflect on the pearl. A pearl is precious, formed inside the shell of an oyster in the depths of the ocean. The origin of the pearl is a piece of grit that somehow slips past the defenses of the shell and lodges itself inside soft tissue.

The oyster responds to grit and the unwelcome feelings of discomfort and pain it brings by marshaling its generative powers, not to shield itself—it’s too late for that—but to transform the grit. In a purely selfish act on the part of the oyster, it creates a thing of beauty, something it wouldn’t otherwise expend its precious energy doing, so that it can take the “edge off” the piece of grit.

This is a metaphor for the work of the soul. The soul’s work is to take the grit of life and to transform that which causes our hearts to ache with discomfort and pain into a thing of beauty. It is a self-interested act, but also an act of sanity and wisdom.

My friends, I hate to break it to you, but as a society we are all (inter)net and no pearls. We are all talk and no reflection. We are all surface and no depth.

We hold nothing sacred because we have forgotten the proper orientation to the big picture problems of our times. The move is not “up” and “out” of ourselves to plead with Congress or the President or even the heavens.

Our real power to change the world is found by diving into the depths, past the screens and walls we have erected, to enter the soft and beating core of our beings. In these innermost depths we must stay with the pain, the vulnerability, and the grit, until we have transformed it into something precious and sacred—a thing of beauty.

This is how you create a pearl at your own unique intersection of life. This is how you change the outer world: by starting with the inside, not the outside; by attending to the depths, not the heights.

Stop giving your power away by looking outside yourself for the answers only you can provide. Create something with the grit that has found its way into your heart. Take the edge off by creating beauty in this troubled world of ours.

Follow the ways of nature and of Spirit: come inside, dive into the depths of your heart, feel, abide there, and learn until you are changed.  Our collective reflection will deepen and grow as a consequence of your efforts.

Become something new, something better. Reflect on life. Shine using the available light. Become as a pearl. Do it as if your very life depended on it, because it does. Do it as if our children’s lives depend on it.  Because they do.

 

Holiday gift offerings

In gratitude for your participation and support of Gaia Shamanism this year, I will be offering two free online open houses and journey circles this Holiday Season: one on the Winter Solstice (Dec 21) and the other on New Year’s Eve.

I’d love it if you would use this opportunity to invite a couple of friends to join you in a circle.  No experience is necessary; I will offer instruction in how to journey in each session.

There will be a 30-minute “open house” at the start of each circle to create a welcoming space for newcomers, provide an opportunity for folks to ask questions, and allow those who have participated in the intensives and circles to share their experiences.

Dreaming a New Dream: A New Year’s Intensive will begin the second week of January, 2017, for 6 weeks. There will be an early bird discount of $50 on the $250 intensive for those who email me at aalkin07 at gmail. com with their interest before 2018. The intensive is capped at 8 participants.

Do consider giving this as a gift to yourself or to a friend as we prepare to enter into the New Year.

Winter Solstice Virtual Open House and Journey Circle

Thursday, December 21, 8:30 am PST for the open house, 9-11:00 am PST for the circle

Because this is the darkest day of the year and marks the return of the sun in the northern hemisphere, the theme for this gathering will be becoming conscious of a new impulse, gift, or understanding that is seeking to emerge from the wisdom of your heart, soul, and subconscious.

Darkness is simply that which is beyond the scope of our limited minds, plans, and perspectives. To become conscious of a bit more of our forgotten truth is to be engaged in a sacred remembering.

The winter solstice, also known as Mother Night, is the perfect moment to bring the light of conscious awareness down into the depths of the heart through shamanic journeying.

Schedule

8:30 am PST:  Open House (optional). This is an opportunity for folks to drop in to say “hi,” introduce friends whom they feel might enjoy shamanic journeywork, ask questions or chat.

9:00-9:45 am: Journey circle begins. We will begin by reflecting on the theme of the winter solstice together and share intentions for the journey. I will teach newcomers how to journey.

9:45-10:15 am: We will adjourn from the online meeting space to take a 15 minute journey on our own and write down the experience before returning to the meeting.

10:15-11:00 am: Return online and share our journey experiences with each other. There is always a rather incredible overlap of images and messages for us all–a soul food potluck to feast on together.

RSVP your interest in attending to aalkin07 at gmail. com.  I will respond by sending you the meeting id and all the information you need to journey with us.

New Year’s Eve Virtual Open House and Journey Circle

Sunday, December 31, 10 am PST for the open house, 10:30 am-12:30 pm PST for the circle

The theme of this New Year’s Eve circle will center upon letting go and new beginnings.  Before the circle, spend some time taking stock of any patterns, habits, relationships, or ways of relating to yourself and life that didn’t serve you well in 2017.

Be gentle with yourself as you take inventory. This is simply an exercise in cleaning out your energetic closets. Gather up all that ill-fitting, ugly-ass clothing you acquired because it was on sale or was a hand-me-down from your family, bag it up, and drop it off at Goodwill.

It is amazing how well the metaphor holds for the interior life, right down to dropping off your bags at “goodwill” instead of harboring resentments (more baggage) about the journey you have taken to arrive at this moment in time.

Together, we’ll journey for a vision of what we do wish to create to fill the vast, clean, open space of 2018. We will ask for guidance, rituals, and practices that will help us to welcome more of the fitting, the beautiful, and the true into our lives.

10:00-10:30 am PST: Open House (optional). This is an opportunity for folks to drop in to say “hi,” introduce friends whom they feel might enjoy shamanic journeywork, ask questions or chat.

10:30-11:15 am:  Journey Circle We will begin by reflecting on the themes of letting go and stepping into a new year together as we share our intentions for the journey. I will teach newcomers how to journey.

11:15-11:45 am: We adjourn from the online meeting space to take a 15 minute journey on our own and write down the experience before returning to the meeting.

11:45-12:30 pm: Return online and share our journey experiences with each other. It will be a veritable feast of wisdom we will share together in preparation for 2018.

RSVP  your interest in attending to aalkin07 at gmail. com.  I will send you the meeting id and all the information you need to journey with us.

A season of darkness and reversal

While we were in Lebanon, Oregon, this summer camping in the path of totality for the eclipse, I found that I had to stop everything once the eclipse began.

The sunlight wasn’t terribly different for most of the hour preceding and following the eclipse. Even at 99.3% totality in Eugene, my Dad reported that had he not had those eclipse viewing glasses on, the visible darkness would have been about as dramatic as a cloud passing over the sun. In other words: no big deal.

In Lebanon, however, those 2 minutes of totality were quite a big deal. The sun was transformed into an electric eye, corona visible and waving wildly around the darkened disk of the moon. There is really no picture, video, or re-presentation that can convey the experience. It was Truly Something.

But about 30 seconds after totality ended, my son noted that a car was already back on the road and driving with its headlights on. 10 minutes after totality, things started to look like a normal day, and at 30 minutes post-eclipse, most folks had departed from the campground.

Through it all—the hour prior and the hour following totality—I couldn’t do a damn thing. My boy was hungry and I wouldn’t cook. My mate wanted to pack up to leave and I wouldn’t let him. Instead, I sat in my low-slung camping chair and peeked at the sun periodically to see what phase the eclipse was in.

My stubborn resolve to do nothing didn’t make any sense to me at the time, but the phrase “we’re in ceremony” kept running though me. So I observed a short fast from food, work, reading, and screens, as did my family, patient folks that they are.

This idea of “being in ceremony” has returned to me in these days of gathering darkness, both literal and metaphorical. This darkness, I assure you, is in both cases seasonal.

But the point of this wintry season is to teach us to generate that which we are accustomed to receiving from the world around us. This is a time of sacred reversal, not unlike the solar eclipse of August when the moon obscured rather than reflected the light of the sun.

In this season, in times of darkness and reversal, we are to become as stars to feed heaven and earth with our constancy and our love. We are given this opportunity each year to gift the world with a small token of the goodness and warmth we receive all year long.

In these darkening days, we find ourselves plunged into ceremony as a people. May we give ourselves and the world the gift of our undivided attention.  May we fast from busyness as usual. May we be so bowled over with reverence and awe that we fail to do a damn thing, if only for 15 minutes a day.

“Sacrifice” means to make sacred, and it is time, not money, that is our most precious resource. There is no earning back the hours—ever. Do nothing as a sacred practice, and allow your cup to be filled to overflowing with the blessings of this season.

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New Offerings to announce:

·   A New Year’s Intensive to kick off 2018 http://gaiashamanism.com/dreaming-a-new-dream/

·   Shamanic Wayfinding for weekly one-on-one coaching: http://gaiashamanism.com/shamanic-wayfinding/

·   Online Journey Circles for those who have had a Shamanic Guidance session, participated in an Intensive, or are enrolled in Shamanic Wayfinding.

Please feel free to email me (aalkin07 at gmail.com) with your interest or any questions you might have. And do forward this blog post to anyone you feel might be interested in this work.

Gratitude

To be in the now is to be in eternity in the midst of the flow of time. To be in the now, to bathe in the waters of eternity, is a key element of gratitude.

If you were a glass and Spirit was seeking to be poured into you from above, the way to be filled with eternity would be to hold still, wouldn’t it?

We’re talking about stilling your mind here, though stopping or slowing the body can indeed help to still the mind.

Take a cue from your environment: choose something that might cause you stress or your mind to speed up, and use it to slow your mind and open your being to the waters of eternity.

It can be anything: the red traffic light, the notification of a text. When you encounter these mindfulness bells, take a moment to hold still and be filled.

Gratitude is not something you manufacture.

You can prepare yourself to be in a grateful state by attending to the majesty of nature’s ceremony all around you, but gratitude is first and foremost a gift.

Gratitude is a gift–both for you and for Spirit.

When you are grateful, heaven is fed.

When you are present, you pull the spaciousness of Eternity into clock time.

Practice walking around seeing the world through your heart.  This is the key to gratitude.

 

 

The ground game

Like honeybees gathering the last available nectar and pollen before wintertime, these are busy days for us all. And it is this busyness that I hope to help folks address as we slide into the holiday season.

Every year, I resolve to do the season “better” so that I actually enjoy it. What I need, and perhaps you need also, is to slow down, remember to breathe, savor the crisp air, and engage in practices of warmth–both physical and emotional–in these darkening days.

In the midst of white supremacist rallies, flood, fire, and mass shootings, I have found deep guidance and durable beauty in the practice of shamanism with others.

Like honeybees who lose their way after feeding on blossoms tainted with pesticides, so, too, do we grow forgetful, lose our bearings, and find ourselves pulled out of our essential selves with too much time spent consuming mediated information and too little in direct contact with the natural world and Spirit.

To create a new world we have to actually do something new in our lives. The main game isn’t in Washington DC. Trust me: I worked in Congress. It is here, under our feet, in the soil of our daily lives.

It is a war out there, but the war is over us. Division and distraction are the offerings of this for-profit world, the tainted forage on which we feed at our peril, lest we forget the way “home” to our center, to our common sense, to our power, and to our joy.

The ground game–how we spend our allotment of this non-renewable resource called life–is where the war of these times is lost….or won.

So let us reclaim our lives, our attention, our inner ground. Let’s slow down, walk with purpose, build empty space into our calendars, and fast from toxic offerings in our landscape. Let us cultivate an openness of heart and mind this season of hallowed evenings and giving thanks.

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Gaia Shamanism will be offering a 6-week fall shamanic intensive starting the first week of November running through mid-December. The cost is $150 and the class is capped at 6 participants.

In addition to the usual offerings of the intensive, I will be sharing weekly practices to help us to experiment with taking things away from our overstuffed lives to make room for the sacred.

For those who would prefer one-on-one support through the fall season of letting go and making room for new life, I am now offering weekly spiritual support sessions for $30. These are not shamanic sessions, but rather a time set aside for listening, conversation, and support of your efforts to connect with the sacred in your life.

Email me with your interest at aalkin07 at gmail dot com. Half-price shamanic spiritual guidance sessions ($50) will be available to those who choose to be engaged in this on-going spiritual support,