A Vulnerable Story About the Power of Shamanic Journeying

Even though it’s happened to me over and over, I’m always amazed. I’ll be wrestling with something for hours, days, weeks… or yes, even years. Then I’ll finally do a shamanic journey and get my guides’ help, and within a few short minutes I get a radically different understanding – and usually a deep emotional shift, too.

Here’s an example. A few weeks ago I was having a lot of conflict with the tenants who now live in my Oakland house. As some of you know, it’s a sanctuary I created from a gritty fixer-upper canvas. It’s still funky, but also full of color, light, spirit and love. Yet it seems as if all these tenants see are its flaws. Although my property manager was addressing their requests, my experience was that they had been venomous toward me since a few days after they moved in. (Of course, I’m sure their experience is different.)

But the hardest thing for me was that I didn’t want to emotionally or energetically sever my contact with the property. Even though I no longer live there, I still love the place and still source power, energy and light from it, as well as direct those energies back to it. Yet I couldn’t figure out how I could remain energetically connected to the house without opening myself up to what felt like toxic energies.

For several days I spent hours engaged in terse email battles, trying to… what? Defend myself, explain myself, stand up for myself? I should’ve known better. I was shaking as I wrote the emails, and they only made things worse. (Of course. As my guides always tell me, what we do matters less than the energy with which we do it. I felt defensive, hurt, angry, threatened. My energy wasn’t clear, so how could my emails bring about a clearing?)

Finally at about 3 a.m. one night, unable to sleep, I rattled to call in my guides. They promptly chopped me into tiny pieces (some of you know this is a shamanic healing practice known as dismemberment!) and buried me underneath the ground on the hillside slope to the right of the house’s driveway. Then they directed me to envision the entire perimeter of the property (which was easy for me, since I know every inch of that place), surround it with an energetic fence of light, and hold the light there with love.

It was amazing. Immediately, I felt a sense of peace and was able to go back to sleep. Even more astounding to me is that now, weeks later, the peace has held. Every now and then I check in with the light-fence, and make sure it’s still glowing. (On the physical plane, I’ve asked the tenants not to be in direct contact with me, since my property manager is better-equipped to address whatever concerns they have.) I wish those tenants well. I hope that they will find ways to enjoy the house – or that if they don’t, they will move on to a place that suits them better. But either way, I feel at ease with the situation.

Meanwhile, a few friends tried to “stick up for me” by¬† suggesting that I respond punitively to the tenants or try to “get them out of there.” While I know my friends mean well on the human level, I am deeply grateful that I can access and follow the guidance of my guides. It’s so clear to me that their energetic solution is the right one for me – the one that fills me with peace rather than revenge.

Of course, this situation is a microcosm of human life on earth. Every day, all of us face situations in which we must choose how to respond. Will we act from our higher selves, with the energies our planet most needs? Or will we instead fall into the all-too-human ruts that keep our species stuck in wars and violence, both physical and energetic?

Believe me, I’ve done the latter plenty of times. And I’ve paid the price for it just as many times. That’s part of why I’m so committed to doing it differently now – that, plus the fact that I see that my aggressive responses just add more fuel to the fire the whole world seems to be burning up in at the moment.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t stand up for ourselves, or should let ourselves be abused. Finding right action is tricky – and again, so much of it is about the energies we hold, rather than what we actually do. Gritting our teeth and trying to do what looks like the right thing will get us nowhere. That’s why the love, healing and compassion of our guides is so important – because they can actually help us elevate to a higher place in our own beings, rather than just forcing ourselves to act “as if.”

I am so grateful to have the tool of shamanic journeying to turn to when things get tough – and even when they don’t! On a much happier note, I married my longtime partner Michelle on September 13, and leading up to the wedding, we did a series of journeys together about what our marriage meant to each of us on a soul level. (Thanks, Laila, for urging me to do this – you were so right!)

Since I’m 52 and this is my first marriage, you can imagine I’ve had some trepidation about the whole institution! Yet with each new marriage journey I’ve done, I’ve gained more understanding about what this marriage is really about for me, and how it can support me and the work I’m here in the world to do. I truly feel my heart coming home into this relationship – and I also engage with the ways I am still and will always be a solitary traveler at the same time. There’s room for both — yet I don’t know how I’d be able to know or do any of this without my guides’ help.

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