The circle of life encourages us to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. We face challenges that may be new to us or even those that we have faced before and probably will face again in the future. We continue on our own individual journey a series of deaths, lives and rebirths.
When I became unwell 6 years ago, everything changed; my whole world fell apart around me, the things I thought were of value paled into insignificance. The job and career that I loved, suddenly became less important, the love and emotional support of family and friends seem to fade as I battled with the constant chronic pain that no one could see. I began to think I was imagining this burning, aching, debilitation within my body, I was sleep deprived, I couldn’t even hold my cutlery to eat as the pain in my hands and fingers were so intense. My sense of freedom to do the things I have always enjoyed and taken for granted such as walking, driving, going out, suddenly had been taken from me. Leaving me feeling isolated and very much alone.
My childhood, a constant battle to fit it and be someone who I was expected to be. The pain I felt as a child was a deep sense of loneliness, an only child living in a world of busy grown-ups; a childhood of solemn self-reflection with limits and boundaries placed upon me. However it was also a childhood of connecting, I spent many hours on the swing in the garden, here I was able to be free, think clearly, daydream and imagine who and what I was going to be, my hopes, dreams and future life was planned out. Whilst I was on that swing I believed, anything is possible. So, what happened?
I stopped listening to my soul, I stopped feeling with my heart, I stopped believing in fairies, gnomes and father Christmas. I became an adult, who analysed everything, who thought things through, who used the logical part of my brain to make decisions. I asked for advice, I stopped using my intuition and gut feeling, I stopped paying attention to the signals that my body was giving me. I had the warning signs, a bit of pain in my knees, hips and back, problems with my sleep, feeling overwhelmed by simple tasks. I kept ignoring the signs that my body was struggling, and carried on for months.
I finally had to take notice with the side swipe that knocked me to the floor, you are not listening, you are not caring for your soul, you have stopped nurturing yourself. You will listen, you will rest, you will Stop. I had no choice but to revaluate what was happening to me, pain and illness can have a devastating impact on your life, if you allow it to take over
It was then that I was given space, time to breath, time to be on that metaphorical swing as age and illness prevented me going to the park; the space then became filled with all the things that were really important to me and my wellbeing. I met people that I knew would be supportive, loving and caring, dusting me off and guiding me back to listening to my soul, allowing my heart to rule my head once again and choosing my weapons to fight my battle with fibromyalgia.
It was recently that I met up again with Christa and Sally for a workshop of Shamanic Journeying held at Lupton House. It was almost a year ago that I attended my first Shamanic workshop in November last year. This time it was so different I knew what to expect and I was also accompanied by my own Birthed drum. I think for me, exploring Shamanic practice is about reconnecting to nature, the ancestors and my soul, to experience what I need to know and carry out to heal myself, it is about going into an altered state of consciousness to explore, what makes me, who I am.
I selected The Circle of Life card at the start of the workshop, signifying all things are possible, stand in the centre and be open. The four winds are bringing your dreams to fruition. Embrace and accept where you are in the great circle of life. When this card chooses you, its time to honour and cherish all aspects of the great circle. All parts of the journey have beauty and grace. There is beauty in the rising sun just as there is in the setting sun. To only revel in the rising sun and demean times of endings, depletes your energy. Choose what is….. and you become master of your own personal universe.
I have experienced altered states when meditating, guided visualisation, day dreaming and even bird watching. As a child I was often daydreaming especially at school, having the ability to drift off, shift my mind away from reality, to perceive that which is beyond the ordinary. Exploring these realms that exist outside of my own reality of physical sense and thinking allows me to unlock my understanding of myself and who I am and see my world from a different angle. Altering my brain wave pattern from Beta waves used in thought, concentration and creativity to Alpha waves of relaxation producing a feeling of euphoria and wellbeing. This is very healing.
Journeying with the use of both the drum and gongs together and separately can take me to a deeper state of altered consciousness by using Theta wavelengths provided by the beat of the drum. I start the journey by setting my intent, what I require, what I need, then allowing the thoughts, pictures, feelings, smells that I experience to happen as it is, without trying to analyse or change the experience. It is, what it is; I then provide myself with time and space to reflect on what I have discovered.
During the workshop at Lupton I was finding it challenging to reconnect to my power animal, my ego was getting in the way and preventing me from having the experience, I was trying to analyse and make decisions whilst in an altered state and this led to frustration. Later in the day when we were asked to journey for someone else, I allowed what I saw, felt, heard and smelt be the experience and it was amazing as it made sense to the person I was journeying for; my ego and rational thinking could play no part in what was happening in that moment. A lesson to trust, believe and let go.
I believe that by Shamanic journeying and entering an altered state of consciousness I am allowing my body to support its own wellbeing; as did our ancient ancestors. It is time to return to the old ways without the use of chemical or medical intervention. I can connect to my heart, soul and spirit and learn what I need to do to heal myself. I do not always need to attend a workshop as Sally and Christa have made a brilliant recording of the drum and gongs, enabling me to take these journeys at home. Using the CD for a recent journey I was able to set my intent to reconnect with my power animals that I encountered last November. I was able to allow my altered state of consciousness to explore and experience what I needed to know.
She sits daydreaming on the swing with all her hopes and dreams, trusting her intuition and listening to her soul speak, not from her head………from her heart.
I am currently undertaking a research project for my level 4 Counselling Course “Shamanic Journeying ~ the effect on wellbeing”. I would be interested to hear from anyone who would be willing to participate in a short questionnaire on this subject or is able to provide some information that I could use as part of my research. I would be grateful if you could please leave a message on my website with your email address or message me through facebook.