As shamanic energy medicine practitioners, we are called to serve. We are stewards of the earth, bringing beauty and healing to all life. We serve as a bridge between the visible world of form and the invisible world of energy and spirits.
Particularly during this time of increasing uncertainty, it is important that we maintain a clear channel to be of the highest service. When we are centered within ourselves and aligned with Source, we can be the calm in the middle of the storm, pillars of Divine love and light for all life. Ramping up our personal work and upgrading our physical, mental, spiritual and energetic bodies allow us to radiate at a higher frequency for the benefit of all.
While we all know the importance of taking care of ourselves, life and its many demands can often get in the way of a consistent self-care practice. We have jobs, families, clients, pets and other responsibilities. Even the most centered among us can find ourselves being pulled in many directions at once. Like many caregivers, it’s common for shamanic practitioners to focus on the well-being of others first, and ourselves, well, later.
Take a moment to do a quick scan of your body and field. Are your mind, body, emotions and energetic field in balance? Have you been experiencing stressful thoughts, worry or trouble sleeping? We all have blind spots or perhaps an area of our life that is a bit out of balance. It’s part of the human experience. For me, it’s the mind that periodically pulls me off-center, dragging me into “what if” scenarios or trying to micromanage my day. I often have to remind myself that the mind is not me. It’s a voice I can listen to or ignore. It’s a tool I can use or set aside. I can train it or bypass it altogether. The challenge for me is to remember this and to consistently operate from that still place of the observer.
It takes dedication and discipline to prioritize our personal work. For some, that could mean working with a fellow shamanic practitioner on a regular basis. For others, self-care might include more exercise, journaling, a stillness practice or connecting daily with nature.
What is the best self-care practice for our bodies and energetic fields at this time? With so many tools at our disposal, we can find ourselves trying to incorporate too many at once. I’m certainly guilty of this. If I dedicated an hour to each of my current favorite practices such as stillness, journeying, dance, walking, group meditation and connecting with trees, there would be little linear time left in the day for much else. I am being called to greater levels of prioritization and delegation – prioritization around which tool to use in any given moment, and delegation to my spiritual guides and helpers to work in other dimensions and time-lines.
One technique to discover what our body and energy fields may need during this time is to notice repeating patterns in our recommendations to clients. Chances are that the advice we offer clients is the same advice we would benefit from as well. As the saying goes, “We teach what we are here to learn.”
As an example from my own practice, I often recommend conscious breathing to my clients as a way to detox the body, bypass the mind and bring them into the present moment. Yet as much as I know about the benefits of pausing to take a few deep and conscious breaths throughout the day, I still find myself forgetting to do it. So I take my own advice and link conscious breathing to an activity I’m already doing. I remember to have patience and compassion for myself, which is in itself a powerful self-care practice.
How might you upgrade or expand your self-care? Consider the four levels of engagement or the four levels of our being. On the level of the physical, self-care might include daily detox. More than 65,000 new chemicals have been introduced into the environment since 1950, which means most of us have hundreds of foreign compounds in our body. Over time, the body can become overloaded. Signs of toxin overload include lack of energy, weight problems, poor digestion, weakened immune system, headaches and mental and emotional stress.
When the body is holding onto toxins, usually in the form of body fat, the bodily systems begin to operate in crisis mode. Toxins from processed food, tap water, plastics and commercial produce can create a response in our body akin to a low-grade infection. It takes tremendous energy for the body to respond. Accessing intuition and higher states of consciousness can become more difficult. We can facilitate daily detox and awaken the natural intelligence of the body by eating foods as close to their original source as possible and by reducing the amount of animal products and processed food we consume. Upgrading what we put on and around our body in terms of personal care products and household cleaners will also reduce the pressure on our physical vessel. So will detox practices such as dry skin brushing, breathwork and intermittent fasting.
On the mental-emotional level, self-care might include minimizing digital device use, especially first thing in the morning. This allows us to spend more time abiding in the present moment rather than reacting to the external world. Particularly in these uncertain times, it’s easy to get swept up in news updates and other people’s reactions. Our families and other well-meaning people may communicate with us through their filters of fear, anxiety or worry. If you’re like me, you may have loved ones who repeatedly dwell on the negative. Knowing when not to share has been my lesson. Seeing the silver lining in the current global situation is not always well received. Particularly with family members, I am increasingly aware of the fine line between being compassionate and empathetic and colluding with consensual reality.
On the level of the mythic, self-care could mean modifying our spiritual practices to keep them fresh and meaningful. Changing our altars, our meditation surroundings or our methods for connecting to Source can foster new insights and deeper connection. I have found dream incubation particularly helpful in uncovering areas of my life that need attention. I look for signs and messages both in the dream time and in the wake time.
At the energetic level, exploring other modalities or working with fellow shamans can offer a fresh perspective on our own development and journey. I challenge myself to expand my beliefs about what is possible. I ask for help, be it from Spirit, my energetic council of advisors, power animals or other unseen helpers. I journey to the imaginal realm of possibility and magic or to whichever realm is calling to be explored.
Fostering a greater sense of community both among fellow light-workers and as a broader planetary family is another way to nurture ourselves on all levels. Especially now in this new time of social distancing, coming together and strengthening our etheric network of light can nourish us and the planet. While we certainly have the ability to work outside of time on our own, it can be quite powerful to meditate in virtual groups and shine our light with others in linear time. The HeartMath Institute, for example, offers synchronized group focus meditations three times a day. Shamanism Without Borders is another way to harness the power of group intention and focus for planetary healing. Mesa carriers can connect with the lineage and broaden the ayllu by leaving mesas open on Saturday nights while dreaming a new world into being.
Taking care of ourselves serves humanity. I have to constantly remind myself that I am here on assignment. We all are. We are in the midst of the collective shift we have been waiting for. It’s a sacred time. It is an opportunity for reflection and prioritization. It’s an opportunity to purify our space, tie up loose ends and projects, strengthen and repair energy leaks, declutter our homes and create space for the new.
The universe and everything in it massively benefit from practices that raise our vibration and clear our channel. Nurture the body and soul. Sleep more. Laugh more. Dream more. Dance. Sing. Go outside and absorb the light of the sun. Be the shining light of self-love.