Sunday, 17 January 2021

The calling, awakening and initiation

There's been a beautiful awakening. 👂💫...  Here's a little story of me journeying into something new but familiar.

I'm not going to cover old ground, so I will keep it short by saying I have been interested in spirituality/spiritualism stuff since I was really young, but I didn't know how to make sense or work with it, but eventually found my way through my interest in crystals (gem stones), animal spirit cards and mediumship stuff - ooh spooky! 👻  I'm teasing, some folk get a little weirded out/don't believe things they can't see and touch, my partner Gary included. 😉  Even though Shamanism is supported and being evidenced by modern neuroscientific understandings.  Unfortunately many categorise spirituality as a religion, when really it's an innate element as present in many sentient beings.  In essence its just heightening our awareness to connect to that higher level within us.  Therefore many feel they have to steer away from it, when really this is what many humans need - interconnectedness.  It's broadly in the national curriculum and apprenticeship standards that have specific criteria to develop and nurture the mind, body and spirit in learners...  The pandemic has surely brought this to the forefront for many.  Everyone's having more time to stop and reflect.  Plus its allowed them to hear those inner thoughts and voices, which might have been otherwise too noisy to hear before.  Just let them be heard and allow whatever emotions and thoughts arise from them, it's your inner self connecting with you.

Following a sense of purpose

I'm pretty sure this was back in early 2016 (my memory is impeccable - especially with years as my friends and family will know) whilst New Year sale shopping in Leeds.  Me and Gary visited Waterstones and I came across the book 'Follow the Shaman's Call: An Ancient Path for Modern Lives' by Mike Williams.  Oddly, I just felt drawn to it with no reason to get into it at that time.  I bought it anyway though as like most of my books, I am drawn to them and as always they prove their propose later on in life, i.e. not picking up to read until the need to arrives.

Shamanism in a very basic explanation, is an indigenous ancient practice working with spiritual energy/spirit world and the natural world to use in our present physical world, for healing purposes.  A modern form of this is 'Movement Medicine' in which I am learning.  Uses kinaesthetic, emotional intelligence and psychosynthesis, it is about creating an experiential and embodied connectedness with yourself and the world we live in - more later.  This speaks to me as it doesn't rely on faith but allows you to learn from direct experience in which you turn into wisdom.  Which chimes with my passion for lifelong learning, reflection and supporting and encouraging others to be best they can be.  Unfortunately, in ancient history, romans and the establishment of Christians horrifically wiped out the majority of Shamans or those that connected to the divine, perhaps witches too.  Due to them introducing/imposing a religion, the bible etc, that was purposefully designed to be at opposites with Shamanism and everything else deemed other-worldly, so they decided to slaughter them.  Furthermore, this eventually creeped into education and eventually our human psyche.  Resulting in many being taught or influenced through upbringing to hide any difference from the 'the norm' and natural connection to divine, that was seen as the work of the devil etc.  But not all we're decimated, some survived.  As here I am learning and practicing it many years later like so many others have been doing, from those that passed it down from their ancestors.

I'm not trying to pigeonhole myself in something because I am lost and need to be found (nothing wrong with that if you are - been there many times) or looking to something 'bigger' for an answer - as all answers are within us if we open our minds and hearts and listen and connect through ourselves.  Visualise it loosely like the Na'vi in Avatar (2009) movie.  I'm following a sense of purpose, not a particular need.  It's long been a calling in which I feel I have finally understood.  Connecting all dots over the years and the 'coincidences' experienced and the ever reoccurring number 22, in which I have been seeing more often.  This also connects to my passion for natural history and curiosity of the 'Great Mystery', in which I occasionally receive ethereal visions ask myself strange questions about our existence.

From what I have read upon, Shamans are awakened through some kind of trauma or near death experience.  I've not had any significant traumas but did have a car accident on the 10 October 2010.  However, as a young un' I had a poor start to education, struggled  to identify who I was as a person, as in articulating and expressing myself and what my purpose was.  As well as learning to enjoy my own company and dealing with loneliness when I lived on my own for 7 years.  However I feel my purpose has become more evident over the years, but personally I think I've only just begun to surface it.  Perhaps my unsettled earlier life and the lessons have paved the way for this kind of role?

Following the signs

Anyway... Around mid November 2020 when watching some hypnotherapy videos (out of interest), I then started searching randomly on Shamanic practices on YouTube.  Feeling a sense of connection and peace, I felt curious of getting into this.  I even commented to say that it would feel homely doing this sort of thing and should get involved in this as my main hobby and downtime, i.e. offline/not technology related.  However, in some of the videos they were in the traditional indigenous attire, which you don't have to wear, as the modern form Movement Medicine doesn't prescribe it.  Plus it questions cultural appropriation.

Nearing Christmas, I said to Gary that he could get me a Shamanic instrument to practice some dancing and drumming etc.  Later when Christmas shopping in the Nottingham City, me and Gary popped into Waterstones and as always, I had a peek at the spirituality section.  And there was this book called 'Shaman: Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose at the Core of Who You Are' by Ya'Acov Darling Khan.  Which Gary later got me as a Christmas present along with a very cool wooden rattle to practice shaking with the primal music.  Moving on... Being a devoted pop music fan, just before Christmas I became aware of Leann Rimes' new album CHANT - not a huge fan but do own some of her albums.  Different from her typical music, defined as a meditation album, I was intrigued about the concept and recording process which I read up on.  I liked the sound and the chant style which grew on  me.  Later she released the song 'Throw My Arms Around The World' which has a very indigenous sound and heartening lyrics.  After these events it all moved very quickly.  Over Christmas I was reading the Shaman book and really connected to what it is and stands for, as well as resonating with my own values.  Another enlightening aspect is that it allows me to integrate Shamanism/Movement Medicine into my existing lifestyle, without it suggesting I remove current beliefs and practices.  Once I got into reading the book, spiritually I felt I was where I was meant to be, I had finally reached a path that I had been curiously trying to uncover over many years.  So I am just going to enjoy immersing myself in this and go with it, see where it leads me.  I joined the Movement Medicine Facebook community group and signed up to their website 21 Gratitudes.  Unusually on a Saturday night before bed, I found myself watching a TEDx Talks YouTube video on eLearning. Unknowingly it had strong references to primal learning, I.e. storytelling and exchanging knowledge via cave drawings - I feel this was another subtle sign.

A couple of days later I received an email from 21 Gratitudes advertising a free Regeneration event on 2 January.  Which would involve awaking the dancer - a section in the Shaman book and thought it would be good attend with the wider community to get familiar with it practically rather than just reading the text.  I was quite hesitant at first but I got really into it.  It was like mindfulness meets a kind of freestyle dancing, and it was great!  A few days on, to my surprise I saw that Ya'acov was on This Morning on 5 January 2021.  Could it be that I am now being pointed in that direction?  Another nod is that Ya'acov was 22 (the numbers bit I mentioned earlier) when he was struck by lightning, in which he shortly went through his initiation.  I have already purchased Ya'acov's first book 'Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart: The Real-Life Initiation Of An Everyday Shaman' in which he tells the story of his initiation.  To say I didn't know who this person was a few days ago and all these things happening at once, to me it's pretty much a sign that I am heading in right direction with it - it's manifesting.

Conscious of the blog post I wrote a couple of years back in exploring crystal healing (the gem stones hyperlink at the beginning), which I feel guilty about for not progressing.  I think this is now the time to bring all of these interests together to explore at my leisurely pace - who knows where it will lead me, but I feel really excited, settled and purposeful about it all.  It really does bind together my passion for nature, supporting/healing people and maintaining peaceful spaces.  A further thought, I'm now contemplating that this calling, awakening and initiation is not only for me, but may have a bigger role in my professionalism in digital education, as a way to bring back primal interconnectedness that we much need?  Am I being called upon to encourage and develop humanness through digital technology?  Developing ways we can better feel each others energies as we do in-person.  However, as we realise, digital technology cannot give us empathy, care, love etc, even though the extreme introverts might argue that. 😉  Anyway, at this embryonic stage its for me personally not work-related as I need a clear separation.  But who knows, maybe this might become a larger piece and I am certain that things I have learned and qualified in throughout my career will be useful in this space, e.g. a return to lifelong teaching and using my abilities to simplify complex information to make it more accessible.