Shamanic work engages us with the spiritual. It connects us deeper into a realm that is separate from the ordinary. Yet we we experience it through our senses and through our emotions. Shamanic work is difficult to fully describe because it goes beyond language, it goes beyond ordinary experiences. Often in this work are intense emotions. We feel ourselves laid bare, with no where to hide. A vulnerability which opens up our soul. For me, shamanic work has led me to experience the most intense emotions of my adult life. Sometimes it has brought back the traumas of my childhood, to relive, to re-experience and to change my relationship with the trauma.
My connection with Spirit is not just about the shamanic journey. It has become about my connection with nature. Running naked through the woods, feeling the rain on my chest, feeling life flowing through every part of my body. My connection with Spirit has become about feeling and experiencing everything around me in ordinary reality and non-ordinary reality. Emotions are part of this experience, they are part of how I relate to it.
In my childhood I learnt to avoid emotions as they were the place of trauma and pain. It was how I got through the day. My medical training taught me to acknowledge emotions but not how to deal with them. My coaching and hypnotherapy training taught me how to remove the power from the negative emotions. It has been through shamanic work that I have re-experienced these emotions. Sometimes this has been very intense and lasted a long time as I have felt wave after wave of emotions flow through me. Yet each of these experiences have been very healing. Allowing myself to feel emotional pain and accepting it. Feeling the rawness and experiencing it as a form a beauty.
I have then been reflecting on shamanic work and emotions. Part of me wants to put a warning on this type of work. But that feels like I am placing a limitation on the work of spirit – which I have no right to do. My reflections lead me more and more down a path where emotions are way that we connect with spirit. Alive emotions help me to experience the world in all its bright colours. When I was young I could cope with the pain of my experiences so I buried the emotions. That was what I needed to do to survive but it lead down a path of survival not one of living.
I reflect on my coaching experience of removing the power of negative emotions. Now it feels like a method to let me think freely and not be constrained by negativity. That feels like living through a black and white film rather than colour. Accepting the tears, accepting the grief, accepting the pain,accepting the anger that are part of my history – this is a deeper connection to life. This is part of what I have got from shamanic work.
My experience of my education and life was one that contained emotions. They were not to be shown or fully felt. This to me is how to limit the spiritual in our everyday lives. Emotions are part of our connection with the spiritual. They allow us to fully experience the whole of life and it’s different aspects.
So shamanic work may lead to a path of deep and powerful emotions. I do think that doing this deep work requires a support system and safe space. Safe space to allow the intense emotions through, whilst being held. One of the most important aspects is that it is done from a place of loving kindness, and a place of deep connection with spirit. I have found the work to test the boundaries of my ego and it is only in the deep arms of spirit that the loving kindness shines through so that the emotions can become closer to what I feel they should be. A place where they are experienced more and labelled less. A place where I explore and feel and can be freely taught by spirit.
I am also aware that at times I didn’t realise what was truly firing off some of my emotions. I would have feelings with deep negative associations that I didn’t know where there. It was only after reliving and re-experiencing that these associations were broken. I couldn’t intellectually see what needed to be done or know what to do. It has just been a development that has come out of my shamanic path.
Is this type of work for everyone? I don’t know. When I started down my shamanic path I had no idea what it would entail. I can see how some would judge this as fool hardy and dangerous. What I did know was that all my exploration of different systems had not provided me with what I was looking for. I feel that we want to control life so that we can ensure that we lead a happy and fulfilled life. That control is an illusion. I hope that by freeing my emotions I am better able to enjoy and develop. I want to get the most from this life experience. So I have taken risks that may not be for others. I’m still exploring what is out there and there will always be more to find and experience.