0630 the alarm goes. Down stairs, kettle on, hang the washing up, upstairs with hot drinks for the children, stories in bed, uniform, breakfast, walk to school in the wind and rain, kisses, buy milk on the way back, kettle on, laptop on, and here I am, the everyday Shaman…just like you.
Aren’t we amazing? Just stop for a minute and reflect on all the things you have done today, all the little tasks, incidental acts of kindness; opening doors, making coffee, letting them use the photocopier first. Did you notice how well you worked, how you got there on time (or usually do), how you probably texted and emailed people to keep in touch, so that they know you’re thinking of them, or to arrange things, share thoughts, ideas and feelings. Did you notice all that you’ve done today? Have you appreciated yourself? Do you sit yourself down at night and say ‘well done…I’m proud of myself for…’? Hmmm, I thought not. We’re often so busy, so tired, so full of thoughts and things to do that we don’t stop to appreciate who we are and so we forget that we’re wiser that we think and more loving than we allow.
For me the frazzle and noise of a busy working and family life finally made me pop and stop. Seven weeks off work with stress. Not a pretty sight, but one which I am grateful for because it made me stop and listen to myself. Now I don’t want you to get to the same place as me (which incidentally was the kitchen floor!) instead I want to share with you how to find your inner shaman the pleasurable way, and we’re going to start right now. When you’ve read this sentence I want you to grab a sheet of paper and write down all the things you appreciate about yourself, all the things you’ve done today, even the little things like those I listed above…..
Have you done it? Don’t skip it, you deserve a bit of appreciation. How did it feel? I’m guessing a bit strange, a bit weird, a bit uncomfortable, and maybe somewhere quietly, quite nice. We’re not good at telling people what we’re good at; it’s part of our culture to be modest. Who doesn’t remember being told not to be ‘too big for their boots’ or not to blow one’s own trumpet for fear we should get big headed. Well, I know those voices aren’t going to go away, I have them too, but let’s just turn the volume down on them or ask them to please step out of the room just for a short while. I’m not advocating boasting, but I am advocating some real 100 megawatt appreciation of you, by yourself, to yourself.
So I’m going to trust you’ve written that list, or doodled that mind map and I’m also going to suggest you make it into a night time habit; write down all the things you are pleased with yourself for that day. Try it and see how you feel? Why? Well, not only will it make you feel good, but it makes you notice yourself and your strengths, it makes you stop and take time to reflect and in that stopping and reflecting is the door to your inner shaman because s/he’s always there, you just need to be still enough to listen.
So let’s try another little exercise now. Read this through once or twice to get the gist of it and then actually do it because the only way you’re going to access your inner shaman is being going looking for them, listening to me isn’t enough. So, shut your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Notice where there is tension in your body; are your shoulders up by your ears? Is your stomach tight? Just tense and release the areas of your body which are tense in time with your breath. It may help to tense on your in breath and relax on your out breath. Then return to your breathing. Your mind is bound to keep wondering off, that’s just what they do…so just come back to the breath when you notice it has. Then imagine that you have a magical broom which fits easily and comfortably into your head and allows you to sweep all your thoughts into a pile, like fallen autumn leaves, sweep them up, and sweep them out so that there’s a nice clear space inside your head. Now I want you to imagine yourself old, much older than you are now. You’ve lived a great life and are happy and still healthy. I want you to picture yourself, in a beautiful place knowing that you are loved. Really try to see yourself, your wrinkled skin, your hair, your hands and your smiling face. As you look at your older self, let yourself now enter the picture, walk over to your older self; you’re both really pleased to see each other. Make yourself comfortable and know that your older self only has your higher good at heart. As you settle, see if a question arises, a fear, a hope or a situation which is alive for you in your life now. Share it with your older self and ask for wisdom and clarity. The listen and watch. If those irritating critical voices are around turn the sound down on them…they are not real, just habit. Be patient and still and keep focused on what you want guidance about. Your answer may come in words, a feeling, an image, a sound, but the answer will come. Sometimes the answer isn’t the answer I wanted, but it is always the answer I needed, the one that was right for me. When you have had a response, take your leave of your older self, appreciate them and thank you them and let them know you love them. Then slowly focus back into your breathing, then notice your body and how it is feeling. Then wiggle your fingers and your toes and when you are ready, open your eyes.
How was that? Is there anything you want to record or make note of? If it was hard for you this time, practice again and it will come. Often we try to control too much; how we look when we’re old, where we are, how life is, we try to make it ‘real’, based on what we know now. But what we know now is limited, and there is more knowing to come so let your imagination play. Don’t be surprised if your older self looks different every time, or is in a different place…none of that matters, just the wisdom they bring does. And that wisdom is your’s. Available at any time, anywhere, always. Aren’t we amazing!