’I want to stand by the river in my finest dress. I want to sing strong and hard and stomp my feet with 100 others so that the waters hum with our happiness. I want to dance for the renewal of the world.’
ROBIN WALL KIMMERER, BRAIDING SWEETGRASS
In the end, there is only the practice of presence. So, whenever you feel it’s the right moment again, make sure you are safe and have everything you need. And then call everything that supports you and tell the Great Spirit who you are. Enter into dialogue with it. Surrender to what’s true. Let it all move through you. Expand and fall off the edge of yourself. Be totally embraced. Dissolve until there’s nothing left but everything. Then, when you’re ready, return, refreshed, renewed, resourced and held in the infinite embrace of the Mystery.
Discovering what matters to us and finding a way to bring it to Earth as our offering — this is the shaman’s way. When we are ourselves and do something purposeful with the gift of life we have been given, we make life sacred. Dedicate yourself every day to what is true for you, to what is true inside you. Your Inner Shaman knows the love that exists between spirit and matter, between the Earth and the Mystery that has transformed it from a cauldron of boiling matter into everything your eyes can see, your ears can hear and your heart can feel. Your Inner Shaman is awake inside the miracle of the Mystery and is connected to everything that you need to bring what you dream to Earth. For yourself and for all your relations.
The possibility that the best outcome of our evolution we are capable of dreaming is where we have got to now breaks my heart. Is that really the best we can do with our brilliant creativity? Is that really what we want? To be separate in hermetically sealed units, our bodies spreading sideways as we lose touch with the wild majesty of nature and the infinite intelligence of the universe?
Our only problems are a lack of imagination and the belief that this doesn’t matter. That we don’t matter. Our challenge is to dream up a more compelling and inspiring purpose than settling for a dream that only serves a tiny part of who we are. We can do better than selling our soul for more and more useless pap. While we can, even should this turn out to be our last sunset, let’s open our eyes. Let’s taste life. Let’s seek out that smile inside our belly that comes from knowing who we are. So that when death comes, we can open our arms wide, breathe out and let our last breath be our sweetest yet.
The Inner Shaman knows that the real wealth of our lives lands when we risk connecting — with ourselves, with another person, with community and with what we dream. Failures along the road are inevitable and being too concerned with outcomes gets in the way. So we need to do what makes sense to us regardless of the outcome. The Inner Shaman is there to play their role. Nothing more. And nothing less.
To evolve with nature, to join forces with it, we also have to remember that life has its own timing. Sometimes evolution is quick. Sometimes it is slow. Living fast is fun, but not all of the time. As I’m getting older, my relationship with time is changing. Now, things often come around and pass too quickly. The sands of time are slipping through my fingers and there’s nothing I can do to stop them. Except be present. Because when I am, when I’m listening and connected, things always happen in good time. The deepest prayer I know is that our will aligns with the will of the Great Spirit. When that happens, we can rest in the arms of the Great Mystery and enjoy the ride.
Everything makes a difference. And everything matters. Interoception. Setting boundaries. Listening. Communicating. Receiving. Giving back. Remembering our ancestors, spirits and descendants. Relating across all the Five Dimensions of life. Though there will always be rough waters to cross, peace will always descend again, like the velvet calm of the night. Now that you’re finished, it’s time to begin. I suggest you start again with Awakening the Dancer, and go through all the rituals again.
Michael Harner, a respected elder in the shamanic community, said, ’Shamanism is being re-invented in the West precisely because it is needed.’ I have every faith that the ancient archetype of the Inner Shaman, reinvented to meet and match who you are, will be a good guide for you should you choose to listen to them. This book is a purposeful invocation of the power and deep connectivity of the Shaman in you. This offering is one more leaf on the Tree of Life.
I believe that our species will continue to evolve and I pray that we will learn to bring together the best of all wisdom and all medicine for the wellbeing of all our relations.
May you always find all that you need to go on being who you are and giving all you’ve got. You have so much to give. And, as environmentalist Wes Jackson said, ’If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.’
See you at the door between all worlds. There’s no more potent place to be. And no more potent time than now. We’ve reached the end and the end is another crossroads. You could put this down and get distracted again. Or you could stand up and stomp your feet ’and dance for the renewal of the world.’
We either wake up to this magnificent chance we have to make a difference. Or we curl up and crawl back into our mediocrity. We either recognize the power of our imaginations and put them in service of a more conscious dream. Or we go back to sleep and carry on complaining about the people who should be doing it better. The Inner Shaman knows who you are and what that life force that’s beating your heart right now is capable of. And they know that the life of future generations is in all of our hands. They grieve for what we’ve lost, but they remain full of gratitude for the strong-hearted and courageous dreams of what we yet might create.
From the shaman in me to the shaman in you. May the sun rise in your heart tomorrow morning and every morning before you die. And may the moon bring you dreams that remind you of what matters most.
Tick Tock! Tick Tock!