Ann Drake Soulwork

Shamanism and Psyche

Author: anndrakesoulwork (page 1 of 2)

Renewing Our Sacred Contract with the Earth

Renewing Our Sacred Contract with the Earth

   As we watch the seas rise, our riverbanks overflow in one area while there is severe drought in another. Wild and extreme weather now persist throughout the world and, most scientist agree that we are in a climate crisis.  While politicians debate whether climate change exists and whether human activity is contributing to this crisis, there is something that we can do to bring our energy in alignment with the earth.

  For eons those who walked this earth realized the special relationships that humans had with the earth and, all the creature that lived upon the land and within the seas.  There were ceremonies to bring forth the rain so crops could thrive, blessings to the sun for the warmth and light it provides and to the moon for illuminating our way in the dark. There were those who listened to the wind for its messages, teachings and forewarning of dangers a-foot.  When the First Nations people inhabited all of North America, they talked with the elements.  They asked a tree permission before cutting it down, gave a blessing for any animal that they killed to honor it for their gift, and used all that the animal had to offer so as not to belittle the sacrifice that had been made.  There was an awareness that one could speak to animals, plants, and the elements with one’s mind, and if one was quiet, they could hear the teachings and the needs of all the beings with whom we live in such an interdependent manner.

   As the white men spread their influence throughout the world, they began to see the earth as a treasure trove of resources that could be seized for great profit and benefit, ignoring the sacred trust that humans had had with the planet. Humans began to see themselves as superior to the earth, the elements and all of the creatures with whom we share the planet.  Through our greed and disrespect we have violated this sacred trust; it is time to renew our sacred contract with the earth. 

   It is not too late to re-establish our love, respect and care towards all with whom we share the planet.  With our minds, we may talk to the plants and animals that feed us, thanking them for their sacrifice so that we may flourish. We can perform ceremonies to honor the elements and thank them for the many ways that they sustain and nurture us.  We can offer gratitude for the beauty of this planet and the healing and grounding energy that allows us to love and open our hearts to all that is.   We can ask the earth to tell us what is needed to re-establish a synergistic balance.  If we are quiet and patient, we can hear the response. In doing so, we remind ourselves that we live in connection with the elements and other beings rather than as the dominator of them.

Do We Need a Leader like Bran for Our Time?

Many have been unhappy with the final season of Game of Thrones. Over a million viewers signed petitions urging the writers to create a new ending. After centuries of war, lying, cheating and unbelievable death and destruction, the lords of Westeros chose a young, disabled mystic and sage as their king.  Bran seemed the perfect choice as he did not want the job nor is he interested in the power that comes with such a position. He is unable to father children, putting an end to kingly dynasties. Weary of war, corruption and betrayal, the Lords of Westeros chose a leader that they hoped would bring peace to the land.

  Bran possess several qualities that were right for his time in this magical tale that are sorely needed in our world today. First, he was able to travel back in time to better understand the history of the world, the secrets that laid buried by time and the origins of several improbable myths.  We have historians that do this now, but often we ignore their warnings when we race towards policies and actions in which we repeat the horrific lessons from the past. Bran holds this historical wisdom within. Bran’s greatest gift, however, lays in the insights he accrued from his personal struggles and journey into uncharted territories both literally and figuratively.  As an active child, Bran was tossed from a window, paralyzing him, lost his father, mother and eldest brother through unthinkable violence and was forced to flee into the unknown to save his life, facing inconceivable dangers and hardships. Through all of these challenges, Bran cultivated a level of equanimity, calm and compassion that is beyond ego and self-aggrandizement. He seeks compromise and peace, has the ability to hold the larger vision and leave the day to day running of things to others. Bran banished his beloved brother/cousin from the kingdom to thwart another war. Today our leaders cannot even support a bill that they advocate, if the other side supports it.  

  While many clamored for another ending, perhaps the writers gave us a ruler which holds the traits to lead in our tumultuous times. One who is calm, compassionate, and disinterested in power and possesses the wisdom to see the larger picture, by understanding the lessons of the past and what is needed in the future.  One does not need to be a three eyed raven to cultivate these abilities. One merely needs to step back from the day to day dramas to view challenges through the lens of a spacious, non-attached mind in which one can perceive the larger context of right action.

Themes from the Energetic Dimension: Healing a Broken Container

   In my last blog post, I wrote about the importance of a safe loving container for children as the energetic field from the first few years determines, to a large extent, the lens through which we perceive and experience reality.  I was asked how an energy field of anger, neglect and abuse can be healed.  The first step is to recognize that you have an energy body that carries the differing vibrations of all of your experiences, including negative ones. For instance, the unexpected rage or shame that arises from out of the blue may not in actuality belong to you, but may be that of a key figure from your childhood. Often parents project their own feelings and the energies that they carry onto their children perpetuating an energetic pattern that can go on for generations. As babies our first experiences are affective or felt experiences creating a way of perceiving reality before there is cognition.  Often this becomes the container that holds the growing psyche structure in place.  Because of this, it may be challenging to identify the energies that we carry that block us from knowing and experiencing who we really are. Fortunately there are ways to do this.

When a negative feeling state arises, take some time to meditate or be in nature and ask yourself the origin of what you are feeling. If you are mad at a friend for saying something hurtful, ask yourself the first time that you felt this way. As the scene emerges into consciousness, try to discern not only the content leading up to the feeling state, but what you were feeling at the time. Did you stay present to the encounter or is the memory a hazy one with important elements missing? If this is the case, a part of you might have left the encounter leaving a vacuum for the energy of the incident or the energy of the person who is being hurtful to enter your energy body. Ask yourself if these energies are you, if you need to carry them or if you are willing to let them go. If so, gently ask your guides, higher self or angels to help you release that which is not yours. If there was a lot of early trauma and a secure attachment figure was missing from one’s early life, it may feel as if you might dissolve if you released this early trauma from your field. There are a couple of things to do if this is the case. One is to envision the type of energetic container that you would like.  One of my clients was born into a cult and as we prepared to release the destructive energetic container in which she was born, we first needed to create a new one in which she felt safe and held.  In this case she decided upon a container of the loving energy of her favorite plants. The second is to seek out a shamanic practitioner that is skilled in removing the energies that do not belong from your field, replacing them with healed parts of yourself that may have been lost or pushed out by the hurtful actions of another. There are many practitioners who are skilled in doing this.  They key is to realize that many of the energies we carry are not who we are and can be released and healed so that the true essence of who we are may be experienced.

Themes from the Energetic Dimension: The Energy of Love

There are several types of love; the love between friends and family, romantic love, agape love and the love between parents and children.  The latter provides the foundation for how one views and experiences love.  If a baby is held, nurtured and securely loved, she grows up in an energy field that is safe and accepting.  It does not matter if one has money or possessions if there is a secure bond or attachment.  If a baby is brought into a field of anger, chaos and coldness, this will be the lens from which life is experienced.  This assessment is the foundation of attachment theory.  But there is another dimension to this understanding, which is the energetic one.  We are not only born into a family, a cultural community and country, but we are born into an energetic field that creates the felt experience of our lives.  In a series of posts, I will be exploring what we intuitively know to be true regarding energetic pulls or aversion to others with scant awareness of the power of these energies to attract or repel others.

   Since the beginning of modern psychological thought, the first five years of life are considered to be the most important in shaping a person’s cognitive, intellectual and emotional well- being. The formation of the energetic base of our being begins in utero as the baby grows in and absorbs the mother’s energy field.  The old adage of the importance of not upsetting a pregnant women is actually old wisdom rather than silly superstition. Over the years I have worked with people, as both a psychologist and healer, whose life began in a field of grief or trauma from a significant loss or traumatic experience that the mother suffered while she was with child.  How each child reacts to this field of grief or trauma varies as some absorb the energy of despair or panic laying the foundation for a life of sadness, depression or anxiety.  Others feel that it is their job to compensate for their mother’s distress, even sending part of their pure energy to the mother while absorbing the grief and pain in its place.  Fortunately these energies can be healed and transformed, but first we need to be aware that they are there and to realize that there are thousands of people who have the skill and knowledge to do this healing work.  These energies can also be transformed by the existence of loving and caring people in the child’s life, whose own ability to gradually emerge from the shroud of grief and suffering enables them to be able to love and experience joy, providing the child with the foundation for a sense of resiliency in the human spirit.

   In this time when so many suffer from depression, anxiety and addiction and are crippled with anger, frustration and despair, it is imperative that we begin to rethink the care and attention we give to the early years of a child’s life as a way to break this cycle.  When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the remote jungle of Borneo, the people had little in regards to basic comfort, food or hygienic conditions, but the children were loved and cherished.  They embodied a sense of internal peace and tranquility that is rarely experienced in the West.  The children were constantly held and played with and participated, at an early age, in the daily tasks of living. When discipline was needed a sharp Heh was spoken, the child immediately stopped her mischievous behavior and within moments was cuddling with the disciplining adult.  In over two years, I rarely witnessed a break in the loving energetic container in which the children were engulfed. In order to heal the wounded souls of so many, we must put time and resources into healing those in distress and reawaken to the importance of a loving container for the smallest and most vulnerable among us. 

Themes from the Energetic Dimension: The Energy of Hate

For eons rulers have used hate and fear of the “other” to maintain power and to impel their subjects to go to war, often for their own self-aggrandizement and to amass more wealth and power.  It is a manipulative use of the energy of hate committed with conscious intent and awareness. There are those who experience great suffering, pain and frustration in their lives. Their lives have not turned out as they dreamt as children that they would.  The prospect of unlimited possibility is dashed. Some turn this despair into self-loathing lapsing into addictive behaviors to soothe the hopelessness that engulfs them. They blame themselves for not achieving their goals and fall into depression. Others look for someone to blame for their dreams being smashed.  All too often they channel their own feelings of failure into the scapegoating of another.

   When a ruler spews the energy of hate onto a particular group of people, it serves as an energy stream flowing out to those in search of the perfect scapegoat. The collective power of identifying with others who join in hateful rhetoric and actions towards the chosen foe who is deemed to be responsible for their suffering serves as a temporary salve to the soul. The collective power of hate lessens the sense of aloneness and failure because a reason has been named for their unhappiness and frustration.  

  It is important to discern when one hears hate speech whether the hateful words are being used to manipulate another or whether it is the deep reflection of a person’s heartfelt pain. In the latter case, it is imperative for those who wish to live in peace and harmony to have compassion for the one who sees the world through a lens of hate as these people are in extreme pain and need our care and attention.  All too often when a mass shooting occurs, there is a reflexive desire to make the shooter other than oneself –“he is evil incarnate” or is a “greatly disturbed loner.” One may be a greatly disturbed loner, but we as a society have failed him by neglecting his pain and suffering. The world is in danger of being split apart by those in power rallying their followers to act on their hate; it is the underpinnings of war and terror.  All of the great religions of the world urge us to love another as one would love themselves, to be kind to those who are less fortunate. Hate and love are part of the same continuum. Just as leaders can cajole one to hate, they can also, by example, remind us to love, to be compassionate and take the time to listen to another’s pain. The energy of hate harms one’s soul, weighing one down in negative energy. The energy of love fills one up with light and brings joy and a sense of equanimity to one’s life.  Do not hate the haters, but instead listen to their pain and be a catalyst for them to heal. Urge those who control the purse strings of a nation to reallocate some of the funds for war to the healing of their troubled citizenry. And look inside oneself to see where the vibration of hate lives within, bring these feelings to consciousness and release them so that the energy of love, which is more powerful than the energy of hate, can flourish.

Themes from the Energetic Dimension: Remembering Who We Have Been

   A prime time host on Fox News was recently discovered to have described the Iraqi people as “semiliterate people” for whom he has zero sympathy.  Nor did he care for their culture because they “don’t use toilet paper or forks”. 

   I was a Peace Corps volunteer in a Muslim village in Malaysian Borneo where the people did not use toilet paper –it was not available- and they ate with their hands.  When the villagers first witnessed me eating with a fork, they burst into laughter.  They thought it hilarious and ridiculous to put rice on these little prongs while navigating this metal thing to one’s mouth without spilling when eating with one’s hands was so much more efficient.  When I ate at the homes of the villagers, I learned to eat with my hands.  Initially, I managed to get food in my hair and all over my face, but with practice I learned the art of eating easily and gracefully with my hands.  This is one of the many things that was foreign to me. Finally I came to the realization that the rules and rituals of one’s culture are, on the one hand, totally arbitrary and, on the other hand, the fabric that binds the culture together.

   From its inception, the United States has been a melting pot of a various cultures.  Yet there has been friction as each new culture migrated to the US, challenging the newfound identity of the collective consciousness.  One of the reasons for this is that historically we lived in tribal groups with the deep seated belief that our tribal group or nation was the best; living in tribes or small nation states is part of our karmic memories. Throughout the history of Europe, there were frequent wars between and among the various peoples that came to call themselves French, English, Scottish, German or Spanish to name but a few of the cultural identities that fostered tribalism.   Also housed in our karmic imprints are trace memories of our experiences living in other cultures.  When I first went to live in Malaysia, I had repeated flashes of deja vu with waves of awareness floating over me that I had come home. The kindness, love and acceptance that I experience in this remote village far outweigh any cultural dissonance over forks or toilet paper.

   If we allow ourselves to relax our hypervigilance regarding the sanctity of our own tribal identity and open ourselves to the richness and beauty of other cultures, we can allow ourselves to remember the peace and joy of living connected to nature and the inner resonance we experience with certain cultures.  Through struggling to assert our cultural supremacy and ridicule others, we demonstrate our own ignorance and block ourselves from remembering the wisdom from all of the lifetimes that make us who we are today. As we race towards a global consciousness, may we remember and embrace the insights and lessons from whence we came rather than disparage those who are different from us. 

Alternate Facts: Alternate Realities

Since the late eighties, a powerful energetic shift has gripped the planet.  There are varying pathways or frequencies that may manifest from this shift with very different outcomes.  One is that we will enter a time in history in which we are much more heart-centered and care for one another, leading us into an era of peace on the planet.  In direct opposition is the possibility that the apocalypse is near with an urgency to prepare for a war like none other.

Another option is that all will go along as it has for eons and most will not notice that anything has occurred or only feel subtle changes.  There is also a trajectory in which the planet gradually slides into an environment so hostile that it is unsustainable for humans to survive and thrive, resulting in our extinction.

As I ponder the emergence of “fake news,” it seems that we are entering a time in history during which people see and interpret facts based on the reality in which they are living. I was in contact with an old friend who was upset by the riots that occurred the day after the inauguration that were led by Madonna. My perception was that the women’s march was the largest peaceful demonstration in the world; there was not a single act of violence or arrest.  In the past I would have protested my friend’s opinion, but realized it was not really possible to argue the “facts” as we received our news from very different sources and choose to listen to the newsfeeds that re-enforce our beliefs, our own reality.

Both sides of the political divide cry “fake news” to anything that runs counter to what they already believe to be true.  Those that view the apocalypse as coming through a war between Christians and Muslims see a genuine threat behind each hijab or dark skinned man.  The urgency to arm and protect oneself from Muslim terrorists entering the country has reached a frenzied pitch for those who align themselves with that reality.  An alternate reality is that we are moving to a time of peace and equality on the planet; the current turmoil merely exposes all of the institutions, beliefs and practices that block true peace.  I tend to fall into this camp and am heartened by acts of kindness and care such as churches opening their doors to those in danger of deportation.

So what will happen now?  Is there a way to bridge the alternate realities and facts to have calm conversations with one another or are the energetic shifts so powerful that we are moving into different realities from which we cannot come back?  I am currently working on a book, The Energetic Dimension: Understanding Our Ancestral, Karmic and Cultural Imprints, in which I urge us to consider the role that energetic imprints contribute to how we understand and perceive reality.  Perhaps if we open to this understanding, we can find the bridge that is needed to speak to and listen to one another without judgment or anger.


Make America Kind Again

The day after the inauguration of President Trump, millions of women with their friends and families from around the world marched in peace and mutual respect to support women rights.  There were many signs and speeches that touched my heart, but the one that most resonated was that of a girl of around 9 on the back of her father carrying a sign that read “Make America Kind Again”.  In part the kindness and calm of the marches most strongly reflected the inner longing of many to return to a time that when we disagreed, we did so with respect; that when there was a disagreement on policy or politics it did not mean that the other person was an ignorant, immoral person, or, even worse, a traitor to the country.

The primary teachings of all of the major religions of the world extol us to love one another, to help those less fortunate and to show compassion and concern for all.  It saddens me greatly that some have desecrated the precious teachings of the world religions through using them as an instrument of hate and judgment and a call to violence.  We are at a choice point to decide if we want to strive to be our best selves or to allow our personal frustrations and disappointments to be whipped up into anger by politicians who manipulate those frustrations to further their own personal strivings for power, wealth and fame. Shortly after President Trump announced a temporary ban on people coming to America from seven predominately Muslim countries, a mosque was burnt to the ground in Victoria, Texas.  Within four days over a million dollars had been raised to re-build the mosque.  We can strive to be our best selves; we can meet hate and violence with love and kindness.  We can make America kind again.


The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

The underbelly of our political system has been exposed, which affords us a remarkable opportunity for change.  We are in the midst of a huge transformation on the planet towards a more heart-centered, community-based consciousness.  The astrological energetic shift began in 1987 with the Harmonic Convergence and is currently at the apex of its power.  In order for real change to ensue, there must be a radical re-ordering of how we elect those who govern us and what governing entails. Recently the extent to which our political system is not working has been made apparent to all.

The racist, misogynist predilections of the Republican Party found a spokesman for these tendencies in Donald Trump.  Through the vulgarity of his speech and insults, many Republicans have been forced to denounce the man who has given voice to the crux of their principles.  Policies that include, among many things, voter suppression of minorities and the myopic effort to take control of women’s bodies.  The well-known – but rarely articulated – policy from both major parties of pay to play was brought to light through Bernie Sanders’ candidacy and underlined through Clinton’s hacked email in which she stated that she has both public and private positions.  Translated this means that “I will tell the donors one thing and the public another in order to both raise money and simultaneously attract the votes of the masses”.  Almost each election cycle there are leaked tapes from each party that exposes this dynamic such as Romney’s 47% statement and Obama’s guns and religion assertion.  Proof of pay-to-play is illuminated in the gross inequality in our tax system. Through a variety of tax loopholes, Trump is excused from paying federal taxes for years, despite allegedly making billions.  As Trump stated, “It makes me a genius that I don’t pay taxes”.  We all know that the tax code is tilted toward the rich, yet year after year we elect candidates that promise to change this, but who do not. After an exhausting and embarrassing two year presidential election cycle, we are left with the two most disliked candidates in political history. This debacle shines a spotlight on a political system that essentially works for the oligarchy and not for the vast majority of Americans.

As the shift to a new consciousness emerges, that which needs to be changed is brought to light in dramatic fashion so that true transformation can occur.  Many are despairing the state of our political system.  There are those in power or seeking power whose greed causes them to make choices that do not honor or protect the planet.  There are those that disparage women, ethnic and cultural minorities as well as the disenfranchised.  Take heed, though: if we band together to stand up against a system that serves the oligarchy, then the people can prevail to create a system that is fair to all and fosters a climate of respect and empowerment for each citizen.  It is not too late to manifest the country we want and deserve.

Hold the Space

As a psychologist and shamanic practitioner, I have listened, hour after hour, as my clients and students conveyed the anxiety, fear and general unease they are feeling regarding the upcoming election.  “What will happen if Trump wins? Will the right to control my own body be lost, will my right to free speech evaporate?  What will happen if Trump loses?  Will there be violence or even worse a civil war?  Will there be a larger war in the Middle East no matter who wins?” Some talk of feeling slimy and dirty after listening to the debates. Women with sexual abuse histories are triggered by the sexual assault accusations.  Just as many in psychotherapy confront the reality that their family is at times dysfunctional, as a nation we have been forced to face the myriad ways in which our political system does not work.

A general state of unease permeates the country that threatens to impact our general well-being as Election Day approaches.    The energy of fear and uncertainty can lead to a sense of powerlessness and defeat, and may even draw that which we fear.

I would urge you all, however, to hold the space for the vision of what you want the outcome to be.  By this I do not mean to merely focus on your candidate winning.  I am asking you to envision the type of country and government that you want.  Do you want a government that is run by the rich and powerful and has the power to shut down the government or block any appointments to the judicial system, including the Supreme Court, that do not support their self-interest?  Do you want a political system that traffics in insults, lies and dredging up dirt on their opponent?  Do you want a government in which there is no ability to compromise or listen to the ideas of one with whom you do not agree 100%?  This is the government and electoral system that we currently have.  Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to conjure the image of how you would like the government to function.  What would the tone of the government be, how would you set out to heal the large divide that threatens to tear us apart?  If we all envision what we want our government to be in tone and function, we can establish a strong energetic force that can counter the greed and ugliness that exists today.  If we fall into despair and powerlessness, then we are easily manipulated and exploited.  So, create the vision that you want, combine it with peace and compassion and send it out with your heart into the world.

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