02 Feb 6 Sacred Rules of Spiritual Engagement in Dangerous Times: How to Walk our Talk

In the past two weeks, all of us in the United States and even around the world have been feeling the impact of our new president’s executive orders, particularly the ban on Muslims from 7 countries.  I myself have felt the collective chaos, fear, anger, and confusion ripple through my energy body, just as I did on 9/11 after I watched an airplane fly into the second Twin Tower and heard reports throughout the day of the crashes into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. In the view of Mother Earth mysticism and shamanic energy medicine, we are connected through a web of light from the personal outward to our family, to any larger communities with which we are affiliated through gender, ancestry, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or membership, and from there out to the collective of the nation, as a whole. We are also through this web connected to the world, writ large.  This is why those of us who may be tuned into these subtler layers of our physical existence may feel so deeply at the very core of bodies the tearing of the fabric of our nation. It is a stunning truth and perhaps overwhelming to even contemplate. This is not an abstract, intellectual fact nor a merely political and economic reality, it is also deeply spiritual. One does not have to be involved in new spiritual movements or alternative forms of spirituality to understand this view.  Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way, based on his readings of the teachings of Jesus: “In a real sense, all life is interrelated in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
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06 Aug Shamanic Energy Medicine for Treating Trauma and Other Contemporary Afflictions: Introduction

I have a mission to make contemporary western shamanic energy medicine relevant and understandable to practitioners in mainstream clinical psychology, psychotherapy, medicine, and science.  This desire has grown out of my personal journey as I sought healing from chronic anxiety, depression and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress...

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19 Jun Meeting Puma Marca: Save the Mountains of Peru

Some people love the ocean.  I love mountains.  I have lived in and near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for the past 30 some years.  They have taught me a lot--about endurance, faith, presence, spirit, hope, and love.  Whenever I strike out on a hike up and around these ancient beings, I connect to a transcendent yet grounded presence.  My troubles fade as I open my heart to a consciousness greater than my own.  I feel loved and taken care of.  I know I am part of the landscape of forests and streams, red quartz and shale, caves and crevices, Mountain Laurel and Solomon Seal, box turtles and deer, and the ruins of ancient, Appalachian farmers' homes. This deep mountain love has been true for as far back as I can remember.  Hence, when I discovered about 8 years ago that the indigenous peoples of Peru believe that the mountains are sacred beings who source and advise them, I was not surprised. I was happy and inspired.  Here was confirmation of something that I had long experienced intuitively but which the society I grew up in never gave credence to. When I finally was able to visit Peru this year, I was most excited to meet the Andes mountains, some of whose names I knew by heart: Ausangate, Salkantay, Huana Lipa, Huana Wari, Sacsaywaman, Illimani, and, of course--Macchu Picchu.  
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13 Oct From the Onion to the Red Rose: Spiraling Inward to the Open Heart

It is not uncommon for we spiritual seekers in the western world to want to leap to wholeness,  transcendence or enlightenment (whatever one may call it) in one fell swoop.  We want the spiritual highs of ecstasy, open heartedness, awesome visions, and lightness of being quickly and we want them to last forever.  We hope that somehow by engaging in daily spiritual practice, we will leap over or finally get past the messy, conflicted and conflictual human condition.  Another common belief is that once we have "dealt with" or fully "healed" some deep wound in ourselves, we will never have to return to that issue again--ever.  Ever, ever.
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08 Oct Dreaming Violence into Peace: A 3-Part Series

I woke up one night in 2014 from a terrifying dream in which I was trying to deter members of my community from allowing a nuclear bomb to be delivered and exploded in our midst.  It was one of those lucid dreams--strangely real. Please be aware as you start reading that there are graphic descriptions of violence in this post.  I had this dream while sleeping safely and comfortably at home in the pastoral backwash of central Virginia in the early 21st century United States.  I do not want to scare or offend anyone, but I do want to bring home the fact that the violence in our world, both past and present, affects each and every one of us in profound and often invisible ways.  As a healer specializing in trauma transformation and educator in higher education and other realms on the outer and inner dimensions of violence, I am deeply concerned about the escalation of war in the Middle East and other areas of the world--including in my own country.  If we are to stop this or at least make sense of it so that future generations do not make the same mistakes, we must each be brave and face the truth. Therefore, I hope you will read on even if some of it is painful and horrifying to read.  In the end, I suggest how we can take action in our own lives both individually and in community.  I invite you to walk with me hand in hand as I work to transform the wounds of our ancestors from millennia of violence and abuse in all forms.  
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