30 Jun How to Interpret and Live Inspired by Native American Prophesies for the New Earth

This past spring, the media was ablaze with a story about a Christian radio broadcaster, Harold Egbert Camping who predicted that on May 21, 2011, Jesus would return and those who were true believers and the "righteous" would be taken bodily up to heaven. The rest of us "nonbelievers" would be destroyed with the Earth itself in his end-times scenario.  Camping calculated the date based on a numerological interpretation of the Bible.  When the rapture did not occur as he had predicted (he had already been wrong once before in 1994), he backpedaled and said that instead a "spiritual judgment" had occurred and set a new end times date for October 21, 2011. Apocalyptic and end time prophesies have been around for millennia. Native American voices have been among them, most famously the Maya with their complex calendar. Given how many misconceptions there are about prophecy and how many fear-based messages, I feel it is important to sift the wheat from the chafe, so to speak, and offer my insights on how to interpret and live with prophesy.
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16 May Why the Great Medicine Wheel of the New Earth? 2012 and Beyond

In 2011, events lined up to compel me further out in the open about my spiritual practice combining Buddhism, Native American spirituality, and esoteric Christianity.  A number of experiences and messages led me to creating the  Great Medicine Wheel of the New Earth a set of teachings in a weekend workshop format for contemporary spiritual seekers.  Because of my initial reluctance to step forward to do this work due to the controversies and ethics surrounding the western adaptation of Native spirituality and religion, I feel it is important to tell the story about how I came into this work. My spiritual practice and my work as an academic social scientist demand that I rigorously question myself--in particular any so-called visions, dreams, or intuitive leads that come to me.  It is far too easy to mistake one's inner neuroses, unconscious intentions, and even greed for otherworldly messages or spiritual inspiration.  Every ethical and balanced spiritual path demands a great deal of discipline and practice to discern with wisdom and insight what arises in the mind, emotions, body, and beyond.  Without such a practice, we can believe we are justified in doing anything--including even perpetrating murder and mayhem such as we saw in the 9/11 bombings. Yet it is also true that we may hear the voices of Creator, Great Mystery, God and of the spirits and beings who work with us from beyond the veil.  Therefore, I have learned over years to balance skepticism with testing and ultimately to trust what continues to appear despite the objections of my so-called "rational" mind!  This, too, is a keynote of a truly integrated spiritual practice--to know just when to surrender and accept what may not make sense in the more ordinary dimensions of our daytime world. The Great Medicine Wheel of the New Earth that I have been called to teach is an invitation to join in one place and dance awake with joy the original instructions of all human beings. As such, the Wheel that I now teach I envision as merely the beginning of the planting of the seeds of a profound and powerful blending of practices and ceremonies from many traditions.  This work is in alignment with what Native American prophesies tell us is happening as we make a great shift in human consciousness in these times  I believe that a world will emerge from out of this transition that is more kind and caring.  I must add here that I have never been one to give much energy to prophesies of any kind--despite my long years' study of the new Native American spirituality.  However, the story about how the Great Medicine Wheel of the New Earth emerged in my consciousness will show why I changed my mind.
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29 Jun Can Trauma be Healed with the Wisdom of Rattle and Stone?

I came to the healing practices adapted from indigenous cultures through the path of trauma.  I suffered for many years with symptoms of PTSD as a result of childhood abuse.  While years of western psychotherapy certainly helped in the development of greater self-awareness and thus gave me the motivation to work on changing old emotional patterns, it was only when I started to explore body-oriented and energy therapies that I began to see truly enduring and deep shifts in my symptoms both short and long-term. I like to explain that I am an academic anthropologist who only reluctantly let go of a tenured position at a major research university to study shamanism full-time. 
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15 Mar How to Create an Army of Peace

It takes a fair amount of hubris and courage to create a newsletter called “Explorations in Kindness”.  I say this with a good dose of humor and humility because I am keenly aware of how unkind I can be.  Whether it is a moment on the phone getting very, very edgy and irate with a customer service representative who is being officious and unhelpful, or whether it is thinking back on the bone field of severed and fractious relationships with family and friends, it all amounts to the same thing: I am as apt to be angry and hurtful as the next person.
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16 Nov A World of Healing: The Adaptation of the Andean Mesa Tradition into Western Shamanism

I am a carrier of a mesa, a beautiful, multicolored bundle containing various power objects and stones used for moving energy in service of healing. A more commonly known term in the West might be a "medicine bundle".  This powerful shamanic healing tool has been brought from the Peruvian Andes and elsewhere in Latin America to the outside world through a variety of western teachers. 
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26 Feb Meeting the New Shamans

I contacted explorer, Jon Turk after reading his 2008 article in the Shaman's Drum, "Reaching for Otherworlds: A Healing in Siberia."  In it, he described a healing he experienced by an old shaman named Moolynaut.  Many years before meeting her, his pelvis was reconstructed with metal bolts and plates after a skiing accident. He was told by doctors he would likely live with chronic and even debilitating pain for the rest of his life.  This fact did not deter him from continuing his lifelong passion for exploring some of the hardest and rarely trekked edges of the world.  On one of 5 expeditions to Siberia, he was once again struck by a bout of intense pain and was told by the villagers to go see Moolynaut.
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17 Oct How to do the Loving Kindness Meditation

To do the loving kindness meditation, find a quiet place to sit upright in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and bring your attention to the heart.  Bring to mind your own self--as you are in the present day or as a child.  Imagine the breath going gently in and out of the heart center or focus simply on the rise and fall of the chest and silently say these words: "May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be safe and protected, Loved and respected, Peaceful and at ease."
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02 Aug Healing for a New Age: Transforming Violence, Finding Peace

“May I offer up my suffering so that all beings will be freed from suffering.” --A Buddhist prayer What happens when we trace the thread of emotional pain throughout our lives, following it unconditionally like a baby duckling follows its mother? What happens when we follow the suffering of the body deep into the recesses of our unconscious? Do we fall apart? Do we break? Do we grow divided within ourselves? Do we succumb to despair and suicide? Perhaps some do—perhaps some must. But perhaps we can do something else. Perhaps we can also become whole and end up having something to say to the world.
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