The Step-By-Step Process For Releasing What No Longer Serves You
In an earlier article, we began chatting about the medicine of the South in shamanism and on the shamanic energy medicine wheel: releasing what no longer serves us. That sounds great in theory, and yet many times the question still arises—how do we actually go about doing so? This is something people who come to me ask quite often.
The most powerful way to release what no longer serves you is through energy medicine work, in sessions and Journeying with a modern-day shaman. If that’s not readily available to you, or for some reason doesn’t resonate with you, then you can use this step by step process—(including the writing exercise from the earlier article)—to surrender and step out of your disempowering stories, bring awareness and shed light on to what’s coming up for you, and release what is no longer serving you once and for all.
The direction of the South is represented by Great Serpent, Mother of Our Waters, or Hatun Amaru in quechua. On the shamanic energy medicine wheel, the Serpent teaches us how to shed our skin — just as she does — all at once. So too, does the Serpent remind us how to walk belly-to-belly with Mother Earth, communing with nature and all of her co-creations, living in flow and walking the Beauty Way. This means finding and perceiving the beauty in everything that we do, constantly dreaming our world into Being in every moment; cultivating and co-creating a beautiful, fairy-tale like dream for ourselves, rather than succumbing to the nightmare already scripted for us; fulfilling and re-writing our destinies, rather than leaving our futures to fate.
And so this is my step-by-step process for releasing what is no longer serving us.
The first step in this six-step process is awareness. Without cultivating awareness surrounding what’s coming up for you, we stay stuck in our stories and stuck in our pain. In order to “unstick” ourselves from the stories around us and the dramas that are playing out in our lives with various characters, time and time again, we have to shed light on them and bring them into our conscious awareness.
This takes intention, and above all, takes a certain commitment or willingness to change—especially as Victim Consciousness is a comfortable place to reside. We’ve talked about the Triangle of Disempowerment before (see an earlier article). When we are in the triangle, we are in the height of playing out our dramas—much like watching a theater play of our lives. What stories, what dramas, and with whom, keep replaying over and over again like a broken record, or tape on repeat, in your lives?
The first step here is awareness— an awareness that you are living out a role in one of these positions: victim, perpetrator, or rescuer. Where in your life are you playing the victim? What or who are you perpetuating? Who are you rescuing or attempting to save? Once you have shed light on the recurring pattern in your life, you can invite yourself to move to the second step: honoring the underlying wound, or wounds, and what is really going on in the situation.
Honoring the Underlying Wound
Every situation and all circumstances presenting themselves are opportunities for our growth. Everyone and everything is a mirror for us—that is what we learn from shamans of the old—that all humans, all patterns, every everything—whether that be a person, a calling, a circumstance, a rock, a stone, a bird, the gusts of the wind, the twinkling of the stars, or the flow of sacred waters—is an opportunity for us to refine ourselves and our true eternal Beings. No matter the symbology, everything holds a message for us.
And so after bringing your awareness and your consciousness onto what’s coming up for you, you can move to the second step which is honoring the underlying wound. When we honor the underlying wound, what this means here is looking deeper, beneath the layers, to the messages underpinning the situation. What is the lesson here? What is the Universe communicating to you? What are your Guides, or your higher self, presenting to you as this opportunity for growth, change, and transformation?
The process in a logistical sense of this step involves reviewing the core disempowering beliefs you are holding, those fundamental, archetypal beliefs or themes that we all came here to explore. In this regard, there are six of them. Those archetypal, universal themes include abuse, abandonment, betrayal, unworthiness, trust, and separation. The idea here is looking beneath the surface, unveiling (to yourself) the meaning and messages behind the curtain of the dramas playing out in your life. Once you have shed awareness on them and discovered (or, remembered) the wound speaking out to you for healing, you can move to the next step.
Witnessing Yourself in Non-Judgment and Non-Attachment
Looking within and uncovering our wounds (mainly to ourselves) can be a scary thing. There is a reason why so many people look outside of themselves—for anything and everything—to fulfill them. It’s because the resistance to look within is real—since if we do, many times we are terrified as to what we really may find when we go forth there, seeking.
And so the key here is “becoming the witness,” activating observer consciousness mode, and then drawing on tools and ways of Being, such as detachment, non-attachment, and non-judgment of self and others. When we look at our wounds lovingly, much like we would console a young child who is frightened or hurt, we give ourselves permission to be real and authentic and open our heart spaces to come from a compassionate place and begin moving and transmuting the energies, to invite lasting transformation.
Examining and honoring the underlying wound looks something like it would when we meet our inner child face to face. That young, scared, vulnerable (and many times, wounded), younger version of ourselves calling out for help and for healing. And so that’s the third step. Witnessing yourself in non-judgment, non-attachment, from that detached place of observer consciousness mode, refraining from allowing a feeling of guilt and shame to arise from the way you reacted or responded.
Cutting the Cords
They say that a fool takes the knife and stabs someone in the back; by contrast, the adept or spiritual seeker grabs the knife and instead cuts the cord—freeing themselves, literally, emotionally, physiologically and energetically, from the ties to the traumas, dramas, and suffering. When we cut the cords, we break free from the restraints of the past and the stories holding us into the old paradigms. In this way, you can use a simple meditation, or visualization, when doing so.
Here is an example of a simple way to cut the cords:
Sit comfortably in a quiet place and take a few deep breaths in and out. Visualize a knife or a sword of golden light in your dominant hand. Feel into this powerful tool of transformation and healing. So, too, can you feel around your energy body for anything that is stuck, or holding you down. As a practical hint or helping hand, many times cords can format our fifth chakra especially—this is that vortice of energy residing at the throat chakra—ruling our communication and speaking our truth, as well as living in our authenticity. So, whether at the throat—or elsewhere, (perhaps the power center, the heart, or the womb space)—or anywhere that you sense, in and around the luminous energy body and field. When you are ready, engage in this loving act of freeing yourself from these energetic ties and attachments, cutting the cord with the sword or knife that’s in your dominant hand. As you do so, visualize severing these ties and sending these energies back to their original destinies, releasing them once and for all. And taking another few cleansing deep breaths in and out.
From there, you can breathe confidently and go about your day, knowing that these bondages to the past are no longer holding you down and preventing you from fulfilling what’s in your best and highest good.
Memorializing Through Sacred Ceremony
As a fifth, (and optional), step, you can memorialize the actions you just took through the use and power of ceremony. Ceremony, they say, is the language of the soul, and so when we engage in ceremony, we are speaking to our Souls, in a language or vibratory resonance that can be understood. Much like the mind understands words or the body understands chemical reactions, foods, and water.
And Ceremony doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out thing. It’s whatever resonates with you, really. In this regard, ceremony can look like countless things, and so here are a few examples.
- Lighting a candle and burning some cleansing and clearing plant allies such as sage or palo santo.
- Making, cultivating and co-creating a sand painting for self-healing (for this ceremonial tool, see an earlier article titled the same for a more detailed approach on how-to).
- Going for a walk in nature and grounding the energies into a tree or Mother Earth, connecting with all that is.
- Sharing our experience with a friend as a sacred witness holding impeccable space for us, or perhaps in our Journaling, with the Universe as our sacred witness to our actions.
- Pursuing energy medicine with a practitioner or modern-day shaman, to clear the imprints laying in the luminous energy field.
Whatever avenue you choose, commit to the path and invite yourself to engage in it with all of your intention and attention. When we fully commit and show up (for ourselves), this sends a high-vibrational signal to the Universe—like a beacon of Light making itself known—that we are ready to move on from the lesson and finally free ourselves from these energies we were once plaguing ourselves with. The act of memorializing this personal work with ceremony is a powerful way to anchor the new energies of change and transformation.
Realigning with Joy and Choosing Love
Lastly, as the sixth and final step, you can realign with Joy, choosing love in the present moment, and re-committing to following your bliss. In other words, employing the formula we so often chat about: Following your bliss, to the best of your ability, in every moment, without attachment to or insistence on the outcome.
And so you can ask yourself, what does that look like, to me? For some, this may be meditation and breathing, or going to a yoga class they love, or perhaps painting, drawing, dancing or the like. For others, this may be going for a walk in nature, spending time with close family or friends, or spending some quiet, alone time in contemplation and gratitude. Whatever this picture looks like to you, the key here is consciously choosing to let go of the pains and suffering of the past, moving forward confidently into the future. And taking inspired action to do so, leaning into Joy, and realigning with your passion and purpose in life.
I hope these step by step processes serve you! And welcome any comments or shares about your experiences and how these may have worked for you.
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