Releasing That Which No Longer Serves Us
Many years ago, and what feels like several lifetimes ago…
The ground was wet and the night was dark. I could feel the damp soil coil in between and amongst my toes, and seeping into my clothing. I was sitting by the fire with a master shaman, mesmerized by the flames and seduced by the crackling of the fire. It had an effect of a trance-like state, staring into the blazing fire and watching as the energy was transmuted from something, to nothing, to something, to nothing again. I was in a haze, in a daze, crying, and nearly beside myself.
I found myself complaining to him, lamenting about a past relationship that hadn’t worked out. One that was laden with emotional abuses and more, and one that my heart-mind, head-mind, and every fiber of my confused soul was still tied up, into, and around. I began expressing myself to him, as he rolled something in his hands — probably organic tobacco, from what I know now, a great protector and ally in the Jungle — and his eyes were fixated on his hands as he balanced, and twisted, and perfectly rolled whatever he was holding. Though his eyes were staring down at himself and what was in front of him, I know now that every part of his consciousness, presence, and awareness, was on me. He was tracking me, healing me, and transforming me — all at once and all in one — right before my very eyes.
“Go on,” he said, “Continue.”
I was talking a mile a minute, wasn’t careful with my words, and not very far along at all in my Journey. “Well, you know, I just want to be with him still. Text him, call him, be in relationship with him, whatever. That’s what I know, that was the plan, that was what I had planned for my life, and there was a certain way I wanted it to look. And well now it’s not looking that way, I can’t get him out of my head, he wants nothing to do with me and so now I am just….” My words drowned themselves out over the cosmos, as even I wasn’t listening to or putting intention, or attention, onto what I was saying. I was upset, crying, sobbing, and so forth. The emotional body was overwhelmed but I had no idea what that even meant at the time, nor did I really even care. I was stuck on my story and sticking to it. I was stuck on my pain and sticking to it. I was stuck on suffering, and residing in that comfortable place of victim consciousness mode, and sticking to it. And so it was. There I was, baring my soul, vulnerable and refusing to wake up from my own version of a mini nightmare, created by me, for me, and through me.
This shaman and mentor of mine looked at me and took a few deep breaths. He said: “Okay, Olivia, let me get this straight. So you experienced this relationship, with all kinds of abuses, pains, and suffering, and now you’re saying you want it back. Because that’s what you had planned, that’s what you’re used to, and that’s what you feel you deserve in ‘partnership’. Is that what you’re saying?”
My eyes lit up like he had finally understood me. “Well, something like that. Yes. Can you help me?”
One of the logs on the fire shifted, causing a loud sound, almost as if the Universe was dropping open the mouth of the shaman — for him.
Now the master shaman was looking at me straight in the eyes. It felt as if he was staring into the depths of my soul, seeing things that even I couldn’t see or begin to even know about myself. It almost terrified me and shook me, in a quiet way, feeling his glance locked in on me, that deep.
He said, “So let me get this straight: you are pleading from the Universe, from Spirit, asking for more abuses? Emotional and otherwise?”
I sort of winced, and titled my head, beginning to realize what I was saying. I began to feel my breath shorten and my chest tighten. I was already regretting the words that had so effortlessly seemed to flow out of my lips.
He took a long pause, still looking deep within my soul, and with all seriousness, he continued:
“You are insane.”
His words reverberated through my ears, and every fiber and cell of my Being.
He blew smoke out of his mouth and started to get up off the ground. Once off the ground, he opened his mouth and gestured as if he was beginning to speak again.
He kneeled back down and got right up into my face, as he said: “You know, Olivia, you are an attractive woman. So start acting like it. The way you are acting right now? Let me tell you this: It is anything — anything — but — attractive.”
He stood back up and began to walk away.
As he left me in contemplation by the fire, somewhat still in shock, he turned and said:
“I will see you in Ceremony tonight, you can still come. And we will see whether your Insanity, and your Ignorance, can be cured.”
I’ll never forget that time with that master shaman, still a mentor and dear friend of mine today. From a story years and years ago, a tale that feels like lifetimes and lifetimes ago—at least four or five.
At the time, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had barely cultivated (or, remembered) any awareness, and my ignorance and self-disrespect was palpable. Yet I seemed to be the only one who couldn’t see it, or wake up from it. Like a bad nightmare that keeps repeating, every time you drift back off to sleep.
Shedding What No Longer Serves Us
Our stories are our stories, at one point in time they present themselves as making up who we really are, and yet that line of thinking — that they make up who we really are — couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When we shed our stories, once and for all, we invite ourselves to step outside of our stories and release them — just as a snake, Great Serpent, sheds its skin — all at once.
I don’t know whether my insanity, or my ignorance, was cured that night. In fact, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, as the tales that follow from that instance included a few of the same patterns. After all: Life is like a spiral, right? We keep coming back, and coming back, to the same issues, at different points on the spiral — from an alternative view, new lens, and (hopefully) increased levels of awareness.
But one thing was for sure after that evening: I finally shed one of the many stories that were no longer serving me.
Shedding these stories is powerful medicine of the South, represented by Great Serpent on the shamanic energy medicine wheel. When we do so, we give ourselves permission to step outside of ourselves, to detach from our stories and differentiate ourselves from them. And when we do, we invite ourselves to no longer live as our stories.
Instead, we become the great storytellers.
And once we become the storyteller, instead of the stories themselves, we are holding the pen of our lives and can then write whatever story we want for ourselves.
And when we hold the pen… why not write the most beautiful, amazing, cosmically-rich fairy tale-like story ever for ourselves?
That is the key medicine of the South: shedding the stories no longer serving you. We all have them, we just have to bring light to them, opening them up to be seen and heard.
And so if you are someone looking to shed your stories, whatever that may be for you, and become the storyteller yourself, here is a beautiful invitation — and call to action — in the form of a writing exercise to do just that.
Call to Action:
Writing the Story of Your Life
• Write the story of your life. Everything from the highest highs, to the lowest of lows. Focus on the drama and only those experiences that profoundly shaped who you are and your life. This may include your significant failures, losses, disappointments, sorrows, heartbreaks and regrets, as well as your joy, success, victories, hopes, loves, dreams and desires. Give voice to the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that live inside your story.
• When you are done, review your story to find its three main disempowering themes. These are the themes you focus on to begin the healing process. Look for the red flags in your story, for example the times you felt abandoned, betrayed, left out, “screwed over” etc.
• Visit the earlier article on disempowering beliefs, titled: Identifying Your Disempowering Beliefs. There are six universal/archetypal themes common to all humans that are often the source of many of our sabotaging beliefs. Those include unworthiness, abuse, abandonment, trust, betrayal, and separation.
• After writing the story of your life, and after selecting the three main themes, you can collect three stones. Take these three stones to a sand painting, for self-healing. For more info on how to cultivate your very own sand painting (essentially a mandala, or circle, created on the ground, on the earth, to absorb these negative energies), visit an earlier article titled the same, The Sand Painting: Impermeable Earth Art For Self-Healing.
In this way, you can begin your process of healing and transformation yourself. As an added bonus, so too can you then begin working with a modern shaman in the energy medicine space, to clear these imprints and stories at the soul level — at the blueprint level, so that these stories are no longer your stories, and you can shed the past that may be haunting you and holding you down, once and for all. Calling in lasting transformation, change, healing, and more.
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