3 Ways Shamanic Practices can Improve Health, Creativity and Mental Focus
(From One Who’s Been There!)
A childhood camping trip through Peru, Costa Rica, and all of Central America inspired my life-long interest in Energetic Healing and Shamanism. Those endless summer weeks exploring new worlds in our VW van… Machu Picchu, the jungles, the rough coastline… opened this midwestern girl’s mind more than my parents ever dreamed possible. (And possibly far more than they wanted!)
While many associate Shamanism with the intake of substances like peyote and ayahuasca, I can speak from experience that the keys of shamanic healing are available without any of these.
Since one of my goals as an adolescent was to learn to channel my naturally LSD-like imagination constructively into the earth plane, I knew that I would need to learn to do my shamanic journeys without using any substances but music, dance, art… and the focused power of the mind.
Little did I know a clear and scientifically researched pathway had already been created by others long before me…
I was inspired to get my second university degree in Music Therapy when I read an article titled: “The Music Therapist as Contemporary Shaman.” I was living and working as a modern dancer in Chicago in the early 90’s, and I was developing an increasing interest in how the arts could be used directly for human transformation. I was thrilled to see that author of the article was director of the Music Therapy program at Maryville University in my hometown of St. Louis! When I realized that there was a way I could use my natural healing gifts in a scientifically researched, board certified profession, I was all in!
(Little did I know that I would not only get my degree, but also spend 10 years as a faculty member developing new courses in their School of Health Professions!) As both Steve Jobs and Coldplay’s Chris Martin say . . . just follow the signs!
Even though a choreographer whose work I loved had just asked me to join his troupe, I knew I needed to turn him down and make a temporary move to St. Louis study Music Therapy. I had to be completely honest that while I loved performing, doing it full-time was never my true calling in life.
While both Creative Arts Therapies and Shamanism have much deeper and more complex gifts to offer, I will distill those rich bodies of work into a few simple actions that you can start to apply right now.
1. Connect with Music to Actively Shift your State of Mind
In Shamanism — as in Music Therapy — Music is revered as a powerful tool to be used in a very conscious way to activate healing and transformation.
One thing you can to do right now is NOTICE the effects that different types of music have on your mental and physical state.
Once you notice that tribal drumming energizes you for a work-out, classical piano focuses you for a meeting, and Rhianna’s “We found Love in a Hopeless Place” always snaps you out of any funk into a creative state… Apply that information daily!!
2. Connect with DANCE (or any body movement) to Release Emotions Physically from your Cells
One of the reasons I was drawn to dance as a profession is because I noticed the movement released stuck emotions and old patterns from my body. It always helped me step into the next version of myself in a way that mental focus alone couldn’t do.
This week, any time you feel physically tense or mentally stuck, try LITERALLY shaking it off!
Take a 5 minute walk, a dance break (no one’s watching!) or even a few minutes of deep chest and belly expanding breathing to help move you through it. Notice what works the best for you, start to apply it, and notice and build on the tiniest results!
3. Connect with Your Ancestors and Spirit Guides
Whether you believe this type of communication is “real,” or whether you just use it an imaginative visualization exercise, it will have powerful effects on your mind and body.
For example, if you have an inspiring friend, relative, or teacher who has passed on, imagine that person is sitting in front of you, looking at you with love, and offering you guidance. Jot down what you hear them say. If they don’t speak, just notice how you feel in their presence. Breathe in the energy they are sending your way.
Notice how just imagining that they are with you can shift your breathing, relax your muscles, and clear your mind.
Set a timer so that there is a clear beginning and end to this exercise. It will allow you to go into it more deeply, and make sure you exit from it back into your “normal” consciousness more easily and directly.
I know you’re going to love these experiences so much that you start to naturally expand them!
Once you find the motivation to start, you won’t have to “discipline” yourself to continue.
Experiencing the power, potency, and pleasure of these practices firsthand will inspire you to do them even more. You will be magnetically attracted and motivated to integrate them into your days.
I kept the information here very simple and accessible. if you desire to go deeper, I welcome you to reach out to me, or another qualified coach, for one-on-one consultation.
You are going to LOVE all the Beauty that is about to unfold for you!
Hello, I'm Draža: Life Coach & Meditation Teacher
I write thought pieces for people who are aiming to create a life that feels like a
work of art.
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