Encounters With Power

August 10, 2017

Dear friends,

We are all faced with events in life that make it seem like we have no choice in the matter. Think of a time in your life when you thought the situation you faced gave you no choice. As you reflect back on this event, do you still feel that way? Do you still believe you had no choice, or can you now see choices you could not see then? What can you change and what is not in your power to change?

From a shamanic perspective, there are always many more options than we thought we had because, like a quantum physicist, a shaman does not accept the outward appearance of anything. Our solid appearing bodies are anything but solid at the subatomic level. They are mostly empty space—and if that is so, what might we be able to do with them that we thought we could not?

Walk over hot coals? Pass through a wall? Travel great distances in the blink of an eye? Consider what you have resigned yourself to in your life? Is it just a reality to be endured or is it an essence-created test—an initiatory challenge to motivate you to move beyond it?

Examine your feelings about your fate closely. Is there grief? Is there anger and bitterness—perhaps resentment? These emotions can be clues to your fatalism about certain aspects of your life. Who are you trying to punish with your victim stance? Who are you trying to prove wrong or right in the matter?

If you wish, go back and choose a current situation where you feel you are stuck and do the process again.

This process is just one I’ve learned over the years as I’ve sought out extraordinary healers across the globe. I’ve had terrifying, enlightening, and at times hugely entertaining adventures. Power can destroy us or it can raise us up by teaching us and nourishing us. I may not be a master, but I have learned a few things that you may find helpful on your own quest. I share all of this in my new book, Encounters with Power: Adventures and Misadventures on the Shamanic Path of Healing.

 

Warm wishes to you on your path,

José Luis Stevens

Author Info for Dr. José Luis Stevens Coming Soon

Also By Author

Encounters With Power

Dear friends,

We are all faced with events in life that make it seem like we have no choice in the matter. Think of a time in your life when you thought the situation you faced gave you no choice. As you reflect back on this event, do you still feel that way? Do you still believe you had no choice, or can you now see choices you could not see then? What can you change and what is not in your power to change?

From a shamanic perspective, there are always many more options than we thought we had because, like a quantum physicist, a shaman does not accept the outward appearance of anything. Our solid appearing bodies are anything but solid at the subatomic level. They are mostly empty space—and if that is so, what might we be able to do with them that we thought we could not?

Walk over hot coals? Pass through a wall? Travel great distances in the blink of an eye? Consider what you have resigned yourself to in your life? Is it just a reality to be endured or is it an essence-created test—an initiatory challenge to motivate you to move beyond it?

Examine your feelings about your fate closely. Is there grief? Is there anger and bitterness—perhaps resentment? These emotions can be clues to your fatalism about certain aspects of your life. Who are you trying to punish with your victim stance? Who are you trying to prove wrong or right in the matter?

If you wish, go back and choose a current situation where you feel you are stuck and do the process again.

This process is just one I’ve learned over the years as I’ve sought out extraordinary healers across the globe. I’ve had terrifying, enlightening, and at times hugely entertaining adventures. Power can destroy us or it can raise us up by teaching us and nourishing us. I may not be a master, but I have learned a few things that you may find helpful on your own quest. I share all of this in my new book, Encounters with Power: Adventures and Misadventures on the Shamanic Path of Healing.

 

Warm wishes to you on your path,

José Luis Stevens

José Luis Stevens: Encounters with Power

José Luis Stevens is an author, international lecturer, teacher, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, and the cofounder of the Power Path School of Shamanism and the Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange. With Sounds True, José has written a new book called Encounters with Power: Adventures and Misadventures on the Shamanic Path of Healing. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and José discuss his definition of “power” and the necessity of approaching it from a shamanic perspective. José relates stories about his brushes with true natural power and how they have shaped his ceremonial practices. Finally, José and Tami talk about the various crises now facing the planet—especially environmental ones—and how to take an empowered stance in the face of them. (75 minutes)

Awaken the Inner Shaman

Tami Simon speaks with Dr. José Luis Stevens, a leading shamanic teacher who brings indigenous wisdom to personal and organizational challenges. José is the cofounder of the Power Path School of Shamanism and the author of 18 books and ebooks, including his latest book with Sounds True, Awaken the Inner Shaman: A Guide to the Power Path of the Heart. In this episode, Tami speaks with José about what the Inner Shaman is and how we can access it through practice and surrender. He explores shamanic ways of seeing, relating to your body, and actualizing your potential. José also examines the questions of trust and faith for both the Inner Shaman and the unfolding of world events. (68 minutes)

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Reflecting on the discovery of this “flower” in the shadows, I’m reminded of, and heartened by, the fertility of dark times. Many people are feeling a collective spiritual darkness now, exhausted and frustrated, maybe also angry and scared. Having compassion for ourselves and others is especially important in times of literal and metaphorical darkness. How can we do this if we already feel overloaded?

Nature is our ultimate model and guide—in the light, in the dark, and in the most surprising and gorgeous ways. Cue the weird, glorious cabbage flower which came to life in the dark. What was being shown there?

There is the clear compost metaphor. Compost is the stuff we reject, the moldy, wilted, too hard, too soft, nasty bits that don’t make it to the table. It’s also the leftovers from delicious things we appreciate and enjoy, silky mango skins, green tea leaves, dark coffee grounds.

It all transforms into a rich sloop that eventually nourishes future plants. Our personal work includes processing our own “dark” sides, the parts we’d like to hide or discard. Self-compassion (and compassion for others) holds both the rejected and respected parts of who we are. Like composting, it isn’t always pretty, but it’s potent. Research shows self-compassion helps us stay present and kindhearted without sinking into absorptive empathy, which can lead to overload and burnout. This meditation is part of the toolkit in the audio course Shining Bright Without Burning Out.

The cycles of the natural world, into which we are interwoven, take time. It’s hard to be patient, to let everything, both scorned and enjoyed, stew in our symbolic personal compost piles. The speed with which that brew changes from nasty to nourishing varies widely with the internal and external conditions. Sometimes all those different elements take a long time to dissolve and break down. Sometimes it turns around faster than we think possible, like time-lapse photography of a log rotting on the forest floor with new green shoots springing to life overnight. Compassion is the magic ingredient that turns our personal “compost” into personal evolution.

The dark supports transformation. Times of literal darkness are needed for regeneration. Roots, seeds, and bulbs prepare. People and animals sleep. Times of symbolic darkness are also helpful. In darkness, transformative processes happen without spectators, often below the level of our conscious awareness. These are periods of catharsis, healing after trauma, cocooning in preparation for the next version of ourselves and our world.

We sometimes feel hopeless and helpless in the dark. Our society avoids sinking into it. Instead, we gravitate towards purveyors of easy “love and light!” spirituality, shying away from the deep, gooey work that happens to the larval versions of ourselves (and those around us) when we’re in the darkness of the cocoon. Self-compassion is most needed when we’re a mess.

The dark is a vital part of the wheel of our days, our years, our lifetimes. We need it to survive and be healthy in the long term. So, let’s embrace it, explore it, and be gentle with ourselves as we confront our fear of it. From this darkness we are nourished to bloom into the light.

@ 2021 Mara Bishop MA

Order Shining Bright Without Burning Out now! 

Mara Bishop has
over 25 years of experience helping people find spiritual health and
well-being. Her Personal Evolution Counseling™ method blends shamanism,
psychology, intuition, energy healing, and nature-based practices. She
lives in Durham, NC with a beloved family of people, animals, and
plants.

More information about Mara is at www.WholeSpirit.com

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