Posts Tagged ‘shamanic work’

Turning Away from Jake and Towards Myself

January 31, 2017

Change was in the air. Like a hot, muggy July night in the Midwest, it had enough weight and substance for me to taste it.

I knew I needed to let go of Jake. I could tick off more than a half dozen reasons for it, but as Lady Gaga had so pointedly said in her song, “Million Reasons,” even when we have plenty of reasons to go, sometimes it only takes one good one to keep us sticking around, whether or not sticking around is a good idea. I had more than one reason to not turn away from Jake: I genuinely liked him; we had fun when we were together and even when we just texted; there was juicy chemistry between us; and we had shared a particular kind of intimacy with a level of abandon and depth that was not easily replicated. I dragged my feet.

When Jake texted me on New Year’s Eve, I thought it a good opportunity to end things. It didn’t take long for the texting to spiral into sexting. I pointed out that the possibility of ever getting together again was slim since I was unwilling to be a last-minute backup plan when what he really wanted to do fell through, and he was unwilling to schedule me in. I expected his reply to admit that it was an untenable situation. Instead, he agreed that scheduling time together was a respectful thing to do.

But it didn’t happen. Texts between us came and went.

Strangely, one night as I was thinking about Jake and reaching for something in my nightstand, a recording my late husband had made many years earlier started to play, spontaneously. The recording accompanied a photo of Howard and me. He had made it before going to Iraq in late 2004 to train cops as an independent contractor. It was his voice reciting a bit of lyrics from the song “You Do Something to Me” in a Transylvanian accent. He knew it made me laugh every time he sounded like Bella Lugosi saying that I had the power to hypnotize him. All these years later, it was tinny but still audible. I kept it in a small cedar box in my nightstand, buried under other things. It was implausible that it could play by itself because it had to be opened and a button had to be pushed for it to play. But play itself it had. I knew that he was sending me a message, but I wasn’t sure what that message was in the moment. It later became clear.

Finally, four months to the day after our first meeting, I sent a text essentially ending the relationship with Jake. In true Jake style, he responded to the message with understanding instead of just blowing me off. That willingness to engage in communication was a part of what I found so endearing about him.

But it was over, and I found myself pensive about it. At the bottom of it, Jake had been unavailable, and that made me think about the many men in my life before him who had been unavailable, beginning with my father.

Does it always come back to a woman’s father? Maybe so. My father’s unavailability was the result of his introverted nature coupled with the psychological and physical detritus from his World War II experiences that nudged him towards alcoholism. I’d been twenty-seven when he died, and I regretted not having his company and his counsel during more of my adult years.

The other unavailable men in my life, from my first husband to those with whom I’d been in relationship before my second marriage, had been unavailable for a handful of reasons. None of them were unavailable by virtue of marriage to someone else. I didn’t like messing with another woman’s man. They had been unavailable because a man cannot be available to you if he is in serious relationship with his own demons, whether psychological or chemical. After breaking up with a man I deeply loved but whose relationship with drugs–primarily marijuana–took precedence over his relationship with me, I had joked that the half-life of my bad relationships was improving because it had been whittled down from more than a decade to a matter of months.

Even my second husband, the man I’d loved for the twenty-five years preceding his death, was seen by his best friend as something of a lone wolf. He had not been the easiest man to live with, but he had opened to me and been available to me more than he had to any other woman in his life, and the marriage worked.

Now, six years after my husband’s death, I was again contemplating my tendency to be with unavailable men. Derek had surely been unavailable. So had Jake. They were examples of something I had discussed many times with apprentices and others with whom I had done shamanic work. As we face, heal, and clear away the remnants of our internal shadow and everything in us that we’ve put in place for purposes of defense (usually subconsciously), we experience something that is not so much like the peeling of an onion as the peeling of an artichoke’s layers. There is nothing left when the onion is fully peeled. In purely esoteric terms, I could argue the validity of that. But in more human terms, what is left when the spikey outer petals of an artichoke are peeled, then the more tender inner petals, and then the hairy choke, which is bitter and inedible? Beneath that is the artichoke heart, which is perfection.

Invariably, before we reach the perfection of the authentic self (which I argued can be approximated but maybe not completely achieved in this life), we undergo many initiations. And usually, when we rather arrogantly think we have it mastered, we reach the mother lode of what must be faced, the internal equivalent of the hairy choke.

But even when we have made it through that initiation, enough energetic remnants of that bitter obstacle remain that we find ourselves cycling around to it again and again, usually at more profound levels each time, and sometimes, if we’re lucky and have done the work, it is just a challenge and test to our mastery.

The issue of unavailable men was up for review one more time.

But this time, I saw it for what it was in Jake–an external representation of something within me that needed facing and working through. And I knew that clearing those energetic remnants was something I was ready to do. Just the acknowledgment of it transformed most of it.

But was I available? My travels with an open heart across the past ten months had tested and refined my availability. I believed I was available.

I was finally ready for a man who not only suited me in many ways, but one who was available. And I was available to meet him and travel openheartedly with him. It had taken my entire life to accomplish, and whether or not that man showed up in this life, I was ready for it.

Note: The names Jake and Derek are fictitious and have been used out of respect for the men involved.

Copyright 2017 by Melanie Mulhall

The Shamanic Journey

July 10, 2016

There is nothing like a shamanic journey for answers. Over the years, I have taken many journeys, both with the shaman to whom I was once apprenticed and on my own. The shamanic work I do with others routinely includes journey work, too, because I know that it is an efficient and effective way to get reliable answers to important questions about life. In my experience, those answers are sometimes quite literal, but they are often embedded in symbolism. One shamanic journey can have a profound effect on a person’s life. It can also unfold in that person’s consciousness over weeks, months, and even years.

I was hoping for some answers of the literal variety, but I knew that whatever came through in journey would be what I needed to experience. I specifically wanted to know what had caused that switch to flip right before my birthday, that internal understanding that it was time for me to go to an online dating site and begin engaging with men again. I also wanted to understand what was going on with me internally where Derek was concerned because I felt I’d been completely thrown off-balance by our interactions.

Once settled in the journey room, I felt the presence of Rolling Thunder, even before I left my body. He was chuckling. When I left my body, I felt it dissolving, leaving nothing but my heart–the heart that had been formed from a piece of the heart of my dragon power animal many years earlier. And I heard my dragon laughing too. Both Rolling Thunder and my dragon chuckling? I knew I was in for it.

A phoenix burst through my heart and shot up out of the room. I followed it and came to a stop at the portal. It had been many years since I had first stood before that portal. I paused to contemplate that before passing through it. Once I stepped through, I was immediately met by Rolling Thunder, and we were quickly joined by Black Elk and the guide I knew as Grandfather. The three took turns embracing me, and with those embraces, I felt both safe and protected. That sense of being protected by powerful men seemed to be important to the journey, and it was in stark contrast to the lack of feeling protected I had often experienced in my relationships with the men in my life. Was one of the messages that a different kind of man was showing up in my life?

Rolling Thunder laughed and stopped me as I began to explain why I had journeyed to them. They knew why I was there.

During the course of the journey, I was shown how soft, willing, and vulnerable my heart had been in early childhood, how often my heart had been broken, and how I had placed a protective covering over it only to have that covering dissolve when I had been in love with the important men in my life and then reconfigure itself with the next broken heart. My heart softened when I married my late husband, Howard, but the protective covering had not completely dissolved until the work of my apprenticeship had dissipated it for all times. And with Howard’s illness and death, my heart had cracked wide open.

I was shown that my heart was big enough to embrace the entire world, but that it was now to be blasted open further, allowing it to embrace the universe. And it was the liaison with Derek that would generate this further blasting open of my heart.

Black Elk told me that my energy had been very connected with God and the spiritual realm for quite some time. That had been good and appropriate, but it was now time for that energy to come back into my body. I had amassed great power through this connection with the divine, but for my personal power–my life force energy–to develop further, it was vital that it be brought back down to Earth and into the four components of my being (mind, body, spirit, and emotions). Black Elk referred to me as a nuclear power plant and said that Derek was my source of ignition. The image he gave for Derek’s role was a stick of dynamite. I had no trouble believing that. My pairing with Derek had the effect of generation, according to Black Elk. He did not use the word regeneration or regenerative but generation. There was, he said, great vitality to it, great synchrony.

My understanding of what I was being told was that what I needed to develop further was the human-to-human element with a man who was in resonance with me, who activated the juicy human connection I had been lacking, and who also had the ability to activate and trigger the further integration of mind, body, spirit, and emotions. This was not a small thing.

I was shown that the “source of ignition” was, himself, a worthy consort, and he had the ability to handle the power in me that he was igniting. But I also had the sense that at least some of his work in serving as the source of ignition had already been completed.

I had picked up on past life connections with Derek in fleeting images, but I could not get a real fix on them. It was made clear to me that while there were indeed past life connections with Derek and the other men I had recently dated, it was unimportant at this time for me to remember any of them. The men and I had collaborated to effect the activation that was now happening. That was the important thing to understand.

As the journey progressed, I was not only given several other understandings, I was also given gifts to help me as I made my way through the process I was currently undergoing, including a jolt of lightning that knocked me on my butt, much to Rolling Thunder’s delight. It was not the first time I’d had that experience during journey, and the previous jolt had been nothing less than a quickening. This one had a similar effect.

The theme of generation infused everything in the meeting with my powerful guides, and it was clear that Derek was a critical component in what was transpiring. In fact, I was told that the generative effect was not just for me, but for him too.

When I passed back through the portal and reentered my body in the journey room, I felt enlivened and better prepared for whatever lay ahead. Besides, I had done shamanic work long enough to know that when the divine was involved and I was living out agreements made before I entered my body in this lifetime, I might as well surrender to it because what was unfolding would have its way with me.

And whatever this process of generation was about, it had already begun.


Note: The name Derek is fictitious and has been used out of respect for the man involved.


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall