Jan Engels-Smith

Articles by Jan Engels-Smith. Please feel free to share on social media. We have provided buttons at the bottom of each article.

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A Place to Belong: Thriving Shamanic Communities in Action

Due to an outpouring of interest in community development I have decided to write on this subject again. Please refer to my last article Create a Healthy Community for more information.

The evolution of spirituality in the modern world has led to significant efforts in personal development. This personal development will boost the creation of thriving shamanic communities, which will then greatly enhance the impact of these individual efforts. These communities hold the potential and pre-create microcosms of a future spiritual society, a society where everyone is essential and honored, and the individual’s contribution to the whole is seen as a valuable asset. Personal development can lead to healthy communities, which creates a healthier world.

The community I founded is called LightSong. LightSong is also a school, LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine, and a healing center. All three expressions of LightSong have been successful in their individual expressions because at their foundation is our realization and recognition of the basic needs of humans. Basic needs that create emotional thriving stem from the feelings of love and value or to feel significant. The acts and words of love feed the soul in a way that is unmatched by any other effort we might make. A healthy community offers the opportunity in its functionality for mutual acceptance, inclusion, recognition, and appreciation. By these acts, individual’s emotions and spirit are enhanced and their value reinforced. In these ways the community makes the commitment to consistently and constantly reinforce the common positive energy of belonging.

I have found in my work as a Licensed Professional Counselor, shamanic practitioner and energy worker that you can either contribute positive or negative energy to any situation. This contribution will have a direct effect on the situation manifesting either a positive or negative outcome. There are only two choices. Of course there is a vast array of subtle variations to the spectrum of positive or negative energy; however, each variation can be identified in one category or the other—positive or negative. What you choose will create a corresponding outcome.

A Cherokee Legend: Two Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person, too. “The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This is the way energy works and this holds the key for the creation of healthy individuals, healthy communities and a healthy world.

As spiritual beings, we often pursue individual development and growth with the desire to attain actualization through the understanding of connection to source and unconditional love. What we seek as individuals reflects, in many ways, our desire for community. We look for inclusion, acceptance, appreciation, gratitude, and ultimately love. The acts of personal development often employ a need for engagement with others where we can learn from others’ experiences and understanding and where we might benefit from sharing. Human beings coming together can generate greater possibilities than all acting alone. Community is an expansive experience. Much is to be gained from individual experiences but mutually shared enlightenment can compound the effects both on our singular person and in the wider world.

Most often, people come to LightSong seeking spiritual connection, acceptance, a place to belong, a place to practice shamanic techniques (which sometimes can feel isolating), and an environment where they feel the presence of like-minded individuals.

I attribute LightSong’s success as a healthy thriving community to certain qualities that were established at the heart of our community’s infrastructure and to which we all adhere:

  • A commitment to show great respect to others.
  • A stated non-competition agreement.
  • A by-law of no gossip.
  • Moral role modeling from those in leadership positions.

Since LightSong is a shamanic community we base our activities on shamanic practices and incorporating spirit into everyday life. In the design of a spiritual community, spirit must be present in the foundation. People usually join our spiritual community through shamanic classes and training. As soon as they walk through the door in a Basic Level 1 Through the Rabbit Hole journey class they are personally welcomed, accepted, and honored. We also strive to broaden people’s awareness of themselves. We immediately do a series of journeys asking the spirits the question “Who am I?” The individual takes an assessment of himself or herself not from a physical measure but from a spiritual measure. This opens a door for information to inform a person of the gifts, talents, and positive attributes that he or she might never have considered or recognized. This simple act might offer a major transformation in one’s perception of self in outstanding and beautiful ways. This is all part of not just learning but thriving and growing. Important to sustaining this experience at LightSong is a mutually held spirit of resolve and perpetual attention to the value of life, the exquisite nature of being human and the diversity of learning that other lifetimes present.

There are many opportunities for individuals to thrive in the LightSong community, but one of the more significant experiences is our shamanic practicum workshop. This immersion in community and shamanic practice requires a commitment of time and energy but the results can be momentous. The workshop is entitled Telepathic Communication and participants practice shamanic principals through practical application. We live together in nature communally for a week. Tents are pitched in a common living area and food is prepared and shared in common. Everyone contributes to the physical maintenance of the community and as many as a hundred people might participate at one time. The goal is to demonstrate and practice the art of telepathic communication. Telepathy is the foundation of shamanic communication between spirits. Since everything has a spirit form, including humans, telepathy is used in everything from journeying to taking a walk in nature. Participants discover that telepathy is natural and happening constantly and continually. Using the template of the vision quest, we design the community practicum to provide some distinctive markers to learn about this major form of spirit communication. Certain individuals do a vision quest where they go without food and water for four nights and five days. In a spot they have chosen, questers live with very few comforts, exposed to the elements without a tent, with minimal amounts of clothing, and confined to a relatively small space. For many people, this setting offers the greatest opportunity they have known for personal reflection, prayer, meditation and an occasion for communing with the spirits that surround all of us.

The community in camp learns to telepathically take care of these individuals’ basic needs of hunger, thirst, warmth and physical pain. The community also learns to live in complete harmony with each other and nature. The community shares and receives direct feedback on what is happening in camp and what is being telepathically transmitted to the questers. Persons in camp can telepathically send a quester the feeling of fullness after a meal or the sense of quenched thirst or a simple feeling of comfort. These physical and emotional feelings are sent to the questers with conscious intention. When the questers share their experience of what happened to them during story telling at the end of the quest, the community hears that their efforts were successful and that the questers did actually receive what was sent to them. We then highlight that this is the way energy works around the world. That you don’t need to be on the front lines of a crisis in order to help in the crisis. Telepathic communication knows no boundaries. In other words we can and do make a difference no matter the proximity in the world.

As a community we can create a microcosm of a perfect world where we are taking care of each other through conscious attention to our own actions and feelings. When self-aware individuals come together in community, they can compound the impact they have on the world and the universe. Individually, we can do much, but in community the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, thus there is a immeasurable amount of good feeling and positive effects that are generated and projected out into the world from the community.

The events of the practicum are transformative for both the questers and their supporters. Year after year, the shared stories of spiritual events in this week speak to the power of a community connected by spirit and mutual support. Many individuals have found this to be one of the more profound experiences of their lives. People realize that they can make a difference in someone else’s life by the positive attitude they choose to project. The realization of personal responsibility is highlighted where people realize how they respond or the emotions they project out into the world effect the world and everything of the world. This of course works in both directions either positively or negatively.

Community is more than a gathering of people. Community is a feeling of fellowship and connection that is drawn from shared beliefs and common commitment. Community is the central design of a civilization and a universe that exists to fulfill the natural purpose of existence—a wholly unified and perfect cosmos.

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Create a Healthy Community

As a spiritual and community leader I receive many questions about how to build community and how to help people thrive. I have presented in this short article the components of a thriving community. I have used LightSong, the name of our community, as the template. You are free to use this template for your own dreams of community. I share this with you to inspire, illuminate, and guide you through helpful steps in this creation process. I believe that the more people strive to create communities of healthy people that this will directly influence the world in a positive way.

LightSong is many things—a school, a healing center, and a thriving healthy community. Our vision includes the statement:

LightSong is dedicated to the cultivation of thriving communities of well-beings through the exploration and practice of shamanism and alternative energy medicine.

People who come to LightSong seek to find acceptance, a place to practice shamanic techniques, and an environment where they feel the presence of like-minded individuals. I believe that people in general quest to be accepted, included, valued, and loved.

The conception of LightSong was actually presented to me during a vision quest. This was long before I had started teaching classes or doing personal healing work and was during a time of my own searching and questioning. During my isolation, I found the site of my quest invaded by numerous ants. They were everywhere. With such an obvious sign from nature I immediately asked them, in my shamanic way, why they had come to my vision quest. I came to understand that they wanted me to build community and they would be my teachers to show me how. Ants know about community! That message motivated me to more exploration of possibilities through numerous journeys to the ants as well as communication with my other spiritual allies and the LightSong community began to emerge.

The beginning was the result of a simple message from nature, but the process of the realization of the community took many years, hard work, and constant vigilance to ensure that the community would reflect the best spirit of a thriving association of individuals bound by a commitment to meaningful personal and communal development. After years of designing, organizing, implementing, and refining the structures and determining our roles and obligations as individuals in a common purpose, it became clear that community required a mutually held spirit of resolve and perpetual attention to core values of trust and caring and love.

As an adult, I have been involved in numerous communities that were created for these same purposes and few of them are still in existence. I often asked myself why such communities so seldom sustained themselves over time. I reviewed what I had observed in communities that didn’t survive or didn’t thrive. What I noticed was a lack of respect amongst individuals, competition rather than cooperation, and leadership that was focused on gaining advantage rather than distributing power. These were not very honorable attributes. In contrast, LightSong’s community is remarkable. People in our community hold our values in their hearts, not just in their minds. As people associated with LightSong have grown into the thousands, we have thrived by maintaining our core values. I attribute this success to certain qualities that were established at the heart of our infrastructure—such as LightSong’s mission to give great respect to others, a stated non-competition agreement, a by-law of no gossip, and moral role modeling from those in leadership positions. The not so obvious but also supportive attributes that contribute to success are based on shamanic practice and incorporating spirit into everyday life. In the design of a spiritual community, spirit must be present in the foundation. Spirituality may be incorporated into religion but the latter often conjures up an image of a governing authority and judgment. Judgment is grounded in the ego and will continually set people up for competition.  Removing the obstructing variables of authority and judgment will guide a person to a more healthy community structure where inner authority replaces outer authority and judgment gives way to mutual support.

Below is a list of the goals that were established and have guided LightSong through its evolution from a healing center and school to a thriving community:

LightSong’s Principles and Philosophy

Practices of LightSong are based on the following values and principles:

  • The complete expression of Love is the highest goal;
  • Healing ourselves is central to facilitating the healing of others;
  • The importance of acknowledging and respecting our teachers, the origins of our practices, and our mentors;
  • Belief in compassionate spirits and the divine self as the basis for all healing;
  • The united belief in the positive, generative nature of the universe;
  • Utilizing the Laws of Attraction or Creation Laws as a template for humanities highest good;
  • Words and thoughts are always conscious, positive, constructive and respectful;
  • Trusting completely in the Higher Power regardless of the name one chooses to call it;
  • The willingness to open to spiritual guidance in developing honesty and clarity in one’s thinking;
  • The willingness to recognize prejudice, bias, or projection in oneself and replace it with truth and love;
  • The conscious awareness of tempering the ego with persistence;
  • Speaking the truth without judgment or blame;
  • Respect for the right of others to form their own values and beliefs;
  • Honoring your own learning from experience and inner guidance as well as those of your teachers;
  • Basing the value of a theory or technique on the verifiable results it helps one achieve;
  • Using negative and positive experiences to heal and grow;
  • Being open to results rather than attached to them;
  • Taking personal responsibility for one’s situation in life;
  • Holding compassion for those who have decided not to do this;
  • Realizing that transformative experiences are not limited to the course work, and contribute to a well-rounded healer;
  • Appreciating the fact that healing and growth is maximized when we transcend the limitations of the ego and live from our true, divine self;
  • Understanding that to strive and reach beyond the current paradigms of limitation and scarcity results in miraculous manifestation;
  • Recognizing that healing requires a deep belief in oneself; and
  • Knowing that there are always internal and external resources available to meet life’s challenges.

These principals, as well as our vision, are the corner posts of our establishment. They emanate an energy out into the cosmos that fortifies and nurtures us. These tenets also hold us responsible to what it is that we wish to create. As with all evolution, the pattern of change isn’t a straight path but produces a learning curve of adjustments and modifications as we grow. Our efforts are in constant need of evaluation. However, this evaluation will always serve us in positive ways because it is imbedded in our goals and our connection to the cosmos.

Although there are other ways to become involved, most people join the community because they have participated in a class offered by LightSong. From the very moment new participants walk through the door, there is a welcoming and a sign of respect. Immediately there is a positive feeling and a sense of inclusion. The intention that I hold as a healer, leader and founder of LightSong is that we as a group are immediately adjusting the fields of energy for the class to be a container that emanates energy of a shared purpose. The vast majority of people throughout their involvement with LightSong will speak about how good they feel at LightSong events. Participants most commonly refer to respect, openness, honesty, safety, voice, problem solving in positive ways, and attention to individual needs as descriptors of their experience.

Our community also incorporates indigenous (not necessarily shamanic) principals at its core. Medicine wheel cosmology designs are one basis for our community involvement. We studied the Iroquois traditions, which actually influenced our Declaration of Independence and the writing of the United States Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was greatly influenced by the community living of the Iroquois. He spoke the Iroquois language fluently and incorporated the Iroquois principals into our country’s founding documents. There are many components of the Iroquois system of governance; however, at its core is the belief that everyone has worth and a job to do that is important and of value and this recognition of the individual’s value to the society instills a sense of belonging and self esteem and promotes the individual’s pursuit of happiness.

LightSong is supported through volunteers and the volunteers’ placement on the medicine wheel is physical as well as energetic. The energy is a constant broadcast that supports, enriches and strengthens each person and their position on the wheel. The idea of volunteering can be exhausting for those who have been involved in faulty programs; however, when benefits are provided and positive attitudes are at the core, great devotion and enthusiasm prevail and everyone thrives.

Thriving communities are a microcosm for the New Earth and how people desire to live. I believe that each time a person in involved in a LightSong function there is an imprint into their energy system that they then broadcast out into the world. This imprint knows there is a better and different way to live than what our history as a civilization has taught us. This experience of true community provides a knowingness that helps drive the quest for the well being of individuals and society.

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The Constancy of Spirituality

The Constancy of Spirituality by Jan Engels-Smith

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received—only what you have given.”

St. Francis of Assisi

Reason and spirituality may seem at times to be in conflict and either of the two might see the world in different terms. However, spirituality anchors itself in the deeper rhythms of our existence and, although we may misinterpret it and act with selfish intent, the truth of spirituality and its greatest gift to us is its constancy. How might we know that this constancy is real? Our recognition of climate change and the contribution of humans to the deterioration of the environment offer an interesting perspective for understanding this constancy.

First, let us put aside the issue of religion. Spirituality does not equate with religion. When spirituality and religion are in alignment, religious people will act with selfless compassion and strive to make the world a better place. People of all religious beliefs are capable of such actions and there are people of all faiths who in their spirituality contribute to the benefit of the human race and to the environment in which we live, but we all know of the abuses of religious doctrine that motivate wars, promote intolerance, and justify evil acts. Spirituality does not harbor such inconsistencies.

In the early Agrarian Age of the human race, humankind began to see itself in competition with the natural world and the effort to produce sustenance from the environment led to much destruction of the physical ecosystem.  Much could be justified rationally, as the needs of the ever-expanding human race required more crop production and the expansion of protein production in the domestication and processing of animals for food. In its early stages, the agrarian revolution’s impact was limited by the size of the population. The early rationale for wholesale destruction of the environment began to fray as the numbers increased in a planet that has finite resources.

The coming of the Industrial Revolution drove more and more of the population into crowded urban areas with poor sanitation and the burning of carbon-based fuels for energy for the industries and homes. Many of these cities grew up along rivers that served as easy dumping grounds for waste from homes and factories. In London, the river Thames became so polluted that Parliament could not meet in the Parliament Building because the stench was so great that politicians were forced to evacuate the premises. At that point, when their personal comfort was compromised, they acted to clean up the river and improve the city sanitation system. As late as the 1950s when the burning of soft coal in London led to the deaths of hundreds of people from respiratory failure, the members of parliament acted again to eliminate coal burning and restore breathable air. Initially, the use of polluting fuels and the contamination of water sources were rational acts that met the needs of the people in this new expanding economy. Reason promoted progress when progress was seen as the immediate solution to human needs for food, for jobs, and for housing. Reason changed when people’s needs for healthy conditions became essential for survival. Therein lies the inconstancy of reason.

It is natural for human beings to find rationales for their acts while failing to see the larger context for their actions. Even today, in spite of all the scientific evidence, climate-change deniers still contend that creating changes that will make for better living conditions and enduring sustainability of the environment will be too expensive, too unrealistic, and too long-term in its realization. This is the reasoning of tunnel vision, short sightedness, and immediate gratification. It is also the product of the inconstancy of reason in an age when progress is measured in unbounded growth, depletion of natural resources, and profit.

But consider the contrast of spirituality. Indigenous peoples from ancient times have maintained a spiritual view of human existence that does not see the human race as in competition with the elements but as existing in a spiritual unity with the universe—a mutually beneficial perspective that imagines that there are no competitions among the spiritual entities, of which man is one, but instead envisions alliances of humans and spiritual helpers that insure that whatever happens to any one facet of existence happens to all entities in the Cosmos. Every flawed action of man is an act against the Cosmos and represents a failure to sustain a spiritual unity that recognizes the oneness of all of existence.

Some native-American nations speak of considering what impact any decision will have seven generations from the time of the decision. This simple perspective would alter many of our contemporary choices by placing all of us in the mode of acting for the distant future instead of the immediate present.

Religions evolve from a core of spirituality, often framed in concepts of love, respect, and mutual identity with others. In Buddhist philosophy, all life is sacred and interdependent. Aristotle contended that all living things have souls in that they are alive and possess an animating force. When he is entreating his followers to care for their fellow man, Christ is purported to have said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” The spiritual base of religions is inclusiveness. It is the practice of religion that sometimes leads to exclusivity and the need to assert one’s moral superiority, much in the same way that humankind has chosen to assert its dominion over the earth.

The modern world has drifted away from the realization and acceptance of its spiritual nature. We have lost much of that understanding of the symbiotic condition of all beings in the universe—the understanding that all of existence is a unified being that we perceive as fragments but exists, in truth, as a single entity. To clear-cut a forest is to scar ourselves, to pollute our water and air is to poison ourselves, and to lose respect for the perfection of our universe is to disrespect ourselves. Much seems wrong with our world but that sense of failure lies within us not in the spiritual realm. That which is unified and that which is perfect remains so—such is the constancy of the spiritual and therein lies our belief in possibility.

I believe that humanity can reestablish itself as spiritual beings.  The simple act of saying hello to nature when you venture outside creates the feeling of relationship, friendship and possibly kindred sameness.  The gentleness of talking to your plants or flowers, gazing into the sky and saying I care puts the heart into alignment of oneness. Regaining our spiritual awareness does not need to be difficult.  Small acts of kindness to nature can produce enormously positive results in the environment.  I beseech you to try these small steps for a month.  Notice how it feels inside of yourself.  You may actually feel more healthy and nourished from the action.  Possibly your friends, family or neighbors will notice and they too will start expanding their spiritual awareness.

 

 

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The Soul is a Shapeshifter

The Soul is a Shapeshifter by Jan Engels-Smith

It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.
~ William Shakespeare

Exercise: Describe Yourself

Just for fun, please get a piece of paper and write a few sentences about how you would describe yourself. Who are you? Do not ponder the question too long; just write it down. There are no right or wrong answers. This exercise is to personally show you how we think.  Once this is complete then proceed with the article.

The Personal Cosmology of Your Soul

I now want you to envision yourself from a different perspective, a more inclusive perspective, a perspective that is vast and encompasses multidimensional awareness. You are more than the body you currently inhabit.

Attempting to be the best that you can be is the most exquisite gift you can give the world. One may and should take an active role in addressing the problems we face in our fractured and challenging times, but the most significant long-term contribution we can make to our planet is to maintain and grow our personal mastery. The focus on our thinking, feeling, and doing will ultimately have the greatest impact in changing the world for the better and creating the maximum influence on the actions of others. Positive ways of being allow us to become one with the universe and draw on the spiritual powers that exist naturally and are always available.

Evidence of the changing focus on positive ways of being as an answer to the difficulties we face can be found in our day-to-day lives on bumper stickers and food wrappers, in documentaries and news media, and conferences and new organizations. A change in consciousness is happening. We are all capable of capitalizing on this energy and helping drive the mass consciousness to a higher level. Who you are becoming will contribute to the ascension that will bring the planet to a tipping point that has the potential to move us into a reality of greater happiness, well being, and positive attitudes.

The greatest challenge may lie in recognizing that negative conditions tend to distort true reality and crowd out the truth that new consciousness is emerging and is far more powerful than all of the destructive and undesirable forces that dominate the headlines, but not the hearts, of humanity. The failures we see are always the results of groups of small-minded individuals who wield political, economic, and social power far beyond their numbers. The emerging new consciousness is a tidal wave bringing hope, change, and a new future.

You Are a Spirit

You are a spirit and the helping spirits that surround you can facilitate in your discovery process of who you are. They do not see you as simply a physical body, but as a collage of all the natures and experiences that create your being. Your soul is imprinted with the wealth of the best from your ancestors, all of the understanding that comes from your current experiences, and the wonderful promise of future possibilities.

To be human is an honor and a gift. We are endowed with a consciousness that allows us to see deeply into the cosmic mysteries of existence, as well as the option of choice to decide to explore these mysteries – if we are willing to honor these gifts by making a conscious choice to expand our awareness and achieve personal enlightenment. Collectively our choices will alter the conditions that hinder the Earth’s natural evolution to a better place, and provide the impetus for positive change.

The negative events, attitudes, and failures that too often dominate our thinking and influence our actions need to be understood as aberrations and not the natural and inevitable evolution of our civilization. The seeming complexity of our current condition belies the actual simplicity of our future solutions. As we become, so the world becomes. The perfection of the universe is not altered by the imperfection of the human race. The universe can provide the means for bringing our world into alignment with our true destiny – to be as one in a cosmic transcendence. Part of the human condition is to have forgotten what we intrinsically know. However, the spirits can see all of who we are and help us remember.

Shamanism will help you get a grasp on the power that you have, the endless possibilities of your own creation, and what you can do for yourself. The spirits are our allies. They can encourage us, we can ask them questions, and they can give us the answers that we need in order to find new paths for ourselves. Which direction should I go? How do you advise me? What can you teach me? All of this learning is possible.

Your Signature

There is an awareness of all that exists inside of you. Your different life expressions from other lifetimes become what we call your signature or your imprint. When you tap into these other lifetimes, you can recall or find out about those experiences of what you were or who you were. And these experiences are all happening at the same time; they are all happening now. Your right brain knows this. Since journeying is a right brain function, we can experience this truth more easily while we are journeying.

The vastness of the world is often greater than what our mind can comprehend. Our left brain wants to contain, describe, and limit things. In this limited reality, the question of “Who am I?” stays in a small, restricted container based on this Earth experience. I am female, I am a wife, I am a mother, this is my profession, and this is what I look like.

But a possible goal you might want to investigate are some of these other lifetimes that are you. We want to discover the vastness that is actually inside of you – what you have access to if you would step out of the box and realize that you have these attributes and incredible parts of your being that are magical and profound.

Many people who are positively disposed to this kind of work are drawn to the topic because they have done this in different lifetimes. You might have been a healer, a shaman, a medicine person, or somebody that sees the future. So you have a propensity and a desire to continue with that learning as you experience this lifetime. You are drawn to certain essences and natures because it is in your soul; it is in your cells. Your love of nature may indicate that you were a part of nature at one time, a deva or an elf. Let’s say you see a piece of art and feel a deep, connecting love. Who knows, you may have been the artist in another lifetime. Why do you love and commune with crystals? Maybe you were a crystal.

Try to conceptualize this wisdom that we carry inside of us. Who are we? A bat, grass in a meadow, a leaf on an oak tree, a mountain, or perhaps a stone or a wisdom keeper that has been around for millions of years. A million years is but a moment in immortality. You keep incarnating. You might be on the planet Earth for a while, and then you might be on a different planet. You could be a star! There are endless possibilities.

So as we take our awareness out of that little box, we can indeed sense the vastness of the life force that beats within us. It is not just about this existence; there is a vastness to you that is far beyond this particular lifetime. This is where our focused attention is, right here and now, but let us not just limit ourselves to that. As you become unlimited in your awareness of space and time, you open yourself up to a much greater understanding of what life actually is – not just human life, but all life, in the landscape, or a drop of water, or the ocean, or any of the various objects you might imagine yourself to be.

What I am attempting to do is to get you out of that left brain and into that magical right brain where all possibilities are endless.

Lets try another exercise:

Since reading this brief article I would like you to again describe yourself.  However this time, if you have a rattle (or something that makes a rattle noise like a bottle of pills) rattle by your ear.  Rattle like this for about 2-4 minutes allowing the sound to gently altar your brain waves. Once finished with the rattling, close your eyes and ask within yourself, Who am I? With your piece of paper ready start free writing on your paper.  Just allow the words to flow without much thought. Keep asking within, describe me, who am I? Notice if there is a difference between your two writings.  Notice if your second personal description is more expansive and less compartmentalized into the description of your physical life.

This simple exercise can inform you on many deep levels of your vastness and beauty.  Your internal spirit will always give you positive, beautiful, loving information it is not connected to your left brain, but connected to your spirit, your soul, or your divine essence.  It is beautiful, exquisite and magnificent.  The soul is a shapeshifter.

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Cutting the Cords of Negative Energy

Cutting the Cords of Negative Energy by Jan Engels-Smith

Human beings are primarily energy systems having a human experience.  Our energy systems are complex and reach far out of the body surrounding the body in fields of energy. These fields can be called auras, subtle body fields, or electromagnetic fields depending on which discipline you follow: metaphysics or science.  These fields of energy can extend out several feet from the body. There are also energy fields inside the body, which are called chakras.  Chakras are more like broadcasting towers and actually feed the subtle body fields around us.

My point in describing this is to help readers understand that energy is the predominate part of our make up and is a major component of our emotional stability, mental clarity, and spiritual awareness.

Our energy is not static but is extremely fluid.  It can be lost, hijacked, contaminated, or stolen.  It can also be refueled, ignited, heightened, attuned and returned.  Maintaining our energy fields and energy system is a major component of good health.  Unfortunately most people are unaware of this need and go through most of their life not sustaining or performing maintenance on their energy system.  The outcome from this lack of attention can present in emotional instability or complications, mental cloudiness or obsessive thinking, and spiritual stagnation.  In fact, all illness is caused by faulty energy frequencies in the body.

The emphasis is this article is on the “cording” of energy.   Every event that you encounter or interaction that you have results in a connection of your energy with this external experience.  These “cords” create the synergistic interchange that both affects the experience and, in response, alters your own being. The result may be minor (although cumulatively significant) or majorly impactful. For example, your memories are a result of the energy interaction you are experiencing with your environment.  Your memory is a result of synapses in the brain (energy currents) bringing a recall into focus.  Metaphysically, we can understand the cords are being “read” and a vague memory may achieve clarity—even into all of our other lifetimes. These connections may be very positive in providing constructive and useful benefits, but there are dangers as well. In the myriad of experiences in our current life combined with the incidents from many past lives, we can become severely entangled in cords, which can present in multiple ways.  We may not be able to let go of lost loves, wounds, or haunting memories. We have all experienced the mental conversation with ourselves after a difficult conversation where we imagine what we wish we had said and even, at times, invent a new conversation and believe a new truth that differs from what actually happened. This is an example of cords being energetically activated to keep this situation alive and present in our psyche.  These energetic connections can affect a person’s heart rate, pulse, and temperate as well as create an extreme emotional state, such as experiencing anger while remembering an uncomfortable incident. The incident may have happened years previously, but we still respond because the energy is still contained in our long-distance connection. Needless to say, these counterproductive cords can be very destructive for the individual and need to be disengaged or cut in order to find peace and wellbeing.

Cord cutting is part of the maintenance of the energy system.  Not all cords are negative or binding in nature.  Some cords are part of our energy imprint of our soul’s evolution through space and time. Children often cord with their parents and parents with their children.  If a situation feels unfamiliar or possibly scary, a young child will step between a parent’s legs.  Energetically a cord is coming from the root chakra of the parent that feels nurturing to the child, energetically informing him that he is safe. However, a negative entanglement may only be resolved by performing a cord cutting. In this act, intention will always be a key factor in finding the correct cords to cut.

Cords usually are connected to energy centers or chakras in the body. The presence of the cord in connection with a particular chakra will determine the emotional component of the cord.  Each chakra exchanges particular energy with our physical, emotional, and spiritual environment—such as love relationships in the heart chakra, loss of power in the solar plexus, or not feeling worthy in the root.  However, since no event is usually singular there can be many cords connecting for various reasons throughout an energy system. Fatigue or exhaustion, guilt, obsessive thinking, not being able to let go of an issue or person, or prolonged grief are a few examples of symptoms of needing a cord cutting.  In my personal view, one could do cord cuttings daily to relieve anxieties and to strip away unhealthy thoughts, just as one might take a daily shower to enter the day fresh and energized. Of course some cord cuttings require more extensive attention and effort.

There are many different methods that can be used in cord cutting. In my personal healing sessions with clients, I always incorporate a very specialized cord cutting—one that the spirits taught me and is very ceremonial in nature. This ritualistic severing of the cord can also be used to restore lost soul pieces.  Many of my clients have experienced amazing results where difficult issues fade away out of the conscious mind and even sometimes out of the memory.  I myself experienced this after I did a session on myself.  My father was a main perpetrator in my life and it seems most of my healing work for myself was about him.  Workshops, private sessions, readings, and self help classes I participated in always seemed to surface him as the source of pain that required my healing.  When the spirits taught me this particular cord cutting, I performed a full session on myself employing all of the ceremony and ritual that I would use for a client.   A few months later I was attending a healing training seminar with a friend and we were to bring up an event that had created an energetic wound.  My friend leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Are you going to work on your dad?”  Since at that moment he was the farthest thought from my mind, I then realized how effectively that ceremony had worked.  I could barely remember my issues with him; they were gone.   I had been truly freed.

In the case of cord cutting concerning family members or loved ones that you are still very involved with, please realize that the intention of cord cutting will remove the difficult situations not the person from your life.  It is always good practice to keep your most precious relationships clear of negative cords; this keeps the relationship healthy and vital.

I can not fully describe the previously mentioned ceremonial cord cutting in this brief article because I can’t explain its contents without readers being fully trained in shamanic energy medicine techniques; however, I can share a ceremony that is profound and I use in workshops with my students.  It is important to remember that it is your birthright to be happy, vital, joyful and sovereign.  Many people are not in those states of well-being because energetically they haven’t been taken care of or learned how to care for themselves as adults.  But happiness and well-being are the natural conditions of life.  Cutting cords and performing energetic clean up is natural and necessary.  Nature does it automatically and naturally.

My favorite example of this is from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  Tolle shares his observation that after two ducks get into a fight they separate and float off in opposite directions. Then they each flap their wings vigorously a few times to get rid of the surplus energy that built up during the fight. After flapping their wings they float on peacefully, as if nothing had happened. Dogs shake, ducks flap, and cords are cut automatically.  Humans seem to have lost this natural release function as the ego developed and ruled.  Now we need to incorporate ritual to obtain the same outcome.

Here is a basic technique:

  • State your intention to envision the cords that are binding you to your unhappiness.  You can change the intention with whichever words feel more fitting, i.e.  “My intention is to cut all the cords that are negatively binding me to unemployment.”  or “ My intention is to cut all the cords that are negatively binding me to unhappiness with my spouse.”
  • Envision yourself sitting in nature in a beautiful place.  The sun is shining and you feel safe, peaceful and full of grace.
    A bright light appears and you realize that this light is creator, source or the divine.  It shines brightly on you and illuminates your chakras.
  • Starting at your feet, ask to see the cords that are coming off your foot that are binding you to your unhappiness.  Once the cord appears in your imagination follow it out and see what or who is attached to it. (This could be this lifetime or any other lifetime; don’t try to control this with what you know.)
  • Once the person, place or thing appears, envision that you are holding a great sword, laser, or some sort of cutting device.
    State: “With the power of love and the empowerment of Source within me I cut this cord and I am free.”
  • At that moment cut the cord off of yourself and then make a second cut to remove the cord from whoever or whatever is attached to it.  Actually move your arm through space in a cutting motion.
  • The cord will fall to the ground and who or what it was attached to will float off untethered from the cord.
  • Go through each chakra: root, adnominal, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown.  You can also do your shoulders and hands before the crown.  The crown is always last.
  • Once this is complete ask the light of source to fill you completely.  Envision this and your true self appearing. Your true self is yourself that has no harm, wounds, or disappointments.  It is the version of you that is your perfect self.  Ask this true self to come and merge with you and source.  Once this happens the cord cutting is complete.
  • Envision yourself in this merged state gathering up the cords and envision a sacred fire burning.  Burn the cords in the fire.  Once the cords are burned, state, “It is finished” three times.  Say “Thank you” and come out of the visualization.

The power to be free lies within each of us and only requires a personal decision to accept the perfection of our true self in a perfect universe.

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Realization

Realization by Jan Engels-Smith

Lately I have found myself in what I call the  “North” energies.  To me the North energies represent a time of great reflection, being still, evaluating my life and noticing what it is that I am undertaking, holding on to, or resisting, and what it is that I need to “die to” and let go of.  It is also a time of being in awe of the marvelous life ride I have been on, the choices I have made, and possibly being able to view those choices with 20/20 hindsight of how they have unfolded.

I believe that each person is eventually called to connect with the vastness of spirit and the mysteries of life, and that each calling is unique to that individual.   Some of these callings will be blatant and others subtle; however, all will encompass a decision, then action and change.  Many times there is a loss of the familiar. It is in the loss that many people bail from their commitment to follow the internal call that has sounded. However, the loss or the letting go of the familiar is what clears the way for the remarkable transformation that is brewing just below the surface. Resistance to this change can cause stagnation and lack of growth.  If there is trust, perseverance, determination, patience, and receptivity there can be life-changing transformation that propels a person onto a new purposeful life path that continually unfolds.  Life is never stagnant.  While consumed by these North energies I have been reflecting on my life’s work, which is soul retrieval through the template of shamanism, and this is my beginning story.

I was introduced to alternative healing in a very alternative way. I had a vision. In my vision an old Indian woman approached me. When I asked who she was, she replied:

I am you,

I am your mother,

I am your sister,

I am your grandmother,

I am the Earth.

She had gray hair pulled back tightly in a bun, and her skin was wrinkled and weathered by life. She was wrapped in a wool blanket and was smoking a pipe. She asked if I wanted to join in the sisterhood but warned me that my life would be forever changed. I was doubtful, but I kept hearing the word “Trust” in the background. I nodded my head and spoke the word “Yes.”

I remember being extremely nervous, but there was a peculiar kind of strength surrounding and supporting me. We sat down and she handed me the pipe and we smoked it together, passing it back and forth.

When we finished smoking the pipe, she spoke again. “Your guidance will be provided. Your medicine that you carry is North—Wisdom, Healing, and Love. Begin at this time to start reading and learn to understand the Ways.”

Looking back on this experience, I see the meaning of the vision with clarity and understand fully the intent of the visitation, but at the time I was left perplexed and wondering. I had had no exposure to any indigenous teachings. I didn’t know what sisterhood meant. I didn’t know anything about the pipe ceremony; I didn’t even know that it was traditional for Indians to smoke pipes. My only exposure to this Native American ritual was from Westerns on TV when some white person would come across a tribe of Indians and they would sit and smoke the peace pipe as a sign that they would try not to kill each other anymore. I had no idea what the word medicine meant except as some combination of chemical elements to take when you are sick. I was engulfed in the mystery of the vision, but confused as to its meaning. Why had I had a vision? What did it mean? What, if anything, was I supposed to do with these strange images that had invaded my consciousness? So many unanswered questions.

Even to start reading about the Ways presented a mystery. What were the Ways? Where would I find readings that would teach me the Ways? I was involved in psychology in a very traditional way; I knew no other way. I was active at the time in the Methodist Church. In fact, I was considering studying for a Doctorate in Theology and perhaps pursuing a ministry. This vision was not at all a part of my existing reality system; it left me completely baffled. However, my love for Source was so great that I honored the experience. I reminded myself of the many stories in the Bible where visions had occurred with wondrous messages accompanying them. I believed that this vision had come to me for a purpose I did not yet understand. However, for me to fully honor this spiritual visit, I needed to seek greater understanding. Thus began my voyage of discovery. It would prove to alter my very existence and it is a voyage I continue to this day. The wonder of it has proven to be in the journey itself, not in any final destination.

I am a person of commitment. I am dedicated in the pursuit of my goals and persistent about overcoming any obstacles. My tenacity has often helped me to reach success in spite of difficult objectives. I love to see the impossible become possible, and the unrealistic become real. I did not know where the new challenge of my vision would take me, but I was prepared by habit to pursue it to its conclusion.

I committed to joining the sisterhood, whatever that was. I had made a contract with the vision, and I would keep my commitment. I just had no idea what to do or where to start. I felt that I needed guidance, but there was no one in my network of friends with that kind of knowledge, and only one with whom I was comfortable even mentioning the experience. It took one year before I found anyone that could help me understand what it meant.  During that year I experienced extreme loss.  Best friends that I loved deeply could not understand the deep changes I was experiencing.  Talking about a vision or aberration that showed up in my living room left me sounding “crazy’ to them, like I had folded from the stress of my job.  At the time I was working on the dissociative ward in a psyche hospital specializing in multiple personality clientele.   For many of my friends and family members my new truth was strange, perhaps abnormal, and it was in conflict with the Bible belt religious belief systems that were prevalent where we lived and my beliefs were more than many of my friends could manage.  My friends started to abandon me in very hurtful ways. Thank heaven my marriage survived this shift. I also became extremely ill, which now in hindsight I recognize is often another sign of deep transformation.  I was weak, exhausted, and brokenhearted. My losses were unimaginably difficult and I was suffering.  I needed to escape the pain.

We moved from Dallas, Texas to Portland, Oregon. This move created wholesale changes in my life: a new job, new community, new church, and new friends. I did not know at the time, but I understand now that this move was part of a major shift that would lead to a reordering of my life.  In fact I now see how I was plucked out of that environment and placed into another.

Shortly after the move, I was at the Oregon coast with my husband who was attending a convention. He returned to our hotel room from a presentation saying, “Jan, come down to the vendor displays with me and meet this person who has a booth with some very unusual books. I think you will be intrigued.”

I followed him down and browsed through the various books. They addressed a wide range of spiritual matters, many from nontraditional perspectives. I don’t remember the specific titles of the books, but I do remember feeling an uncontrollable urge to ask the sales woman if she knew anything about visions/aberrations. She did not, but offered me the name of a woman who might help. I remember the excitement, the bolt of energy, that ran through me as she handed me a business card with the woman’s name and phone number written on the back. I called immediately when I returned to Portland.

The woman referred to herself as a channel and claimed that she connected with the client’s guardian spirits or angels, for guidance. She told me over the phone that she felt that my own guardian spirits could help me understand my vision. I caught my breath. The whole concept of guardian spirits was completely foreign to me. I had been to psychics in the past, but I had never experienced anyone who claimed to channel. I had little idea what the word channel meant or what I had gotten myself into. Yet still I was curious and felt innately that this was the right choice. I drove to her house.

The woman took me to a small room and, after some preliminary information; she entered into a trance and started speaking to me in a strong and unusual accent. My mouth fell open. I was overwhelmed with the information I received, but equally awed by the feel of love that emanated from the words. During the session my guardian spirits explained to me the different symbology that was used in my vision. They also suggested that I buy books about shamanism, healing, and soul retrieval. I was to learn of this ancient healing technique. Through the process of learning about shamanism, I would remember many things recorded in the cells of my being that had to do with my purpose in this lifetime.  It was later revealed that they were referring to my life long career doing soul retrievals.

My mind raced at the conclusion of the session. I had heard so much that was new to me, most of which I had little or no understanding. At this point in my life, reincarnation and the possibilities of other lifetimes existed only as a part of Eastern religions. Now, I was being told that I too had previous lives, and that it was possible to remember them. All of this felt very odd to me, but at least I had received an explanation of my original vision and a suggestion of books that would help me understand more. The directive to read was a comfortable and acceptable assignment, so I immediately bought several of the recommended titles.

From that point on everything changed. Due to this shift in my awareness and my willingness to open to new possibilities, I became exposed to the people, training, and concepts that completely remolded my life and my profession. Each shift has been a step along the divine path of my development and my understanding of how we all can heal.

I have questioned spirit on many occasions about the loss, suffering, or hardship that frequently accompanies transformation.  The spirits have redirected my question and asked me, what have you been praying for? I realized that my own heart yearnings had been present most of my life.  My prayer of greater understanding of God, life, and what I would call religious understandings (remember at that stage of my life my only context for God was enmeshed in Christianity and I was considering a doctorate in theology) put these creative energies into motion.  However, my involvement with the church was not the venue for my deepest connection and severing this relationship would not come without resistance on my part.  On the whole, humans hate change and will not easily give up their attachments, belief systems, friendships, or loyalties.  The resistance to the change that is necessarily for the transformation to take place is the problem and causes the suffering.  In my own life example I could have chosen to try and heal the friendships that were being severed and deny the esoteric experience of my vision.  That route might have felt safer, more familiar and easier but I believe I would have suffered more emotionally with a lack of satisfaction or fulfillment in life.  My prayers opened an unexpected door and my decision to follow the new path paved the way.  At the time it seemed to be the hardest thing I had ever done; now it seems the most obvious choice.

Possibly you have had longings, curiosities, or just felt like you don’t fit in traditional belief systems.  Maybe you have had extraordinary encounters with spirits, angels, emotions, or places and tried to explain them to others but received back only odd looks, disparaging comments or, worse yet, humiliated.  These judgments can cause people to step back and shield themselves, cutting themselves off from the necessary movement forward.  It can be very confusing but realize that change must happen within the individual and this change has to do with letting go of old ways of being—letting go of friends, spouses, careers or whatever is in the way and not supportive to the initiated change.

Since the original vision, I have had numerous additional spiritual experiences. I began to reorder my life, to renew my thinking, and to interlace my knowledge of psychology with elements of spirit and actual teachings from the spiritual realm. As I integrated these experiences into my own consciousness, I became acutely aware that my experiences were not only for me but to be used as teachings for others. The teachings and experiences hold universal messages, or basic truths, that need to be shared. In fact I would go so far to say that the extraordinary is now the norm in my life.

Truly, each person is called to connect with the vastness of spirit and the mysteries of life and each calling is unique to each individual.   If you feel that you fit this call of the inner shaman, take action, let go of resistances, seek out a teacher and move forward in your own self-discovery.

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A Simple Process to Change Your Life

A Simple Process to Change Your Life by Jan Engels-Smith

Here is a simple process to change your life. Throughout the day have checkpoints about your thinking. Ask yourself the question. Does this thought make me feel good or does this thought make me feel bad? If it makes you feel bad quit thinking it; if it makes you feel good, have at it and enjoy your process.

Every one of us has opinions about many things. Opinions stimulate an internal emotional response and offer a vibrational frequency that resonates throughout the universe and every opinion is a point of attraction that attracts other like frequencies. Before offering an opinion or even pondering one, consider the quality of your view. Will this opinion help or hinder your overall well being?

There are two parts of you. Your egoic wounded self and your true self. Your true self knows no wound, only unconditional love. Each day ask yourself to embody more of your true self than your egoic wounded self.

Sometimes it is hard to discern whether you are thinking about that which you desire or thinking about what you don’t desire. We often think about why a problem is a problem instead of a solution to the problem. Focusing on just the problem can increase frustration, anger, or helplessness—all negative emotions that attract more negativity. On the other hand, considering a resolution to a problem generates feelings of hope, harmony, and peace—positive emotions that send out positive vibrations that promote greater concord and amity. Ask yourself what feelings you seek in the solution that you need and then try to find those feelings in other areas of your life. Where have you found your greatest harmony with the universe and when have you felt the most confident in your personal power? As soon as you start replicating the feelings you had in these circumstances then you will start attracting more of this positive energy, which usually opens the door to the solution that you seek.

To become aware of “your point of attraction” will have tremendous value in creating the type of life that you desire. Your point of attraction is determined by your feelings. Points of attraction can be created by either deliberate action or by subconscious thoughts. Deliberate means that you are consciously paying attention to your feelings and what you are attracting to yourself. Not being deliberately conscious of your feelings may result in your subconscious attracting feelings from a wounded past or other previous negative experience. This mental inaction might lead you to think that bad things just happen to you naturally and that you do not have a role to play in determining your situation. Instead, you must realize that you are a vibrational being that creates realities through the energies that you project from yourself and the corresponding dynamisms that you attract by these projections.

What you think and what you feel will determine what you attract in each moment. Too simple you say? Ask yourself, how happy can I be today? You might be surprised how one happy or pleasant thought can course through your body and multiply the positive energies of contentment, joy, or even ecstasy.

Try this exercise. Before you drink a glass of water, hold the glass between your hands and think of positive words you would like to imbue into the water. The water absorbs these energies. When you drink the newly imbued water you are letting that positive energy flow throughout your body, into every cell, and into your mind. Your body is about 65-85% water and the molecules of the water that you have imbued with positive energies will permeate all the cells of your body and alter your state of being.

When you wake in the morning—before anything else—set a quick intention. Mine is: I love my life. This sets the tone for the entire day.

Daydreaming is a wonderful tool of creation. Pause throughout the day and daydream about what you enjoy. Not what you want, but what you enjoy. This wonderful activity has tremendous value in your well being.

Quantum physics tells us that when you observe an experiment you change the outcome of the experiment because you have observed it. If a scientist has an opinion about what he or she is observing, the results can be affected by the attitude of the observer. This breakthrough in science represents what metaphysics has been declaring for decades. If you observe your thoughts (which is the same as observing an experiment) you can automatically change the outcome of events in a very deliberate way.

We can be very influenced by the media or the collective mass consciousness. However you always have ultimate control. It is your birthright. If you don’t like what the media or the mass consciousness dictates, don’t accept it, and create your own reality through deliberate choice. This is not done by focusing on the negative quality of the existing reality but by creating positive thoughts about around the possible good outcomes that can replace the negativity of inevitable catastrophe and hopelessness. We all saw in the recent terrorist attacks in Paris a startling difference in the pain of the immediate tragedy and the subsequent outpouring of love and hope that emanated from the masses that gathered to celebrate life, not death. People were drawn together by a positive energy to affirm what is good in our relationships, not in the isolation of despair.

You get to choose what you want for yourself today—what thoughts you want to think and what feelings you want to feel.

If there is a person in your life who pushes your buttons, spend some time today sending him or her your love and blessings. Don’t try to justify why they don’t deserve your love or blessings; that just adds to the problem. Just express your best self.   You will feel an immediate relief.

Do you BELIEVE that you can have your heart’s desire or whatever is on your manifestation list? If you do not, then the “do not” energy is your primary broadcast. It will cancel out any prayer, wish, or pleading that you project. It is easy to change a “do not” vibration by moving into appreciation. Appreciate what you “DO” have and what has already manifested in your life. This will get your energy broadcast in a good place.

There is a paradox that I try to remember whenever I struggle with a situation. When I surrender and let go of the control that I try to exercise over the situation, I allow the magnificence that surrounds me the opportunity to infiltrate my awareness. It is easy to feel good when things are comfortable and going well. However, it is in life’s struggles that we find the greatest opportunities for growth and evolution of our consciousness. Notice where you struggle and what opportunities the struggles present.

The most powerful part of the human body is the heart. Not the mind, but the heart. Open your heart and notice how it feels.

Do you ever have knee jerk responses to situations or people? Knee jerk responses are because you are in a habit of thinking, feeling and responding a particular way. You can prevent conditioned negative responses through the practice of deliberate feel good exercise. The more you practice feeling good, the more the feel-good response will imbue your being. In time, your automatic reaction to anything will be positive, uplifting and loving. I have developed a discipline that I call the feel good challenge. It is something that I practice daily and you can find the entire process on my web site. Here is a sampling of a few of the challenges:

  1. Complaining is an energy that causes more problems. Some people are unaware of how much they complain. Some people think that the complaining will actually change a situation. Complaining is a low frequency energy that will actually cause your body to ache, your pocketbook to drain, and your relationships to be strained. Instead relook at any situation that you feel upset about and try to reframe it. If that seems too hard to do, decide to focus on a few aspects of your life where you can feel appreciation.

What are 5 FEELINGS you choose to feel today that will invoke appreciation

Here are mine: Potential, Choice, Inspired, Motivated, Bright

  1. A major part of life is managing relationships. Even if you are not partnered you are in relationships. You are in relationship to others, relationship to the earth, relationship to your body, and relationship to the divine. How you manage these relationships will indicate where you are in balance or not in balance. To ascend into higher dimensions of thought and well being all these relationships need to be healthy. They become healthy through positive attitude and feelings.

What are 5 feeling words you can bring to your relationships today?

Here are mine: Appreciation, Awestruck, Thankfulness, Forgiveness, Humility

  1. Be curious and expect miracles. Curiosity allows the mind to have a certain amount of freedom. This raises your vibration. Curiosity is a good thing. Anything that raises your vibration is a good thing. Be curious, expect the best, and enjoy.

What are 5 FEELINGS you choose to feel today that will invoke curiosity in your life?

Here are mine: Wonderment, Openness, Expansion, Newness, Inventiveness

  1. Through the Laws of Creation you have created yourself. Your core is divine and magnificent. If you have created a lesser version of that to show to the world then you can recreate that version to match your core. The choice is always yours. You create with words, thoughts and feelings. Celebrate yourself!

What are 5 FEELINGS you choose to feel today that expresses celebratory words for life and the version of yourself you wish to present to the world?

Here are mine: Free, Excited, Full of potential, Magnificent, Exhilarated

  1. The Laws of Creation tell us that your vibrational broadcast will equal how you feel and thus how you create. You determine your creation right NOW by how you feel. If you modify your feelings you transform your creation. What do you want to create today?

What are 5 FEELINGS you choose to feel today that will support what you wish to create for yourself?

Here are mine: Love, Equality, Prosperity, Happiness, Connection

If you enjoyed this exercise, please join us for the FEEL GOOD CHALLENGE daily on Facebook! It will change your life, it will help humanity, and it will be FUN.

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Faeries

Faeries by Jan Engels-Smith

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind….”

W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

Our world is diverse, not only with the obvious diversities among humans such as race, socio-economic status, religion, language, and cultures, but also in the diversity in the unseen worlds. Several years ago the spirits told me that we see less than 1% of our surroundings, and quantum physics posits that our perceptions of energy are even smaller and that we are aware of less than .001% of our surroundings. In other words, we are blind to most of the context in which we live. There are dimensions and realities that we share on the earth that are as developed and comprehensive as our own natural world and there are diverse “other” beings that live among us.

One of these mysterious worlds is the faery realm, the hidden folk, or people of the Shea (pronounced Fay). In the early 1990’s I saw a documentary on Iceland and the residents of this country who hold beliefs in the faery realm. The documentary included interviews with the president of Iceland, teachers, road workers, city planners, and country folk. The Icelandic culture is steeped in their beliefs in faeries and their respect in sharing the land with this mostly invisible culture.

Before housing developments, highways, roads, malls or other structures are built on open land, survey crews take note of where faery villages are located and either move them or go around them so as not to disrupt or destroy the faery habitat. The documentary did not go into an in-depth explanation of how the villages are identified; however, it was implied that the Icelandic culture knows how to do this. I was intrigued with the documentary and how this culture taught about the faeries in school, featured them in newspaper articles, and had a widespread acceptance of the faerie kingdom. The president himself stated that of course he believed in faeries.

During my many years as a shamanic practitioner and teacher, the faeries have been instrumental in my work and my play. Making the decision to open the door of the truth to this realm, I have then allowed there to be interaction. “I’ll believe it when I see it” is a statement of limitation and contributes to the perception of blindness to the greater mysteries of existence. We make a choice of how open we will be to possibilities and one of those choices is to decide “I’ll see it when I believe it.” New realities emerge in direct proportion to our willingness to imagine and to dream—our access to the places of alternate realities. The spirits have often said that if a person just suspends their disbelief that new realities can present.

Faeries can be found anywhere. They are not limited to pristine natural environments, although these locations are often full of faery activity. If you are a city dweller you can find faeries in parks, in your yard, or in other natural settings and you can invite them to present. Classically, faery rings, which are circles of stones, can be constructed with the intent that you would like to interact and the rings invite this realm into your life.

My first induction into this world of faeries was the result of a dying tree in my yard. The nursery that I used came out to diagnose the blight I saw on the tree and I was told that the tree had a virus that would not only cause the tree to die but would spread throughout my yard, killing many plants. It was recommended that I destroy the tree, dig up a majority of my yard, and dispose the effected soil. This was devastating news to me as my gardens are my pride and joy. I don’t even have grass in my front yard but have landscaped it with gorgeous flowers and trees.

I remembered a story that my friend Tom Cowan had told. Tom is a renowned Celtic shaman and I have taken several classes from him. Celtic shamanism has many traditions steeped in faery lore.   Tom told a story that involved a tree he was trying to save from dying (Elm’s Disease I believe) and how he had invoked the faery realm to help. Remembering this story gave me the incentive to try something similar. I decided to create a faery ring around the tree with a circle of stones. I then journeyed to the faery realm and asked the faeries to help. In exchange, I committed to make daily offerings to them, which included singing to them. The faeries use the essence of energies to keep their world strong and vital. Since the faery realm is based on music, joy, and beauty, the essence of these things can be used as vital life force. The faeries always require an exchange for services much like we do in the human realm. With this in mind I hung tiny wind chimes in the tree and adorned it with other special decorations. Faeries love beauty and cleanliness and shiny things so it is always good practice to pay attention to the circle and maintain it in good ways.

At LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine we have a number of songs that are designated “faery songs.” We often sing them with the intent to send powerful life force to this realm. It was these songs that I sang each day to my personal faery ring. I never treated the tree with harsh chemicals to kill the virus nor did I try to cut out the black bark that was a result of the virus. Almost the entire lower half of the tree was discolored and black. Yet soon, a new growth appeared not at the top of the tree but around the base. This new growth started to encase the weakened areas of the tree. It was obvious that the tree was being “helped” for the growth was out of the norm of tree growing patterns. For years I would show people the miraculous change in the tree and tell the story of the faery doctoring that the tree received. Now almost twenty years later there is no evidence of the damage to the tree and the story needs to be taken on faith. I realized this when Tom was visiting last spring and I wanted to show him the results of his teaching that summoned the faeries that we both admire and love. I still keep the sacred stones and regularly tend the faery ring. The faeries have become a major ally for me entrusted with my most precious prayers and concerns.

I have many great stories of faery interaction including one involving a friend of mine. Robin was on a trip to Scotland with Tom Cowan and the intent of the trip was to travel to famous Celtic sites and conduct ceremonies. One of these sites is a faery glen that is famous for faery interaction. Robin attended more for the sake of his wife Colleen, who was studying shamanism, and he had only a minor interest in the topic of faeries. Robin reluctantly decided to participate in the designated activity and he took his rattle out into the glen. He was immediately altered and felt a strong directive coming from somewhere. He was told to “clean up the glen.” He could feel a pull from an invisible force and hear a distinct voice directing him to go to certain places. The necessary cleanup was not obvious to others that visited the glen. Even though the faeries claim to like shiny things they don’t like metal and they don’t like a mess. Robin was directed to dig with his hands into the dirt where he would find metal scrap—objects buried in the landscape invisible to public view yet unacceptably invasive in the faery realm. Sometimes Robin would hear a comment such as, this is scaring our children or this is in our way or this is ugly. He was asked to remove the intrusive objects. He even had to dig with his fingernails into a tree to pull out a nail. His fingers bled with the effort. All in all he found 19 items, which he still has to this day. He brought them home as mementos of a magical time in the glen. From Tom’s perspective, Robin appeared to move in a trance-like fashion. Tom also saw shimmering lights in front of Robin, directing his path. Tom commented that he was fascinated when he first observed him but he had no idea what had happened to Robin or why he was behaving in such a strange way. Since that trip in 1999, Robin has had an intimate relationship with the faery realm and many magical things have happened to him and for him especially in the area of his business and prosperity. The exchange seems to be one that keeps on giving.

Shamanically speaking the faeries live in the middle world, which is the same world that we live in. They have many of the same cultural structures in place as we do, such as nurseries for the children, schools, hospitals and villages. They live in groups. They have social gatherings and conferences. Their mission is to keep the earth beautiful. They are bound to their original instructions forfeiting free will to maintain their mission. They are not all knowing like many spiritual allies are; however, they are magical, directly influence the human realm and can make things happen for us that many other spirits cannot. If you are interested in building a relationship with them, build a faery ring, sing to them, make offerings to them, and watch what happens.

Note the faery playing a flute in the photo I included. The photo was taken by my daughter of a plant in my yard.

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Climate Change

Climate Change by Jan Engels-Smith

This article is a continuation of last month’s article and the information that poured into me at our camp during LightSong’s 30th practicum. The focus for this article is the teaching that there is always a bigger picture occurring energetically that is often divine in character.  This bigger picture can be for every event that takes place, however that can present overwhelming challenges to try and explain so I will choose a couple topics to flesh out that came through at the practicum. As a teaching tool I would like you to image events, lifetimes, or issues, as a series of concentric circles.  The center nucleus being the presenting issue that has taken place.  Each concentric ring extending out from the center is a “different and more aware perception” of what the issue is actually about.  The energy moves away from the presenting facts and actually moves towards a more spiritual perspective.  The furthest circles may not address the issue at all but encompass an “understanding of life”

We have all received these teaching before in various forms using different verbiage.  Some examples are.

climate change

 

1.     You can not solve a problem at the same level as the problem.  Meaning if you are caught in the center with the presenting issues you are not moving into a more spiritual or aware mindset and you will stay caught in the problem.  (This is the subject that the spirits decided to teach at practicum).

2.     Life is about perception, and your perception will determine your attitude, your words, your thoughts, and your action.

3.     Change your perception and change your life.

The spirits highlighted a very hot topic to present these teaching at the practicum:  The topic of climate change.  At the very core or the center ring this topic is full of emotion, blame, and cause. We have the villains of the issue: fossil fuel emissions, deforestation, and the build up of greenhouse gases.  We become emotional with the news or experience of forest fires, drought, polar ice melting, the loss of species, catastrophic weather patters, or earthquakes.  We might become angry with politicians and their lack of attention or the greed of big business and oil companies.  Feelings of helplessness overwhelm, anger, disgust, or rage can be the result.  All of these emotions keep attention on the problem fueled with low frequency energies, which through the creation laws keep us captive to the problem with no escape and creating more of the problem.

As the spirits continued with their teaching moving into greater awareness of the issue they highlighted certain spiritual facts.

1.     There is a bigger reason for all events.

2.     The spirits love us and work with us with our prayers and desires.

3.     The universe is on our side, working for us not against us.

4.     Love prevails and is the strongest creative force in the universe.

5.     All things are created from love but it might take great exploration to find.

I for one have been praying for global peace, unity, harmony, balance, and well being for years.  It is a constant prayer of mine.  I believe that most of my readers would agree with this prayer and they too speak something similar.  So how can the world look so dismal and disjointed?  The spirits had me move away from the core of the issue of climate change and look at a bigger picture.  That possibly climate change is part of an answered prayer, that the earth is responding to us in a way that can be helpful.  What is a bigger perspective that is actually happening?

For the first time in history countries, nations, big business, clergy, lay people, scientists are actually coming together having conversations working in collaboration and in unity.  Politicians have to address issues and changes are finally happening that have the earth as the center point for wellness.  Alliances, teamwork, and relationships are being established.  Even the Pope is highlighting this to the peoples of the church.   In the bigger picture cosmic forces have come together to help us wake up and possibly achieve the peace, unity, harmony, balance and well being that we have prayed about.  Climate change is bringing people together. It is a catalyst of transformation.

So each one of us has to imagine Climate change being a gift instead of a problem and this changed perception will change the energy of it.  The changed perception puts energies into motion. Hold this intention in your heart.  We are creator beings and where we put our energy will manifest. The nature spirits say we love you more than you can ever imagine.

Another layer is to realize that so much of our belief of human existence is that humanity is destructive which goes back to the belief of original sin. We believe ourselves to be destructive so we consistently create that belief.   This has become cellular in many. We need to challenge this belief and change the core beliefs at a genetic level.

If we believe that we are gift and love ourselves as a species on earth we can make the difference and create that change.

We strive for a generational shift from the older generations, which are littered with guilt that humans are in charge of creating the damage on earth.  Look closely at the younger generation who have come in not to harbor this guilt and just go straight into the healing of earth.  Every single person has the full ability to change the whole world single-handedly.

I loved a comment from one of my students, Judith Harrigan who stated. Another version of climate change is the climate of the mind. Moving from greed, self-indulgence, fear, lack of awareness, and obliviousness to one of love, collaboration, unity, and hope. An internal climate change of perception. Personal climate change is the change in the climate of thought and awareness.

The model of the concentric rings can be used personally, and collectively.  Explore your issues.  Where are you caught in the middle and then image, and explore vast possibilities.  Notice and watch what happens energetically inside of you as you do this.  The possibilities are endless; the feelings of wellness are the result.

 

 

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Availability, Willingness, Saying Yes

Availability, Willingness, Saying Yes by Jan Engels-Smith

Each year LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine conducts a practicum for the students.  The practicum setting is beautiful and blissful.  We use pristine land in Tillamook, Oregon, an area that is part of the rain forest of Western Oregon.  We spend a week together camping, singing, journeying, applying the teachings and using the land as a teaching arena. This year was LightSong’s 30th practicum.  During the practicum our spiritual connection is profound and intense. The spirits have consistently supplied me with invaluable information that has literally molded the structure of LightSong and molded the lives of those that participate.  I continually use this information as teaching material in our various classes. It is rich and encourages mind-expanding insights.

There is always a theme that presents during my initial journeys when I am preparing for the experience. These journeys precast the teaching I will deliver to the group.   I never know what the theme will be until we actually embark upon the land. There were four interlocking themes that presented this year:

  • Humans are revered in the universe and being on Earth is equivalent to working on a doctorial degree in spiritual development while enrolled in the Earth school.
  • Life on Earth is about relationships and emotion.
  • The spirits have more access to you to help when you are available and willing and say “Yes.”
  • There is always a bigger picture occurring energetically that is often divine in character.

Each of these themes has several subcategories to them, which I will flesh out in future writings.

Human beings are very complex and accelerated beings in the universe and are esteemed and revered in the cosmos. That doesn’t mean that humans have accelerated intelligence or technical skills, but that we have been many lives in many places and times, and becoming human is to be part of the advanced “school.” In my journeys, the spirits said that before incarnating as human on this planet we incarnate into many animals, plants, geological features, nature spirit forms, and, in fact, most of the things that exist on the earth. We use these incarnations as teachings. Teachings that when remembered bring us into the full expression of being human. Humans are the only species that develops a strong ego, but lifetimes as other creatures are pure and uncomplicated.  Origin instruction isn’t lost in the imprisonment of the ego.  Lessons on love, cooperation, unity, harmony, balance, communication, collaboration, and telepathy are easy and natural from nature.  These lifetimes are documented into our individual signature, which the spirits call our own personal Akashic record that we hold within.

In previous teachings the spirits explained to me that frequently the more difficult the life the more advanced the soul.  I learned while performing soul retrievals on individuals whose character and integrity I might have doubted that the spirits rebuffed me for any negative judgment.  The spirits often displayed extreme reverence for individuals whose character I might have doubted. A person’s actions that might create problems for others might not be appropriate but they are also a challenge to the person who must overcome any interior faults or shortcomings. When I asked about this, the spirits explained that challenges in a person’s life can lead to great advancement and that often extremely difficult life experiences, especially those of the handicapped, are often the source of extremely advanced souls. The degree of success of the individual will be determined by how the person develops in love. The trials and tribulations of a challenging life may well produce a stronger and more developed loving expression, which is seen as an advancement of the soul.

I thought of Stephen Hawkins and his debilitating illness, Ludwig Beethoven’s loss of hearing, and Michelangelo’s failing eyesight that might have ended their lustrous careers before they had accomplished their full destiny and recognized that their challenges might well have compelled them to greater heights of achievement. Each of us faces challenges that may seem insurmountable, but the very act of choosing to overcome these hardships of our life circumstances will lead to ever-greater potentials for accomplishment. Each lifetime contains lessons and humans, to be successful, have to balance heart, mind, and spirit in the rich fields of awareness, love, harmony, and peace if they hope to fully realize what the spirits know to be the natural conditions of existence. Our effort is facilitated by the spirits insistence that we recognize our perfection and move away from judgment, attachment and any sense of futility and toward becoming our true selves.

Earth is the planet of diversity and emotion. We are a people of diverse cultures, races, religions and language. Our emotions govern much of our actions and create strong egoic opinions. Amid this entire myriad of influences, the human race strives to develop a common understanding of the cosmos and attempts to develop an actualization that determines our future and allows for the general ascension of human beings to an awareness of our universal perfection in a loving and supportive universe.

Humans have to coordinate all of this. Every moment of every day each of us is dealing with diversity and attempting to establish positive relationships. It is a challenge that the human race faces as individuals seek self-actualization and collectively we strive to allow our spiritual natures to break free of our egos and self doubts. The fundamental question is how to bring humanity to a higher place and achieve oneness with the cosmos. Every human experience is ultimately about relationships.  We seek personal mastery but with the goal of living in harmony with the entire planet and as one with the universe. Since Adam and Eve first established a relationship, civilization has always sought—often with little success—to bring harmony and peace to our world in congruence with all of humanity. The barriers of ego and the attractions of greed and power seem to have always held more appeal than the values of a spiritual life lived in concord with an understanding of the unity of all things in a perfect universe. We seem too willing to accept the inevitability of conflict and divergence because we have been taught in an ego-driven world that that is the nature of existence. The spirits have made it clear that such a decision is in opposition to the true nature of existence.

hathor pyramid

Tom Kenyon, in his book The Hathor Material, supports this concept with a descriptive graph titled the Pyramid of Ascension. The movement of the spiral as it spirals upward strikes all four corners repeatedly. If a corner is not solid in its foundation, the spiral will topple. The four corners are about relationship: to yourself or your Body, to others, to Earth or the elements, and to service.

I want to emphasize that as long as humans have existed or will exist, we will be occupied and engaged with this issue. Our individual attention to the ascension pyramid assists us to focus on our personal challenges with understanding that what we do individually will either help or hinder humanity. Often we don’t realize or comprehend that our individual actions affect all of humanity. We think of ourselves as individuals, with personal experiences and desires, often forgetting that our experiences have a profound affect on the whole of humanity. As we are challenged and work through issues, we are working through issues millions of people hold. They are common to the human condition. As you find success in your concerns, you bring success to others.  The common denominator in all things is relationship. Relationships are about love and the human condition is about discovering what true love is while still juggling opinion, judgment, loss and difficult situations. The spirits say we are learning what it really means to be human as we strive for the glory of harmony in diversity, which they deem as a mastery level incarnation. With that we gain understanding on why we would be revered in the universe and why we are in such a rigorous and demanding school—the Earth school. The concept of the Earth as a school may not be new—in fact I have heard the term Earth School for probably 25 years—however, the new information that the spirits delivered beckoned me to review these teaching another time.

I want to read something that I experienced when my mother passed two years ago.  I made contact with her on the other side on the two-year anniversary of her death.

I wrote about this in my article titled “Death and Dying from a Shamanic Perspective.”

My mom appeared in all her radiance.  The love emanating from her was spellbinding.  We greeted, hugged, kissed, and wrapped ourselves together.  I was overwhelmed with recall of special intimate moments.  My life flashed before me with magical instances with my mom.  It was holographic in nature.  All my senses where activated: smell, touch, sight and sound.  I was reliving my life with my mom much as I would image a life review but everything happened simultaneously and holistically instead of in chronological order. I fully embodied our life together from my birth to her death. I basked in this love fest for several minutes.

As our time progressed and I gained my composure, I asked her what she wished to share with me.  She said: Life is all about relationships.  Love is just another word for relationships.  All relationships need to eventually be unconditional. What you don’t bring into alignment in this lifetime you will repeat until you get it right. (I was thinking Groundhog Day on steroids!)  Time passes on earth like a flash, enjoy and foster good relationships.  Make that happen for yourself. Do whatever you can to make that happen, always. Share this information with your children, your grandchildren, your friends and all that you know. Relationships are the foundation of love.  I contemplated her statements. My mom never taught with words, always through example.  Her relationships were exemplary. Had she discovered the truth about love while living? My heart was bursting.

At our practicum this year, the spirits taught on this subject for the entire week.  In this article I will emphasize three words that they used: availability, willingness and saying Yes.

Availability. What does that mean? How many times a day do you make yourself available to spirit? We are busy beings and often we aren’t available to spirit. We must take the time to listen. The spirits are communicating in everything that we come into contact with every day.

Willingness. Are you willing to be different? Are you willing to make the changes the lesson is asking you to make?

Spirit can do a tremendous amount for you, but you also have free will. You are ultimately in control. When you are ready, say Yes and ask “What can I do every day to put changes into action?” If your actions support your change you will make progress.

 

**Artwork by Margie McMahon

 

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