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Awakening – The Journey of Healing
For ten years I struggled with chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome (CFIDS), and fibromyalgia, illnesses characterized by symptoms including chronic sore throat, swollen lymph glands, sleeplessness, debilitating fatigue, low grade fever, feeling cold to the core, headaches, mental fog, muscle weakness and pain, depression, and the loss of life as it was once lived. My energy was totally depleted. I was barely surviving from day to day. I used to be so full of energy. I had been the person who had to be in on everything and at every event. I ran marathons. I bicycled centuries (100 miles), and competed in 5K running races. I was super mom, wife and employee. Then, this monster torturously took that life away.
As the illness progressively ate away at my life, energy and activities, I became more aware of alternative healing and spirituality in an attempt to heal and make sense of my world. Having been drawn to a deeper sense of being all of my life, I felt a powerful attraction to shamanism and began trainings offered by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. I am not a “workshop” person and at the time making the commitment to attend meant that the money might be misspent if the illness did not allow me attend. The following is an abbreviated description of the miracle that happened for me at the basic training, and continues as a result of connecting with Soul-self and Spirit through shamanic journeying.
In the first journey to the lower world I connected with an incredible source of personal power that had been missing since my late teens. I was very still and patient in my journey, something I was not in ordinary reality. I felt at home and connected, again, something I had not felt in ordinary reality at the time. For the first time in many years I was in a place that I belonged. I journeyed into the Earth and felt her protection and nurturance. I sat by a mountain lake quietly, just being. After some time of quietness, my power animal approached me with discourse. He showed me that I had wandered from my life path and had participated in activities that were self-destructive. He informed me he was forced away by some of actions. I was amazed but knew all of this to be truth. I expressed my regrets and my desire to re-connect with him. He asked me to honor him by doing less and being more, to spend time “being” in nature and journey, to drum daily and to walk the path of connectedness. Then, we just were. We shared energy and essence. He showed me how to BE. He told me carrying so much in one's head was not healthy. Feel more, think less. Many different kinds of birds called out to lend their energies. My heart ached so much so that I rubbed the area in ordinary reality. The drumming vibrated my heart and seemed to open me to my soul. The whole room vibrated with the energy of the drum and the Spirits. My body reverberated with the sounds of hundreds of drums beating in unison. There were many Spirit shamans present, drumming their healing and sharing their power. I was reluctant to return with the callback. I had found my home. What I did not know at the time was that I had also found my power.
The journey to the upper world was equally profound. I was carried on the back of an Eagle who shape-shifted into Hawk and then Raven, taking me through what appeared to be a layer of water like an ocean. Dolphins surfaced in the water and I came out into a jeweled city. In a park area I was met by my upper world Spirit teacher, then another teacher appeared. I asked if it were possible to have more than one teacher and many more appeared, Spirits from many times and many paths, all at my access if I ask. So I asked about them healing the CFIDS and they explained that I was to heal the illness by walking my destined path. They informed me the illness was my initiation and awakening to my destined path of the wounded healer. They would support and empower me as I teach and help others with shamanism. I am to be a conduit to Spirit, calling out to help others connect and heal. It seemed like the “Mission Impossible” choice. I saw that if I chose to accept this mission, great learning and healing would occur. I would be challenged to face my fears and overcome my limitations. I would have to face the attacks of those who don’t understand, and put myself out on a limb. The old part of me would die, over and over again, leaving me fresh and strong, but raw and vulnerable at times. If I chose not to accept this mission illness would continue.
I didn’t quite understand at the time but Spirit had gifted me with the way to heal this life-eating monster. I was filled with the energy to heal and be whole and help others. That evening I was not fatigued as I thought I might be. I was energized and enjoyed an exhilarating 5 mile run. And this has been the case henceforth. The fibromyalgia pain is gone, the fatigue extinct, the depression lifted, my immune system strong, I am flowing with more energy than ever before. I am alive!
The experience of journeying is personal, deep, and profound. Learning to connect with this power was profoundly healing for me. It has filled the void that had been inside of me nearly all of my life. Journeying on a regular basis keeps me connected to that power source, open to Spirit and life, and healthy on all levels. Of course there were times that I stumbled and wavered from the path. When this happened I found it true that the illness would remind me where I needed to be. Health returned as I journeyed and re-connected. I don’t waver any more.
I learned that shamanism is not something one does, it is a way of living and being. The learning and healing continues with every journey I take and with each moment that I open to more than this ordinary existence. Cognitively I find it difficult to comprehend the healing that I receive. In a way, I can understand the energy of Spirit power that opens me to life. Mostly, I just feel the healing in ways that defy words and understanding, and I am filled with gratitude.
About the author:
Colleen Deatsman is the co-Author of Seeing in the Dark: Claim Your Own Shamanic Power Now and in the Coming Age (Red Wheel Weiser 2009), Author of Energy for Life: Connect with the Source (Llewellyn 2006), Inner Power: Six Techniques for Increased Energy and Self-Healing (Llewellyn 2005), and numerous magazine articles. She is a Masters Degreed Licensed Professional Counselor, Social Worker, Shamanic Practitioner, Energy Movement Healer, Reiki Master, Certified Hypnotherapist, and Certified Alternative Healing Consultant at Circle of Life Shamanic Healing, Books and Classes