Coming back to life.
So, I've spent the last several days in bed. Like, literally. My body is in agony, and a lit up Vagus Nerve has been keeping me up at night, literally feeling like someone has plugged it into an electric socket. I'm lethargic, tired, hungry, and sensitive to light and sound. Basically, I've temporarily morphed into a single cell organism- the analogue of some ancient protozoa floating along in the primordial ooze. Hilariously, my intuition sort of anticipated this and I took the unprecedented move last week of blocking off my calendar and pushing appointments out further into the week. I even took the initiative to book a massage for this afternoon...for no reason. Except that now there is a reason. You'd think that this kind of "intuitive planning" would be commonplace for me at this point, but it literally never gets normal. That said, I'm grateful for it...and now everything is coming into focus, offering an understanding of what I'm experiencing. This is an upgrade. I am being healed. And all of it hinges on bringing various Shamanic Soul Parts back online. How do I know? My dreams. The first dream featured several potted houseplants, but these weren't your average indoor plants: they were incredibly exotic looking, many of them with exposed root systems and no soil, some even looking like coral reef or brain coral or other, underwater life forms. When I first came upon them, sitting in a large, multi-tiered windowsill, I was instantly filled with a feeling of dread for leaving them unattended and unwatered for so long. In the dream, I tried to stretch my memory back, and I couldn't honestly remember even owning them, let alone caring for them. Then I feverishly began watering them. Re-potting them. Wiping off their dusty leaves. I kept noticed more and more of these neglected plants as I went, upset with myself for the flagrant disregard I have shown to these living things. The second dream featured what initially appeared to be an abandoned fish tank. I looked inside, depressed, already giving in to the fear that I had killed a variety of small creatures with my absentminded disregard for their well being. Then, I noticed that in addition to being a freshwater aquarium, it was also a terrarium. It got lighter and I could see all kinds of healthy reptiles and other creatures. I remarked that I was surprised they were doing so well without warming rocks, and then my fianceé (who was in my dream) said, "Look- it's your favorite! Goldie!" At this point, I noticed a huge, beautiful goldfish...and then another...and another. The tank was now full of life and I was feeding all the animals their food and cleaning the sides of the tank. So, what the hell is all this weird dream stuff about? Simply put: Shamanic Soul Part Recollection. Large, metaphysical/ emotional soul parts are generally "seen" (i.e. depicted symbolically) as horses and dogs in dream states or meditations, generally following the same story arch of "oh no- they're dead" to "okay, I think I can salvage/ save this" to "they're flourishing! look how good they're doing". The smaller animals, plants, and fish and reptiles represent smaller soul parts, but they're important nonetheless. Shamanism views the energy body the way medicine views the physical body: a complex, interconnected, electro-magnetic combination of cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. When we endure hardship, experience trauma, or even inherent trauma response epigentically, our various soul parts can get dinged up, go dormant, or struggle to thrive. Basically, our soul parts are symbolic representations of our own energy, and when they come back online, get integrated, and start thriving again....we start feeling a lot more like ourselves. When I woke up this morning, I asked my spirit guide about these soul part dreams and the pain in my Vagus Nerve. I was told they were related, and that "they" (i.e. my invisible friends) were stimulating my Vagus Nerve to help me heal, integrate, and bring all of me- energetically and physically- back on line for what is coming in the future. When I was able to gather myself (a relative term today, trust me) and get a cup of coffee, I googled Vagus Nerve stimulation and immediately saw: "Studies show Vagus Nerve stimulation also lowers blood pressure, decreases heart rate, reduces the body's response to stress, and improves digestion." So, my guides are fixing me. And I'm grateful. Though I am a tried and true self-care expert, I'm still a human living in this world...and had, until this past March, worked in corporate America since my freshmen year of college. Full time. Many of my years on earth have been spent in abject poverty which, while not a current reality, has certainly had an impact on my energy body, physical body, and various shamanic soul parts. So have the unpleasant or abusive interactions in my professional and personal lives, as has my own neglect of my spiritual and physical health at various times. In other words: it all adds up, and the body (physical, energetic, emotional) remembers. And while I'm still feeling rough around the edges today, I know this is just a symptom of getting back online. Operating with my whole self. And giving myself some much needed- and overdue- rest. Sometimes, we need to just stop. Like, completely. The brain, the body, the psychic work, the reading, the research....need a break. I am sitting here filled with gratitude for the curriculum of small group workshops coming up at TOTEM this month. They all have a focus on the positive health benefits of meditation, and I have just been reminded of how absolutely powerful and transformative these modalities can be. And while Shamanic Journeying: Train your Brain is fully booked up, we do still have our weekly Restorative Candlelit Yoga classes and I am currently offering 1:1 versions of all of these group events for those interested but unable to make the scheduled workshops. Just shoot me an email to learn more about 1:1 sessions or book something: firstname.lastname@example.org And don't forget to check out our events page here for info on upcoming workshops. To keep everything socially distanced, we are limiting the number of attendees....so early registration is encouraged. If nothing else, take the rainy Chicago weather as an opportunity to retire from the world and restore your personal energy. There's nothing like a cool, rainy day to provide the perfect excuse for a nap and some crucial self-care. -Rachel