This is a season of deep and profound gratitude. All over the world, millions of people are practicing the art of becoming grateful, Conscious Co-creators. My partner and I are seeing a growing commitment to this path among both our shamanic healing clients and folks that we work with in our training programs. Our students, who have chosen to reawaken their sacred connections to All That Is through shamanic spirituality, are perhaps the strongest in their desire to make this change. In their explorations, they continue to gain a visceral knowledge of the radiant connections that unite all of our cosmos. They also see the impact each of us has upon that whole. This, in turn, awakens the urge to only generate positive impacts. Through engaging in this journey of awareness, they step ever closer to becoming powerfully transcendent human beings. They commit to this in spite of personal struggles, fears, illness or other “disruptions” because they realize it is the best hope for our world.
These wonderful people also realize that becoming a grateful and loving co-creative force makes it much easier to be peaceful and loving even in difficult times or when surrounded by angry or fearful people. This is especially true when all around us we see swirling divisiveness, alienation, judgment and deliberate fear-mongering stirred up by fundamentalist fringe groups ranging from reactionary political parties to aberrant religious sects that intentionally distort their traditions to exclude or even harm others. All of these groups have a common thread in that they choose to spread fear, control and constriction as a response to the world.
Although not a shaman, Dr. David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. is an internationally renowned psychiatrist, physician, researcher, and pioneer in the fields of consciousness research and spirituality. In his book Power vs. Force, Hawkins writes, “We all float on the collective level of consciousness of (hu)man kind,so that any increment we add comes back to us.” Plainly put, that means, if you project fear, you’ll be bathing in more fear and if you radiate gratitude and love, you’ll actually produce more to be grateful for! This state enables you to feel lighter, be more compassionate and more easily radiate healing energy into the world. Hawkins also suggests that one person who chooses to live with optimism and non-judgment of others offsets the energy of 90,000 individuals vibrating at lower energetic frequencies which include despair, rage, blame, cynicism and antagonism. These impressive numbers are further multiplied by those who choose to live in gratitude and peace.
As you can see, this act of practicing gratitude exponentially boosts your ability to change the world around you. As Brother David Steindl-Rast (www.gratefulness.org) states, “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” By living in gratitude, we CREATE the very situations we desire to experience. This happens as all matter initially exists as a wave or vibration which may take form. Form happens when the wave is “collapsed” into a point in time/space. By consciously working with the “inner technology” of our feelings, we can change the wave or vibratory state which in turn changes the nature of reality. In a sense, our feelings “decide” how the waves collapse into physicality.
Numi, a Shuar shaman from the Ecuador rain forest once told John Perkins: “The world is as you dream it, ” …“Your people dreamed of huge factories, tall buildings, as many cars as there are raindrops in this river. Now you begin to see that your dream is a nightmare….Everything you do ripples across the Mother.” When Perkins asked another of his teachers how people might be able to change this terrible situation, the shaman replied, “All you have to do is change the dream.” after which he added, “It can be accomplished in a generation. You need only plant a different seed, teach your children to dream new dreams.”
As the outer world seems more and more intent on glorifying calamity and apocalypse as we grow ever closer to 2012, it is very timely to begin “dreaming a new dream” for yourself, our species and our planet. Each of us can start by using our waking imagination to visualize and feel the new reality. Once you have imagined the new possibilities, you must be unwavering in your dedication to it. It means continuing to practice gratitude and feeling the new world that you desire already happening now. It also means backing up your feeling prayers by taking physical actions.
So for instance, if you desire a cleaner world, take all the “stuff” that you haven’t used for over a year to Goodwill. Once you’ve tackled your living space, organize your neighbors to clean up the street or a local school or volunteer for an organization that supports your new dream. If you want a world with more social justice, you could begin by approaching people who look, speak, worship or love differently than you do with an open heart. Don’t let the prejudices of the media, your family or friends turn you away from learning to appreciate all of humanity. You’ll find that practicing this creates a tidal wave of internal change!
I would also suggest that if you want more peace, take a break from the negatively biased, fear-generating news media! Vow to take the last week of December as a news-free week in preparation for the New Year. Use the time you would have been watching the news or reading the paper and turn it into the time you create a brand new gratitude list!
Start with a beautiful notebook you have either made or bought. Begin the list on the first right-hand page with the following sentence: “I am grateful for the co-creator,_____________________.” and put your own full name on the line!
On a new right-hand page, start with the line: “I am grateful for _____________________ who made my life possible.” On that blank line, place the names of your parents and grandparents. This is important to do EVEN if they were not nurturing presences. Their only gift may have been to give you life, but what a wondrous gift it is!
Then add on the same page, “I am grateful for these people who nurtured me to wholeness.” On this part of the list, add the names of every teacher, friend, therapist, relative, coworker or neighbor that gentled your path.
Continue using only right-hand pages as you add new sections to your list.
Now start a list of all the role models living and dead who have inspired you with this sentence: “I am grateful for these people who helped me to know my life could have meaning.” This is the place to list historical people and others who you may have never met and yet have positively impacted your life. Whether they are the Rachel Carson, Jesus, Susan B. Anthony, Einstein, Joan of Arc, Thomas Edison, Georgia O’Keefe, Hariet Tubman or others, add all of your heroes, heroines and inspirations to the list.
Start a fresh page to be grateful for your body with this heading: “I am grateful for these aspects of my physical body and it’s marvelous abilities.” List all of your senses, the abilities you have to move your body, and your ability to feel.
On the next page add, “I am grateful for these other beings who shared my life.” This is the place to list all your animal and bird friends. List all of your pets and then include any amazing animal and bird sightings you have had over your life. Remember all your encounters–the deer who just stood and watched you, the hummingbird that hovered nearby, the butterfly that landed on you, a turkey vulture rocking in the sky, the chattering chipmunk that made you giggle, the formation of geese you heard at dusk. Whatever beautiful memories you have, put them on the list.
Broaden your list to include the following on the next page: “I am grateful for these places and the experiences I have had in them.” Write down everything you can think of that you are grateful for in nature on the list. Include all the stunning sunrises and sunsets you’ve been fortunate to experience. The times you went into nature and felt beauty, majesty and awe. Include rainbows, full moon nights, fireflies on a summer evening, the aroma of the pine, sea smoke dancing over the ocean, a fresh snowfall–reach deep into your memory and pour it all down on the pages.
This gratitude list is part of you planting the seeds of a new dream. If a part of you is thinking this is silly, let me share a study done by researchers from UC Davis and the Mississippi University for Women in 2007. They found that organ transplant recipients who kept “gratitude journals” scored far better on measures of mental health, general health and vitality than those who keep only routine notes about their days. In feeling gratitude, the patients were able to significantly improve their overall health and clinical outcome of their surgeries. In short, their gratitude changed their physical reality!
So, dear hearts, ignore the doom-sayers, pundits and negative people that tell you the world is anything less than a splendid miracle! Keep your intent clear, stay in gratitude and take beneficial action. Gather with other people who share optimism for this beautiful place and are willing to work toward creating that reality. If you don’t already know how, learn the shamanic journey process* or begin a meditation practice so you can expand your spiritual support, as well.
The simple knowledge that we have this kind of a power which when added to our ability to imagine a better world can shift the entire human race to a path of beauty, love and restoration; fills me with tremendous optimism about our future as a species. By choosing the path of the conscious co-creator, you and I have the capacity to transform the world for the better! Treasure every one of your precious days here. Spend them imagining a beautiful future in all of its richness and adding your energy to making it manifest.
It is a blessing for me to write this. My heart leads me to inspire and encourage you because I have deep faith in your ability to create more beauty, love and peace in the world.