Having a strong spiritual rudder in one’s life feels truly essential. Not only to give comfort in trying situations, but to provide emotional resilience and healing. A shamanic practitioner can get the larger view of situations that can help to put the ordinary bumps of Life’s into a larger context. Indeed, I know my relationship with spirit has helped me to take the hard bumps in life more gently and to regain my balance after periods of turbulence.
Thanks to electronic wizardry, I am able to stay connected with people on the shamanic path from all around the world. Through these connections, I have also borne witness to the devastating hurricanes, tornados, floods and wildfires that transform peoples’ lives in a matter of moments or days.
Even spiritual people experience difficult situations. Just because we have strengthened our connections to the numinous world does not make us immune to life’s troubles. Each of us can experience the disruption of personal or health-related issues, the devastation of dangerous weather conditions or geologic shifts such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Indeed, the harsh weather we are seeing is likely to continue and in some places worsen due to climate change. Flooding will be more widespread, hurricanes more powerful, tornados more frequent and droughts even more dramatic in nature. Every region will experience some effects of the changing Earth.
Remaining resilient and thriving in difficult times requires us to go even deeper into our practice. Strengthening our connections to spirit and especially to the natural world can help to heal the adversarial relationship many of our species has toward the Earth and her shifts. For instance, when we have a better connection, we can be forewarned about changes.
By being diligent with our gratitude and offerings, we transform our physiology so that we can keep ourselves on a more even keel emotionally. Gratitude, appreciation, love and compassion can be incredible powerful as these feelings not only creates a calmer aspect internally, they can help to gentle the energy in the world. When we are in emotional coherence, we actually contribute to producing harmonious vibrations in the world around us. (This is the work we teach in our Two-Year Apprenticeship in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing AND what we deepen even further in our Shamanic Graduate Training Program, which is open to those who have had previous shamanic training.)
This means being a spiritual warrior and refusing to follow the crowd in their ever-growing anger, anxiety and polarization. I believe that we actually have a profound responsibility to use our consciousness to affect positive change. Rather than feeling impotent in the face of difficulty and harshness in the world we need to create harmony where there is discord through our internal practice and to gather together with others to take actions from a place of harmony and peace.
To accomplish this, we also need to care for our own needs. To free our minds from worry we can make preparations to sustain our physical existence should a storm, flood or other hardship occur. When we are feeling more secure about our physical situation we are less likely to succumb to fear and much more likely to be available to assist others. In other words, like the flight attendant reminds us when doing the safety check, we need to place the metaphoric oxygen mask on ourselves before we are able to help others.
So, along with making your connections to spirit rock solid, making gratitude your baseline and also deepening your relationship with the natural world, it is important to be a physically prepared shaman!
I have prepared a checklist that can help you in your preparations and to help you to prioritize how you can support your self to be strong and resilient. I consider this to be the bare minimum necessary to sustain yourself through a few days of hard times. Also remember to check in with your own spiritual guidance for additional ideas.
The Prepared Shaman Checklist
1. Develop a strong relationship with your helping spirits
• This makes it easier to connect with spirit when you are in a stressful situation
• It allows easier access to you for “early warnings”
• Connection provide solace and stress relief to make thinking easier during duress.
2. Practice gratitude until it is your baseline
• Practice with our “Becoming the New Human” CD!
• This protects your immune system and helps you to think well in a difficult situation!
3. Deepen your relationship with the natural world.
• My book, Spirit Walking: A Course in Shamanic Power has exercises to help you in this deepening.
4. Scan ALL of your vital documents onto a thumb drive (to reconstruct your life!)
• Insurances (life, home, car, medical)
• Car title
• Medical information including allergies for ALL family members
• Eyeglass/contact prescription
5. Create a preparedness kit in a backpack (refresh contents 2x year)
• Thumb drive with scanned vital information AND hard copies in waterproof zipper bag!
• Water purification (Micro-filter, water purifier and/or water purification tablets)
• Stainless steel water bottle
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Portable CRANK/solar radio with USB charging port
• First aid materials and guides for use
• Prescription medication (At least -3 days worth)
• Space pair of eyeglasses or contacts
• Extra car keys & house keys
• Freeze-dried foods AND/OR nutrition bars (for 3 days for each family member)
• Extra socks and underwear (for 3 days for each family member)
• Waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter & safety candles
• Warm wool or fleece blankets AND a Space blanket
• Alternative cooking device (portable Vital Stove/Grill • www.vitalgrill.com)
• Large stainless steel mug & pot to boil water
• Instant coffee or tea & instant soup/bouillon
• A few cotton bandannas
• Four or five gallon zipper bags
• A good multi-tool with pliers, knife and saw
• A fixed blade knife
• Folding saw
• Parachute cord
• A sewing kit –with extra large needle that will handle parachute core threads
• Stainless cutlery for eating
• Warm jacket & folding rain poncho
• A good, engaging book, playing cards and/or a portable board game
• Plastic sheeting & staple gun for covering broken windows—or emergency shelter
6. Stored next to the backpack
• Water (2 gallons a day for 3 days for each member of the family – refresh often)
• Folding water bags (used for camping) to be used in the home during expected storms
• Kelly Kettle for boiling water & cooking outdoors (Kelly Kettle Base Camp Stainless Steel Kit)
© 2013 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power, Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, and contributor to Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Healthcare; Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. Her web site ishttp://www.evelynrysdyk.com.