Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

She who dreamed the rest…

November 13, 2015

First Grandmother

You dreamed me into life as you sang
Shaping grey mists of a time yet to be
You called me into being
Forming a feeling into flesh
You sang Life into me. Here.
A wandering child, Home again.

Shaper of bones and blood!
Dissatisfied with singular memories
You relinquished dusty anonymity
For Continuance.
A laughing Creatrix in her creation,
Breathing now in this body.

Working my sinew, scratching my skull
Incising whorls like fingerprints
Is this a code for me to break?
Or do they awaken songs
In this sacred bundle,
Uncovering what you secreted within.

I am eager to remember.

© 2015 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

196Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Spirit Walking a Course in Shamanic Power,A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools, 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 is


Creating Spaciousness Between the Rock and a Hard Place

February 4, 2012

No matter how much attention we bring to our spiritual practice, there can still be those times that have us feeling as though we are being squeezed in situations that are unworkable or unmovable. For instance, you may be experiencing a physical illness or disability. You may feel financially restricted. You may be experiencing a difficult relationship issue, or you may be feeling trapped in your job.  Everyone has these difficult times and it is important to use your spiritual resources to buoy yourself—especially in times of difficulty. Indeed, a spiritual practice doesn’t exempt us from the ups and downs of human experience, instead it provides us with an emotional, psychological and physiological lifeboat to carry us over life’s rough seas

There are simple steps that you can begin practicing right now that can help you if you are in a tough spot. Even if your life feels perfect now, practicing these steps will give you more resilience as your life circumstances dance up and down. Creating this kind of spiritual and emotional spaciousness can help you ride over life’s bumps in the road with the suspension of a luxury vehicle instead of feeling like you’re in a decrepit jalopy with bad shocks!

Steps to develop “spaciousness”

1. The very first step is to begin practicing gratitude about where you are in your life right now. Find something(s) in your current life experience for which you are grateful. Even if it feels as though everything has gone bad, look for those things and experiences you are having that are worth celebrating!  Be grateful for your senses—the ability to see, or hear, or touch or taste the world. Be grateful for the two-legged and four-legged loved ones you have around you. Be grateful for being able to enjoy nature, even if through a window. Be grateful for the sunrise or the moon in the sky. Be grateful for the rain or snow. Be grateful for water and air. Be grateful that you are alive and able to feel.

It is critical to practice gratitude, “religiously.” This practice will keep you in balance, help to reduce the stress that you may be feeling about the situation and keep you in alignment with the universal flow. Remember that stress can create illness and interfere with your body’s functions, so give a lot of your attention to being grateful. The feelings of gratitude, love, compassion and appreciation all provide us with spiritual, physical and emotional buoyancy!

For those of you that already have a daily gratitude practice-make it something that you attend to several times a day. This is especially important when your situation has you feeling panicky or trapped. You need to keep releasing the restrictions that fear and anger produces in your being.

The buoyancy a gratitude practice provides can keep us from “sinking” into despair when we stumble, lose our way, become discouraged or become impatient.  (If you need support for your gratitude practice, please use the guided imageries on Spirit Passages’ “Becoming the New Human” CD– )

2. From the place of gratitude, use the shamanic journey or meditation to get a broader perspective about the situation than your mind/personality can grasp. Often times, we trap ourselves when we look at a situation from only the personality’s perspective. In this way, we can “shut down” possibilities before they’ve had a chance to be explored. Using an expansive method like shamanic journeying can help to open up new ideas and fresh perspectives. Getting the “spirit’s eye” view of what is happening can provide a larger context and help to support us to clarify what needs to happen in a new way. I believe that our divine imagination gives us the ability to experience undreamed possibilities. In journeys, dreams and visions, we are able to dream a new reality for ourselves.

3. While using your expansive method of journeying or meditation, ask for felt experiences of the new possibilities. By feeling how we want our life to be, we begin dreaming it into reality. In essence, it helps you to embody changes that you desire to experience. It also gives you a way to test new opportunities! If a possibility presenting itself resonates with the feelings you desire, it can help steer you in the right direction.

4. Once you have felt how the new you or new circumstance will feel, begin doing feeling meditations or prayers. These involve feeling the desired changes as it they have already happened! Feel yourself in it in the present. How does it feel, smell, look or taste to be in this new life? During these meditations or prayers, give yourself permission to immerse yourself fully in the new reality. Doing this along with your gratitude practice can not only shift the perceptions you have about where you are–it can begin to shift the situation itself.

Remember there isn’t just one way to solve the problem. You desire to feel a certain way–feeling it already accomplished is what you bring to the meditation. This begins weaving the solutions that will bring those feelings into reality–perhaps in a form you can’t imagine now!  The last thing you want to do is limit universal flow. By releasing any attachment that you have to how your changes will happen, you allow much better circumstances to manifest than you could have imagined!

5. Practice openness so that you’ll be able to see and feel opportunities as they arise. Remember, the solution you desire may not arrive in a package that you expect or imagine. You need to cultivate an openness that will allow you to be able to see possibilities.  If you aren’t sure how to do this, do a journey to your primary teacher or take this into a prayer/ meditation to ask how you can best practice openness.

6. Pay attention to what Nature provides for support. Our ancestors always sought the wisdom of nature and looked for signs and support from the Earth. For instance, pay more attention to the cycles of the moon, the seasons and the weather. Nature is always remaking herself. She flows in marvelous cycles and produces miracles at every turn.  Celebrate the new beginnings that are around you. Look for signs of new growth, notice shifts in color or changes in temperature and wind direction. If you are near the ocean, pay attention to the pattern of the tides.  Notice the signs of movement and growth in the Earth knowing that because you are a part of her, that growing energy is delightfully contagious!

7. Connect with supportive people. You may want to form an alliance with one friend for whom you can provide mutual support. Look for those people who are also growing. You want to gather persons who can both support you where you are now and encourage where you want to be!

8. Keep doing all of these steps. Do not give up. The universe is always moving the pieces on the board, so your job is to be prepared, open and ready to shift as the opportunities arise!

Here is an meditative process that can help you to cultivate feelings of grateful spaciousness:

Guided imagery

Breathe with a focus on your heart.

Call those spirits that you trust around you.

Let yourself FEEL their presence and their love for you.

Breathe out any tension–any fear–any doubts.

Breath in with the awareness of being surrounded by loving support.


You are enough. You are loved.

Notice the stillness between your breaths.

In this stillness, you are whole. All is well.

You are a magnificent part of the splendid universe. Breathe in this knowing.


Feel this awareness entering every cell of your being.

Know that you are able to hold onto this feeling.

Gently bring your awareness back your surroundings.

Thank your body, your mind and your connections to All That Is.

© 2012 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, 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.  In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is

River Offering

November 13, 2011

Last evening, Allie and I bundled up against the Autumn chill and walked down to our little local river. Just as the sun was sinking below the horizon, we allowed ourselves to remember all the moments that brought us to gratitude. We filled our hearts with the feelings of our purring cat, savoring coffee as we listened to public radio, hearing from friends and many other simple blessings the day had given us.

With full hearts, we each tossed a handful of fine, cornmeal toward the river. The cloud flew through the air and settled on the surface of the water. A slow current gathered the particles into long, lazy spirals and carried them downstream. As the sky began to turn indigo, I thought of our gift being carried to the ocean by the river’s insistent flow. Soon, her surface will be hard with winter ice.

This river, the seasons and everything in and around us is in perpetual motion. All Life ebbs and flows in an endless circle dance and in this season, that inevitable progression is more evident to me than in any other month. By November, the leaves are gone, the night arrives early and there is a whiff of mortality in the atmosphere that mixes with the aroma of wood smoke.

On such cold and clear nights, I can’t help but turn my vision toward the sky. Lingering before entering the house, I look up and watch my breath snake into the Milky Way. I take comfort at the stars’ steady procession around the pole and smile at the Little Bear pivoting on his tail. His whirling dance is so fine a mirror for our planet’s pirouettes around the Sun, I blow him a kiss!

In taking time to honor the moments that life give us, we imbue them with a greater splendor. Like a glittery coat of frost on an evergreen, everything feels more marvelous when wrapped with gratitude. Every thing and person we love can feel even more precious when so enfolded. It is a way to capture the fleeting moments of our existence and preserve them in our hearts. In expressing our appreciation, we participate in creating even more opportunities to feel grateful.

© 2011 Evelyn C. Rysdyk

Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author ofModern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, 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. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is

Light on the Water

October 6, 2011

Our shaman ancestors understood that everything around us is alive. Of course, it is easy for us to see that the plants, animals and birds are living. Yet, the rocks, the river, the clouds, the rain and the winds are as inspirited as you and I. Every aspect of our world is humming with enlivening energy. This indefinable “something” that continually breathes everything into existence is described in many ways. Physicists talk about infinitely tiny, vibrating Super Strings creating the particles of matter from which the visible world is formed while we shamanic practitioners honor that everything is filled with spirit. Whatever unique language we use to try and explain it, it is clear that we all are part of a marvelously interconnected fabric of Life. Each of us is enfolded by and in constant interaction with it. Our actions, thoughts and feelings create ripples that impact the others in the fabric.

In family systems therapy, the family is described like a group of people held together by an enormous rubber band. When one member of a family makes a move forward, the band that connects them naturally pulls the other members of the group forward as well. Initially, this produces a kind of chaotic rumble of movement that is a series of actions and reactions bouncing the family back and forth. This uncomfortable jostling prompts the family to initially fall into chaos. If the members of the family unit are willing to look at what is changing, shift the relational dynamics and then work out their issues–the entire group can begin moving in the same direction.

A similar process is going on in our larger family of human beings. As some of us change and move forward, the rest of our human family is feeling shaken up. Some people will resist the shifts and create chaos. In the face of this turmoil, the individuals in the group have a choice. They can either choose to succumb to the turbulence around them and stay in that anarchic state or they can choose to work on their own inner resistances and wounds. In family systems work, as individuals in the group attend to their inner environment and experience their own healing, the benefits impact every member. Eventually, through the irresistible force of connection, everyone is moved forward.

It is clear from the daily news that our human family is deeply immersed in the chaotic phase of change. While we are experiencing the pandemonium that is occurring in our larger family, we have a choice. We can contribute to the agitation by being resistant, remaining polarized and staying stuck in our old dramas or we can refocus our attention to our own inner healing. The latter choice is the one that can contribute to a more rapid and positive shift in the outer world.

If we are honest with ourselves, each of us can see places inside that need loving attention. Perhaps we have old wounds that have caused us to believe that we aren’t as good or as important as others. In our early life, we may have been taught that we weren’t loveable. Perhaps we are feeling controlled by the fears of being abandoned or being unworthy. Maybe we have tried to cover over our wounds with alcohol, too much work or other addictions.

As we have the courage to unpack the old, unbeneficial perceptions and behaviors we have lived with for years, we have an opportunity to not only free our selves, but to unleash a powerful series of vibrations across the energetic web that unites us. These changes contribute to all the waves being made by other people of courage. Eventually, there is an irresistible upwelling of transformation that carries all of us to a new, higher way of being. While that sounds like an impossibly huge shift, all each of us needs to do is our own part.

Often, the hardest part of the shift is to recognize that each of us is a precious and remarkable aspect of the divine Wholeness. No part of the All That Is can possibly be more or less important than any other. My Nepalese shaman friend, Bhola always greets people with a shallow bow. While bowing, his hands are pressed together with his palms touching and his fingers pointed upwards, in front of his chest. This namaste gesture literally means that, “I bow to your form.” When two people greet each other in this manner, it is both a recognition and a reminder that each one is a transcendent, sacred being clothed in human form.

This understanding of our divinity is grounded in traditions that are hundreds of centuries old. While in their shamanic trances, our ancient ancestors were able to see that every aspect of the inspirited world is connected by a numinous radiance. In reaching beyond the ordinary way of perceiving the world, those early explorers beyond the realm of the senses grasped the nature of reality that is only now being discussed by the discipline of higher physics. That is, everything that is or ever existed, is first and foremost Light. Everything we understand as physical, is simply a standing wave pattern in that Light.

Those early shamans who called that radiance “spirit,” also learned that each of us impacts this Light as we are irrevocably connected in it. Physicists, too know that our connections interact with the Light of all potential. How we think and feel produce different vibrations and those vibrations have a direct impact upon how Light “crystallizes” into matter. Our thoughts, feelings and the actions that flow from them change the nature of our physical reality. While this may seem hard for our minds to grasp, it implies that you and I are participating in creating and recreating the world. Right now. This also means that we have the ability to impact the wellbeing of our selves and this planet. We just need to remember our inherent magnificent power–stepping out of the false illusions that keep us feeling small.

It is only our ordinary mind /personality that sees us as anything less than powerful creator beings. This is because we have believed the limited perspectives spun by our senses. Our sensory organs can only perceive the smallest aspect of the suite of vibrations that constitute All That Is. We can only see visible light and hear audible sound. This is a tiny portion of reality and even less that what many insects, birds and animals can perceive. Yet, we have based our fundamental foundations about what is real or true wholly upon our sensory input. As a result, we have fallen completely under the spell of illusion.

This illusionary world creates the belief that we are separate. It is the illusion that contributes to our belief that we are small, powerless and without value. This misunderstanding does not serve us nor does it serve All That Is.

When a shaman is initiated, they often experience a kind of tearing away or destruction of their old self. The ordinary person with limited perception must fall away so that the initiate sees her or him self as a person of power. During a spiritual dismemberment ritual the person would see their body burned or eaten away. This often times terrifying experience helped the initiate to understand that the true self was eternal and existed both in and beyond the ordinary world. In essence, the initiate was liberated from the perceptions of their limitations while experiencing that everything in the surrounding world–including him or herself–is radiant with spiritual light. Rather than creating a longing for the world of “no form” it helped the shaman to see that, since that light pervades everything, all of life is inherently precious.

This same kind of understanding underlies the Medicine for the Earth work of Sandra Ingerman. Grounded in the most ancient practices of shamanism, it is a method that helps a person understand that—like the tribal initiate—he or she is a being of light. In addition, each of us can use our heart-felt intentions and focus to alter physical reality through experiencing ourselves as that radiance. In other words, when we bring our consciousness into the full experience of our Light, we create a harmony that transcends the limitations held by our ordinary mental state.

In our Medicine for the Earth monthly gathering, we have witnessed water that was poisoned with a strong alkali become completely harmless. The water came back into a balance in the presence of a small group of people who released themselves of the illusion of their ordinary perceptions and then experienced them selves as pure, radiant Light. No one focused on or touched the water.

As the people remember their true nature, their inner harmony supports the beaker of water, to remember its harmonious wholeness and balance. Amazingly, this happens in just a few minutes of ordinary time. This process is completely unexplainable by using scientific means. Ordinarily, the same this shift in Ph would only be possible if the polluted beaker of water was placed outdoors in sunlight for several days. It is scientifically “impossible” for it to happen in minutes. Yet, perhaps this is the very way that the shamans of old were able to perform the miraculous healings and transformations that are attributed to them.

When we are experiencing our true nature and the nature of All That Is, we are transcending our ordinary limited self. In this transfigured state, we naturally generate healing and harmony. You see, our ordinary, limited perception produce disruption. The consciousness that functions from limited beliefs is in constant opposition to the true nature of reality. When we shed that old, unbenefical way of being, the world around us returns to harmony.

The analogy of a swimming pool works well to help understand this idea. Every person in the pool disturbs the water as they move. When a group of individuals are each moving around, their waves crash into the next person’s waves and the water quickly begins sloshing around in a disorganized and turbulent manner. Once the people in the pool become still, allowing them selves to be upheld by their natural buoyancy, the water quickly returns to calmness.

When we think about the fabric of reality, the chaotic patterns we see around us a result of people acting from a place of illusion. In their feelings of separateness and smallness, they “splash around the pool” causing turbulence. When even a small a group of people remember that they are radiant beings who are upheld by and part of the radiant “waters” of reality, everything returns to its most harmonious state. That is because the group that is transfigured transforms everything and every being around them. This change occurs because harmony is not only conductive to creation it is the natural state of All That Is.

At no place in our long, human history has their been so much support for us to be able to live from this understanding. There has also never been so much riding on our being able to “get it” and remember our place as divine, creator stewards of this beautiful world.

Autumn is a perfect time to allow the illusions that keep us small to fall away like the dying leaves. As those unbeneficial patterns go away, we allow the energy of growth to flood back. We are able to experience life around us changing for the better. In dismembering our selves of those limiting beliefs or behaviors that keep us small and re-membering our place as divine co-creators, we not only step back into the flow of creativity, we co-participate in creation. We “calm the waves” and finally begin to manifest a better world for our selves and all beings.

© 2011 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, 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. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is