When going through a personal transformation, we often feel the need to withdraw from the world for a period of introspection. Throughout history, people have returned to nature to immerse themselves in quiet and beauty, to restore and invigorate their souls, or to simply relax and regroup. Renee Baribeau, The Practical Shaman, guides her clients through their personal growth, and sees them take tremendous strides and leaps of faith as they leave relationships, heal marriages, recover from lifelong heartbreaks and personal trauma. "Renee's guidance has enhanced and enriched my journey. Anyone would be blessed to be touched by her helpful presence in their lives." Would you like to be nurtured, fed, supported, and loved unconditionally for 3 days for your own growth and healing? Learn more here
Gramma Hedlund gave me a Steno Pad when I was eleven for Christmas. In the beginning, the scribble on the pages resembled the news feed onmy Facebook wall, a warped report of a teenager’s life, make up’s and break ups. Over the years, the filled notebooks spilled over into dozen of boxes and were shuffled from coast to coast. The illegible markings left a pen trail tracking a life that was like a whoopie pie: gooey cream caked between hardened shell of love and heartbreak. Little did Wilma know that her gift would begin a dance that would last a lifetime, long before "morning pages" was a fixture in common New Age vocabulary.
Writing on demand, however, was a challenge. Taking out the pen to fill the empty pages with wishful notions of wit and wisdom took practice. Many mornings were spent staring at the blue lines propped on my knees, pen in the right hand and mug in the other, waiting on the muse. As I grew emotionally, the writing in the spiral bound notebooks bore witness to the transformation that took place in my life.
Sometimes the darkened room became light and the words became lists. While other mornings words flowed doing cartwheels and somersaults, scrambling children in the schoolyard, lining up at the bell to be accounted for.
Whatever the outcome of the morning scribbles, by the last sip of coffee, the page would bear witness to another day. Sometimes there was little more than a to-do list, ideas for a new chapter, a newsletter in the offing, and occasionally my next great idea. The early morning pages are illegible, and if not immediately transcribed to the computer become forgotten banter.
Over the last forty years that single Steno Pad was replaced by numerous, colorful spiral bound notebooks lining shelves in the garage. One time I revisited my works documenting the timeline for my memoir, The Shaman Chef: My Life and Other Recipes, about how cooking saved my life.
About a year ago the city had five big trucks lined up in the parking lot in the local park shredding paper. On that day the weighty boxes were stacked into the car , driven to the park, and the energy set free. After all, most of what was stored there was unreadable even to me and had long been committed to my memory and memoir.
Several years ago, I began the process of rewriting. To me the process was like preparing a glace de viande , refining and reducing to make words that stick to the back of your tongue, leaving a fragrant taste after your last bite. This process took discipline and many hours of sitting and examination of every smell, texture, and personality that I had ignored. In addition, there was now the external critic, the editor who required reading of book after book on writing. So what came easily at eleven became refined at fifty. Then the work began. Still today I am grateful that my grandmother gave me the first glued pages that began my dance with the bear. So today, after all these years, I write.
I encourage you to begin a daily ritual. It could be a walk, a meditation, or yoga. It is a one day at a time proposition. Many years ago, my friends stashed me away at a house in the woods to heal in solitude. He was a painter. I was amazed that he had so many canvasses lined in a bin. I wondered, How he had done this; in the silence of the woods? The answer: one painting at a time.
Join Stephanie Gunning and Renee Baribeau, April 29th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for an experiential writing program unlike any you have experienced in the past. Open heart and mind to the grounding energy of nature, guided by the practical shaman, Renee Baribeau, then step into the field of potential wherein our group will shift our destiny by tapping into uplifting creative forces. Be prepared to move, to write, to connect, and to share—and to eat a delicious, healthy lunch. Class will be held in Palm Desert, CA More information and Registration
Reply from mentor: "Stop fighting, surrender!"
The fight will wear you down, and the more you engage in battle with your ego to change the firmer the grasp—no different than pulling out nut grass from dry earth. Changing from the inside out is a process, and it always helps if we soften the earth with love and water, first.
Have you heard the saying, "No pain, no gain," or "Pain is the greatest motivator of change"? We all have. But for one moment, can you be willing put this idea aside? Let's look at this "if I hurt badly enough I can change" mentality. In this model, you remain a victim to your suffering. Remove the hurt and what is left? Change. Inherent in this idea is a limiting belief that without the hurt you would be happy. Once again, in this paradigm we are looking outside, that something other than the current moment or drama will make us ok.
What if you assume for one moment that the hurt is perfect? Right now this is the perfect place for you to be. Not forever, not in an hour, but in this moment, you are getting accurate feedback that something internal needs attention. Become the observer of the feeling, find where it is living in your body, and ask this energy, what is needed right now? Look and see; is there a color associated with your discomfort or a shape? Focus all your attention into your discomfort as the observer not the victim.
Change is the moving element. Life is a constantly flowing river with its bends, rocks, and dams. Perhaps right now you feel like a greasy sink full of dirty dishes or leftover picked through scraps of food from a dinner party. Pull the plug, run the garbage disposal, and watch how easily the water flows.
Putting the discomfort into a new light will allow you to shift naturally. A year ago I decided to get into better shape. I had gained 15 pounds that to me were an unnecessary accessory to my health. However, I did not beat myself into misery. One day I decided to live in more joy. I chose the path of happiness. I am happier when my clothes fit. I was not unhappy, but I did want more joy. Exercise makes me feel better. Slowly, from this place of desire, not disgust, I made a new plan. Eating habits changed as I grew from the inside out. This process took a whole year.
This photo is from day 3 of my personal challenge to find more fun and healthy exercise in my life. Yesterday, I learned the basics of kick boxing. The smile on my face is proof that I surrender to joy.
Renee Baribeau is a mentor, healer, coach, teacher, and writer. Over the past fifteen years, she has trained with a long list of traditional shamans and modern-day mystics. She has received rites of passage from Q’ero elders in Peru and a Mapuche shaman in Chile, and apprenticed with a Lakota elder in Southern California for nine years. A graduate of the Healing the Light Body two-year program with the Four Winds Society, she then studied directly with Jose Luis Herrera. She has also received the healer’s blessing from Swami Kaleshwar. She works a a coach/healer helping her clients discover balance and passion. Join her for one of her teleclasses, journeys, or workshops.
Last night, at a holiday dinner party, I met a woman who was turning 90 years old. She made a conscious decision not to engage her mind learning the computer or other smart devices. Instead she finds Judge Judy a relaxing alternative to Facebook. Watching her daughter’s frustration from the sideline was more than enough to keep her from choosing to talk to Sari, the human robot.
Do you feel left out because you don't have an iPad or iPhone, but wonder if you need one?
Lately it is becoming ever more difficult to keep up with the fast-paced change of technology. Everyone insists they do not know how they ever functioned before owning a sleek and portable device with access to information 24/7. However, I am distracted and increasingly overwhelmed by my cell phone, Facebook, tweeting, and website maintenance. It is more than a full-time job keeping up with Zuckerberg’s endless barrage of unsupervised attempts to garnish more private information than the FBI.
Looking around, I see that I am not alone. Forget chemtrails, social media distraction is a more blatant and serious threat to the survival of community. Last week at a birthday celebration, the table set with three generations of family, I was shocked; no sooner was the desert served than the grownups took out their smart phones and began playing a game separately—together! The children were perched on their parents' shoulders watching. Cruising the rest of the restaurant, it was clearly spring break and every other table was engaged in a similar display of poor manners: the parents teaching their progeny that cell phones are acceptable table companions, and worse, a way of spending time together! At a recent party, the same thing, 20 people sitting around a room and a third of them texting to each other?
Adults are the worst offenders. Last night at the holiday dinner, the conversation zeroed in on iPods and iPads, leaving little time to find out how an 89-year-old woman thrived so well in our changing world. Vote me guilty; I, too, was perched on my elbows listening and engaged—but I find myself increasingly separate from real dialogue and honest connection. Lately, despite my 12,000 or more connections on Facebook, I feel disconnected from the mountains and community. Engagement now defines the number of people who share your post or comment on a picture.
The glassy touch screen has replaced debate and engaged conversation. It is a poor substitute. But she who has kept up fastest on technology sits in the throne leading the conversation.
The ham was washed down with talk of shortcuts, security infringement, and frustrating conversations with scripted technicians from India. This is what we have settled on as a community as worthwhile dinner conversation.
Perhaps it has been a slow process of putting ourselves to sleep. Front and center in my mind was the black and white movie I watched the night before, To Kill a Mocking Bird, which reminded me of my childhood, an era of black and white T.V., racism, and a lifestyle that invented large screen stories of the imagination based on one's immediate surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, I'm extremely happy that a global world is helping to end racist mindsets based on ignorance. However, even though I can now communicate with clients in Europe using Skype, I also mourn the loss of familiarity with my community and current location.
Driving down the road you see people looking down instead of looking out at the mountains.
Yes, I am as guilty as the next. One friend has me turn off the phone when I visit, while another continues to text while we hike. This spring I am ready to work on a moratorium in my life to unplug several hours a day. Reading text messages before my morning coffee will no longer be allowed. Clients will have to accept that I check my messages a few times a day rather than the moment they send. This pressing topic is going to be a chapter in my forthcoming book, Tools for Awakening. This is surely a place we are sleeping.
In May I will go to a small village in Mexico. Perhaps you should join me in unplugging for a week. I am 98% convinced that despite an additional 700 e-mails in my inbox, not much else will have changed, unless of course they come out with the iPad 5.
Renee Baribeau also known as The Practical Shaman is a business/life coach and social media expert. She teaches monthly teleclasses on Soul Inspired Business Networking. She is also a life coach who specializes in restoring balance to your successful life.
Will the world end of the world on December 21, 2012? Perhaps this is not a literally" end of the world". but of a "Great Cycle"
according to global indigenous elders. This is an important year for spiritual renewal and rebirth. Are you ready?
With The Practical Shaman, not only do we focus on unique travel experiences, but we work with the sacred energies found in spiritually-
As shamans, healers, and energy workers, it's important for us to gain practical skills in ancient wisdom from the source, which we can then bring home with us to heal ourselves and the collective world.
This year we are offering two different opportunities to take part in the healing transformation of yourself and the world. Only you know if you're being called to quest for silence, truth, and inner knowing while living amidst the chaos of our rapidly changing world.
Working with Sacred Plant Medicine is a journey to Mexico for healers and mystics to work with indigenous medicine keeper Maria Teresa Valenzuela in her village of Tequisquiapan, Queretaro. Together we will explore traditional Curanderismo, traditional ceremonial lodge, herbal remedies, and the subtle energies of sacred plants. At the same time, we will learn practical, modern-day applications as it relates to personal healing. We all need to refocus and rejuvenate, restoring our visions and life passions, but it is particularly important at this time with the coming shift in consciousness associated with 2012.
Magic, Mountains & Mysteries promises to be a heart-awakening adventure to Machu Picchu and to the Sacred Valley of Peru. We earthkeepers, shamans, and energy workers have a very important role in bringing the ancient herbal practices and sacred ceremonies to light in healing our beloved Mother World, Pachamama, and ourselves. Come and join likeminded souls and experience a magical adventure where you'll shatter illusions, reconnect with the natural environment using shamanic healing technology and writing from non-ordinary reality—all while exploring the ancient sites and mysteries of this foreign land.
If you wish to be a part of the collective transformation toward a more beautiful and loving world, and wish to honor yourself at this special time, one of these trips could be for you. We hope you will join us so we can experience profound awakening together.